The 40 S&W; Taking another look
Every three months I am required to qualify with my duty weapon, and that time is here again. So, I thought I would put together some handloads from the thousands of pieces of range brass I have and go and practice.
The load was 6.2 grains of Unique under a 155 weight Berrys Plated bullet. I had used this combination before with good results in the 40, so it was a no brainer for a quick 75 rounds.
Upon going out on the farm, the first thing I did was set up for chronographing. I noticed there was some erradict performance with respect to velocity. I had velocities as low as 750 and as high as 916, which was my target velocity. Heres a pic of the average velocity;
The shot velocity spread was not a total suprise, as I am aware of the sometimes sporadic throw from charge to charge my dispencer puts out. Its close enough for goverment work, but when real consistency is desired, I individually measure each charge. But for the purposes of shooting pistols at normal pistol differences, even this bad deviation is not really noticed on paper.
Here is a pic of the groups, fired at 15 yards from the draw, transfering the weapon to the weak hand and firing 5 shots in 10 seconds.
This is generally where most officers began losing points. The weak hand is neglected by most, and, by the time you draw, switch hands, and get on target, you now have 6 to 7 seconds to get off those 5 rounds.
So, lets talk about the 40, and why, I should love it, but I am just not there yet.
First, what does it do better than the 9mm? Everything! It throws heavier bullet faster than the 9mm in apples to apples comparisons. Of course we are talking 147/9mm vs 155/40. And it does it with less pressure. The 9mm firing a standard velocity 147 cast bullet(which gets free velocity) has a pressure of 31,000 CUP.
The 40 on the other hand, fires the 155 weight jacketed bullet almost 200 fps faster with a pressure level of only 23,300 CUP.
As a matter of fact, in all bullet weights and styles, the 9mm has higher pressure than the 40 S&W.
But then again, the same holds true for the 45acp vs the 40s&w.
So, whats up with the 40, and my indifference to it? Well, first of all, I have been leery of the KABOOM factor that has been associated with this cartridge, and in particular, the Glock barrel. I am known to wear out magnum revolvers by loading to the verge of a nuclear meltdown, but I have never blown one up, err, not entirely:biggrin2: It is because of the issues regarding case ruptures in the 40 that I believe one should use caution.
I am beginning to warm up to the 40, but only in its 155-165 weight loadings. This is where I believe the safety factor, and peak performance of the 40 is.
This is because, the diameter of the case is .424 at the base and if we take into consideration that the 9mm is .391 at the base, it is my belief that there is not enough difference in the overall volume to merit the use of the more capacity reducing 180 weight bullet. If one wants more bullet weight, it is my opinion that the 10mm should be utilized, if one wants to stick to the 40 caliber. But a jump to the 45 acp is probably the way to go.
The 40 S&W has alot to offer in my opinion over the 9mm, with regard to more power from increased bullet weight with a higher velocity.
Now, keep in mind, this is observed from a handloaders standpoint. I reload everything, and never buy factory ammo. The blended powders that some ammo companies use, amy allow them to safetely drive heavy bullets at high velocity at low pressure.
In conclusion, from a handloading standpoint, not much is to be gained over the 45 acp. Actually, at best, the 40 can match the 45acp's lightest bullet with its heaviest, 180/1000 fps vs 185/1008 fps.
So to me, its clear that the sweet spot for the 40 is with its 150-165 weight loads. Here it dominates the 9mm, and offers more capacity and flatter trajectory than the 45 acp. Thats a winning cmbination in anyones book. So, yeah, after all these years, I think I could really get to like this cartridge:wink:
All the info used here was from my field work with pressure and dimensions for case size taken from the Lyman 47th Reloading Handbook.