Clean burning powder for .40 S&W ?? - MP-Pistol Forum

Clean burning powder for .40 S&W ??

This is a discussion on Clean burning powder for .40 S&W ?? within the MP Ammunition forums, part of the Smith & Wesson MP Forum category; With 4,000 once-fired .40 S&W brass on hand,I'm too thrifty(or cheap) to buy much commercial ammo for my new M&P40. I loaded up 100 trial ...

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Old June 4th, 2008, 08:03 AM   #1
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With 4,000 once-fired .40 S&W brass on hand,I'm too thrifty(or cheap) to buy much commercial ammo for my new M&P40.

I loaded up 100 trial rounds of powder that I had on hand,with Nosler's 135 and 150 JHP's-namely > Unique,HS-6,HS-7,and Blue Dot.

These all shot well.It was interesting to see that the lower the charge weight,the less

"teardrop" on the primer cup.

None of these powders seemed particularly dirty,but Hodgdon's latest manual has an authority who claims that Universal Clays is a much cleaner powder than Unique.

Does anybody have any experience with Universal Clays powder in handguns?


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Old June 4th, 2008, 09:33 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by relodr36' post='143833' date='Jun 4 2008, 09:03 AM
Does anybody have any experience with Universal Clays powder in handguns?
Just enough to say Clays and Universal are not the same, please be careful. For my M&P40 .40S&W 155gr RS Berry's Bullets I've been using a slightly short 5.0 grain load (down from 5.8) of Winchester 231 and have noticed a cleaner chamber and action. Please confirm this loading information before using it, I'm sure but you should be also.


Edit: Added W231 info.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 10:13 AM   #3
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Im also pretty cheap so i look for a faster burning power so it requires less grains.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 11:32 AM   #4
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I load Clays in 12 ga but haven't tried it in a pistol load, I can say that I have tried Unique and Blue Dot, Blue Dot burned very poorly, I had a tremendous amount of unburned powder when using Blue Dot, 4.6 gr of Unique with a 165 gr plated bullet worked out great for me in 40 S&W.

40 S&W 10/23/2006 70 degrees

5.6 gr Unique 165 gr Berrys Plated

1 944.6

2 924.9

3 914.4

4 964.8

5 938.5

6 986.1

7 929.1

8 930.6

9 947.8

10 952.9

Average 943.9

High 986.1

Low 914.4

ES 71.7

SD 20.6

AD 15.4
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Old June 4th, 2008, 12:37 PM   #5
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Ron - Universal Clays may be cleaner than Unique, but not by much nowadays. The new version of Unique is a bunch cleaner than the original version.

Unless you're looking for max velocities, of the powders you list, I'd use Unique.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 01:37 PM   #6
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What velocities are you looking for? Some powders are much more efficient - ie, cleaner burning- when loaded towards the max amount. It has been my experience that with Titegroup at major PF velocity (940 ish FPS) using a 180 gn bullet burns clean but when reduced to 750 FPS it leaves a dirty residue. The same can be said for a lot of powders. Your desired velocity can have an effect on how the powder perfoms.

Universal Clays should do well at both ends of the velocity spectrum as well as SOLO 1000 and WST - at least from my experience. YMMV

As always please consult the manufacturer's spec's before loading.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 02:01 PM   #7
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i use bullseye, its economical and people say its dirty, there is some truth to this, its soot insted of unburned powder in my oppion is alot better becuase it whipes right off and there no work involved in cleaning, i fell that whitebox is much dirtyer, and you use alot less of it i use only like 4.5 grain charge for 180 grain and 5.4 for 155 grain it works great
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Old June 4th, 2008, 04:20 PM   #8
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I use Universal Clays exclusively in .40 cal. Have been using it since it first appeared in the early-mid nineties. It's very clean (previously used Bullseye and Unique in .40) and the performance in this caliber is outstanding imho. If you try it ensure that you use Universal Clays as opposed to the regular Clays -- although from your post I'm sure you're aware of that.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 07:30 AM   #9
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To start I must say that I have no experience with the 40 cal.. But I have used universal clays in the 38 super with great

success.. It is very clean burning with the moderate loadings I have been using.. Also tried it in the 9mm but liked power pistol

better..That powder might work great in the 40 also..

For lead in the 9mm unique seems to work with the best of them..
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Old June 5th, 2008, 07:57 AM   #10
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Thanks for your input,Fellas !!

I should have provided more info in my first post.

I'm looking for a "carry load" - probably the 150 gr.Nosler JHP around 1100 FPS.

I have 4# of Unique that is about 10 years old,but has been stored cool and dry,so it is the older,dirtier version.

I don't like light loads of this powder as it showed "position effects"on velocity in my .357's.The heaviest load that I tried so far was 8.0 grains that Alliant lists as max in the .40S&W. I started at 6.5 grains and worked up in 0.3 grain intervals,with 5 loads at each weight. At 8.0 grains,case/primer appearance and recoil/slide operation is starting to approach what I get from Win/Rem/Federal commercial loads.

I'm going to try the Universal Clays to see if there is a notable difference in "dirt".

BTW- Is any body else using the Nosler JHP's?

I chose them because I've used them in my rifles and they put out quality products.

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Old June 5th, 2008, 04:03 PM   #11
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I have used Universal in the 40 S&W for several years with good results. It burns cleaner at the high end pressures. You should be able to reach the mid 1100's with the 150gr Nosler and a 4 inch barrel without any problems. Just start low and work up.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 04:22 PM   #12
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IMO, the cleanest burning powder for .40sw is VV320.

Its also twice as expensive as titegroup, which is why I use titegroup.
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Old June 7th, 2008, 12:12 PM   #13
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I've used Bullseye, Clays, Blue Dot, Red Dot and Green Dot in 40 S&W. I've used Clays, Titewad, Universal Clays as well in 12 guage. Universal clays is very clean in 12 guage although I've not used it in pistol loads. I sure wouldn't hesitate to use a load listed in a good manual for pistol loads though.
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Old June 8th, 2008, 11:43 PM   #14
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favorite load is generic JHP or plated bullet. 5.4gr Universal with JHP 180gr reduce for plated 180gr 1.125" COL for both.

will smoke with exposed lead. its very clean at maximum loads though it can be a touchy powder.

have shot unique in 9mm and 40sw it left lots of soot not sure if its the newer cleaner burning.

I like titegroup myself its cheap fairly clean.

carefull you do not confuse Universal and Clays.

some people rave about Vv N320 as being clean but havent tried it.

Hodgdon list 6.6gr with 155gr XTP 1.125" compressed load. been long while but loaded some and shot them.

dont recall how they recoiled but was accurate.

never forgot when I was shooting 180gr FMJ exposed lead base with 5.8gr of Universal.

casings were nice and shiny gun was pretty clean just little fouling on front
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Old June 9th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #15
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Universal clays, berrys 180gr plated round nose flat points. Winchester small pistol primers. Nominal cartridge overall length of 1.130" For all the below.

5.0 gr yielded an average of 917.4 fps, 165.1 power factor. Standard deviation of 17.7fps.

4.5 gr yielded an average of 829.8fps, 149 power factor, SD of 27.4

4.0 gr UC got me 689.6fps, 124 power factor, and sd of 44. If you limp wrist, this load will start jamming intermittently.

Universal clays does not seem to like being loaded light, and even with it, the berry's do not seem to like being loaded above about 900fps as they stop grouping nicely. THey seem to like between about 135 and 150pf.

THe recoil impulse is nice and smooth, a bit more pushy than flippy, which I like. At low power factors, the slide cycle time starts to suck for speed. It is also not too blasty in terms of sound. As far as cleanliness, with titegroup, I could go about 4000 rounds without cleaning, and would have to clean it due to the ick factor from external soot rather than operational failures. UC gunged up the inner workings more. I started having extraction problems somewhere around 2200 rounds without cleaning. Not what I'd call exceptionally dirty, but dirtier than titegroup and needing of a different service interval.

It's also a kind of large-ish flattened spherical looking powder. Doesn't meter as well as titegroup.
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