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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
While doing some custom precision reloading for the .40 S&W today, I came across some reloading manual information that, to me, is somewhat confusing and somewhat contradictory.

For example (I'm using Accurate #7 powder, and a 180 grain jacketed hollow point bullet and another 'brand' name for jacketed hollow point is XTP):

The Speer Manual Number 113 edition (page 545) gives the following:

Case length: 1.120" (assuming that is the MINIMUM case length after loading).

Minimum load of powder: 8.7 grain
Maximum load of powder: 9.7 grain


On the OTHER hand, Lee (Modern Reloading Second Edition) (page 616) says:

Minimum overall length: 1.135"

Minimum load of powder: 7.7 grain
Maximum load of powder: 8.5 grain

I can live with a case overall length of .015" which is usually nominal in the scheme of things.

What gets me is that Speer's MINIMUM powder load is over the MAXIMUM of Lee's.

All reloaders are told and taught to consult reloading manuals for, no other reason, than safety.

My question in this case (and I'm sure there would be other examples as reloading goes on) is which one do you believe...which load is the safest assuming the firearm is a modern firearm?

See where I'm coming from?
 

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Which manual did you use that caused your rifle stock to turn itself into kindling? Was it the Speer?

My brother in law has an OLD Speer reloading manual and I have compared his with my Lee Modern Reloading book. I have also seen the Speer minimum over the Lee maximum on some loads but in almost every case the Speer load was much hotter.

Considering my brother in laws manual is probably 20 years old, I dont think the loads were originally intended for the "modern" firearm. After reading his manual, I will not use it or trust any loads given. I have worked up all my loads from minimum in the Lee manual and when I see a Speer load that says I can put another 5 or 6 grains in a load I already know is fairly hot then something is very wrong.

I guess what I'm trying to say is to put more trust in the Lee than the Speer. I sure do.
 

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I actually have found the Speer data to be correct with the listed Speer bullet. Remember, the introduction to the manual suggests that you further reduce the starting loads fo other bullet brands/types. This is very significant with the Speer handgun bullets, because the TMJ and Gold Dots do not have exposed lead at the base. In my experience, they actually can be safely pushed faster.

The Lee manual uses data collected from the powder manufacturers. (Lee Precision, Inc. does not generate new data.) The powder manufacturers typically set their maximum with the bullet that created the highest pressures in that given weight. Most actually list which bullets were used, but the Lee version of the data does not include this information.

In actual practice, I usually use the Speer #13 data, especially for 9mm. I tend to shoot a lot of Speer bullets, but I use their start loads for other types, provided I don't see a major disparity.
 

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i'll give you another one to ponder. hornady's manual for the 180gr xtp list a col of 1.125" and using aa#7 min load is 7.4gr max is 9.4gr.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
From what I am reading here, and correct me if I am reading it incorrectly, it looks like Lee covers the lower end of the loads...almost as a liability precaution.

Whereas Speer covers the upper end of the load spectrum and Hornady covers the overall broader spectrum that Lee and Speer fall into.

What was more confusing than anything is that there is vertually no visibly noticible difference between the Speer Gold Point Hollow Point and the Hornady XTP (Extreme Terminal Performance) bullets if you weigh them and hold them side by side for comparison.

I think, since Lee refers to the Hornady XTP and that's what I'm using I'm going to choose on the side of caution myself and go with the load data from the Lee's Manual.

Snakebite, the loads I used for the 30.06 where from Lee's, Speer's (which the load data was very nearly identical), and from the Hodgdon web site.

Since I never noticed exactly when the stock split I'm not sure which might have caused it and the loads were well within their respective specs.

But, I read an interesting article that said if the screws that go from the front and rear of the trigger guard to the barrel lug and receiver are loose a crack is very possible.

I would like to think they were tight since I clean and check them but, hey, they might have been loose and that may have caused the banging on the inlet and thus, the crack. It's possible, I guess.

But, thanks, guys, for taking the time to read and respond....yepper....fer sure.
 

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actually i believe the difference between the gold dot and the xtp is how they are designed to expand. it is my understanding that the xtp is designed for a little more penetration than the gold dot, ie it is of a little tougher construction. this allows it to be run at higher pressure for slightly more velocity to achieve to desired expansion. hope my explanation is of some help.
 

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Originally posted by Dale
What was more confusing than anything is that there is vertually no visibly noticible difference between the Speer Gold Point Hollow Point and the Hornady XTP (Extreme Terminal Performance) bullets if you weigh them and hold them side by side for comparison.
I knew that I was forgetting something, and you just jogged my memory. The difference is not visible to the naked eye.

Speer handgun bullets differ in two ways. Whether they use the "Uni-Cor" construction or conventional construction, Speer bullets do not have exposed lead at the base. I already covered that. However, I forgot something more important. Uni-Cor bullets do not use traditional jacketing material, known as gilding metal.

Gilding metal is an alloy of 90% copper, 5% tin, and 5% zinc. These jackets are normally 0.020-0.035" thick in handgun bullets. In contrast, Uni-Cor bullets (i.e. the Speer TMJ and Gold Dot) use pure copper electroplated to the lead core. These "jackets" are then 0.007-0.022" thick, depending on the cartridge.

This does alter the performance of the Uni-Cor bullets. Not only are the "jackets" much thinner, they are pure copper. This means less friction and lower pressures. In other words, the Hornady XTP and Speer Gold Dot appear very similar externally, and both have unusually long bearing surfaces. Internally, so to speak, they don't share much in common.

Hope this helps. Speer #13 covers all this on page 425.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ah, thanks. FEG...I got the picture now.

I never thought of internal differences or alloys in the copper jacket....again...thanks!

I managed to learn something today so today has not been a waste. LOL
 

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Hey dale,
i guess i'm a little late on this and you've probably been blasting away with whatever you settled on. but if you haven't heard these things before then it may be worth my having posted them. just so you know the .40 is a fairly high pressure round and pressures can skyrocket with small variations in seating depth. also watch for bulging at the bottom of the cases, particularly if you shoot a Glock, there is no problem with brass holding pressure on its first go round but in an unsupported chamber if the brass has gotten weak from multiple uses you may see split cases, i don't know how bad it is when it happens i guess it depends on the pressure of the load at hand. i like the lee loads for the most part but i never use my handloads for any serious purpose so light loads are fine with me.
regards, Rich
 

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I have a Lee that came with my press and an old Hornady from the 70's that my Dad gave me.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not too late, Rich...thanks for the post....'preciate it.

BTW, I wouldn't insult my .40 loads by putting them in a Glock, he he he he (just kidding all you Glock freaks, lol).

Another example of load differences:

I've been loading a series of 6.5 X 55 for a pet load.

I'm using Hodgdon 414. Their site says 41.5 grain is the max with the type of Speer Spitzer SP bullet I'm using.

The Lee manual supports the same info.

However, Speer says the max is 44 grain.

So, to err on the side of caution I did loads in 37.5, 38.5, 39.5, 40.5 and 41.5 grain with an OAL of 3.030".

I should be able to see a good load from my girls with those.

You know, it still amazes me what difference one 'silly' grain can do to a rifle load or what .2 of a grain can do with a pistol load.

Thanks Rich.

Get to reloading, Matt, lol.
 

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Um...er...well....I'm a Glock Freak, there i said it, i feel better.
Gaston Rules!!!!;)
has anyone else heard that .40 cases don't hold up to reloading well? or is this just me perpetuating falsehoods. my favorite tall tale is the one about the magic infallible black pistol. i recite it every night before bed.
 

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A little late in the game, but.................
Powders change.
There are different ways to measure pressures.
Different test barrels are used.
Humans do the testing.
Various other component variences, brass, primers etc.

If in question take the lowest load amd reduce by 5~10% look for pressure signs and work up from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Jerry, I usually do follow the 5-10% rule although when it's said and done the load that turns out best for that particular weapon is ususually somewhere between the low to max load data range.

Althought I always stay .2 or .3 of a grain under the max.

It never ceases to amaze me that every day that I do some reloading I learn more or I begin to question more. It was a LONG time from my previous loading days and until recently when I started up again.

Way back when all I had was reloading manuals to rely on. The internet wasn't like it is now. And, forget asking anyone working in a gun shop. They either didn't have the time to bother with reloading issues or just didn't know anything about it.

So, it was trial and error back then and I now realize some of the DUMB chit I did way back then that I can avoid now with the info like I get in here.....more advanced manuals......better info on the internet, etc.

Thanks, guys!
 
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