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Reloading Question from Newbie

M.A. Cherry

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Hi all,

I have enjoyed reading the postings here and feel that the advice is so much more sound than what you get from the typical blog.

I have just acquired a Para P16-40 with the speed holster and 16 double-stack mags for a real good price. The Para has been 'rebuilt' by a well known gunsmith in the Phoenix area and I am read to start practicing.

I need to reload and have read many different philosophies on the subject. I am hoping to get only 20 or so to wade through!

It sounds to me like the 180gr bullet is the 'popular' one to start with and load it for a power factor of 170 or so.

My issues are these: What is the popular or suggest bullet style/mfg and any recommendation on powder or load data?


I am looking forward to getting into my first matches when I move to Prescott, AZ next April from the southern AZ desert.

Any help would be appreciated.


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Welcome to the forum Mark. Go back the forums home page and look for the " Handgun & Technical Forums".

Then click the 10mm/40 caliber sub-forum. Once you're on that page scroll down to the lower left part of the page.

There you will find a search box. Type in something like 180 AND major or 180+major. So much

stuff you head might break. :)


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I don't think anybody will dispute that there are more folks using either N320 or Titegroup in their .40 Major ammo. Certainly, there are others, but those two are the most popular. There's a lot of data for either one and you'll almost certainly be able to come up with an accurate, clean load for your gun using them.

You'll probably find more variation in bullet style choice, but 180gr is the most common weight, by far, with a fair number of folks using either 165 or 200gr. Montana Gold and Zero seem to be the most popular brands, Precision Delta is also pretty popular, and after that you'd probably find the next most popular would be one of the various moly coated 180s from someplace like Black Bullets International. The actual design of the bullet isn't a big deal. FMJ, CMJ/TMJ or JHP will all work fine. I've found a combo where I use Precision Delta 180gr FMJs for practice ammo and Zero or Montana Gold 180gr JHPs for matches (I've got about 8K of Zero's stashed so it'll be a while before I order more MGs). I only do that because the PD's aren't quite as accurate, but they are cheaper. There are always a few folks using Hornady Action Pistol bullets, and they're great, but expensive and hard to get right now. Unfortunately some of the problem is going to be getting the components you want...everybody is seemingly out of everything lately. Well, maybe not Montana Gold and some of the moly bullet folks, but pretty much everything else is hard to find. R,

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Cherry Since your new to reloading let me suggest that you start with jacketed bullets its almost hard to mess up with them lead and moly take more skill and attention.

Try the gun out with some factory ammo like Blazer Brass in 180. You want to know that the gun runs before you start reloading then if it stops running its probably your reloads. During the try out check to make sure the sights are on by shooting it from a rest.

In jacketed Zero and Montana Gold are good bullets in 180. Start with FN and just make them factory length unless you got some load data from the seller. I load for an STI and they are 1.200 your Para probalby won't take that length.

I use Winchester WST its cheap clean etc. With a 180gr jacketed it will take about 5.0gr to hit major power factor depending on the gun. I adjusted the powder down for the shorter length I use 5.2gr. Other good limited powders are VV N320, Solo 1000, and TiteGroup (jacketed only), and 231. If you think another powder might be good check the burn rate chart and if they are close to these then they will probably be ok.

The next thing you will want is a Redding GRX, I assume this because you will be picking up brass with no father on the range and you don't want to spend your time on this forum trying to get your jams diagnosed although we do enjoy that practice. Run the Brass thru the GRX and it will never be to fat to feed in the gun, unless you forget the crimp.

Always check any loads you get against load tables from the powder mfg, start out a little low and check for too much pressure as you work up. You need to get a crono or a friend with one to check your loads.

For practice you can load down to 3.8gr of WST and that might just make minor.

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You might want to consider getting a case of Atlanta Arms and Ammo .40 major to start with. Use some in practice to get a feel for them and use them in your first few matches. That gives you plenty of time to experiment with different loads.

Having said that and assuming you can get your hands on them, Montana Gold 180gr CMJ over N320 is a very popular load. Check the forum for more details.

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I have made several purchases from Montana Gold and am pleased with them, however they deal in larger quantities, so if you plan on doing some experimenting with different grains, maybe a good idea to buy small quantities until you get dialed in.

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