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Undersizing 40S&W Brass

40S&W Tanfoglio Limited Witness Elite Limited Nosedive Brass Processing

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#1 BOHICA

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 01:05 AM

Background:

I have been looking to switch to limited division for nearly a year now and finally found the pistol I was looking for. I picked up a Tanfoglio Witness Elite Limited in 40S&W in October and I've been working on reliable function since then. Admittedly I have caused myself undue problems by my choice in bullets and powders limiting me to loading longer than 1.200" as I had stockpiled several thousand 200 grain bullets prior to finding the gun. Prior to switching to limited, I had shot single stack and loaded 45 ACP using fast pistol powders like Bullseye, VV N310 and WST, so those were the powders I had on hand starting the 40S&W project.

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The first problem I encountered was with the new style magazines for the Witness pistols. The K40 and K10 both have their issues as related to competition use. The K40, 40S&W mag has a spacer in the rear of the mag that limits OAL to 1.145" (a no-go for my component selection) and the K10, 10mm mag has a control rib down both sides of the magazine which I found limits the usable capacity to about 18 rounds when running the Henning 141 mag extensions and Grams guts. Research indicated that the "old style" 10MM magazines were what I would need for my application (40 long, 20 round mag) so I found a guy in Colorado with a stash of both old style mag bodies and Henning mag extensions. I picked up several and got to work.

The second problem I encountered was with the old style magazines. The new manufacture gun (manufactured July 2014) was set up to use the new style K40 / K10 magazines. The old style magazines have smaller radius corners on the front edges which cause issues with the mag catch and mag well area of the gun. I spent about two nights sanding, filing and polishing the mag well to accept the old style magazines without binding / sticking in the gun. Once I got the gun cleaned up and the mag catch tuned for the old style magazine tubes, I found out the new Henning mag extensions are machined for the new style mag profile and will not fit on the old style tubes. I broke out the dremel and modified the mag extensions to fit the old style tubes. Now I had 141mm magazines with grams springs and followers that "should" hold 21 rounds of 40long.

The third problem I encountered was with feed reliability with the old style mag tubes. The reason there is an old and new style mag tube is that the old style mag tube is very nose-dive prone due to poor control rib and taper design. Henning recommends NEW brass for any reloading endeavor for these guns with the old style magazines to avoid nose-dive problems due to bulged brass. I am hopeful that I have found a solution to this issue - hence the purpose of this post. I'm also hopeful that this information will help others solve feed reliability problems with doublestack 40 guns. I'm also thinking the process I've developed will increase the capacity of a doublestack magazine by one round (or make your previously 19 reloadable / 20 round mag a 20 reloadable mag.

Brass Prep Process

I've tried 3 different methods for preparing 40S&W brass for reloading on a progressive press. The first method was simply to tumble the brass and start reloading with a standard Redding resizing die in station 1. This was TERRIBLE and for all practical purposes is not feasible. The Redding die causes massive "bands" at the bottom of even slightly bulged 40 brass and simply cannot size brass effectively. This results in rounds that are larger in diameter at the rear of the case than at the case mouth, which exacerbates the nose-dive tendency of a double stack mag.

The second method I tried was using a Lee Bulge Buster and a Lee Factory Crimp die to push-though size all the brass prior to putting them through the progressive. This slightly reduced the number of mangled cases, but only about 20% of the cases were useable after this process. I ended up using this method for about a thousand rounds during debug by push through sizing, then resizing with the Redding die in single operations. I would then inspect every case and cull out the ones with bulges remaining at the base. This was extremely tedious and still did not result in perfect function as the bases of the cases were coming out of the Lee die at about 0.422" or approximately equal to the case mouth of a finished round. This was much better in functionality, but not ideal for the amount of work required to conduct the processing and inspection.

The method I have settled on requires 3 resizing steps, and 3 resizing dies to accomplish, but results in range pick-up brass that is nearly 100% usable for my picky mag setup. Step 1 is shoving the fired cases through the Lee Factory Crimp Die using the bulge buster and a single stage press. Here is a picture of the setup I am currently using (highly engineered catch bucked atop the press).

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Here is a picture of a fired case base measurement - they come in anywhere around 0.425" to 0.432" depending on the load and whose gun they came out of.

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Here is a picture of a case being shoved through a sizing die using the Lee Bulge Buster attachment to a single stage RCBS Rock Chucker press.

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Here is a picture of a case that has passed through the Lee Factory Crimp die - they come out around 0.421" to 0.423".

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Once the rounds have all been sized down to around 0.422", I use a standard Dillon carbide sizing die for 40S&W as another "push-though" operation. The Dillon die is roughly 0.417" ID and the decapping assembly, when removed, allows enough room for the round to pass completely through the die body. This step is a bit of a squeeze and requires a liberal application of case lube to keep it going smoothly.

Here is a picture of a case that has passed through both the Lee and the Dillon dies - they come out around 0.416" to 0.417" at the base.

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The final sizing step is to use a Lee Undersize Resizing Die in the progressive press to decap and resize prior to expanding for bullet seating. The Lee U-Die measures 0.411" at the tightest spot in the carbide ring. The ring is tapered and the portion nearest the shellplate is roughly 0.418" so there is no chance of causing the huge belt on the bottom of the cases like I was experiencing before.

This sizing process creates a cartridge that is smaller at the base than at the case mouth, resulting in more favorable nose-up pressure on the top rounds in the mag as well as more room for the rounds to stack on the way down. It has made my magazines 21 reloadable (they were 20 reloadable, but would "fit" 21 very tightly) and totally reliable.

In summary, I batch process my 40 brass off the progressive in two operations - 1st through a Lee Factory Crimp die and then through a Dillon carbide sizing die (important as this is the only brand available with the correct size carbide ring and pass-through capability). I finish it off with a Lee U-Die in the progressive press and the load I'm using is 4.3 grains of VV N310 with a 200 grain round nose flat point X-Treme plated bullet loaded to 1.225" OAL and taper crimped to 0.422".
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#2 Roons

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 01:51 AM

This is good info, but you do realize you dropped a bunch of complicated reloading info to a group of production shooters who follow a guy that quote "I have no idea what I reload, I just throw shit in the press and shoot what comes out".


"You can give it the old spin."


#3 JaeOne3345

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 02:25 AM

All that to shoot a Tanfo? Holy shit...

 

Cheap ass Lee standard size die, STI tubes, adjust feed lips to .388" or whatever you swear by based on your own experience, Grams spring and follower, bullet of choice, loaded between SAAMI and 1.2xx"

 

Shoot that bitch. 


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A75033


#4 GuruOfGuns

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 05:19 AM

200 grain bullets in a 40 are beyond stupid. Just shoot a 45 without the ton of bullshit.


"I'm older and fatter than any of you dipshits."


#5 ZackJones

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 06:15 AM

What a PITA just to get loads to run. Lee U-die in station 1 and rock on. What doesn't fit in the hundo goes into the "berm" bucket for shooting into the berm.
Not to be confused with ZachJ

#6 wchangose

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 06:36 AM

I had a similar problem when I dabbled in Limited a couple years ago.  The IDPA gamer move at the time was to shoot .40 minor and they'd all do it using Glock 35's.  The good news was that there was lots of brass around, the bad news was that a lot of it had the Glock bulge.  I used the redding G-RX resizing die and then just standard Dillon dies.  I'd get about 99% success in the case gauge.  I was using a 180 gr bullet, so I'm not sure part of your problem is the 200 gr bullets.

 

The G-RX seems similar to the bulge buster.  I never used the latter, but can recommend the former. http://www.redding-r...base-sizing-die


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#7 BOHICA

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 07:46 AM

All that to shoot a Tanfo? Holy shit...

Cheap ass Lee standard size die, STI tubes, adjust feed lips to .388" or whatever you swear by based on your own experience, Grams spring and follower, bullet of choice, loaded between SAAMI and 1.2xx"

Shoot that bitch.


I think I was making poor planning decisions in the buildup to finding the gun. From what I read, people are having good experience with the Limited using standard length ammo and the K40 mags. If I would not have made the decision early on to use 200 gr bullets and load long using fast powder I could have been much more flexible in mag selection, probably eliminating this experience all together. I do like 2011's as well and that was seriously considered, but I really like the way the Tanfo looks and how heavy it is.

#8 BOHICA

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 07:49 AM

200 grain bullets in a 40 are beyond stupid. Just shoot a 45 without the ton of bullshit.


I chose 200 gr bullets because they felt so much like shooting a 45. They are very soft and quiet so they aren't an additional distraction during my transition from singlestack to limited. 45 is not suitable to limited due to the mag capacity limitations.

#9 BOHICA

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 07:54 AM

The G-RX seems similar to the bulge buster. I never used the latter, but can recommend the former. http://www.redding-r...base-sizing-die


I called Redding after my original Redding carbide die broke the carbide ring. While I was talking to them I asked what the ID of the GRX die was. They confirmed it was 0.421" - same as the Lee die. I got the Lee die for 19 bucks...the Redding is over $70 so I recommend getting the Lee for this application. On a related note, the Redding sizing die that is included in the competition die set is very poorly designed. If I had other dies to experiment with early on this may have never been an issue.

#10 Vagetarian

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 08:05 AM

You're trying to re-engineer the universe to use something that in the end probably won't be reliable (frustrating) or may not even be accurate (frustrating).  I follow the KISS method and the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" persuasion.  A lot of problems are manufactured by ourselves and it's usually to either A) save money or B, save time.  Get some 180gr bullets and and STI and you'll be fine, just don't fuck with it if it runs.  Oh, and get a Dillon for crying out loud.


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#11 Sad Sack

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 08:25 AM

This sizing process creates a cartridge that is smaller at the base than at the case mouth...

 

If this is the case, it is no longer a 40 S&W at all.  You should patent this idea, as it solves one of the great problems of our time.  That pesky SAAMI base dimension at 0.424" has been nothing but trouble all along; 0.416" is definitely the way to go.  As far as names go, I think 40 BOHICA has a nice ring to it.  It would be like 38TJ, only better because BOHICA.  I bet Tanfoglio would chamber it for you, but developing the reamers might be a little difficult given the reversed taper you propose.  

 

Anyway, I'm with you.  I intend to sell my current limited guns and copy your setup.  You had me at "favorable nose-up pressure."


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#12 GuanoLoco

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 08:28 AM

Holy Guacamole Batman.

Why not just sell the 200's and too-fast powders and use regular, less expensive 40S&W 180- loads? You've got a heavy gun to soak up the massive recoil of 40/180/major loads. All that time could have been spent retraining for a slightly different recoil.
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#13 BOHICA

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 08:35 AM

If this is the case, it is no longer a 40 S&W at all. You should patent this idea, as it solves one of the great problems of our time. That pesky SAAMI base dimension at 0.424' has been nothing but trouble all along; 0.416 is definitely the way to go. As far as names go, I think 40 BOHICA has a nice ring to it. It would be like 38TJ, only better because BOHICA. I bet Tanfoglio would chamber it for you, but developing the reamers might be a little difficult given the reversed taper you propose.

Anyway, I'm with you. I intend to sell my current limited guns and copy your setup. You had me at "favorable nose-up pressure."


Nicely done Blow. Sarcasm grand master!

#14 BOHICA

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 08:37 AM

Holy Guacamole Batman.

Why not just sell the 200's and too-fast powders and use regular, less expensive 40S&W 180- loads? You've got a heavy gun to soak up the massive recoil of 40/180/major loads. All that time could have been spent retraining for a slightly different recoil.


This is far too logical - besides, I am a master class tinkerer.

#15 BOHICA

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 08:41 AM

Oh, and get a Dillon for crying out loud.


Nah, I passed on that bandwagon when I realized I could get a bulletproof progressive press for 400 bones, only thing missing was the blue paint. Seriously the Hornady has not had problem 1 in 25k rounds. Not a huge amount of rounds, but encouraging nonetheless.

#16 CZinSC

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 10:41 AM

Wow..I'd take up golf again if this was the only method of reloading.  Luckily it isn't.

 

I have a Tanfo Limited.  here is my process.  Take brass, run through GRX.  Take GRX'd brass, load on a Dillon 650 using N320 ( you can't hide money right? ) and use 180gn Xtremes.  Load to 1.145.  Use K40 mags.  All mags with Henning basepads and Grams guts are 20 reloadable without any effort.  They are all 21 non-reloadable.  ( Henning says when the springs settle you can get 21 reloadable.  haven't seen that yet )

 

Done.  

 

I use the extra time not doing all of that other stuff you mention dry firing and getting more gooder.  

 

( actually i spend it on the couch watching re-runs of MASH, but the dry firing thing sounded better ).



#17 BOHICA

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 10:44 AM

The more I think about it, the more I believe I was driven this direction due to the Redding sizing die issues. If I had a basic Lee die this whole experiment probably never would have happened. As it stands, I believe the rounds measuring 0.416" at the base will have tangible benefits over straight wall 40. They will stack better in a double stack mag and provide more reliable function in picky mag applications. I learned quite a bit along the way as well and I am much more familiar with the loading and the gun at this point. Flame on!

#18 BOHICA

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 10:53 AM

Wow..I'd take up golf again if this was the only method of reloading. Luckily it isn't.

I have a Tanfo Limited. here is my process. Take brass, run through GRX. Take GRX'd brass, load on a Dillon 650 using N320 ( you can't hide money right? ) and use 180gn Xtremes. Load to 1.145. Use K40 mags. All mags with Henning basepads and Grams guts are 20 reloadable without any effort. They are all 21 non-reloadable. ( Henning says when the springs settle you can get 21 reloadable. haven't seen that yet )

Done.

I use the extra time not doing all of that other stuff you mention dry firing and getting more gooder.

( actually i spend it on the couch watching re-runs of MASH, but the dry firing thing sounded better ).


I think I agreed with you earlier in the thread by saying folks were having good luck with K40 mags and standard length ammo. Glad it works for you man - get gooder at watching MASH, you suck at it now.

#19 subQ

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 10:56 AM

It's not like he can just change bullets, run range brass through a Dillon, and shoot trouble-free. On his Enos vendor place, Henning has been walking people through the gigantic PITA process of getting the magic mag/ammo/spring combination to actually run a Limited reliably.

 

**This is not a troll** - seriously, look at getting that slide stroked. It's not difficult on a CZ75 type gun. Like one chop at the back of the spring tunnel and smooth off the edges. You'll be good at it by the time you've cracked your 3rd slide. 



#20 BOHICA

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 11:16 AM

Ok, assuming "not a troll" is a true statement - can you elaborate on how extending the slide stroke will help to eliminate a problem stemming from shitty mag design? Can Shay do it over at his shop or does it need to go to Bobby? I believe the new K series mags are much better designed for nose up pressure and Henning is mostly talking people through getting their old style mags to work (like me).





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