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  1. #1
    Brian is offline Junior Member
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    Loading for the .40 S & W

    In one of their recent manuals, Speer says that you have to be careful in loading the .40. They claim that not all pistols fully support the cartridge head, which can lead to bulged cases or even head separation. Hodgon's manual picks up on this theme, but Sierra's manual and Nosler's do not.

    Does anyone know which pistols don't completely support the .40s head, and are at risk? Or has anyone any further information about this?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    40

    ive never heard of it brian.almost seems as if the gun would have to have been made prior to the 40 s&w cartridge being made.

  3. #3
    sab2alpha is offline Junior Member
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    Does anyone know which pistols don't completely support the .40s head, and are at risk? Or has anyone any further information about this?

    Thanks[/QUOTE]

    What gun do you have?
    I have seen the same warnings in the load books.

    I have a Walther P99 in 40s&w loaded with winch.231 and Hornady XTP.

    Great shooter and no problems.

    sab2alpha

  4. #4
    Brian is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sab2alpha View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian
    Does anyone know which pistols don't completely support the .40s head, and are at risk? Or has anyone any further information about this?

    Thanks
    What gun do you have?
    I have seen the same warnings in the load books.

    I have a Walther P99 in 40s&w loaded with winch.231 and Hornady XTP.

    Great shooter and no problems.

    sab2alpha
    Well, I ask the question mainly out of curiosity and a desire to learn more than I know, and it's based on something which came to light in a conversation with a friend.

    It turns out he's considering the purchase of a Kahr, and in the course of discussing which gun and caliber he might select, he mentioned that a knowledgeable salesman cautioned against reloading for the .40 because of "the extremely high pressure inherent in this caliber," a claim which I don't understand at all (I've done a ton of handloading over the past 30 years -- rifle, pistol and revolver -- and I understand a little about how pressure works when a cartridge is fired, and know that guns are built to withstand pressures that are normal for the cartridge they're chambered for . . .).

    Still, I checked my reloading manuals, and was surprised to find that Speer warns specifically about the danger of unsupported case heads in some makes of .40 S & W caliber pistols, and Hodgdon's seems to follow their lead.

    But neither Nosler nor Sierra mention any putative problems of that sort, which struck me as being very odd, since presumably they'd be every bit as liable as Speer if there were a problem, and even if they weren't, you'd think they'd like to keep their customers safe from mishap and would warn them of any potential problems. (A customer who retains his shooting hand is more likely to be repeat customer than one whose hand's blown off . . . if you get my drift.)

    Speer, having warned the reader of the putative ".40 problem," advised the reader to contact "the manufacturer of your gun" -- or words to that effect -- to determine whether or not their product properly supported the case head.

    I guess I really wonder how and why any pistol manufacturer would market a gun that would require special precautions with one caliber's reloads but not another caliber's. It seems to me that there just shouldn't be a totally different design for a .40 than for, say, a 10 mm, .45, 9 mm or even .357 SIG (but what do I know?). Why on earth would you build a pistol with what seems like a needless and dangerous defect, a defect that even a wary owner/reloader wouldn't know about unless he happened to purchase a Speer or Hodgdon reloading manual?

    But I'd really like to know for myself. My wife has a SIG P239 9 mm which she absolutely dotes on and I lust after, and there may come a day when I'm in the market for a SIG, perhaps in .40.

    I think I'll try and contact Speer and see what they have to say -- but I hope my decision won't keep people from having their say.

    Thanks to both of you for responding.

    Brian

  5. #5
    Brian is offline Junior Member
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    I just sent this off to Speer:

    ===========

    In your 13th reloading manual, you caution those who reload the .40 S & W cartridge to beware of pistols that "may not provide complete support of case heads" (which could lead to dangerous conditions).

    Forgive me, but it's hard for me to believe that any modern gun would suffer this problem, since it implies either that the gun was sloppily made, or that the gun's design is fundamentally different from other pistols in 10 mm, 9 mm, .45 and perhaps .357 SIG. And since the .40 is a relatively new cartridge, it doesn't seem likely to me that your concern would be over antique guns.

    (I've not heard of this problem before today, and in checking Nosler and Sierra manuals (contemporaries to your #13), I've found no such caution in them (though Hodgdon's manual seems to follow your lead).)

    It seems counter intuitive to me that any manufacturer (Walther, Ruger, SIG, S & W, H & K, Glock, Kahr, Kimber, etc) would produce a product that could prove dangerous to a competent, careful handloader unless he just happened to have a Speer (or Hodgdon) reloading manual which warned him.

    If it's not too much trouble for you, my shooting buddies and I would very much appreciate knowing the basis for your caution about the absence of complete head support, and the consequent dangers inherent therein, in some .40 S & W caliber pistols (how did this issue come to your attention?).

    And if you'd feel comfortable sharing with us which brands and models you found to be in this category, we'd be very grateful.

    Thanks,

    Brian

    =================

    Brian

  6. #6
    leam's Avatar
    leam is offline Member
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    I'd be very intersted in this as I just got back to reloading my .40 S&W SIG. At the moment my loads won't be hotter than IDPA minimums plus a little, but good info to know.

    ciao!

    leam

  7. #7
    Brian is offline Junior Member
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    I intend to pursue this, and will post Speer's response.

    Brian

  8. #8
    Brian is offline Junior Member
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    I've received a couple of replies to my inquiry on another BB which supports and provides an explanation for Speer's contention.

    These are smart guys, and their posts are well worth reading. I'll post Speer's reply when they respond to me.

    Brian

  9. #9
    travelinman is offline Junior Member
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    I recently started reloading .40 cal and did a lot of research prior. Some pistols such as the Glock do not fully support the back of the cartridge when it is in the chamber. With a high pressure round like the .40 this increases the risk of a kaboom while firing reloads that may be hotter than factory rounds and the brass may already be stressed.

  10. #10
    Clyde's Avatar
    Clyde is offline Member
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    IMHO
    A lot of the issues with the 40 S&W comes from the USPSA shooting World. A few years back a 40 cal pushing 200 grn Projectile at 900fps or a 220 grn projectile at 818fs. to make 180 Power factor - many people use fast burning powder and load the round Long to help reduce pressue and recoil. No if you had some bullet seat back when the round chaber the pressure would rise greatly.

    Being a USPSA shooter i do load 40 - sorting out Glock brass is very common. the brass tends to swell at the bottom - if over stressed a KB could happen and it will come the weakest link. tends to be unsupported area at thr barrel ramp.

    That being said - good reload practice are your friend ---test your loads and start low. Look for signs of pressuer (Swollen cases - flatten primers) I have loaded 135JHP at 1300FPS - only used New brass only fired it once - current round is a 180 JHP -w/ 170PF. I also case gauge every round.

  11. #11
    Brian is offline Junior Member
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    I received this from Speer in response to my inquiry (see above), and it makes sense to me, all the more so in light of what others have posted elsewhere:

    Brian: not only did it happen, the shooter or casual gunsmith can make it happen again. Look at the feed ramps on the semi-auto calibers, they are cut into the chamber, unlike those of revolvers. That cut-out if it
    exceeds about 0.230" into the chamber can/will cause case failure. The "antique guns" were rebarreled by the manufacturer and "should" no longer be in service, just a few years ago.

    The guy who's looking to improve feed and function with his Dremmel Tool and tackles Ramp Polishing 101 cutting too deep in the process has just created the malady we Warn about. The 40 S&W was a known problem with at least one manufacturer, thus its placement in that section.
    Kudos to Speer for this -- they're on top of things. Though Speer was careful not to specify who the "at least one manufacturer" might be, which is corporationally prudent, others have suggested that the "at least one manufacturer" may be Glock (which might or might not be true; but which, if true, wouldn't necessarily preclude there being other "offenders").

    Brian

  12. #12
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    dwhite53 is offline Junior Member
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    Google the term "Glock bulge" and you'll get numerous hits. On Glocks and pistols of other manufacturers there is an area of the case, usually above the feed ramp, that leaves a portion of the cartridge case, forward of the case web, unsupported. This area of the case stretches when fired as there is no steel support for the case. Fully supported chamber was one of the main reasons I bought a Smith and Wesson Sigma SW40VE over a Glock.

    I've reloaded for years for 38 special/357 magnum and 44 special/44 magnum and was hesitant to reload for my 40 S&W however, I'm using loads which are VERY conservative. I'm using low end 180gr bullet powder charge weights to push 165 grain bullets.

    Be careful and conservative and you shouldn't have a problem however I'd stay away from any case with a large bulge.

    All the Best,
    D. White
    Last edited by dwhite53; 06-10-2007 at 08:28 AM.

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up 40 s&w

    i think this is one of the most interesting things ive ever read on any gun forum

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