OK... is .40S&W a safe choice? What do you think about this?


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Daguerre
January 7, 2003, 05:26 AM
I understand that some people prefer .45, others 9mm, others .40S&W, etc. This thread is NOT about what caliber is your "favorite". For the record, .45, .40, 9mm, .357, .38, .45 Colt, and .22 are my favorites depending on mood and my purpose at hand.

I recently bought a new Browning Silver Chrome Hi-Power in .40 cal and totally love the pistol. It has quickly become equal to my 1911's in terms of my appreciation for a pistol. In some ways, more than equal to my 1911's. It's amazingly reliable with a wide variety of rounds, very comfortable to shoot, and accurate. And I plan to buy a couple more Browning HP's in 9mm as well, just because I'd like to have them.

The .40 shoots just fine for me... doesn't seem too sharp or at all difficult to control. Heck, I put several hundred rounds of full power .45's through various of my dozen or so 1911's every week, so for me .40 in a Browning Hi-Power is a cupcake to shoot.

My ONLY QUESTION about .40 results from reading a comment made by one very assertive and highly opinionated individual on another forum who stated that .40 is basically an "unsafe" caliber to own and fire. His thesis is that there are too many gun "blow-ups" with it (due to poorly designed pistols and/or bullet set-back problems?) and that many, if not all pistols chambered for it can't effectively stand up to the "power" of the cartridge.

I have learned not to base my decision making on the words of ANY one individual, but his words have caused me to think a little more about my selection of forty caliber.

So I'd like to get a little more input from those with more knowledge and experience than my own. It seems to me that there are a great many experts with significant experience who endorse the forty caliber (even if certain gun models, like Glock, may have unusually high incidents of ka-booms with forty).

What do you think? If you enjoyed shooting a Browning Hi-Power in .40 (which was specifically redesigned and beefed up for the .40 caliber, by the way, not just a rechambered 9mm pistol), would you feel confident and safe shooting forty?

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voilsb
January 7, 2003, 06:31 AM
I don't have a .40, but I've done research into it because it's a caliber that interests me. I want one.

From what I've read, you'll want to avoid the 185gr .40 loads, but otherwise are fine. The reasoning is that the 185s are sometimes seated too far back in the case, resulting in too high pressures, or too far forward, resulting in too low pressures. I don't remember off-hand if it's high-pressures causing KBs or if it's low pressures causing rounds to get lodged in the barrel.

I know that the lower weights, like the 165s, are fine.

jc2
January 7, 2003, 07:23 AM
The .40 S&W (and 357 Sig) have more kabooms with factory ammunition proportionally than the 9x19 and and .45 ACP, but it is probably not statistically significant--in other words, nothing to worry about. They major culprits seem to be Glocks, but kabooms have occurred in other weapons as well. FWIW, Browning did a good job the design of the .40 S&W High Power, and I have heard of no kabooms involving it (but it has not seen the wide-spread usage of some other the weapons either).

The .40 S&W is by no means an unsafe round, and your Browning is well-designed for the .40 S&W (unlike some other handguns). I wouldn't sweat it at all.

Kahr carrier
January 7, 2003, 09:04 AM
Personally I think 40cal is fine ,the Chp in the Prk use the S&W 4006 in 40 cal with no problem and they use the Winchester Ranger ammo .

Gary G23
January 7, 2003, 09:07 AM
I have shot over 50,000 40cal rounds (mainly through Glocks), and have NEVER had a kBoom.

rblack
January 7, 2003, 09:09 AM
I've had a number of 40's including the Browning HP. Of all the 40's it is my opinion that the Browning is the one of the best for shooting that caliber. On most of my forty's the brass comes out looking just fine, however when I formerly owned a Glock 23 and 27 the brass was always severly bulged. This may not bother some folks, but it did bother me and I got rid of both Glocks. Life is too short and there are too many good guns that do not bulge the brass to play with those that do. Just my opinion, but it is my money I'm spending.

Lone_Gunman
January 7, 2003, 09:38 AM
Other than being a castrated derivative of another cartridge, I see nothing wrong with the 40.

critter
January 7, 2003, 09:55 AM
Good replies, BUT you answered your own question. You like the gun, shoot it well and enjoy it. You shoot the .40 round well. 'Nuff said!

It is a fine round in a fine gun that you like and shoot well. Now get out and SHOOT that thing and enjoy it! Everybody needs to be that satisfied. Have fun!

jc2
January 7, 2003, 11:44 AM
Other than being a castrated derivative of another cartridge, I see nothing wrong with the 40.
What's funny is you could say the same thing about the 357 Sig--only doubly so (at least the castrated derivative part).

Stephen A. Camp
January 7, 2003, 11:51 AM
Hello. When the forty HP first came out, Browning contacted purchasers wanting them to send the guns back in. The reason was that the bbls were changed to offer more support. At that time, there was a factory round that routinely caused KBs in forty caliber. That load was Federal's 180 gr HydraShok; the factory's fixed that problem, but Browning/FN wanted their guns to work with it before the problem was fixed by Federal. I personally witnessed two such KBs with that ammunition, but with Glock 22s, not HPs. Both shooters contacted Federal who wanted the remaining ammunition and replaced it with several boxes of the "fixed" HydraShok.

While I never saw a problem with the HP or the CZ75B in forty, I just don't care for the feel of the heavier HP in this caliber. As can be the case in any caliber, just check for bullet setback from rounds that've been chambered more than once.

Best.

agtman
January 7, 2003, 01:36 PM
"is .40S&W a safe choice?"


Okay ...

1st answer: "safe" compared to what?

2nd answer: only if your .40S&W pistol has been officially declared KABOOM!-proof by a government agency authorized to make such declarations and you've got the papers to prove it. :D

3rd answer: well, by now I forgot the question, so I'll just recommend the 10mm Auto as the "safer" and more versatile alternative. Plus it's the parent cartridge for both the .40 and .357Sig, but is amazingly free of the downsides exhibited by its offspring: e.g., excessive muzzleblast, finicky bottlenecks, KABOOMS!, high-pressure issues, bullet setback, and, at least with the .40, marginal accuracy in untuned service guns.

HTH. ;)

HS/LD
January 7, 2003, 02:15 PM
It is not the .40S&W round that has a problem it is a handgun that is not made well. ie. with an un-supported chamber.


I have fired over 7000+ of the cheapest crap .40s I could find through my H&K USP Compact as well as hundreds and hundreds of higher pressure high quality .40s. Never had a problem.

HS/LD

yorec
January 7, 2003, 04:51 PM
A Browning Silver Chromed Hi Power in .40, huh? Well, let me halp ya out...

Very unsafe, in fact you're endanger just being in the same room with it. Let me get the address for my local FFL and I'll see that it's properly disposed of...


The very gun I've been slobbering over for the past couple of months!!

Seriously - I've also fired over 20000 rounds of .40 S&W at various trainning classes and facilitiesover the past half dozen years where the majority of other shooters were also using the .40 S&W . Never heard of one having a "blow up." Did see a .45 acp knock the slide of a 1911 though...

FWIW

tlhelmer
January 7, 2003, 06:36 PM
The .40 is safe. I have fired thousands of rounds of .40 and seen many more thousands of .40 rounds fired without a KB.

dacinokc
January 7, 2003, 07:02 PM
The current Fourty is a fine round with many fine platforms on the market. The reloading can be a touch of a trick, as pressures can are high to begin with. Not a beginner reload, but is can be done-
I really like the 40!:D

bad_dad_brad
January 7, 2003, 11:46 PM
The .40 is okay. I prefer the 9mm because I think it is just about as effective, and a whole lot cheaper to shoot. If I wanted to jump to something bigger than a 9mm it would be the .45.

For my money, these calibers in semi-autoloaders are the only ones really worth considering, based upon their usage.

.22 rimfire
.32
9mm
.45

Just my 2 cents.

cratz2
January 8, 2003, 01:03 AM
Do there seem to be more reports of KaBooms in 40S&W than in 9mm or 45 ACP? Yes. On the other hand, I know several 'gun guy' LEOs that have put thousands and thousands of rounds through G22s and G23 with no problems at all.

I'm a 1911 guy, and I like the 45 ACp cartridge. But I would feel completely comfortable and well-protected carrying a G23 or G27.

Mike Irwin
January 8, 2003, 01:08 AM
Oh yeah, the .40 S&W is an unsafe round...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...

The only thing "unsafe" about the .40 S&W are the reputations of the armchair pundits who think they know what the :cuss: they're talking about.

There was a recent thread on TFL about this very subject. You may well be referring to it. I've tried searching for it, but for some reason the TFL search feature isn't responding right now.

Read the thread, and draw your own conclusions.

My conclusion is that I've still got all my fingers, toes, eyes, teeth, and ears, even after firing that deadly-only-to-the-shooter piece of trash explosive plastic low-grade Glock.

Yes, I've seen a number of KBs with Glocks, early Glocks, and mostly with reloaded ammo.

Browning did have a recall, some of the barrels on the original shipment of .40 Hi Powers were BADLY out of dimensional spec and there were two or three nasty surprises, but those would have happened no matter what the caliber.

mr. e
January 8, 2003, 12:58 PM
I'm a .40 shooter and a hand loader. I've shot .40 in Browning HP, Sig 229, Walther P99, Ruger 944, HK USP, and Beretta 96.

I work up all my loads very carefully, but I don't take any extra care with the 40 Auto cartridge. I load it with FMJ and lead bullets and a variety of powders. I haven't experienced any problems with the round and haven't seen anything with the spent brass that leads me to believe that it is inherently dangerous. (Unless, of course, you're on the business end of the barrel. :D)

Coronach
January 8, 2003, 01:09 PM
Lessee... .40S&W is well on its way to unseating the .45ACP and 9mm as the round of choice for LE agencies nationwide (if it hasn't done so already), therefore a LOT of it gets shot...

...by people who would absolutely report kBs, in hopes of getting their service weapon fixed/replaced by the contractor.

So, what we have here are three factors in play:

1. actual rate of kBs

2. amount of rounds fired of the caliber

3. relative likelihood of reporting any kB that occurs

Mike

PS So, does it kB more often? I dunno. Probably, but not to a statistically significant degree...though thats a guestimate.

PPS The aformentioned post should not be construed as advocacy of .40S&W or any other caliber.

El Tejon
January 8, 2003, 01:18 PM
"Unsafe"? Hmmm, well the .40 small und weak is seemingly more suspectible to bullet setback which will cause the infamous "LE malfunction" wherein the first round fires but the second round FTF. Maybe "unsafe" in that way, but this can happen with all rounds.

As a LEO I carried a Glock .40 and noted setback a lot. Maybe something with the cartridge being shrunk--don't know. It is as "safe" as any other round.

Good shooting.

Handy
January 8, 2003, 01:22 PM
.40 does seem a poorly designed round, both in its stubby shape and operating pressure. Its rarely as accurate as other cartridges in the a gun of the same design.

Is it safe? Well, if your gun does Kaboom (which I also think is mainly a Glock .40 problem), it won't hurt you much. But follow-up shots are difficult.

The .40 HP was extensively redesigned to make it work right with .40. The Glock wasn't (not just "early Glocks", nothing significant has changed about the barrel/slide/lockwork since 1981).

I can see how a cop would prefer carrying a .40, but between 9 and .45 the consumer gets more advantages and weapon longevity. In summary:

BUY A .40 BUILT FOR .40! NOT A 9MM WITH A WIDENED BREACHFACE!!!

Mike Irwin
January 8, 2003, 01:41 PM
I was once at the range where a guy was in the middle of a screed about the .40 short & weak...

Then I realized that every gun he had at the range was a 9mm...

What a :cuss: ing jackass.

Handy
January 8, 2003, 01:49 PM
Why? Would you expect someone to deride a caliber or gun that they still own? Or do you have to buy a Gremlin before you're qualified to call it a piece of junk?

Mike Irwin
January 8, 2003, 02:55 PM
It's called a concept, Handy.

The CONCEPT that someone would deride the cartridge as being not powerful enough, and yet apparently own and carry guns firing a cartridge that is even LESS powerful.

Get the concept?

It was also evident from this guy's screed that he didn't actually KNOW anything about the cartridge, he was just parroting every negative and wrong thing that had previously been said about the round.

If you don't like something based on personal knowledge and experience, that's one thing.

But "Expert" ignorance is still ignorance. At that point you're no longer a person, you're a pull-string doll.

MrAcheson
January 8, 2003, 03:20 PM
Is .40 S&W safe? Sure, in a gun thats designed for it. .40S&W is a far more demanding cartridge than 9mm. Some manufacturers did little more than rebarrel/restamp their 9mms and call them .40s. This is bad for obvious reasons and is bound to cause serious problems in these firearms eventually. There is some evidence that Glocks were made this way at one time.

Some other companies redesigned their firearms such that their medium frame guns are actually built for .40 instead of 9mm now. The .40 BHP is this way. FN actually redesigned the BHP for .40 so that the slide and frame is stronger etc. I have heard reports that all FN/BHPs in 9mm are built on the .40 frame now from some hipower folks. Thats why those who aren't shy of castings like the new frames better.

Tropical Z
January 8, 2003, 03:25 PM
Does anyone know if the FEG-HP clone in .40S&W that SOG has was done properly for .40?

Handy
January 8, 2003, 09:24 PM
Mike, you didn't say what CONCEPT the sceeer was screeing about. I had thought he was talking about .40 safety, not power. YOU didn't say in your post. Me understand concept now.

I guess it was lucky he hadn't only brought his .22s that day. He wouldn't be allowed to talk about anything.


Glocks are still made that way! Nothing about the slide and barrel has been changed.



Z, I haven't heard about the FEG. I suppose you could compare one of their slides to an FN, but I bet they didn't go to the trouble. I kind of think of the FEGs as plinkers and target guns, since they are not that well established. But .40 is neither a plinking or target load.

.40, if you insist on it, really belongs in compact, modern high cap carry guns (Sig 229, etc). The accuracy from most full sized pistols is going to be lackluster, and if you like a single column mag you might as well move up in caliber.

Mike Irwin
January 9, 2003, 01:59 AM
Handy,

You're right, my apologies. I was too far into my screed. :)

He was actually all over the frigging map -- it's a wimpy cartridge, it blows guns up, it's not a .45, you can't stop an earthworm with it, all of the complete BS.

"Glocks are still made that way, nothing has been changed."

Wait a second. It's my understanding that Glock changed the dimensions of the area of the case head that is unsupported.

That's where all of the KBs were happening, in the unsupported area of the web.

I know that Glocks with BarStow barrels didn't put the kind of bulge in .40 casings that the Glocks with Glock barrels did.

XavierBreath
January 9, 2003, 09:27 AM
The .40S&W is my round of choice. I love the kaboom stories. People sell off weapons because of that kind of rumour, and I buy them.

Unsupported chambers cause kabooms. Almost invariably in Glocks. Of course the ammo has a lot to do with it too, but the root cause, as stated before is manufacturers tossing a .40S&W barrel on a 9mm pistol in the race to get the thing on the market. When their half assed engineering goes kaboom, they blame the round. Nevertheless, if you stick with 180 grain bullets or less you lower your risk significantly.

My one failure with a .40 was a casing rupture on my H&K USP fullsize. Wolf ammo. I cleared it with a rod, put in the magazine and went on firing.

GLOCKT
January 10, 2003, 10:59 AM
Currently at 15,000 rounds though 3 GLOCKS and the Glock Armorer says its almost broke in at this point.
Electronically heat scoped thru work and no signs of stress in all 3 slides or barrels.
My take on the Glock kabooms is either lead reloads or overpowered reloads.
Thats my 2 cents,SAFE-SHOOTING!

Handy
January 10, 2003, 11:49 AM
GlockT,

KaBooms have nothing to do with wear or stress. After the explosion the barrel and slide are usually in the same condition they were before. However, they failed to contain the case and the detonation blows down into the mag well, destroying the frame, which is not designed for any stress.

There is no way of predicting a KaBoom.

Mike Irwin
January 10, 2003, 01:27 PM
"destroying the frame..."

I've seen quite a few Glock .40 KBs, either in person or the direct aftermath, probably a total of 10 or so.

In none of those cases has the frame been even remotely damaged.

Normally what happens is that the magazine coughs out and the extractor is blown out of its notch and usually lost.

Every one of the guns in question was back in service after being inspected and having the extractor replaced.

jc2
January 10, 2003, 07:05 PM
BUT . . . if had happened during a gunfight, somebody would be SOL.

Beren
January 11, 2003, 02:30 AM
I have witnessed first-hand the fabled "Glock .40 Ka-Boom!" The guy was firing his Glock 27 in the lane next to me, and next thing I know, something sounded like a grenade going off. (Enclosed space, I guess, since it was an indoor range.)

The mag had blown itself out, as had various bits from the slide. The lane "stall doors" shielded me from getting a bit of shrapnel in the face. We checked out the guy, first, and he was fine - just scared white. I was surprised there was no puddle on the floor, but I could sympathize - I've gone through a KB (Kahr MK9) of my own in the past.

I was thankful that the KB hadn't touched off the rest of the magazine. That's always been my biggest fear.

He was shooting reloads he bought at a gun show.

Garbage in, garbage out. Holds true for computers as well as guns.

I wouldn't mind owning a .40S&W Glock, but my heart runs to 9mm, 357SIG, and 10mm. .45 ACP someday in a nice 1911 or three.. No fear of the 40, just no real desire to own one. I have enough pistol calibers to stock as it is.

denfoote
January 11, 2003, 02:45 AM
So I'd like to get a little more input from those with more knowledge and experience than my own. It seems to me that there are a great many experts with significant experience who endorse the forty caliber (even if certain gun models, like Glock, may have unusually high incidents of ka-booms with forty).

I to had reservations about the 10mm kurz cartridge, especally in the Glocks. My solution was to get a G29 (10mm) and fit it with an aftermarket kurz barrel. So far the results have been steller!!!

wingman
January 11, 2003, 10:11 AM
As a LEO I carried a Glock .40 and noted setback a lot. Maybe something with the cartridge being shrunk--don't know. It is as "safe" as any other round."


Setback is bad in the 40 due to cartridge
size and powder volume, especially so
in the Glock.
I reload the 40 and enjoy shooting it
in a CZ, I do not use any bullet above
155gr.
Again watch for setback."increased pressure."

HadEmAll
January 13, 2003, 12:23 AM
The .40 is a great cartridge. Watch the rechambering of the same round over and over. I never do it, but some people for whatever reason seem to have to. It's a high pressure round. I still prefer the 155 grain rounds. The Browning HP in .40 is a fine handgun. Trigger's a little rough but still an accurate pistol. Mine developed a tendency early on to lock the slide back with cartridges still in the mag. It was a burr on the flat of the slide stop pin that get pressure applied to it to force it down until the magazine follower forces it up into slide lock. About 10 seconds with a needle file took care of it. Only problem I've had. Never had any other functional problem. More accurate than my G23, K40, or previously owned P239. I hear that removing the magazine safety can improve the trigger, but mine's adequate, so I've left it alone. I think the .40 is great. Hmmm...... already said that didn't I? I only shoot factory 155 grain JHP's and FMJ's in all my .40's.

HadEmAll
January 13, 2003, 12:26 AM
Double post.

HadEmAll
January 13, 2003, 12:31 AM
The .40 is a great cartridge. Watch the rechambering of the same round over and over. I never do it, but some people for whatever reason seem to have to. It's a high pressure round. I still prefer the 155 grain rounds. The Browning HP in .40 is a fine handgun. Trigger's a little rough but still an accurate pistol. Mine developed a tendency early on to lock the slide back with cartridges still in the mag. It was a burr on the flat of the slide stop pin that get pressure applied to it to force it down until the magazine follower forces it up into slide lock. About 10 seconds with a needle file took care of it. Only problem I've had. Never had any other functional problem. More accurate than my G23, K40, or previously owned P239. I hear that removing the magazine safety can improve the trigger, but mine's adequate, so I've left it alone. I think the .40 is great. Hmmm...... already said that didn't I? I only shoot factory 155 grain JHP's and FMJ's in all my .40's.

HadEmAll
January 13, 2003, 12:32 AM
The .40 is a great cartridge. Watch the rechambering of the same round over and over. I never do it, but some people for whatever reason seem to have to. It's a high pressure round. I still prefer the 155 grain rounds. The Browning HP in .40 is a fine handgun. Trigger's a little rough but still an accurate pistol. Mine developed a tendency early on to lock the slide back with cartridges still in the mag. It was a burr on the flat of the slide stop pin that get pressure applied to it to force it down until the magazine follower forces it up into slide lock. About 10 seconds with a needle file took care of it. Only problem I've had. Never had any other functional problem at all. More accurate than my G23, K40, or previously owned P239. I hear that removing the magazine safety can improve the trigger, but mine's adequate, so I've left it alone. I think the .40 is great. Hmmm...... already said that didn't I? I only shoot factory 155 grain JHP's and FMJ's in all my .40's.

HadEmAll
January 13, 2003, 12:32 AM
The .40 is a great cartridge. Watch the rechambering of the same round over and over. I never do it, but some people for whatever reason seem to have to. It's a high pressure round. I still prefer the 155 grain rounds. The Browning HP in .40 is a fine handgun. Trigger's a little rough but still an accurate pistol. Mine developed a tendency early on to lock the slide back with cartridges still in the mag. It was a burr on the flat of the slide stop pin that get pressure applied to it to force it down until the magazine follower forces it up into slide lock. About 10 seconds with a needle file took care of it. Only problem I've had. Never had any other functional problem at all. More accurate than my G23, K40, or previously owned P239. I hear that removing the magazine safety can improve the trigger, but mine's adequate, so I've left it alone. I think the .40 is great. Hmmm...... already said that didn't I? I only shoot factory 155 grain JHP's and FMJ's in all my .40's.

HadEmAll
January 13, 2003, 12:36 AM
The .40 is a great cartridge. Watch the rechambering of the same round over and over. I never do it, but some people for whatever reason seem to have to. It's a high pressure round. I still prefer the 155 grain rounds. The Browning HP in .40 is a fine handgun. Trigger's a little rough but still an accurate pistol. Mine developed a tendency early on to lock the slide back with cartridges still in the mag. It was a burr on the flat of the slide stop pin that get pressure applied to it to force it down until the magazine follower forces it up into slide lock. About 10 seconds with a needle file took care of it. Only problem I've had. Never had any other functional problem at all. More accurate than my G23, K40, or previously owned P239. I hear that removing the magazine safety can improve the trigger, but mine's adequate, so I've left it alone. I think the .40 is great. Hmmm...... already said that didn't I? I only shoot factory 155 grain JHP's and FMJ's in all my .40's.

Pico
January 13, 2003, 07:57 AM
I think the short 40 is a great round if you only want one pistol. It is a good in between caliber for 9 mm and .45. I would be careful what I feed it and examine the brass periodically but in terms of safe, I say yes as long as you follow the manufacturer's suggestions for your gun.

I prefer to own 9 and .45 chambered pistols but all of the LEOs must know something because everyone seems to be going to .40 esp in a Glock.

Pico

meathammer
January 13, 2003, 01:37 PM
I own and shoot a Beretta 96 in .40 cal. Only problem I ever had was with Wolf ammo. This gun does not like it. Other than that, it is reliable, and it makes holes right where I point it. I feed it mostly PMC 165gr. FMJ. Cost/Accuracy pretty decent.

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