The 40 S&W; Taking another look

This is a discussion on The 40 S&W; Taking another look within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 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 ...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 19
Like Tree8Likes

Thread: The 40 S&W; Taking another look

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    7,926

    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 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

    All the info used here was from my field work with pressure and dimensions for case size taken from the Lyman 47th Reloading Handbook.
    gasmitty, Hopyard, zacii and 1 others like this.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    Member Array titleist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    459
    Sounds good on paper, but does it actually work better on people? The only benefit I see for the 40 is reduced deflection trough hard barriers . This is great for LE, and may be important for citizens, too, but pretty far down on the priority list for me.

    Police departments, instructors and citizens are going back to 9mm pretty quickly and for good reason. A quality 9mm performs just as well as 40 or 45 through denim, auto glass, and sheet metal. It does all of this in a lower recoiling platform that allows quicker follow up shots and transitions, and in a more cost effective way for those of us who don't load our own. Foot- pounds or momentum mean nothing to todays bullets. Using aggressive cross-sections and angled leading edges allows deeper penetration with a wider expanding bullet.

    If they could make a bullet that travels three feet per hour and weighs 2 grains but gets 12-18 inches of penetration and expands to .7 then its just as good as anything else, regardless of the energy or pressure or momentum numbers say.

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    North Georgia
    Posts
    6,869
    I went back to carrying the .40 S&W a few months ago. I took a look at the numbers again and decided that the horsepower and bullet weight combination was worth the time and effort at the range. IMO, it's pretty much the best all around defense round for defense.
    jem102 and mano3 like this.
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

  5. #4
    Senior Member Array svgheartland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    1,121
    Glockman....any extra pointers on those 155 Berrys? Picked up 400 to try but haven't gone at it yet. I've never loaded plated. Thanks.
    Savage Heartland

    What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about?

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    7,926
    Quote Originally Posted by svgheartland View Post
    Glockman....any extra pointers on those 155 Berrys? Picked up 400 to try but haven't gone at it yet. I've never loaded plated. Thanks.
    Just load'em like you would a regular bullet. Start with about a middle level load, and seat your bullet out just a tad further than called for. An example would be if the OAL calls for 1.100, I load it out to 1.120. That gives a little extra case capacity to absorb pressure, in case of a spike. Then check cases and primers for signs of excessive pressure. Then work your way up on the data if desired.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    arizona
    Posts
    3,746
    Man, you just had to post that, right after I went out and bought a 9mm

    I mess around with several different pistols, but always come back to my G23. Dunno why Maybe it's because guys like you keep posting data and reason. Stop it already.
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    7,926
    Quote Originally Posted by zacii View Post
    Man, you just had to post that, right after I went out and bought a 9mm

    I mess around with several different pistols, but always come back to my G23. Dunno why Maybe it's because guys like you keep posting data and reason. Stop it already.
    Lol, nothing wrong with the 9mm, I use one of them too. Hey, and congrats on the new gun man!
    gasmitty likes this.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    KCMO
    Posts
    3,107
    A note on the plated bullets - shouldn't be loaded past 1200 fps, per Berry's. Bud Watson is the guy to get loading data from, if you call Berry's, they will give you his number.

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    7,926
    Quote Originally Posted by nedrgr21 View Post
    A note on the plated bullets - shouldn't be loaded past 1200 fps, per Berry's. Bud Watson is the guy to get loading data from, if you call Berry's, they will give you his number.
    Thats the top velocity of load data for the 155 weight bullet, so no worry there. Thats why I didnt mention it.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  11. #10
    Lead Moderator
    Array rocky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    15,673
    Also plated bullets should be loaded to lead /cast specs as opposed to jacketed. I have loaded both Rainer and Berry's plated bullets to great effect for my .40's. I even load 180 grn bullets, but stay at middle of the load powder charge levels. Also a careful inspection of all brass helps weed out weak or cracking casings.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


    Nemo Me Impune Lacesset

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array SmokinFool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,297
    I love the .40. Just got a box of 500 Rainier 165gr bullets to load this winter so I'll be ready for Springtime fun. In my book the .40 is one of the best rounds available.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array svgheartland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    1,121
    Thanks for the pointers on the plated hand loads. I've been doing my reading so I was pretty dialed in but it helps to hear the plain English version. This is plinking stuff so I wasn't shooting for exceptionally hot loads anyway. I need to double check,but I don't think any of my manuals has Unique as an option but I may give it a whirl. As you know, the load alternatives and relevant information are more limited for this caliber than many others. And yep, these are 155's.
    Savage Heartland

    What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about?

  14. #13
    VIP Member
    Array OldVet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    S. Florida, north of the Miami mess, south of the Mouse trap
    Posts
    14,637
    "I reload everything, and never buy factory ammo."

    Gasp! You can't use handloads; you'll get sued!
    Retired USAF E-8. Avatar is OldVet from days long gone. Oh, to be young again.
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

  15. #14
    Member Array WillyNilly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    115
    I still think the 40sw is better than the 9mm. Why? Bigger and heavier bullets that's why.

    I have both 9mm (Sigma) and 40sw (Sig P250c) and I like 'em.

    EDIT: Both loaded with PDX1s (165 and 124+P) for SD.

  16. #15
    Member Array SFCDan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    179
    I currently carry an S&W .40 (SW40VE to be exact) and it is comfortable. I modified the hard trigger pull myself in lieu of sending it in to be corrected and now it fires more accurately. I had a hard time staying consistent with its factory pull.
    Former US Army SFC
    LTC-Class A HC: MA
    AG License: RI
    LTC: CT

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Search tags for this page

.40 s&w 150 gr load
,
40 s&w 150 gr data power pistol
,
40 s&w 150 gr power pistol
,
40 s&w high pressure
,
40 s&w load data sr7625 150 gr
,
40 s&w pressure signs
,

40 sw reloading data unique

,
accurate no. 7 40 s&w berrys plated
,

best 40 s&w powder

,
load for s&w .40 accurate no.9
,

low pressure .40 s&w loads

,
low pressure 40 s&w loads
Click on a term to search for related topics.