40 s&w grains vs barrel length


October 17, 2007, 05:40 PM
I've forgotten my balistics and the performance of the .40s&w for the 155, 165, and 180gn loads comming out of different barrel lengths say for example the short barrel of a G22 and the longer barrel of a Kel Tec Sub 2000. Any help and/or conversation would be apprciated.


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October 18, 2007, 01:57 PM
in my view, its pretty simple.

lighter weight = faster
longer barrel = faster

if you have say, a 3 inch barrel, i'd carry 135-165gr to keep speed up to have better chances of reliable expansion (assuming the use of JHP's) and energy tranfer.

if you have a longer barrel, say 4.5" or more, reliable expansion can be achieved in the 180-200 grain range.\

the only combo i'd really be concerned about is if you were using something really short like a Kel-Tec P40 and 180-200 gr loads.

the .40 is plenty zippy to produce expansion in just about all other scenarios.

my carry gun has a 3.58 inch barrel and i carry 135 or 155 grain JHP's just because i subscribe to the light and fast school of thought. just personal preference there.


October 18, 2007, 03:20 PM
I use either Winchester Ranger 165gr SXT or Hornady TAP 155gr. in all of them. Recommended as two very good loads in a Glock 27.

the naked prophet
October 18, 2007, 03:39 PM
I see it the other way around. If you have a short barrel you use a heavier bullet, and for a long barrel you use a lighter bullet.

A heavier bullet will limit the amount of powder in the case. The heavier bullet's powder will burn more completely in a short barrel than a lighter bullet's powder. If you consider two loadings to be equivalent, it's probably because the lighter bullet has more velocity to make up for its lack of weight - using the load in a short barrel reduces the velocity of both the heavy and the light bullets, but to a lesser degree with the heavy bullets.

In a long barrel, the heavy bullets powder will be completely burned long before it reaches the end of the barrel - a light bullet may easily have twice the powder (especially in something like .40 S&W a 180 grain vs 135 grain bullet) and get much more of a boost from the longer barrel than the heavy bullet will.

I'd say that in short barrel guns, shoot the heaviest bullet you can find. In a pistol caliber carbine, use a lighter bullet for the most ballistic improvement over a pistol.

October 18, 2007, 08:46 PM
I'd suggest shooting some over a chrony, be aware that different manufacturer's loads of the same weight will perform differently due to different powder.

Speer makes some short barrel 40 S&W ammunition (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=172640&t=11082005)

The bullet weight is not a reliable means for determining burn rate of the powder, heavy bullets can be loaded with fast powders and vice versa.

October 18, 2007, 11:14 PM
Generally speaking a heavier projectile will penetrate deeper than a lighter projectile. That's why you generally want to use the heaviest bullet that will expand reliably from your pistol. With modern bullet design that's less of a problem than it was 10 years ago. I like the Speer 180gr Gold Dot for Short Barrels (http://ammunitiontogo.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=23_71_117&products_id=737) for 40S&W pistols with barrel between 3" and 3.5" and Federal 180gr HSTs or 180gr Winchester Ranger-Ts (http://ammunitiontogo.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=23_71_117&products_id=682) for full length 4" barrels. You might also look at DoubleTap's 180gr Gold Dot for your full sized pistols.

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