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Is it safe to reload .40S&W for Glock, Walther?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by nytehawk, Oct 10, 2009.

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  1. nytehawk

    nytehawk

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    Sep 5, 2009
    I have a couple Glocks (9 & .40) and a .40 Walther P99, and I'm considering the possibility of reloading target/practice ammo for both calibers. I've been led to understand that (besides liability reasons) one of the reasons Glock has strong warnings against the use of reloaded ammo is due to the slice of unsupported case where the barrel's load ramp leads into the breech. My Walther exhibits this same characteristic. (Walther also discourages reloaded ammo, though not quite as firmly as a the Glock manual.)

    Last night I was browsing a freebie "Basic Reloading Manual" courtesy of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders. When I came to the load data for .40S&W, there is a very clear warning that, "This data is intended for use in firearms with barrels which fully support the cartridge in the chamber..." (They don't show this warning explicitly with any other caliber's load data, only 40 S&W.)

    So, all this has me wondering just how much of these warnings are liability protection vs. how much it might be genuinely unsafe for me to reload for these guns -- especially the .40's. Any thoughts? I am perfectly willing to carefully inspect my brass for signs of degradation, provided I know what to look for. Also, I have no need to shoot maximum loads since I would just be reloading for target/practice shooting. And although I'm new to reloading, I have strong attention to detail as well as a friend/co-worker who is a very competent reloader and trustworthy source of advice. (He reloads mostly .45 ACP and occasionally some 9mm, but not any 40S&W.)

    Many thanks in advance for your wisdom and feedback!
     
  2. SilverBullet_83

    SilverBullet_83 NRA member

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    Nov 23, 2008
    Clermont, Fl
    I dont know how supported the facts are but I have heard that the .40 is one that has been known to have problems when reloading
     

  3. WatchmanUSA

    WatchmanUSA Member & IDPA

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    Jan 5, 2009
    There are many people here who shoot reloaded .40 S&W ammo in Glocks. I do for my G35. The safety of reloaded ammo is up to you. By design and preference, my .40 loads have a lower power factor than factory ammo.

    Be careful and very attentive. Start loading on the low end of the powder recommendation in the manuals. Did I say that you should be careful and attentive?
     
  4. GlockJD

    GlockJD

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    Jan 24, 2002
    Tucson, AZ
    I had the same concerns when I started reloading and looking into reloading for my G23 but I read from tons of people that put 10k+ rounds of reloads through with no problems. All I shoot is practice/plinking reloads through my G23, all my full power self defense ammo is factory loads so I haven't worried about it, never saw any signs of problems with the reloads.
     
  5. fredj338

    fredj338

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    so.cal.
    It's all liability. You'll find few manuf. that say it's fine to use handloaded ammo in their guns. The biggest issue w/ the 40 is it's a high pressure round. SOme chambers have less support than others & something simple, like a bullet setback, can jack pressures to 1.5x acceptable levels, huge potential KB. Use med.-med. slow powders, make sure you have good bullet/neck tension & stay off max. loads & you'll be fine for any handgun in any caliber. Many of the KBs reported are guys using fast-uberfast powders & heavy bullets to make major. No room for any error there.
     
  6. SLVR JDM

    SLVR JDM

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    Jun 4, 2008
    Plenty of reloads through my G23, no issues (still have all 10 fingers)
     
  7. 250rah

    250rah

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    Sep 6, 2009
    southern California
    I have a G27 and have put a few hundred rounds of reloads thru it and I am a newb as far as reloading. My father just tought me a few months ago, I always load on the low end and all has worked well.
     
  8. juswes

    juswes Team Red

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    Jul 8, 2009
    Alabama
    I reload for 40 cal with my glock 22. No problems so far after around 200 or so rounds.
    I Use AA#5 with 6.9 grains at the start and did move up to 7.2 grains. Still well under max
     
  9. nytehawk

    nytehawk

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    Sep 5, 2009

    Thanks guys very much for the quick replies! Based on your responses, three quick follow-up questions:

    1) fredj338 noted that the 40S&W is a high-pressure round. But looking at load data, the .40 pressures appear to be generally in the same ballpark as many 9mm loads -- low 30,000 psi range. So why is this pressure more of a problem in the 40 than the 9? Is it because the 40 brass has more surface area on which that pressure can act (due to slightly larger case size)?

    2) You also recommended using med to med/slow powders when reloading .40. Is TiteGroup acceptable? According to Hodgdon's website, TiteGroup is the 10th fastest of 117 powders listed. :wow: (http://www.hodgdon.com/burn-rate.html)

    3) Would it ever be advisable to use less powder than the recommended starting load in order to further avoid possible overpressuring? Or could that also be dangerous as the under-pressure condition could result in incomplete powder burn, etc.?
     
  10. WatchmanUSA

    WatchmanUSA Member & IDPA

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    Jan 5, 2009
    I can't answer your first question but the last two I'll take a run at.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Titegroup is a very fast powder. Many people recommend that new reloaders stay away from these types of powders because the powder can be accidentally double charged and still fit in the case without spilling. That will probably cause most pistols to Ka-Boom (KB).<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    If you choose to load with Titegroup type powders then you must be extremely cautious. One mistake can be very serious.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Yes, you can download powders below the minimums listed in the manuals. I do that for my training and competition rounds. I made up about 10 cartridges for each grain or so removed until my pistol did not cycle reliably. Then I came up until I liked the accuracy and feel of the shot. This process took some time to complete. Once I found the load I liked I chronographed the rounds and found I was at a power factor of 142 to 144. If you don't know what power factor means you can Google it.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    My recipe is 3.7 grains of Titegroup using a 180 grain Montana Gold bullet. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I’m a relative newbie reloader with just a few thousand rounds reloaded. I am absolutely anal about checking the powder drop on each and every cartridge. If I’m unsure about anything I pull the case out and recycle it. Even a finished cartridge I’ll pull the bullet, dump the powder and do it again.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    You can’t be too careful!<o:p></o:p>
     
  11. juswes

    juswes Team Red

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    Jul 8, 2009
    Alabama
    AA#5 fills up a case nicely and if you double charge, you will know it. Almost pours out of the top
     
  12. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot Millennium Member

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    Aug 21, 1999
    Arkansas Ozarks
    I've been reloading .40 S&W rounds for 10 years on a Dillon 550B press. My reloading log shows I've loaded over 20,000 rounds in that time and I've fired well over half that ammo, 90% of it through various Glocks, the rest through my Ruger PC4 carbine. As a LEO, I use once fired brass that I get from my department range, which is mostly Glock fired brass.

    My point is I reload Glock fired brass to be used primarily in Glock's. I load at regular factory loadings using either 4.5 grains of Tite Group or 6.5 grains of Power Pistol with 180 grain jacketed bullets. I have never, ever had so much as one ammo related malfunction.

    Just for my own satisfaction, in 2007 I set aside 200 rounds of factory ammo, Remington and Winchester headstamped. When I shot this ammo I made sure I segregated the brass from the rest so I could keep count of how many times I could reload it. Over a period of several months I fired it through my Glock 23 and reloaded this lot of brass 9 times. After 6 or 7 reloads I had three rounds with split cases at the mouth of the brass, but this could be expected with any round loaded half a dozen times. Not once did I have a bulge, kaboom, or busted case on the bottom end.

    I see no significant issue with loading .40 S&W as long as you don't try to make major with the load. If you want a hotrod, get a 10mm, otherwise the .40 is just as safe as any other round to reload. Even if shooting through a Glock.
     
  13. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

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    Mar 6, 2003
    Lynnwood, WA
    DITTO! :supergrin:
     
  14. BuffaloBo

    BuffaloBo

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    Jun 22, 2004
    I'll go one step further ---- I load 175 gr LEAD 40 S&W using 4.8 gr of W231 through my G23!...... using a stock barrel... Am I INSANE or what?!!!! :whistling::tongueout::wavey::supergrin:
     
  15. Bob2223

    Bob2223 Jack's buddy!

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    Spencer Indiana

    :wow: OMG !
    And he runs with Scissor !

    :supergrin:


    Bob
     
  16. fredj338

    fredj338

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    As always, JMO.:supergrin:
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  17. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

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    North Carolina
    You're a *****:supergrin:. I use 5.0 Bullseye with a 180LFP in a G27 with stock barrel. What I did find though is that I get the same velocity with a starting load of Unique. A starting load of Unique has lower pressure than a max load of Bullseye, so it's my new go-to load after 12 years of doing it with the BE load. Both give me a cheap copy of 180 grain factory loads.
     
  18. BuffaloBo

    BuffaloBo

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    Jun 22, 2004
    Wisky:

    Yup, my loading comes close to factory and even self defense. Darn cheap too. Used to cost about $2.50 per 50. Since the price increases it's probably about $3.00 now. Only down side is I choose to scrub the barrel after 100 rounds or so. No free lunch, I guess.:supergrin:
     
  19. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    11,682
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    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    Yeah, that's about right. I'm still using commercial cast bullets because I have a few thousand left from back when I could buy them for $24.00/K. I started casting and got a 358477 mold for my 38/357 and now that the bullets are basically free, primers have gone up but powder is still around $17.00/# for the 4# jugs of Unique I bought.

    I have to get a 40 mold once I run out of the bullets I have and would actually like one at 165 grains since I carry 165 Rangers that I have a large quantity of. Nobody seems to make a 165, so I'm thinking a Lyman mold mild down a bit might not break the bank like a custom mold would. The Lyman molds are 175 I think, but my free lead runs a tiny bit heavier than Lyman #2 alloy and they'd probably be around 180. The 180's hit a bit high in my G27 as compared to the 165's, but in my Beretta 96 they hit about the same.
     
  20. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Glockoholic

    My 550B has churned out quite a few .40's and they've all ran fine and dandy through my various Glock .40's.