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Thread: 40 Smith and Wesson

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    59

    40 Smith and Wesson

    Howdy. I'm hoping to load cast for a 40 S&W pistol I've got, and in the past have had some minor leading issues with Laser-Cast bullets. Plated bullets function flawlessly. I have a lee mold to cast tumble lubed 175 grain SWC. (TL401-175-SWC, #90433)

    I use titegroup for pistols. I was hoping for some loads or reccomendations for getting the easiest use out of the 40. I realize it is a higher pressure cartridge compared to 45ACP, which I also load. Is there a strategy to minimize lead, and ensure good case sealing?

    I used the search function and couldn't find the 40 even mentioned... I like mine (Taurus PT140 Mill Pro) for a backpacking gun over the 45 because it is small, much lighter, and holds 10.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    N. Las Vegas, NV
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    I use the same bullet for my 40 S&W. I was having sometrouble with the bullet feeding occationally getting jams but the problem went away. I started water quenching my bullets to make the lead harder thinking it would slide up the feed ramp a little easier. I don't really know if that worked or if I was getting the jams because my gun was new and tight but I haven't had a jam in the last 6 or 8 boxes of shells. I did notice a little leading in the throat but not enough to bother me because it is such a small amout it will clean out easy. I have since ordered the Lee TC 175g mould but have yet to try!
    By the way I have been using 5.2g of W231 which is a light to moderate load.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    9.3X62AL's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
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    JCadwell--

    If I didn't say so earlier--welcome to the asylum.

    The 40 S&W is a high-intensity cartridge, as you have said. Its pressures approach those of some rifles, and it shares with the rifles (and the 9mm Parabellum) a relatively fast barrel twist rate (1-10") that serves some purpose I can't understand. 1-20" would be better, given the length of the boolits/bullets the cartridge uses.

    What this means is that the 40 S&W isn't the user-friendly cast boolit critter that the 45 ACP usually is. Most 45's run 1-16" twists, and use pressures roughly half that used by the 9mm and 40 S&W. My successes with these two high-pressure pistol calibers have come from treating the pistols as if they are rifles in some respects when attempting cast boolit usage.

    I use relatively hard alloys in these calibers--"Taracorp", AKA 92-6-2. I size the boolits to fit the barrel's throat, which in my now-departed Beretta 96 was .401"--its grooves were .400". I use rather soft Javelina (Alox/beeswax) lube with these calibers.

    I seldom tried for max velocity with cast boolits in the 40 S&W. My goal was to get to service load duplication levels--180 grain boolits at 950 FPS. The combination used the Lee 175 grain TC--6.4 grains of Unique--and WW SP primers, with light taper crimp to straighten out the flared case mouth. I got zero leading with this combo, and sometimes fired 150 rounds at fairly high rates in a given range day.

    One other caution when dealing with the 40 S&W or 9mm--boolit seating depth can DRASTICALLY affect pressures. The longest possible overall length that won't interfere with magazine length limits or rifling leade in the chamber--and promotes reliable feeding--is my watchword with these calibers and boolits lacking published info--which is most of them, as you've discovered. It's not exactly a state secret that component makers are a little concerned when they hear of 40 S&W's doing KA-BOOMs once in a while. There's a few theories "out there" about how these come about, but if good safe reloading practices are adhered to and the temptation to "hot-rod" the 40 S&W isn't yielded to--things will go well, I'm sure. I don't think the 40 S&W has much safe room for ballistic "extension", as the 9mm Para certainly does (as loaded in the USA).

    I have no experience with the Lee TL boolits, so can't offer any experience with them in any caliber.
    "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."--Winston Churchill

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    59
    Thanks for the remarks. I'm just trying to get a servicable round, not a hotrod. I appreciate the comments and the theory.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master steveb's Avatar
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    Welcome
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check