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MG 180gr FMJ FP and VV N350


gypsy
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I'm new to this so be gentle :) I'm having a hard time finding a load recipe for this combination. I gather from my reading here and elsewhere that I ought to move to N320, but this powder is what I've got for now. I'm not looking for a major/minor yet, hopefully I'll work up to competing later, this is just for practice to try and improve.

The data I have is Lyman's 49th which has:

180gr JHP, 1.115 OAL and a start of 5.4 grains N350 (6.0 max)

and I have Speer's 12th which has:

180gr TMJ, 1.120 OAL, and a start of 6.2 grains N350 (6.9 max)

I also found the Vihtavuori reloading guides for 2011 and 2013 but the only 180 grain load they have for N350 is for a HP (1.126 OAL, 5.9 - 6.2 grains N350)

None of those bullets match the flat point Montana gold bullets I have and I'm too new to be comfortable extrapolating on my own. I'm also a little puzzled about the wide difference in powder for the Lyman and Speer loads. The JHP and TMJ bullets are going to be different sizes with different case capacities, but isn't that a dramatic difference in powder used between Lyman & Speer? I'm also surprised at the dearth of information, I thought a 180 FMJ-FP was practically standard for 40?

Can anyone get me started with a decent low-power recipe for practice? I'll be shooting out of an XDm and a HK USP.

Thanks,

Steve

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I start working on a load with a low powder charge and an OAL that works in my gun. You can play with this without loading a lot of ammo. Just load up some duds at different lenghts and see how they cycle in your gun. For example my STI 2011 running the 180 JHP from MG likes 1.195 to 1.2. It will run as short as 1.17 but when I cycle by hand it is not as smooth.

Step 2 for me is to find a load that is close, knock 20% off the low powder charge and load 10. Run them through the chrono to see where I am. Then I just make small adjustments to the powder until I get the speed I want. At first the added charge may be as much as .5g but at the end it gets down to .1g at a time. Over time I have gotten better at guessing what it will take to get the load I want. I gather the cases and look for over pressure signs as I move the charge up.

Step 3 is all about how accurate the load is. I find it strange that .05g can make a difference in how good a load shoots in my gun.

If you don't have a chrono buy one. It is a very good $100+- as it helps a lot.

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I can't answer your question because I am in the same boat, so I am interested in the replies. I shelved my .38sc Open gun and went out and bought a .40 so I can shoot Limited. What a terrible time to make a caliber change.

Anyways, I have about 18lbs of N350 I use for my open gun that I need to make work for my new Limited gun because N320 is no where to be found.

I don't want to hijack your post, but I could use some replies to your question too!

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When looking at loads for pistol calibers, don't get too hung up on the bullet profile but more on jacketed vs cast.

Find a bullet that weighs the same and is the same type. That will get you in the ball park. Now, since the profile is of the FMJ FP is very close to the HP, the OAL should not make much difference. Start at the low end and work up.

If you have 2 different profiles like a FMJ RN vs a JHP, you will need to be careful and not load too short. Make sense ?

BTW - Does the magazine on the HK or XDm have a OAL limit ?

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I start working on a load with a low powder charge and an OAL that works in my gun. You can play with this without loading a lot of ammo. Just load up some duds at different lenghts and see how they cycle in your gun. For example my STI 2011 running the 180 JHP from MG likes 1.195 to 1.2. It will run as short as 1.17 but when I cycle by hand it is not as smooth.

That makes a lot of sense, and is basically what I'm trying to do. Except I don't follow why your rounds are a bit longer than the recommended 1.135?

What really threw me off was the difference in min/max powder for 180 grain bullets in the Lyman and Speer book. Lyman min/max is 5.4 / 6.0 and Speer is 6.2 /6.9. Speer's minimum load being larger than Lyman's maximum made me wonder what the @#$@% was going on. I guess if I'd just had one book I'd have happily followed it and been on my way....that's what I get for reading! But seriously, why such a variation when the only difference is Lyman's load is for a JHP at 1.115 OAL and Speer's is for a TMJ at 1.120? Is there that much difference in the bullet size, or case volume?

I did end up using the Lyman load and it worked well for a starting point for me. I might be trying to think too hard but I figured the FMJ I have leaves the base of the bullet uncovered like the JHP so mine would have the most similar case volume to the Lyman vs. the Speer.

Lacking a chrono, I shot 5 rounds of S&B 180 grain, 5 rounds of old 180 grain Winchester subsonic that I got a long time ago when I was young because the "law enforcement ammunition" label on the box was "cool" and 5 rounds of my load. I figured that would give me a subjective comparison of hot & light loads with mine.

My rounds were so light, they basically moseyed down to the target and fell through the paper. I'm 99% sure I can increase the powder a bit, but I'm definitely seeing the utility of a chronograph and am off to research those. Do you ever stop spending money after you start reloading?!

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I can't answer your question because I am in the same boat, so I am interested in the replies. I shelved my .38sc Open gun and went out and bought a .40 so I can shoot Limited. What a terrible time to make a caliber change.

I don't want to hijack your post, but I could use some replies to your question too!

It's great to see someone more experienced than me with the same question - hijack all you want :)

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When looking at loads for pistol calibers, don't get too hung up on the bullet profile but more on jacketed vs cast.

Find a bullet that weighs the same and is the same type. That will get you in the ball park. Now, since the profile is of the FMJ FP is very close to the HP, the OAL should not make much difference. Start at the low end and work up.

If you have 2 different profiles like a FMJ RN vs a JHP, you will need to be careful and not load too short. Make sense ?

BTW - Does the magazine on the HK or XDm have a OAL limit ?

Thanks for those words, you succinctly summed up my rambling thoughts and scrambled efforts. What you described is essentially what led me to choose using the Lyman load for a few test rounds today (plus the fact that it's also the lightest). One of my biggest doubts about it all was (is) not knowing how different the TMJ bullet is from the JHP, I'm guessing the TMJ extends into the case more but I don't know since i don't have one to see or measure.

I'm not sure about OAL limits for the magazines. Where do you find that information, or do I load some dummy rounds and develop it myself? I did notice that the HK chamber happily swallows once-fired and unsized brass, but I can't push it into the XDm.

Thanks,

Steve

Edited by gypsy
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The magazines for the S_I guns will handle out to 1.250" OAL because they are designed to run 45 ACP as well as 9 & 40.

Glock mags for the 9 and 40, on the other hand, are not as the SAAMI specs for 40 & 9 are for rounds loaded much shorter.

I suspect the HK & XD mags will not accommodate 1.250" OAL so you will likely need to load them 1.135 ( SAAMI max ).

I'd go with the Lyman data.

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I run 350 in my open guns, but, I think it's too slow for .40, giving it more recoil.

If I'm out of 320, I generally run Titegroup. It is a tad snappier, but, not as bad as 350.

Ya, I did a search and have come to that conclusion as well. Since I have so much N350, I might look for some one to trade me out. Now I just need to find bullets! Could I have picked a worse time to change calibers?!?

My new Limited blaster is due in on the 10th and all I can do is look at it. It is kind of like getting a new Ferrari; less the tires and steering wheel.

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Though this thread is a week old, I will still throw in my opinion. The two reloading manuals you are using are at the opposite ends of the spectrum of recommended loads. The Lyman is known for being very conservative on powder weights because they use a variety of bullet types, while the Speer manual is considered by most to list fairly hot loads. The Speer manual also only uses Speer bullets which may have a slicker sliding metal on the bullet than some others, so a lot of careful reloaders will be inclined to use their mid-range loads with other bullets, and carefully test if they go towards the maximum listed Speer loads.

That said, one of my favorite loads for 40S&W with a Montana Gold 180grn JHP (with a similar jacket to yours and similar length of bullet that contacts the rifling) is 6.0grns of Silhouette @ 1.135 OAL for around 171-173pf depending on which XD/XDm I am using with barrel lengths of 4.5, 5, or 5.25". It is a very accurate load and I consider it fairly soft shooting for the power factor. The Montana Gold bullet seems to run a little slower in my guns than some other bullet types, which yeild the same power factor with 5.8grns of Silhouette, but your results may vary. Either way, the load is considerably under maximum, and would be safe in any gun in good condition.

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The magazines for the S_I guns will handle out to 1.250" OAL because they are designed to run 45 ACP as well as 9 & 40.

Glock mags for the 9 and 40, on the other hand, are not as the SAAMI specs for 40 & 9 are for rounds loaded much shorter.

I suspect the HK & XD mags will not accommodate 1.250" OAL so you will likely need to load them 1.135 ( SAAMI max ).

I'd go with the Lyman data.

I have an XDm in 40 and i measured some winchester wb 165 and 180s cause they feed good in my gun and im gonna load to that length. They measured either 1.25 or 1.125 +/- .001 id have to check my notes to make sure. Im at work but ill check when i get home about 0600. If it is 1.125 then the SAAMI max is about as long as the mag would take.

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