Which Bullet Weight in .40?

This is a discussion on Which Bullet Weight in .40? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; It's commonly said that, in .40 S&W, 155-165 gr weights are optimum. Others say go heavier with the 180 grains. On paper, the 155 and ...

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Thread: Which Bullet Weight in .40?

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    Member Array ZTF Hitman's Avatar
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    Which Bullet Weight in .40?

    It's commonly said that, in .40 S&W, 155-165 gr weights are optimum. Others say go heavier with the 180 grains. On paper, the 155 and 165's have better ballistics. What are your thoughts? FWIW, I carry with 165 gr PDX1's .

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    I always lean to the heavier weights available in any given cartridge. I simply don't believe in lightweight bullets and their ballistic performance. It's a handgun cartridge. Velocity differences between bullet weights offered don't amount to much. I'm bound to have penetration before every other consideration. If it opens up then great but I'm not greatly concerned with expansion, especially at the expense of bullet weight. Good hits are golden and bad hits are ... just bad hits.
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    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    I'm glad you posted this. I'm a little turned around on ammo and need to learn more about it. From what I can tell, 155-165 gr Gold Dots would be a good choice for my G23?

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    Try a few diffrent types first,my G23 was always carried with Speer Gold Dot 180's,till a partner who carried 155 Winchester Ranger gave me a box,my G23 absolutely loved them,they were a little more snappy,but my group shrank by nearly half,and if the Border Patrol likes them(by the way,they call them Tonk Killers,they say thats the sound they make when you hit an illegal in the head with them,their words not mine.),they cant be that bad.

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    I always go with heaviest available grain weights. I will take weight & penetration over velocity.
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    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockrocker View Post
    Try a few diffrent types first,my G23 was always carried with Speer Gold Dot 180's,till a partner who carried 155 Winchester Ranger gave me a box,my G23 absolutely loved them,they were a little more snappy,but my group shrank by nearly half,and if the Border Patrol likes them(by the way,they call them Tonk Killers,they say thats the sound they make when you hit an illegal in the head with them,their words not mine.),they cant be that bad.
    Thanks for the heads up. Love your personal message at the bottom BTW. Covered by His blood!

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    Would there be a difference in terminal performance between the 55-65's and the 80's? I've been carrying the mid-weight rounds but see many people talking about the heavier loads. Does a higher Muzzle Energy translate into better terminal performance?

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    I'll use the tired old analogy.

    A train traveling at the same speed (or slower) than a car will travel farther before it stops. Put an object in front of it and the train will push it farther.
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    VIP Member Array smolck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadguy View Post
    I'll use the tired old analogy.

    A train traveling at the same speed (or slower) than a car will travel farther before it stops. Put an object in front of it and the train will push it farther.
    +1. Heavier is better, sir Isaac Newton proved it. I think people get too caught up in bullet speed. Like anything else, if 950fps is good, then 1300fps must be better right? Marketing likes to print higher muzzle velocity because it makes the energy numbers go up. However, that doesn't take into account penetration, clothing, etc.

    When I switched to .45acp I was used to my 9mm bullets going 1250fps, and the first box of .45acp (230gr) had a muzzle velocity of 950fps. It bothered me until I realized, to someone I am shooting at, 800fps or 1500fps means nothing, either way they ain't fast enough to get out of the way at SD distance.

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    Having never shot a person, I guess I am not the expert you seek. I may be way off, but I believe premium bullets in any of the weights you spoke of would be fine. I have 165 Gold Dots, which the local LE gents carry, and I also have 180 Ranger-Ts. I would not be afraid of 155s from any of the top makers. I think a guy can get HST as light as 135 grains for a 40. As long as your guns feeds and ejects flawlessly, and the accuracy is what you want, pick a brand and a weight and run.

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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    train....

    rather get hit with a whiffle bat fast or slower with a wood one?

    besides 180 has an elegance--at the same velocity as a 180gr 45acp it has the same energy numbers

    its thinner and may pass a blood vessel that the 45 would have nicked but it goes deeper and may find more to damage.

    discuss it from a number of directions but do the job right by hitting the best location 1st---debate later
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    Good points by all you guys. Thanks for the input. I haven't done much training with 180's but I think I will.

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    In this current day with more modern ammunition, I agree with the rest of the 180 crowd. In the past with bullets that often went under expanded or didn't even expand at all which left the fear of over penetration, hence the preference for a mid grain load. I carry Federal 180 HST JHP test have shown expansion at .72 I'm happy with that.
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    You can shoot whatever you want.
    For me, when I was testing SD rounds I found that my 3" XD in.40 didn't much care for the 180gr Winchester Rangers. I then switched to 165gr Rangers to see what would happen and my XD ate those a lot better with no failures to fire.
    I would prefer to use the 180gr but the 165gr works better in my carry gun so thats what I use.
    Also, some people like to debate the fact that the lighter bullet is faster and a heavier bullet is slower and that each have their own pros and cons.
    The truth of the matter is that we don't live in the matrix and if you have to shoot at someone or something to defend yourself that +-250 ft/sec isn't going to make a bit of difference.
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