Confused by 40 vs .45 ballistcs

Confused by 40 vs .45 ballistcs

This is a discussion on Confused by 40 vs .45 ballistcs within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have one of those jobs where I pretty much sit around doing nothing until something breaks. Because of this is spend a large amount ...

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Thread: Confused by 40 vs .45 ballistcs

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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    Confused by 40 vs .45 ballistcs

    I have one of those jobs where I pretty much sit around doing nothing until something breaks. Because of this is spend a large amount of my time sitting around reading. Recently I procured a S&W M&P40c. It's my first .40 and I didn't (don't) really know much about the round. With the aforementioned amount of time I have on my hands I have been doing a LOT of reading on the .40's ballistic properties and have come to the conclusion that I am thoroughly confused.

    It seems like the 185g .45 load is pretty popular now days. People tend to like the .45's big slow bullet because it (and I'm paraphrasing) "Plows through bone and flesh". Fair enough. I love .45. I'm wearing a M&P45c as I write this.

    A popular .40 load is the 180g. People tend to like the.... well to be honest I don;t really know what they like about it. All I know is that it's pretty popular.

    The thing that I don't get is this. When I look at ballistics charts from several websites the average .45 185g loading looks something like 950FPS and around 375 ftlbs of muzzle energy. The average .40 180g looking something like 1000FPS and around 400FTLBS pounds of energy at the muzzle. What am I missing?

    It seems like the 2 rounds are darn near ballistically identical with the slight edge going to the .40. It seems like the .40 would "Plow through bone and flesh" just as well the the .45 (unless that only applies to the heavier 200g and 230g .45 loadings) Granted the .45 has a larger diameter and I'm not sure how much difference that makes. The reason I ask this here is because I realize that numbers on paper rarely tell the whole story so I am interested if there is some variable I am not seeing.
    -It is a seriously scary thought that there are subsets of American society that think being intellectual is a BAD thing...


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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidw View Post
    Speer Gold Dot 155 grain
    Ummm...ok....
    -It is a seriously scary thought that there are subsets of American society that think being intellectual is a BAD thing...

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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidw View Post
    http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De..._FAQ/index.htm

    http://m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=19887

    Also search this forum and find plenty of threads and other links.
    please re-read my original post. I'm not looking for a ammo recommendation.
    -It is a seriously scary thought that there are subsets of American society that think being intellectual is a BAD thing...

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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    The .40 is a higher pressure round; try comparing it to a .45 185+P.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    The .40 is a higher pressure round; try comparing it to a .45 185+P.
    Sorry, I think I am not explaining myself correctly. I'm NOT trying to figure out which is "better" (magic bullet theory, one shot stop, etc etc etc). I'm trying to figure out if a 185g .45 moving at 950 FPS with 375FTLBS of energy is more or less the same as a 180g .40 moving at 1000FPS with 400FTLBS of energy.
    -It is a seriously scary thought that there are subsets of American society that think being intellectual is a BAD thing...

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    Same gun, same ammo, but in .40...then .45, the .40 will be snappier...I prefer any round that starts with a "4" and ends with a "5".OMO
    Aceoky likes this.
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    When I compare the 2 rounds I compare hollowpoint to hollowpoint. Others compare capacity. The way I look at it I take the final expansion into account. Basically, We have all seen police videos of criminals on drugs that don't stop advanceing after being shot multiple times. The reason being is that it's on a psycological level. The criminal is so juiced up that they don't realize they have been shot or they are so out of it that they don't realize they are about to die and they keep on coming. Me or you being totally aware would stop because of the psycological awareness. The fear factor. Oh my god! I've just been shot! That's where basic internal damage comes into effect. The more damage that you can cause to internal organ resulting in extreme blood loss the faster the criminal goes down. No matter how juiced up he is, once he losses to much blood he's dead. You take an expanded .40 cal and an expanded .45 cal and the .45 is bigger which means there is more of a chance it's going to hit an internal organ (or do more damage to the organs it does hit)and do some damage. People talk alot about knock down power. Of all the real life footage I've seen, I've never seen someone knocked off of there feet like they are in the movies( or fly across the room). So, I'm not a big believer of knock down power. I carry the biggest round possible that can expand and cause trauma to internal organs resulting in death as fast as possible. A smaller bullet moving at a faster speed should penetrate deeper. But if it goes all of the way through without hitting major organs, will it put the bad guy down faster than a bigger, slower moving bullet that hits organs and causes blood loss?

    Most .40 cal guns can carry more ammo than most .45 cal guns, so there may be an advantage of having more bullets. More bullets= more of a chance you'll at least hit the target in an extreme situation.
    Ruger GP100 .357 mag
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    RKM
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    This is why I like 230gr +P's. High velocity and they're heavy.

    I don't enjoy shooting .40 very much.

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    Member Array centermass's Avatar
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    That's exactly what I keep mine loaded with. 230gr +p Hollowpoint with an epoxy ball in the end to help eliminate feed issues.
    Ruger GP100 .357 mag
    Ruger p-90 .45acp
    Taurus PT-140 acp
    Rossi .357 mag
    Hi-point .45 acp
    DTI AR-15

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    Centermass, I was shot before, I was knocked off my feet, but it was a shotgun blast. Still, I always wonder how these folks can keep going after being shot... with anything.

    Anyway, is it fair to say that the .40 would penetrate deeper due to the added velocity?

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    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    The thought behind the .40 S&W cartridge was to get .45 ballistics while getting 9mm felt recoil. Frankly it does neither IMO. I don't know many people shooting 185gr. loads out of a carry .45; I've never carried anything other than 230. However, it's pretty obvious that those ballistics charts you found show that at that particular configuration the rounds are ballistically very similar. That doesn't mean that they will shoot the same, but that through the chronograph they are the same.

    I have a Springfield XD40 that was my first EDC, and I love the way it feels. Now, though, I carry a 1911 because the felt recoil is SO much different and the .45 round in 230 gr is more effective IMO.
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    Rollo, I believe the sectional density of the 40 is greater than the 45 in equal weight comparisons.

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    Muzzle energy is a function of mass and energy.
    E = 0.5 * m * v^2
    E = Energy
    m = mass
    v = velocity of the bullet
    As you can see the velocity is more important when calculating the energy since it's squared.
    In the metric system it's easy to calculate since m is the mass in Kg and V is the velocity in meters per seconds. In the US units it's a little more difficult since there "usually" are unit conversions when doing engineering calculations as any engineer or engineering knows! The easy way is to take the mass in grains and multiply it with the velocity squared in feet per seconds and then divide this number by 450400

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    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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    Distinguished Member Array Dragman's Avatar
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    The ftlbs of KE is the reason why its confusing. in KE you use the speed figure twice and mass once making speed the bigger factor. As in hunting momentum is more important than KE and in momentum weight and speed are taken into the equation equally. There can be arguements made in either direction as for whats better, but I look at it like this: If there is a complete pass through then all things are about equal both go through one is a little bigger the other caused more wound channel displacement. If they both fail to exit the same is true. Take this into consideration your not comparing apples to apples. 180 grain .40 is at the top of weight scale and 185 grain 45 is close to the bottom of it's. 45's were disigned to shoot 200+ grain bullets. When you take a 180 .40 VS a 230 .45 the ballistics are very different, but you can still argue for either caliber.
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