.40 S&W vs .45 Auto


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Boberama
September 2, 2009, 05:45 AM
I know this has been beaten to death over and over again, but I don't want to compare anything but these cartridge's stopping power. No magazine capacity, recoil, pistol designs, kabooms and case failures, availability, maximum pressures, reloading advantages, or overpenetration issues. Oh, and no .45 +P. I would be especially interested in wound profiles and ballistics comparisons. I've seen some of Martin Fackler's wound profiles, and I'm sure he has profiled the .40 and .45, but don't know where to find more of these. The two main loads I am thinking of are 165gr at 1150 fps and 230 grains at 850 fps.

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LoneStarWings
September 2, 2009, 06:05 AM
From Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo
(http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Misc_Images/DocGKR/Handgun_gel_comparison.jpg)
http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Misc_Images/DocGKR/Handgun_gel_comparison.jpg
http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Misc_Images/DocGKR/Handgun_expanded_JHP.jpg

Also, poke around a bit at stoppingpower.net a bit. The bottom line is both are good enough, the .45 ACP camp is firmly entrenched but I use a .40 personally (higher capacity magazines for a given frame size, plus my pistol of choice was designed around .40). If you stick with the big 3 (HST, Gold Dot, DPX) your should be fine in any of the above mentioned calibers.

evan price
September 2, 2009, 07:01 AM
Handgun stopping power is a myth. One shot stops with a pistol are just as much luck and skill as they are bullet size. You want a guaranteed one shot stop, you need a howitzer.

calaverasslim
September 2, 2009, 08:09 AM
From Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo
(http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Misc_Images/DocGKR/Handgun_gel_comparison.jpg)
http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Misc_Images/DocGKR/Handgun_gel_comparison.jpg
http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Misc_Images/DocGKR/Handgun_expanded_JHP.jpg

Also, poke around a bit at stoppingpower.net a bit. The bottom line is both are good enough, the .45 ACP camp is firmly entrenched but I use a .40 personally (higher capacity magazines for a given frame size, plus my pistol of choice was designed around .40). If you stick with the big 3 (HST, Gold Dot, DPX) your should be fine in any of the above mentioned calibers.
I would be really interested in which bullets in each catagory was pictured..

LoneStarWings
September 2, 2009, 08:42 AM
Those are Winchester Ranger-T's, which are also a good choice according to most sources.

huntsman
September 2, 2009, 10:09 AM
got any pics using ball ammo?

Hawk
September 2, 2009, 10:55 AM
Hopefully not too much of a hijack but I've been curious about something regarding these recurring caliber threads - specifically the .40 vs. .45ACP examples.

I've noticed that ballistics tables I've checked (Remington and Winchester as example) routinely list .40S&W tested in a 4" barrel and .45ACP tested in a 5" barrel.

Anybody know offhand if this disparity exists when gel testing etc is conducted?

I had a rep of one ammo manufacturer tell me that a specific round's 5" .45 performance would degrade enough in a 3" barrel that they wouldn't recommend it. This is only verbal from one source but it's making me wonder.

Does anyone that obsesses over ballistics tables, gelatin tests, "stopping power" and carefully dissects the minutiae between various reports ever buy a stellar-performing .45ACP that was tested in a 5" barrel, stuff it in his 3" Defender or Ultra and go about his business unaware he may have 7 rounds of what amounts to anemic hardball?

In other words, assuming "pistol design" includes such parameters as "barrel length" how is it even possible to discuss "stopping power" or even terminal ballistics as though it existed in a vacuum?

Thanks!
/threadveer

Ben86
September 2, 2009, 01:08 PM
The difference is 1.5mm and about an extra 50 fpe for the .40. Very little difference in stopping power between the two.

mljdeckard
September 2, 2009, 01:23 PM
I agree. The real world difference is so small as to be relevant in maybe one case out of a hundred. If you get as many good hits as possible, the differences between calibers and loads gets very small, very quickly.

Having said that, I carry 230 grain HSTs, because while the difference may be limited, I think that if you are using a handgun to save your life you must give yourself every advantage you can. (See above expansion charts.)

Jackal
September 2, 2009, 01:30 PM
I just figure whichever round is chambered in a tiny, concealable handgun is best. Thats why I carry a PM40.

CWL
September 3, 2009, 03:40 PM
Practice with both calibers and decide which one you shoot the best. That's it.

These "A v. B" postings are ridiculous since you don't take into consideration the most important variable -what your body and skills can handle. What may shoot the "best" for a 6'4" Force Recon Marine may not be the same for a 5'8" gun noob.

Keep working on developing personal skills and don't get so enamored over brands and gimmics. All guns will shoot straight if your aim is true, all bullets will make holes, but placement is all up to you.

nathan
September 4, 2009, 03:41 AM
PRactice practice practice. AIm for the chest and head for the final knockdown.

scythefwd
September 4, 2009, 04:03 AM
Can anyone here tell me what that huge black splotch in the .40 S&W bullet path was cause by?

C-grunt
September 4, 2009, 04:07 AM
I had a rep of one ammo manufacturer tell me that a specific round's 5" .45 performance would degrade enough in a 3" barrel that they wouldn't recommend it. This is only verbal from one source but it's making me wonder.

Does anyone that obsesses over ballistics tables, gelatin tests, "stopping power" and carefully dissects the minutiae between various reports ever buy a stellar-performing .45ACP that was tested in a 5" barrel, stuff it in his 3" Defender or Ultra and go about his business unaware he may have 7 rounds of what amounts to anemic hardball?

/threadveer

Even if it doesnt expand, the sharper shoulders of the hollow point will do more damage than the rounded FMJ that pushes tissue out of the way.

As far as the .40 vs .45, the .45 does make a bigger hole. But the difference is not that much, like 1/20th of an inch.

Werewolf
September 4, 2009, 01:36 PM
I had a rep of one ammo manufacturer tell me that a specific round's 5" .45 performance would degrade enough in a 3" barrel that they wouldn't recommend it. This is only verbal from one source but it's making me wonder.


I load .45ACP 230gr bullet over various powders. Without exception the difference between my 5" and 3.25" barreled 1911's is 80 FPS. That's for a 230gr bullet. I've never used a lighter one so the FPS difference may not be the same for other bullet weights.

Regarding the pics posted IMO there wouldn't be a rats ass bit of difference between my 940FPS load out of the 5" barrel and the same load chronied at 860FPS out of the 3.25" barrel except the channels as shown might be slightly larger with slightly more penetration.

That all boils down to: IMO the rep you talked to is full of it...

Jed Carter
September 4, 2009, 02:47 PM
The .357SIG wound channel looks to stay wider longer, appears to still have rotation past 6-8". I would not feel under gunned with anything 9mm and above. My take on things... if you have to shoot some one... keep shooting until they quit moving.

bearmgc
September 4, 2009, 02:50 PM
Yes, this topic has been beaten to death....BUT nice pictures Calaverraslim!

CWL
September 4, 2009, 03:25 PM
Can anyone here tell me what that huge black splotch in the .40 S&W bullet path was cause by?

For the 165gr JHP, that was probably just a difference in lighting of the photo compared to the other pics. Notice how the photo is generally darker than the others? I don't think it shows a larger wound channel if that is what you are hoping for.

Remember that there is no such thing as a magic bullet. If you believe in sales BS, someday a BG may prove you wrong the hard way.

Firearms usage is a martial art. Constant practice is the only way to improve and to stay in condition.

steve s
September 4, 2009, 08:25 PM
A miss with a 40 is exactly the same as a miss with a 45. Think about it

scythefwd
September 5, 2009, 04:21 AM
For the 165gr JHP, that was probably just a difference in lighting of the photo compared to the other pics.

That's what I was thinking, but I wasn't sure. I didn't even consider wound channel size as it is about the same for all of the rounds pictured.

Vern Humphrey
September 5, 2009, 07:05 PM
Handgun stopping power is a myth. One shot stops with a pistol are just as much luck and skill as they are bullet size. You want a guaranteed one shot stop, you need a howitzer.
Amen. I've said over and over a valuable study would use "stops over encounters" as an initial indicator. The idea is to separate losers from winners in fights, and see what differentiates the winners from the losers. I suspect the most common and influential factor would be training.

Brass Fetcher
September 5, 2009, 07:17 PM
The ammo company representative was probably right on the money - considering that the target has a density close to water, velocity is the main component in getting an expanding bullet to expand. Check out the velocity difference between 45s from a 3.5" barrel and a 5.0" barrel with most ammunition.

The darker spot on the .40S&W track was likely caused by the red dye used to color the track, collecting in one of the cracks caused by the bullet passage. Gelatin is difficult to photograph.

REAPER4206969
September 5, 2009, 07:59 PM
Use this tool to compare:
http://www.winchester.com/lawenforcement/flash/win_flash.html

SHusky57
September 5, 2009, 08:03 PM
I studied the terminal ballistics and gelatin results.... there isn't a heck of a lot of difference, not enough to say one is better than the other.

If we were comparing .32 ACP to .40SW/45ACP we could make a comparison, but the 40 and 45 are so similar. As you can see in the above pictures, there's not a whole lot of difference.

EHL
September 6, 2009, 10:47 AM
The two main loads I am thinking of are 165gr at 1150 fps and 230 grains at 850 fps.


I'd opt for a 180 grain over a 165 grain bullet in 40 S&W. I wouldn't get anything smaller than a 185 grain in 45acp. (and only in rare occasions like DPX's where there is no 230 grain option)

Practice with both calibers and decide which one you shoot the best. That's it.



Yup. For me, I think the 40 S&W shoots too snappy for my likes and what I'm used to. I'm used to, and prefer the softer "push" that is given by my 45's. I just can't get myself to fall in love with a .40 S&W for that reason. I figure that faster follow up shots and ease of use will trump the 1-2 extra rounds I would have if I carried a .40, just my 2 cents.

The Lone Haranguer
September 6, 2009, 11:09 AM
I would not pick a cartridge based solely upon a nebulous quality or property that we have no real way of measuring accurately or reliable statistics for.

The Lone Haranguer
September 6, 2009, 11:15 AM
http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Misc_Images/DocGKR/Handgun_gel_comparison.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_AG0NMLjCoX4/ShdkqAFDJXI/AAAAAAAAEgk/8eRgtgUbiWY/s400/clutch.jpeg

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