Best .40 cal Bullet Weight?


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.45&TKD
October 1, 2007, 05:34 PM
Just bought my first .40 caliber (Glock 22) and was wondering what the best bullet weight is for self defense and practice?

My first thought would be the larger 180 grain, (since I'm used to 1911 .45's and 230 grains), but I thought I'd ask before spending time and money.

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.45&TKD
October 1, 2007, 05:39 PM
And why?

Jorg Nysgerrig
October 1, 2007, 05:41 PM
I find 165s shoots the best out of my guns. Best groups and you get a bit more muzzle energy with it than the 180s.

.357 magnum
October 1, 2007, 05:50 PM
I voted 165gr because it really is the killer weight on the streets and I have shot the 165gr a lot. But the past four months it is much less expensive to shoot 180gr for practice. Since I like to shoot what I practice with, I switched to 180gr. If you use the Winchester 180gr Ranger T that is really the best out there for this caliber. Winchester upgraded their Ranger T line in May of this year and they expand beyond belief! I have to get them through the internet though. Here in Omaha nobody sells the Ranger T just because it is Law Enforcement ammo. The .40 caliber was actually made for 180gr, so they function quite well with them. Previous to switching I was shooting Winchester 165gr SXT, and Corbon 165gr JHP. Both are Great loads!

The Best to You and Yours!

Frank

http://www.mahsupplies.net/

RustyShackelford
October 1, 2007, 06:05 PM
I've used and shot a Beretta model 96D .40S&W since 02/1997. I would use either Rem Golden Saber 165gr JHP or Triton 135gr JHPs. I lived in west PA at the time so I'd use the lighter faster 135gr JHP in warm weather and a 165 JHP round when the weather was colder(SEPT-MAR). It was a good system for me. ;)
Now in 10/2007 I would suggest the DoubleTap 135gr or 165gr JHP or maybe the Speer Gold Dot 165/155 gr JHP. The Remington model Golden Saber 165gr load is still a solid bet but for CC/protection I think better loads are for sale.

Rusty
PS: For home protection/business security look into the Glaser Safety Slugs(silver) or Magsafe rounds. Also use the Federal EFMJ .40 load or CorBon PowRball .40S&W for your spare pistol magazines/reloads. If your shooting your spare mags you'll need to drop someone in a hurry and not wonder about feeding or malfunctions. ;)

1man
October 1, 2007, 06:19 PM
165gr.

Jimmy Newman
October 1, 2007, 06:24 PM
My opinion, founded on no data other than that I've shot a fair bit of it and killed a couple of hogs with it, is that I like the 165gr.

(Yes, I jumped out of a pickup truck and shot a wild hog with a Walther P99)

philbo
October 1, 2007, 06:46 PM
I started reloading 40 for my first XD40 a while back. Tried 135, 155, 165 & 180 and the pistol showed a definite preference for 165. Traded for a second XD40 and discovered it preferred the 155... shot a Sigma 40 this weekend and it worked best with 180 and about as well with 155, but there was a noticeably larger group w/165. Same powder, same loads in all. Go figure. In the end I guess you should try them all and determine which your pistol likes best. If everything else is equal though, I prefer the 155/165 myself.

shadowalker
October 1, 2007, 06:50 PM
It depends, the 155 and 165 typically have both more energy and momentum than the 180 grain in 40 S&W. The 155 grain 40 S&W has roughly the sectional density of a 200 grain 45 ACP and the 180 grain 40 S&W has about the same as the 230 grain 45 ACP.

Most name brand JHP 155-180 will work well for defense, make sure they feed and function reliably in your firearm. I'd recommend against any of the the specialty super ultra advanced this will stop a BG but not go through drywall ammunition, they are expensive and drywall is incredibly easy to penetrate, something that will penetrate a threat enough to stop a threat and not go through drywall is hard to achieve.

There are some factors that can make a difference, the bullet construction / shape, the same weight bullet at the same velocity from different manufacturers can sometimes have significant penetration differences, and barrel length, also how closely claimed velocity of the bullet matches your firearm.

Two things to look at are energy and momentum, energy is published on the boxes but momentum isn't. Unfortunately energy doesn't really tell you that much, bird shot leaves the barrel at a high rate of speed but because it is low in mass it has very little momentum and doesn't penetrate well.

Momentum is easy to calculate though, (weight of bullet / 7000) * velocity and can be a better predictor of penetration, it also shows why heavier bullets of an acceptable velocity tend to penetrate better.

155 grain bullet traveling at 1175 FPS (Gold Dot) has:

Energy: 475 ft/lb
Momentum: 26.01

A 165 grain bullet traveling at 1150 FPS (Gold Dot claimed) has:

Energy: 484
Momentum: 27.107

A 180 grain bullet traveling at 985 FPS (Gold Dot claimed) has:

Energy: 387 ft/lb
Momentum: 25.3

In this case assuming the above velocities are true the 165 has both an energy and momentum advantage.

Ala Dan
October 1, 2007, 09:01 PM
155 grain Hornady TAP JHP's :scrutiny:;):D

Lonestar49
October 1, 2007, 09:16 PM
...

180gr 40cal is the bullet of choice, for my Px4 40. Just a sweet launch and hit, on-target, over and over.


LS

cookekdjr
October 1, 2007, 11:07 PM
Well, I've seen the results of many shootings in my job, and I've never seen .40 fail to stop an attacker. I'm sure it has failed, I've just never seen it in a review of more shootings than I can count. All of these shootings involved bullet weights of 155gr-180gr. Ball and JHP were used. Based on that I call .40 the "pin the tail on the donkey" round, because you can't go wrong with whatever you choose.
I would be wary, however, of the under 155gr loads. I have heard of penetration problems (read, "lack thereof") with the really light stuff.
Just my experience. YMMV.
-David

mpmarty
October 2, 2007, 01:04 PM
My 40 cal pistols are all 10mm and I use 200gr jhp bullets for sd exclusively. They have the sectional density and at over 1200fps they definitely fill the bill.:D

novaDAK
October 2, 2007, 01:12 PM
I use WWB .40 JHPs which are 180gr. mainly because I've seen some testing done (no actual shootings, just the wetpack stuff) where it's worked as well as some of the fancier stuff, but it's much cheaper, so I can practice with the ACTUAL load I carry. Shooting enough of it for practice ensures it's reliable in the gun. This is out of my Ruger P94 which is also a great gun :)
I've never noticed this gun shooting any better with different weights, I've shot 165 and 180gr FMJs through it at the range, no difference for me.

YMMV :)

yeah no one can argue with 10mm (unless you happen to have a G20, capacity isn't an issue), except for my Ruger KP90, with Buffalo Bore
.45 Super:

185 gr. JHP @1300 fps (694 ft. lbs.)
200 gr. JHP @ 1200 fps (639 ft. lbs.)
230 gr. JHP @1100 fps (618 ft. lbs.)

and I can "plink" with .45acp at the range and use any .45acp JHP (I still use WWB 230gr JHP for the same reasons I stated above, and I use 147gr 9mm WWB as well, and UMC 115gr for bulk JHP in the safe at home :) )

.357 magnum
October 2, 2007, 07:09 PM
I really agree with David! There are so many great loads in the .40 caliber range, it is hard to come up with a bad one.:) He is very correct, most LE report Excellent results with the .40, especially in the 155-165 and 180gr ammo. I also have always been very cautious not to use ammo that is lower then 150gr in .40 cal, because of lack of penetration. [the DPX 150gr I have heard from many a person is a very fine load] I am one of those people that sticks with 230gr ammo in my .45's, even the 4 inch barrels. I just trust it more. I think if you stick with the really reputable makers you cannot go wrong with today's bullet technology. When I was in LE, I was in some situations that I think if I were armed with a 16 round .40 or a 14 Rd .45 auto and spare Mags. I hopefully could have saved a couple of peoples lives [fellow detectives] Only the good Lord knows for sure. I keep those people in my Heart, you just never forget! I have all the praise in the world for todays LE and what they have to face.:) The technology that has come down the road is very good! Back then The .40 did not even exist yet and we were still issued revolvers.

The Best to All!

Frank

Mad Magyar
October 2, 2007, 08:25 PM
I practice 70% with the 180gr FMJ, the other 30% with 155gr Win. SilverTip HP's, which I top off my carry mag with 3 HP's....:)

RyanM
October 2, 2007, 08:30 PM
I'm partial to 180 gr bullets. Slow and heavy for the win.

Also, my G23 and MK40 both seem to shoot low with 165 gr ammo, but are dead on with 180s.

CountGlockula
October 2, 2007, 08:32 PM
165 gr.

.45&TKD
October 3, 2007, 12:03 PM
Thanks. It looks like the 165 grain and 180 grain are running about even in the poll. I'll just have to try both and see what works best.

Walkalong
October 3, 2007, 12:09 PM
Since I like to shoot what I practice with, I switched to 180gr. If you use the Winchester 180gr Ranger T that is really the best out there for this caliber. Winchester upgraded their Ranger T line in May of this year and they expand beyond belief!

Agreed!

The 180 gr. bullets are also more pleasent to shoot than the hot 155 & 165 Gr loads.

I keep Winchester Ranger 180 Gr. JHP's in my XD SC. :)

scbair
October 3, 2007, 12:31 PM
I haven't put a tape measure to any groups, but my old S&W 4006 prints noticeably tighter groups with 180 grainers than with any lighter bullets. My vote is for the accurate rounds, as I use it as a range gun; haven't CCW'd it in years.

Scorpiusdeus
October 3, 2007, 05:01 PM
I've shot most rounds available in .40 S&W through a P226 and a P239. All fired without a hitch. I prefer the feel of the 165 gr for extended shooting. the 180 gr, to me, just seemed to punch a little more. For defensive needs, I LOVE the Double Tap. They load the Gold Dot bullet for fast flight.

.45&TKD
October 4, 2007, 05:34 PM
Bump

MachIVshooter
October 4, 2007, 10:25 PM
I prefer 155 and 165 grain pills in .40 S&W. The 180 and 200 grainers encroach on powder capacity too much IMO and are much better suited to the 10mm.

XD-40 Shooter
October 4, 2007, 11:06 PM
I've got Winchester Ranger 155's in my XD-40, because they were an excellent value, 250 rounds for $73.:D However, I believe that the 165's give the best performance across a wide spectrum of scenario's. I also agree that the 180 grain loads are the most pleasant to shoot, they have more of a "push", than a "snap".

.45&TKD
October 5, 2007, 09:42 PM
Well I went to the range and fired 50 rounds of 180 grain and 75 rounds of 165 grains, both WWB, and it was hard to decide on a preference. The 165 grains were a little "snappier" and the 180 grains were more of a "push". I wasn't sure, but the 165's might have been more accurate, and follow up shots were a little easier with 180's.

I'll probably go with 180 grainers just because I'm used to 230 grain .45 acp, and bigger is usually better.

The Glock 22 was flawless, as expected.

Lonestar49
October 6, 2007, 12:28 AM
Quote: Well I went to the range and fired 50 rounds of 180 grain and 75 rounds of 165 grains, both WWB, and it was hard to decide on a preference. The 165 grains were a little "snappier" and the 180 grains were more of a "push". I wasn't sure, but the 165's might have been more accurate, and follow up shots were a little easier with 180's.

I'll probably go with 180 grainers just because I'm used to 230 grain .45 acp, and bigger is usually better.
---------------------
...

I wrote the same evaluation over in the Beretta Forum about my Px4 40 and the difference between the 165gr and the 180gr after 300 rounds of each.

And for the exact same reasons you felt, and described, I, too, went with the 180gr and 5300 rounds later, without any failures of anykind, the 180gr is far better getting follow-up shots-on target with more punch, IMHO, as well.


LS

birdbustr
October 6, 2007, 12:58 AM
I loaded some Nosler Competition Handgun bullets in 135 grain with 8 grains of Power Pistol powder at 1350 fps and they shoot the best groupings ever tried from my H&K Compact .40 cal.
At first thought, I would have preferred the 155 or 165 to shoot the most accurate, but after trying those 135 grainers I trimmed my normal grouping from softball sized down to golf ball sized.
Another consideration is the fact that the heavier bullets should acheive much higher penetration. This could include traveling through more walls in your home and possibly your neighbors. I don't know about you, but if you ever wanted something that would dump all energy within and not exit, it would be in a home defense situation.
I also read somewhere on the web an article from a coroner a couple of things that stuck in my head about his personal findings about caliber and bullet weights. 1. He said that in his opinion the best bullet performance on people he autopsied was with lighter weight bullets from a .357 (best)or .40 cal.(2nd best) with high velocity. 2. Normally in shooting with these calibers it only took 1 or 2 shots for a fatality. 3. When he heard multiple gunshots he always assumed 9mm or .380 handguns at first.

Lonestar49
October 6, 2007, 01:29 AM
...

Yes BB, I would agree with that assessment if one is shooting FMJ. But, shooting 180gr JHP's hits the hardest, goes in deep, but like any good JHP, it mushrooms with soft tissue and stops within the BG, or a wall, but not thru one's wall then thru your neighbors wall and into them..

Speaking, of course, from within my house, not an adjoining Apt, or Condo, with a common wall..

The lighter the bullet, the faster and "straighter" it goes, and over distance, which is good for tight range groupings..

IMHO,


LS

DHart
October 6, 2007, 02:27 AM
I'm another guy who prefers "heavy for caliber" bullet weights, which means 230 gr. in .45 acp, 180 gr. in .40, and 147 gr. in 9mm. Generally speaking, penetration is better with heavy-for-caliber bullets and I'm a huge believer in penetration - with expansion secondary, if you can get it.

Lot's of folks complain that .40 caliber is a less-than-comfortable caliber to shoot, complaining that it's too "snappy", etc. I have found that the 180 gr. .40 caliber bullet is more comfortable to shoot, probably a bit easier on the gun, and allows more rapid follow-up rounds than the 165 gr. and 155 gr. loadings. I prefer 180 gr. Gold Dots for defense and 180 gr. plated ammo reloads for practice. For those who find .40 caliber a bit harsh... just switch to 180 gr. bullets and you'll probably enjoy .40 caliber a lot more!

I would feel quite well protected with 165 gr. for sure, even though those loads are less comfortable to shoot and slow down recovery time vs. 180 gr. loads. I wouldn't even consider 155 gr. bullets in .40 caliber at all.

It's 180 gr. for me all the way.

ERDOC
January 8, 2009, 09:39 PM
Many good 165 grain hollow points out there.Just stay away from the sub loads.
Remington,Speer,Federal,Winchester,Corbon are all good loads .

Doc

Peakbagger46
January 9, 2009, 10:31 AM
I've put down 2 mule deer does with 180gr gold dots with good success...

Mello
January 9, 2009, 10:47 AM
It is not so much what bullet weight is best as what is you planned purpose.

Is your primary purpose:
1) punching paper
2) shooing fast
3) shooting cheaply
4) self-defense

If you are primarily concerned with self-defense, you get into the debate of what constitutes stopping power. This debate has raged of decades and will never be settled with everyone.

In my humble opinion stopping a human threat depends on what the bullet encounters inside of the target. The brain and spinal cord are relatively hard to hit. So shooting for center of mass is taught as the preferred target area. This assumes that a bullet has the best chance to encounter tissues which will be destroyed and lead to incapacitation though either blood pressure loss or nerve insult.

Note that incapacitation due to blood loss takes time, even a heart shot has proven to allow some bad guys to continue for some number of seconds. I have no authoritative stories to cite for this. It conforms to my experience in shooting white tail deer. Of the 14 or so heart shots on deer, about half still ran about 100 yards the others just dropped.

To have the best chance of encountering critical tissue to destroy the bullet must penetrate consistently through not only human tissue but also heavy clothing. Some say that the bullet must be able to penetrate a car's windshield or door as well and still have sufficient penetration through heavy clothing and human tissue.

If you choose a bullet that is designed to expand and has penetration characteristics that limit it to say four (4) inches, you have reduced the chance of destroying the heart, liver or spinal cord depending on the shooting angles and reduced the tissue damage that could lead to blood pressure drop and incapacitation.

Generally speaking, bullets of similar construction but greater weight tend to penetrate more. Of course, this is not always true. It is possible for a 40 caliber 150 grain FMJ bullet at 1100fps to penetrate more than a 180 JHP bullet at 950fps, assuming the same bullet path.

So I choose the 10mm in 200gr XTP at 1200fps.

wnycollector
January 9, 2009, 12:40 PM
My CZ 40B seems to be most accurate and consistent w/ 165gr bullets. But in all honesty, the difference is only ~1-1.5" in group sizes between 155, 165 and 180gr weights! My keltec sub2k likes 155gr bullets past 75 yards.

Gracian's Hero
January 9, 2009, 03:43 PM
paper shooting - FMJ 180gr

self-defense - JHP 155-165gr

possum
January 9, 2009, 04:46 PM
it depends, when i reload lead i use mostly 180gr in the past but i am gonna transition to using 155gr, i have 10,000 on the way.

when loaing plated, or jhps' i like to use 165gr the best, Rainier as a matter of fact.

Redneck with a 40
January 9, 2009, 07:44 PM
I have Hornady TAP 155's and 180's, as well as Gold Dot 165's. On paper, it seems the 165's are the way to go, but I'm sure the 180's perform just fine. The Border Patrol uses Golden Sabre 155's, for what its worth.

pitty920
March 25, 2010, 11:52 PM
FOR ALL U PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO ARE AT WAR ARGUIN OVER WHICH IS BETTER THE 9MM OR THE .45. WELL UM NEITHER THE .40 s&w IS. THE FEDS AND POLICE AND THE CIA ALL USE IT AND THEY TEST THE ROUNDS MORE THAT ANYONE ELSE COULD, AND THEY USE OUR MONEY TO DO IT, AND WHAT OUR MONEY HAS SHOWED THEM IS THE MOST LETHAL ROUND IS THE .40S&W. NO ARGUMENTS, READ MUZZLE ENERGY BELOW ON SOME GOOD 40 ROUNDS AND THAT MIGHT SHED A LIL LIGHT ON IT FOR U BUT THAT IS JUST ONE OF THE MANY REASONS!

If u want the most muzzle energy go with the 135 grain bullet, corbon has jhp that have well of 535ft/lbs of muzzle energy, and their velocity is around 1400 i beleive. Muzzle energy is vary similar to stopping power, but as i have tested and recommend all of u do take gallon milk jugs and fill them full of water and shoot them with you hallow points, the biggest hole wins, and for me the 180 GRAIN WINCHESTER SUPREME ELEITE BONDED( PRETTY MUCH THE RANGER ROUNDS BUT BETTER MADE) DID THE MOST DAMAGE! BUT THE 165 GRAIN REM GOLDEN SABRE WAS CLOSE! AS WAS THE 135 GRAIN CORBON.

IF U CAN KEEP UR BULLETS WITH MUZZLE ENERGY OF 450FT/LBS OR MORE U ARE SMOKIN MOST 45ACP ROUNDS AT 390FT/LBS.

IF Ur LIKE ME LOVE TO KNOW WHAT THE AMMO U ARE BUYING IS CAPIBLE IF THEN GO TO THIS SITE, THE PRICES ARE NOT GREAT, BUT EVERY RND U CLICK ON HAS THE VELOCITY AND MUZZle ENERGY AS WELL AS 25 AND 50 YARD ENERGY!
http://www.ableammo.com/catalog/default.php?cPath=10480_14658_14743_14908_14749

I PERSONALLY LIKE TO HAVE MORE VELOCITY SO I GO WITH THE MOST MUZZLE ENERGY THE 135 GRAIN ARE THE BEST FOR THAT 135 TO 155. YOU CAN GET THOSE GLASSER ONES THAT ARE LIKe 65 GRAINS AND HAVE MORE, BUT THAT IS LIKE SHOOTIN A 22.

SO TO SUM IT UP, THE 40 CAL IS SUCH A GOOD GUN BECUASE IT HAS THE VELOCITY OF THE 9MM AND THE STOPPING POWER OF THE 45.

SO YEAH U ARE GOIN TO WANT A LIGHTER BULLET LIKE THE 135 TO 165 RANGE, THEN U ALWAYS HAVE 1100 PLUS FPS AND 460 PLUS FT/LBS OF MUZZLE. YEAH YEAH BIG AND SLOW, WELL I SAY NO, THE SLOWER THE BULLET THE LESS RANGE AND MORE DROP, AND THE FASTER THE BULLET THE MORE RAPID THE JHP WILL EXPAND!

MY RANGE ROUND IS A 165GRAIN FMJ WINCHESTER, AND MY CARRY ROUND IS A 135 CORBON 1375fps, 540FT/LBS, AND OR A GOLDEN SABRE OR WINCHESTER SUPREME ELITE, BOTH ESSENTIALLY THE SAME ROUND. 1180fps/485ft/lbs

ANY ONE WHO LIKE THOSE WEAK FEDERAL HYDRA SHOCKS MIGHT WANT TO RETHINK THERE APPROACH, THEY ARE UNDER 400 FT/LBS FOR MUZZEL ENERGY AND ARE SLOW, THERE IS NPTHIN GOOD THE NAME SOUNDS COOL BUT THATS IT, A TARGET FMJ WILL OUTDO ONE OF THOSE, STICK WITH THE ROUNDS THE LAW USES, 180-165 GRAIN JHP REM GOLD/WINCH RANGER. AND THE 135 155 GRAIN CORBON.

(yea ive bump fired a clip or two, who hasnt!?)

DONT USE 180 GRAIN FOR TARGET, TOO MUCH KICK THE 155 TO 165 IS GREAT, A LOT LESS KICK.

***EVEN THOUGH MOST COMPETIVE SHOOTERS SHOOT THE 9MM, THE LIGHTER FMJ .40 ARE JUST AS GOOD THE 135GRAIN IS OUTSTANDING AND HAS JUST ABOUT AN EQUAL KICK TO THE 9MM.

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