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Reloading the 40 cal s&w cartridge

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by zeno nine, May 7, 2010.

  1. zeno nine

    zeno nine

    Dec 31, 2008
    I've been reloading for about six months for my son. Am ready to buy the dies for my Glock 22. I was on another site recently and several people said that reloading for older ( 2nd gen is what I have) 40's wasn't a good idea as the cartridge isn't fully supported and can lead to a KABOOM. Would like some feedback from Glock owners who have reloaded the 40 cal.
  2. D. Manley

    D. Manley

    May 30, 2005
    Southern US
    And most of these internet experts have never owned a Glock, shot a Glock and surely have'nt reloaded for a Glock. For the most part, they are simply parroting what they've "heard". The lack of chamber support deal has assumed a life all it's own thanks to the internet and even some well intentioned (but misinformed) souls within reloading circles offer caveats that I don't believe are grounded in reality. Truth is, you'll find Glock's chamber support to be about the same as most other, similar, combat pistols. Current production models in fact, have excellent chamber support. The misinformation is exacerbated by the fact that Glock does have generous internal chamber dimensions however, this creates no problem whatsoever for the reloader and if it even shortens brass life, I can't tell it.

    You'll be just fine if you (1) work up loads slowly and meticulously, (2) stay within acceptable loading guidelines and (3) practice safe reloading as you should for any other gun...regardless, of brand. If you choose to shoot jacketed or plated rounds, the factory barrel will do fine. If you happen to choose to shoot lead, my choice would be to purchase an after-market barrel with conventional rifling. I wonder how these "experts" explain the countless thousands of reloaded .40 rounds shot through Glocks by competitors and non-competitiors alike on a weekly basis. With safe pressure loads I don't think those reloaded rounds will care much if they're ran through a Glock and I doubt the Glock will know the difference.

  3. AZson


    Oct 5, 2005
    If been reloading for my Glocks for about a year, except the G17 and have had no problems shooting lead Bear Creek .40s and .45s
    Last edited: May 7, 2010

    CWPINST Millennium Member

    May 30, 1999
    SC, USA
    Unique is a good powder for the 40. Do NOT use Clays powder in the 40 or 9mm. Clays is a very "peaky" powder that can cause pressures to skyrocket with very small changes in components. Unique is MUCH more forgiving and normally has very good accuracy coupled with small ES.
  5. I have been reloading for my .40 cal Glocks and other brands for about 15 years without any problems.
  6. ChrisJn

    ChrisJn "Old Bill"

    Dec 30, 2008
    Baldwin Co, Alabama
    Exactly what D Manley says. Additionally, if you go the aftermarket barrel route give due consideration to what dies you buy. I was using RCBS for a long time but when I got a Lone Wolf barrel found my rounds would not fit. Changing to Lee dies solved the problem.
  7. vtducrider


    Nov 13, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I reload 40S&W for my Gen3 G23, and my buddy's Gen1 G22. The Gen1 does create bulges in the brass. I use Dillon Die on a Dillon 550B. Over time, the bulged brass will eventually develop a crease at the bottom (near the headstamp). It feels that this happens after about 5 reloads. I don't have a good way to keep track of number of usage for my brass. Maybe someone can chime in here. Once the crease appears, the rounds will fail case gauge check. They won't go all the way in.

    The crease isn't very obvious. Can't tell when the brass are dirty, and can't tell after they are tumbled. They will show up clearly after resizing. The other day, I got 32 case gauge failures out of 150 rounds. Does anyone know an alternative to using a bullet puller to get rid of them? Anyway, my work around is to put all the brass through the sizing die first, and then check with the case gauge before reloading them. Seems to work fine, but it does add an extra step.

    Good luck with reloading for Gen2 40S&W. It is a blast...
  8. Sofa King

    Sofa King

    Jun 16, 2006
    The Desert
    I think most of these Kabooms that Dean Speir and others refer to are the result of loading the .40 on the hot side. Definitely a bad idea in this caliber. For every gun failure there are hundreds if not thousands of people (including me) who reload that have no issues. Just keep your loads out of the red zone. Your fingers will thank you.
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  9. nytehawk


    Sep 5, 2009
    I've been reloading for a few months, both 9mm and .40S&W, approximately 1500 rounds total so far, using a Lee Classic Turret press and Lee carbide dies. I shoot the 9's with my Glock 19, and the .40's with my Walther P99c, Springfield XD40, and now my Glock 27. The G27 is brand new and I've only shot about 70 rounds through it to date (all reloads) and no problems so far.

    The G27 definitely bulges the cases more than the Springfield and Walther do, however. (The .40 load I'm shooting is 4.6 grains of TiteGroup with a 165 gr plated bullet. See my post at

    As a note, I've chosen not to shoot reloads with my Glock 23 --just a decision of personal preference since I can shoot the G19 instead.
  10. AZson


    Oct 5, 2005
    The fun part of reloads is the fact you can down-load the powder and make it more enjoyable to shoot.
    The trick is to find a load that's enjoyable to shoot but really accurate with any particular bullet you like or get the cheapest, may it be your own molded ones or store bought.

    When I get home from the range I put a fine coat of Kano Kroil oil just in my barrel, try not to get any in the chamber if it's your carry gun, it will react with your brass and when your ready to clean it thoroughly this oil will loosen any lead and make it easier to remove any lead and when your done cleaning put another fine coat of it. A good hard lead or moly coat bullet should leave very little lead.
    The next time you shoot, whether you had time to clean your gun or not, any lead or copper left in the barrel no matter how minute will be expelled out.
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  11. D. Manley

    D. Manley

    May 30, 2005
    Southern US
    After a lot of investigation into the reported KB's of early .40's used in LE it was found that the primary culprit was bullet setback from repeated chambering of rounds. Once the practice was stopped, so did the problems. IMHO, assuring ample case tension on bullets is an absolute requirement in the .40 caliber round regardless of the firearm brand. In my personal shooting & reloading perspective, I see no need to "load hot". I strive for accuracy 1st and try to achieve it with moderate loads...easy on me, easy on the guns. I might add that I've ran thousands of rounds through my G-35 and have never once seen a bulged case.
  12. hoffy


    Jun 12, 2007
    What most said above, don't run max loads and you should be fine. I have shot tens of thousands of reloads through Glocks, mainly 9mm and 10mm.
    I had a load that drives tacks with my HK 40 USP compact and when I tried them in my G-35 I bought later they almost keyholed they were so inaccurate. Used titegroup/plated bullets. Switched to a slow powder(Longshot) and shot great, but not in HK, sigh, going to try my old standby unique, especially since they cleaned it up. Sad thing is the 35 shoots one ragged hole with the Longshot. I just need to make a bucket full for the Glock and paint it red, Titegroup works well in all the half dozen + guns I have tried it in.
    Redding and Lee both make push through dies to eliminate the bulge. I use the barrel as my case gauge, I am tight(but own 6 presses) and if you have multiple handguns, use the tightest barrel(my XDs in 357 SIG) are much tighter than my SIG 239. Most others are pretty close.
  13. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Grumpy Old Guy

    Jan 25, 2008
    Clarksville, Tn.
    I reload for the 40 S&W for 3 Glocks. All are fairly new so the chamber issue has not popped up.
    I have not had any problems shooting reloads thru my Glocks. I use Hodgdon's Longshot powder for medium to hot loads with plated, lead and jacketed bullets in weights from 155gr. 165gr, 175gr and 180gr. I use the factory barrel and get no lead build up even after a 100 round run.
    I use a single stage press and inspect each round during each step and especially after cleaning and before anything else.
    I use a Lee Anniversary Kit with Lee dies and am happy with the setup.
    Some bullet brands I use are Magnus, Berry, SnS Casting, Hornady, Remington, Speer. I like R-P brass best and any brand small pistol primer.
    Check out Hodgdon's load data web site for load info.
    Have fun and be safe!
  14. FLSlim


    Apr 12, 2010
    FL W Coast
    Seems like the others have summed it up. I've loaded for years, but only the 40 for a short time. I have had to use a Redding push through on sized brass a few times, but no big deal. Now breaking in a LW barrel, just because I wanted one. My loads have been lite to moderate with Power Pistol with both JHP and plated bullets. Be careful (this applies to any reloading) and print off D. Manley's comments for reference.
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  15. Twisted Steel

    Twisted Steel And Sex Appeal

    Apr 28, 2002
    I didn't read all the replies:

    It's a specific powder that's been linked to kb's. IIRC, AA#5. You can read all about it at The Gun Zone.

    You may consider a third party barrel for shooting reloads, and swap back to the factory for carry.

    I am not a Glock-O-Boob, but it seems like Glock has quietly redesigned their chambers. I have a G22 and G23 and the bulge in the brass after firing is not what I remember it to be, or what I thought it was. I may be mistaken, but I thought I remembered reading that Glock had quietly redesigned their chamber, and it wasn't as "unsupported" as it originally was. I may be mistaken, so you might want to google it.

    But a third party barrel for reloads is not a bad idea.
  16. D. Manley

    D. Manley

    May 30, 2005
    Southern US
    I tend to avoid getting into the back and forth generated by Dean Spier (The Gun Zone) and his opinions. I agree with him some, disagree some and I think he provides a useful service but, so does the National Enquirer. That said, I do take issue with some of his views particularly, his mantra to never, ever, use reloads in a Glock. I find this absurd as if, there's some magic in factory loaded ammunition that makes it safer to use. For heaven's sake, unless I'm mistaken, Glock's sponsored competitive shooting team (Team Glock) uses reloaded ammunition. As to the user manual warnings, do not virtually all manufacturers issue similar statements? Glock (or any manufacturer) cannot be expected to warranty a product using ammunition over which no one (in this case SAAMI) has no controls. Ole "Joe Bob" crams a case full of Bullseye, touches it off and BLAM! problem, send the pieces to Glock with a picture of the missing digits, they should fix it up free, right?

    And yes, the chamber dimensions of *some* Glock models has evolved over the years. I might add that Glock's frames, extractors, locking blocks and other components have also evolved. Its not as if change in a firearm is somehow evidence of a flawed design conversely, if things did'nt change we'd be in a pretty stagnant sport. As to the "guppied" .40 brass shown on Spier's site as evidence of "unsupported" chambers, I guess I'm either lucky or, no one that shoots in my circles is so unfortunate. I have certainly never had such a piece of brass come from one of my pistols and have never encountered one...not a single one...from the thousands of pieces of range brass I've retrieved over the years most, fired from Glocks. I'm not saying it never happened or even, that it could not happen. I am saying its neither common or anything to prohibit someone from reloading simply because the weapon of choice happens to have "Glock" engraved on the slide. A safe load is a safe load whether it came from my press or one of the factory mills. FWIW, the increased safety of "factory ammo" is more suspect than you might think as well...I still have pictures of one of the major manufacturer's factory loads that mercifully locked up my guns before anything worse occured.

    It has always been true and always will..."it's the responsibility of the reloader to assure the quality of his product". It ain't rocket science...if you do it right, its fine...Glock or otherwise. If you do it wrong, it's unsafe...Glock or otherwise. Although some do shoot lead in Glock barrels I think it would be unwise for this to be done in universal fashion. I believe it can be done safely by accomplished shooters/reloaders but in general, probably a bad idea. Unless shooting plated or jacketed bullets, the minimal cost of a conventional barrel would be worth the freedom of worry and extra cautionary maintenance to me. Bottom line, enjoy your gun and if the Spier admonissions bother you, swap the barrel if it makes you feel better but don't let things like this prohibit you from the rewarding hobby of reloading.
  17. Bonedoc


    Aug 17, 2002
    This was/is one of the most succinct and clearly stated 'posts' I've ever read (and I've read a lot) and "accurate" to boot. I've shot "reloaded" .40s for some 20 years thru a Gen 1 Mod G22 and never ever had the slightest issue. I would say that the pistol, maintained well, has over 75K through the frame. I replaced the barrel at 55K with a Stormlake and wasn't happy so bought a Glock replacement barrel and use that currently. I bought this G22 in '91 and it, along with other Glocks, have been nearly flawless.

    I reload 'soft' or middle of the road. I never use lead in my .40 reloads (only jacketed or plated). I clean the weapon generally after each outing. I inspect all cases early and often in the reloading process AND I submit them to a case gauge when completed. Just a drop in, check and go... added step. BTW, I've heard that Larry Willis is going to be offering a 'new' item that will size the case "all the way" down and (virtually?) eliminate the bulge issue on reloads. Not sure when it will be available. Manley's right, "It ain't rocket science!"
  18. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    That & using uberfast powders & heavy bullets. Any bullet setback or error in OAL can really push pressures beyond safe. Stick to med to medium slow powders for lower pressures & stay off the top end loads. The 40 loads like any other pistol round, just not as forgiving foolish reloading practices.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  19. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

    Mar 1, 2008
    Washington (the state)
    I pre ordered my G23 and have one of the first 500. When my G23 first came out there were problems. Mostly loading AA#5 to hot. We were also loading them with lead semi wad cutters. All around a bad combination

    I load low and medium velocity rounds and haven't had a problem in a long time. No KB's, No glock bulge's, No banana peel barrels. Just plain old cartridges that get the job done. Down right boring.

    Heck I even used that 20 year old gun and my own reloads in IDPA last year.
  20. greenlion


    Jul 25, 2009
    North Carolina
    Hodgdon Universal powder is very similar to Unique, only it meters better and is MUCH cleaner.