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loading 40s&w OAL

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by bobbywalker, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. bobbywalker


    Sep 23, 2013
    quick question for all you experienced loaders...

    My Lymans manual gives an OAL of 1.115" for a 180gr. jacketed HP.

    But what if I'm loading 180gr. flat nosed TMJ ? would this not change the seating depth / OAL?

    thanks for your help
  2. steve4102


    Jan 2, 2009
    OAL is Bullet and Firearm specific, not manual specific. Find the OAL that best works for you, that is it must fit-feed-fire in Your pistol. Then start low and work up.

  3. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    Oct 19, 2011
    I load my JHP to 1.125" and I suspect I would start at the same measurement for TC as they both have a rather blunt nose.

    The important things are, as stated above, fit, feed, fire. The rounds must fit in the magazine, the bullet must not touch the rifling when chambered, the round must run up the feed ramp and, of course, it must fire.

    You don't want to go too short because that increases pressure. You don't want to go too long because the causes feeding issues.

    BTW, the difference between 1.115" and 1.125" is 0.010" or somewhere between 2 and 3 sheets of printer paper. Talking about it in those terms makes the difference seem inconsequential - and it is. Just don't go real short!

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  4. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    ^^THIS^^^ The min OAL for my 40, any bullet wt or style is 1.250"
  5. firefighter4215


    Nov 2, 2009
    I prefer to load a little long. As long as it fits my mags and chambers properly, I'm happy. I found pulled 180 grain HSTs from Rocky Mountain Reloading a while back. Of course there's no loading data for those. I compared them to an XTP, for which there is loading data. As best I remember, the HSTs were slightly longer. I added that difference to the min OAL of the data, then added a little more for safety. I also used the starting load of whichever powder I was testing. So, I ended up around 1.140" OAL, which works just fine in my G27 and G22. Ymmv.
  6. gooffeyguy


    Jan 13, 2013
    St. Louis, MO
    You will mostly be limited by the mags. For years I loaded my .40 rounds to 1.150" but my newer mags have a different angle on the follower and the rounds get hung up so I then just started loading them all to 1.135" max and working the loads up.
  7. Taterhead

    Taterhead Counting Beans

    Dec 13, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    That COL might be a typo Fred. That is mid range COL for 10mm auto.
  8. bobbywalker


    Sep 23, 2013
    Thanks for your responses, you've all been a big help. It's my first time reloading and I'm just trying to make sure that I make no mistakes and that I fully understand everything thats in my manual.

    another quick question- Does anyone have any experience with 800x with 180gr. 40s&w? From what I've read its mostly for large caliber pistols. But again Lyman's has it down as their preferred powder for this weight bullet.
  9. steve4102


    Jan 2, 2009
    It doesn't meter for crap. If you are going to use it, plan on weighing each and every charge. Not my favorite thing to do when handloading pistol ammo.

    You want the performance (+) of 800-X and still be able to meter, getcha some LongShot.
  10. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
  11. toshbar

    toshbar Timber Baron

    Oct 20, 2009
    Eastern NC
    As long as COL was at least 1.115 and no more than 1.135, I felt fine about it and my G24 ate it!. This was with mild competition loads so I wasn't concerned about overpressuring because of too short COL.
  12. GIockGuy24

    GIockGuy24 Bring M&M's

    Jul 14, 2005
    With Amber Lamps
    I load to 1.125". The 40 S&W is one of the few cartridges that was originally designed for hollow point bullets. Hollow point and truncated cone bullets are usually loaded shorter than round nose bullets. That's why most FMJ bullets for 40 S&W are truncated cones. Truncated cone bullets are usually loaded to similar lengths as hollow point bullets.
  13. bobbywalker


    Sep 23, 2013
    Thank you for your response. Theres so much to learn when you're a beginner, I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.
  14. toshbar

    toshbar Timber Baron

    Oct 20, 2009
    Eastern NC
    The reason most .40s are truncated cone bullets is because it is was designed to feed out of 9mm depth magazines. The only way to get a heavier bullet in the same COL as 9mm is to fatten the bullet up to the nose, which in turn makes the shape of it into a truncated cone instead of a traditional ogive shape.

    Keep on asking Bobby. Better to ask now than to screw something up later.

    I will give you this bit of info: You are lobbing a ball of lead maybe 30-40 yards? It doesn't have to be super precise. If your COL or charge weight are off a tenth inch, or .2-.3 grains respectively, it's not worth thinking twice about until you get close to max load (greater than 80%). Get comfortable loading at 60-70% of max. You probably will not have a desire to go more than that unless you want to hunt or just shoot big recoil. Faster bullets do not correlate to better accuracy until you get into rifle shooting in significant wind beyond 300 yards.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013