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.



Recommended for You


Revolver vs. Semiautomatic Pistol: A Ballistic Oddity

Allan Jones - May 15, 2019

How can a shorter-barreled revolver have higher velocities than a longer-barreled...


Review: SIG SAUER P320

Joseph Von Benedikt - September 13, 2018

Is SIG's P320 modular pistol the best polymer-framed high-capacity sidearm ever designed?


Review: Daniel Defense Delta 5

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 31, 2019

Daniel Defense has blazed a new trail with its first-ever bolt-action rifle.

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories


Review: Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic Revolver

Joel J. Hutchcroft - March 08, 2019

The Smith & Wesson Model 19 is back in production after being on ice for almost two decades.


Review: Stoeger STR-9

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 17, 2019

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable,...


Burris Veracity RFP Riflescopes

Jake Edmondson - June 04, 2019

Burris has expanded its top-of-the-line Veracity hunting riflescope line with new 2-10X 42mm...

See More Stories

More Ammo


Get The Most From Your .375 H&H

Joseph von Benedikt - February 04, 2019

Handloading this cartridge king of versatility turns it into the most capable hunting...


Five Great .270 Cartridges

Layne Simpson - May 28, 2019

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more...


Get the Most Out of the .30-06

Joseph von Benedikt - April 01, 2019

Cutting-edge projectiles provide unprecedented performance in the venerable old workhorse, the...

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


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