Skip to main content

Favorite Loads: Hot off the Press .40 Smith & Wesson



I don't participate in USPSA/IPSC competition anymore, but back when I did, I managed to stumble along and miss fast enough to become a master-class shooter. My first love was Open-class shooting where I used a red-dot-sighted race gun that held almost enough .38 Super cartridges to shoot an entire match without reloading.




I eventually got around to shooting Limited class as well, and it did not take long for me to see that the additional capacity of .40 S&W guns being used by others allowed them to get off more shots between reloads, and that gave them an advantage over me and my .45 ACP. So I switched to a high-capacity gun in .40 S&W that could be loaded on Friday and shot all weekend.

In those days, I averaged shooting at least 500 rounds of .40 S&W ammo each week in practice and churned out all that ammo with a Dillon 1050 progressive. I shot cast rather than jacketed bullets for three reasons: they were less expensive, they were just as accurate--often more accurate--and they extended barrel life. The bullets I shot were from Bull-X, and they had a black coating that helped to eliminate bore leading and greatly reduced the amount of smoke at the muzzle. Sad to say, the company is no longer in business, but a web search should turn up companies offering .40-caliber lead bullets.

Another option for those who are not into high-volume shooting is to cast your own using molds from Lyman, RCBS, Lee, and Redding. Bullets cast as soft as wheelweights work great for low-velocity plinking loads, but alloys with a Brinell hardness of 12 or higher are required to reduce bore-leading at top velocities. Lyman's No. 2 recipe consisting of lead/tin/antimony percentages of 90/5/5 is an excellent choice for all-around use, but if bore leading is still a problem, an increase in antimony to 6 percent should make life easier.


RELATED ARTICLE:

LES BAER GOES HIGH-CAP!

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

Moving and Shooting

Moving and Shooting

George Wehby is at I4 Tactical to demonstrate ways to move off the 'X', and how to shoot while moving.

A New Season of G&A TV

A New Season of G&A TV

In this new season of Guns & Ammo TV, we introduce two new series and bring back a viewer favorite - Camera's Don't Lie. We look at long-range tech and see how to make shots previously thought impossible. Next we visit ISS Prop House in Hollywood.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Shooting Times App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Shooting Times stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Shooting Times subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now