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.40S&W 165gn FMJ load data WTF!

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Gpruitt54, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    The data is really NOT interchangeavle. Sure you use the same powder & may even use the same charge wt, BUT, OAL may vary. Always keep in mind, bullets are NOT plug & play. lead is not palted, plated is not jacketed, JHP are NOT FMJ, you have to work loads up diff. for each. If you never go much above starting level, then bullets become more plug & play.
  2. Gpruitt54


    Jul 18, 2012
    Yes, there are differences that cannot be interchanged. I have a some basic questions.
    • I have some plated bullets. How would I adjust the variables between Lead and plated bullets in terns of powder loads and OAL?
    • I have FMJ FN and RN bullets. How would I adjust between FMJ and JHP bullets in terns of powder loads and OAL?
    I've never seen anything in the manuals that address these questions. I never go for max loads. I am target shooting, so max loads are not necessary.

  3. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Glockoholic

    There is a strange shortage of 165gr data for some odd reason. I don't shoot a whole lot of 165's although I have no problem with them.

    From past experience, Power Pistol does very well, as 8gr averaged 1125 fps from a 3" Kahr CM40 (165gr FMJ), so that should be well over 1150 fps from 4" G23.

    VV 3N38 is perfect for higher end .40 loads, but as usual, VV powder is more pricey and kind of hard to find, but does awesome at over 1250 fps. 8.2gr of Longshot averages 1140 from 3" Kahr CM40
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  4. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    Oct 19, 2011
    Go to the manufacturer's web site and they will give some overall guidelines. There is a muzzle velocity limit and a recommendation to load somewhere between mid-range lead loads and mid-range jacketed load.

    I find this insufficient and not very satisfying. I don't shoot plated bullets for the simple reason that the manufacturers don't even bother to create load data.

    In terms of pistol:

    One goal is to keep case volume the same. For that to work, a shorter bullet will have a lesser OAL. A longer bullet will have a longer OAL.

    Another goal is for the bullet to run up the feed ramp.
    Yet another is for the assembled round to fit in the magazine.

    Within reason, a longer OAL is probably preferred. In general, the pressure will be lower. However, velocity still has to be sufficient to operate the mechanism and, in some cases, make a power level for competition.

    And that's why you work up loads from an average of published data. You work up the charge from MIN toward, and probably never reaching, MAX. When you get to a point where the gun is reliable, the charge is away from MAX and the accuracy is adequate, you have found the load.

    Look at the load data in manuals. Specifically, look at the differences in the velocity ranges of certain powders. Try to use powders that have a velocity range well beyond what you are trying to achieve. That way there is some room for error when you drop a charge.

    If Longshot powder is listed, it will probably be capable of the highest velocity for a given case/bullet. Of course you may incinerate your target with muzzle flash but, hey, it's still a hit!

    Look for slower powders and, for a while, stay away from faster powders like Titegroup and Bullseye. Read the burn rate chart and think about what it means. For one thing, you want to be using slower powders - like Unique, Power Pistol or WSF.

    Finally, ask around about loads. You should show that you have read data from manuals, nobody wants to simply hand out data. When you get Internet load data, make sure it fits within published specs.

    Read a lot and reflect on what you are reading. See how it all ties together.

  5. Gpruitt54


    Jul 18, 2012

    Here is what I am looking for.

    If I see load data for a 165gn .40S&W. JHP bullet that uses powder I am using, and my bullets are 165gn .40S&W FMJ FN bullet, how do I make that load work for the FMJ FN bullet? Do I adjust only the OAL?

    The manual load tables do not address case volumes, at all. So, this metric has not been a part of my measurements. How can anyone work up a load that includes metrics (case volume) that are not referenced in the published handgun load tables?

    I am shooting target loads for hand gun, not competition loads and not hunting loads. If the manuals do not even list case volumes in the tables for hand gun loads, why are some people talking about it here in this thread? Is this an issue for rifle loads, and is that thinking being unnecessarily introduced in this conversation?

    For a new reloader, these kinds of unsupported (not addressed in the hand gun load tables in published manuals) complications are utterly frustrating.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  6. RWE


    Sep 28, 2012
    I agree, not happy with the new Hornady or Nosler manuals for handgun loads at all, pretty pathetic really. At $30 each I expected a lot more from the bigs. Speer manual is good and I otherwise rely on powder manufacturer data...
  7. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    Oct 19, 2011
    If you have both bullets in front of you (JHP & FMJ), you can measure the lengths and do a little arithmetic to get the base of the bullet to be at the same location inside the case. There, you have just solved for equal case volume.

    But what about bullet profile? Are the 'skirt' lengths (the part that rubs the barrel) the same? This area of the bullet causes variations in pressure.

    So, what to do?

    You're right, the answers aren't given in the load manuals so you have to work them out for yourself.

    Minimum charges will probably work across a range of bullet types of identical weight. So, start low and make just a few (5, not 50) of several charges 0.1 gr apart. Shoot them in ascending order of powder charge and see if they will work the slide. Proper functioning of the gun will require a certain amount of recoil. If the charge is too light, the gun won't cycle.

    You can use the charge data for a heavier bullet with a lighter one.

    The slower the powder, the larger the range of charges (usually) and the less likely you are to get pressure spiking.

    When the gun cycles reliably, look at the group size. This is more difficult because not everyone can shoot small groups. Maybe shoot off a bag or using some other means for support. A Ransom Rest is ideal but I don't see them around much any more.

    Load long! The longer the assembled cartridge, the lower the pressure. Four things are important: First, the cartridge must fit in the magazine. Second, the cartridge must run up the feed ramp. Third, the bullet must not impact the rifling. Finally, the bullet must not fall out of the case. In that regard, I would try to have at least one bullet diameter of engagement. Pull apart a factory round and see what they did.

    As to the bullet not impacting the rifling: Remove the barrel, drop an assembled cartridge in the chamber and rotate it. You should feel it drag slightly on the case mouth (only). You can coat the case, case mouth and bullet with a Sharpie before spinning to see where it drags.

    If you read along starting on page 59 of Speer #14, you will see that, from their tests, you can not detect overpressure by looking at primers. By the time any obvious sign shows up, you are at least 20% over. Looking for pressure signs is not a science.

    A chronograph is useful. You measure and plot muzzle velocity against charge weight. You would see a rather uniform increase in velocity over some range of charges. Then one of two things will happen: The next incremental charge will have a wildly increasing velocity - this is caused by a pressure spike and you need to back away. Or, the next incremental charge won't have enough increase in velocity. Again, you are at the end, back away.

    In your case, since you just want to punch paper, all you need is enough velocity to cycle the gun. Start low, load long and work up until you are satisfied.

    My personal feeling is to buy the components to match the data rather than try to invent data to match components. I'm lucky in that I shoot .45 ACP and over the last 100 years or so, just about anything that could be assembled has been. There's a TON of data.

    That's not so for the .40 S&W. It has never been considered a 'target' round and I'm not sure they even make semi-wadcutters for the .40. There's not a lot of data for lead bullets because the .40 is thought to be a combat versus target round. Most of the data is for HP bullets for the same reason although some HP bullets are very accurate.

    Get more data sources including some of the caliber specific booklets from Midway. Look at the data at

    Take this data with a huge helping of salt! I wouldn't trust a single bit of it. But I might try to see how it relates to published data and, if it seems credible, I might slowly work up to the Internet load. NEVER, EVER, trust Internet loads. Especially anything that I post!

    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  8. Nor anything I post. Or put another way, 'pay attention to what I mean, not to what I post. :)
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  9. Steve Koski

    Steve Koski Got Insurance? Millennium Member

    Jan 31, 1999
    I have a baggie of WTF powder on my bench. Let me know if you have any load data for it.
  10. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Glockoholic

    Lucky you, I've never been able to find WTF powder around these parts.
  11. Gpruitt54


    Jul 18, 2012
    Great response,

    Right, the .40 is not my target gun, it will be a carry gun. But I have about 700 bullets and a 1000 cases for the .40. So, I want to work up some loads and build some bullets. 500 of the bullets are 165 grain Rainier plated RNFP and 200 are 165 grain FMJ FN from Everglade ammo. The Rainier plated bullets are easy to fine loads for. I am having a hell of a time finding load data for the FMJ FN bullets.

    The conversation about case volume has been a source of frustration because the manuals don't address this measurement in the load tables to any degree. After loading for 2 months (yes, noob!) I felt a comfort level that I was getting this sorted out until the topic of cae volume poped up in this forum. You say to load long. OK, I get it and I will look for the one pullet diameter as a base for setting my OAL. I have been using the factory loads as a bases for settng up the OAL of my reloads. From this forum, I've been informed that this is a mistake, thought I've read this technique for setting OAL all over the place.
  12. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    Oct 19, 2011
    Lyman 49th has a bunch of loads for 165 gr TMJ which is probably close enough as long as you start low. The OAL is 1.120"

    As I posted before, Speer #14 has data for the 165 gr TMJ FN and, more important to you, indicates that the OAL of 1.120" for the TMJ FN is the same as that of the 165 gr GDHP.

    So, for 3 bullets, the OAL is 1.120". For me, that's enough; I'm setting OAL at 1.120".

    The thing that is scary is that Lyman maxes Power Pistol at 7.0 gr (start at 6.3 gr) while Speer starts at 7.0 gr and maxes at 7.8 gr. Same kind of thing for Bullseye and I didn't bother checking the other powders.

    Being something of a wimp, I would start with the low end of Lyman and work toward the mid range of Speer. Once I had a load that cycled the gun, that's where I would stop.

    As a triple check on Power Pistol, shows a 165 gr FMJ with 7.2 gr PP:

    The OAL is 1.124" and that 0.004" difference is meaningless; call it 1.120". The powder charge is just above MIN for Speer data.

    Yes, you are going to have to work up the load. It's no big deal, just make some different loads and shoot them. Better yet, get someone else to shoot them. That's what I do!

  13. noylj


    Jul 20, 2010
    >Yes, _you_ are going to have to work up the load. It's no big deal, just make some different loads and shoot them. Better yet, get someone else to shoot them. That's what I do!

    Handloading is NOT hand-holding. Handloading is not plug-and-play.
    YOU ALWAYS start with the lowest starting load you can find and work up. Each manual used a different gun (thus, different chamber dimensions) and different components and none of them will EVER match your gun and components--unless you can determine the exact lots used and you can buy their test gun.
    YOU need to find out the COL range that is best in YOUR gun with YOUR SPECIFIC bullet. YOU need to determine the MAX load, or simply stop when you get the best accuracy with that combination of components. Even different lots of bullets or bullets off different machines can have different ogives and meplats that may require adjusting COL.
    I find that a lot of the COL variance I measure is NOT real--the bullet meplat and ogive varies slightly and the COL varies with this and there is nothing you can do about it unless your seating stem is flat and then can seat all meplats to the same depth, though the effective case volume then changes. Life just isn't as precise as many seem to think it is.
  14. PrecisionRifleman


    Jan 24, 2011
    True statement regarding the OAL and variances in bullets. You can get an OAL gauge to help tighten up the tolerances in the measurements. This works especially well in rifle cartridges, but I'm not that willing to go the extra mile on handgun cartridges for a Glock. Sure there are still variances in bullets that affect tolerances even when using an OAL gauge that measures from the O-give, but it is more accurate than using a micrometer to measure from the meplat of the bullet. The importance of using an OAL gauge with rifle bullets really comes in yo play with BTSP, PSP, Amax, and ballistic tips due to variances in the lead at the tip of the bullet or the plastic tips of the Amax and Silvertip type design. I didn't notice as much of a difference with a Sierra BTHP, and I think the same principle applies to JHP and fmj in handgun bullets.

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    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  15. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    Hey I can hit a bull in the but at 12 yards.
    (Or is that feet)
  16. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)