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10mm vs .40S&W

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by XDJ, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. XDJ

    XDJ New Member

    Jul 22, 2007
    I keep hearing that the advantage of the 10mm is that it penetrates much better than the .40S&W. Not wanting to take this at face value I looked around some. Trying to find comparable results is tough.

    On Brass Fetcher, they only have one 10mm posted, 180gr Remington JHP. One went through the block and two others penetrated 12.7' and 13.1'. The Remington 40S&W 180gr. Golden Saber penetrated between 11.5" and 12.2". So a difference of, at most, 1.5". (I considered the one that left the block as abnormal since the other two are so similar, maybe that's totally wrong)

    According to Mike from Double Tap (as posted on the 10mmtalk forum):
    DoubleTap .40 S&W Penetration / expansion
    165gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1200fps - 14.0" / .70"
    180gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1100fps - 14.75" / .68"

    DoubleTap 10mm
    165gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1400fps - 14.25" / 1.02"
    180gr Gold Dot JHP @ 1300fps - 15.25" / .96"

    So the 180gr GD penetrates 0.5" deeper and the 165gr GD penetrates 0.25" deeper.

    Is a 0.25" to 1.5" difference really that great?

    The DT GD expansion is much greater in the 10mm but nobody talks about that when touting 10mm.

    Am I missing something? Are there more direct comparisons that I'm not finding?

    I am in no way bashing 10mm. I own one and enjoy shooting and owning it. I'm just looking for data.
  2. Kind of Blued

    Kind of Blued Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Rocky Mountains
    I've only recently begun looking into buying a handgun chambered in 10mm, but from what I can tell, it outperforms every auto handgun cartridge available, is often times cheaper than .45 ACP, and you can get more of the darn things in a magazine.

    Sounds like a winner to me.

    I'm still waiting for an 11mm.


  3. jgo296

    jgo296 member

    Feb 5, 2008
    well the 40 and 10mm can be loaded with identical bullets so if its loaded right the 10mm is going 200-300fps faster
    im pretty sure it will penetrate deeper
    i used to own a glock 27 (subcompact 40)
    i now own a glock 20 so ive shot both but never tried measuring anything
  4. Big Boomer

    Big Boomer Participating Member

    Aug 14, 2007
    Careful what you say, you'll upset the 45 Super, 460 Rowland, 451 Detonics, 44Automag, 50AE, 45 Winmag, 40 Super, and I am sure there are more crowds that are more powerful than a 10mm in an Auto.

    Now for the original post. More energy does NOT mean more penetration. Using the same bullet construction many bullets will actually penetrate less with more velocity. Heavier bullets moving at the same speeds will give better penetration.

    It's a game of momentum, not energy for penetration. So the 10mm while having more energy to do more work on the target, my lose it momentum just as fast as the 40. After all it's the same bullet we are talking about right? Take the 10mm and load some heavier bullets in it and hop them up and it'll penetrate much deeper than the 40.

    Another thing to look at is that these are tests using ballistic gelatin. If you are using one for SD or game it's a whole nother' ball game. You have a nice bone covering over the chest cavity where all the goodies are located. Light fast rounds do poor at penetrating but great at dumping energy. This is why a 22-250 (with very light bullets) works great for a varmint round, they dump all their energy in like 2-3 inches. This is what makes groundhogs actually explode into itty bitty pieces.

    I am considering getting a 10mm, mainly because I don't have one! I do have a 45 Super, 460 Rowland FWIW, and the 45 Super on par/even a little over the 10mm. Probably my favorite. The rowland is like shootin an Automag, she likes to buck and bite a bit.

    Forgot to add that in a similar situation, the 460 Rowland (.451) at 185gr traveling at 1500+fps is insane for a 45 Auto but it simply will not penetrate as deep as a 230gr +P, and unless you are using the right bullet, they actually break apart rather quickly as they were not designed for those energy levels.
  5. jkingrph

    jkingrph Participating Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    E. Texas
    .357 ie 35 cal = 9mm , 40 cal =10mm,
    bingo 45cal =11 mm.

    I already have several 11mm's, I do prefer the Colt Delta Gold Cup though.
  6. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Participating Member

    Sep 30, 2003
    Yep, the problem you are having with penetration data is that everyone is using modern 'smart' bullets that are designed to penetrate a certain distance almost regardless of impact velocity.

    When they are driven fast, they open quicker. Slowed down, they open less and end up going about the same depth.

    Which is better? Of course, if you can handle the increased recoil....the faster bullet will hit the target harder, even if the final penetration is about the same.

    If you really want to compare the two cartridges, use hard-cast lead. The 10mm will out penetrate the 40 as you would expect it to with its' increased velocity.
  7. XDJ

    XDJ New Member

    Jul 22, 2007
    It makes sense that the "smart" bullets are designed to open and "stop" after a certain depth.

    Does anybody have penetration results for WFNGC hardcast rounds out of 10mm and .40S&W? The only times I've seen gelatin shot with these rounds it just went all the way through the standard block, so it could only be said that it went past 15".

    The Barnes copper bullets claim to penetrate well because they do not shed weight. I haven't seen many GD bullets shed weight either though. Does anybody know of a direct comparison of Barnes vs. GD and any handgun caliber?

    Someone needs to make a "really smart" bullet that expands from 10mm to 1" and just keeps going. Of course it needs to be controllable in a handgun. I'm not asking much.:D

    Thanks everybody for your input.
  8. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Senior Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    The original 10mm will clearly outperform the 40 S&W (dubbed Short & Weak by the more cynical when it was introduced). S&W took the 10 and shortened it to fit existing 9mm pistol frames. It was a success while the 10, despite being more powerful (or maybe because of it), has largely languished.

    With full power loads the 10 is quite a round. But it requires a full-size gun.
  9. akodo

    akodo Senior Member

    Aug 31, 2005
    okay, penetration is penetration, you just need 'enough', and 14 inches is 'enough'

    as you noted, expansion is quite different, and that to me is a horse of a different color, the more expansion the more area you are affecting, better chance of messing up something important.

    however, I've never been fond of just getting the data for final expansion. I know it is hard to get anything else, but a bullet that opens up to twice it's normal size within the first few inches and holds that size for the next 12 to me is quite different than somethign that opens up much slower.

    I think that is where the 10mm shines. It's final expansion is much greater, but even earlier it has expanded much more, so the total area of direct damage being done is greater, and that isn't even bringing in stretch cavity and shockwave and all that
  10. jungleroy

    jungleroy Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    The penetration you may have read about, just may be pertaining to protection from wild animals. There you would want as large and as long of a wound channel as possible. Hard cast lead loads in the 10mm would most certainly outperform the 40SW in this instance.

    The data listed for hollow points, like the gold dot or golden saber, are showing that overpenetration likely will not happen if used for SD purposes.
    There is loading data which shows the proper range of speed for certain engineered slugs to perform at their best without fragmentation.
    I would believe that places like Doubletap follow those standards when loading those specialty slugs.
    I know from experience that when you drive a 165 grain gold dot to it's maximum speed given just it's weight when loading that it will come apart when it hits a hog.

    I hope that in some way my answer helps you out here.
  11. brigadier

    brigadier Member

    Oct 10, 2007
    The body of any living creature is mostly water, and ballistic gel is a similar, gooey substance, so the idea of deep penetrating a thick, soft and heavy surface doesn't say a whole lot when comparing loads in this way.
    To give you a good example, in many cases, 2 different bullets that penetrate 17-20 inches of ballistic gel might get you completley different results from each other when applied to a grizzly bare's skull.
    As pointed out, 15 inches of tissue penetration is plenty, so what's really important beyond that is getting your bullet past bone and to that 15 inches of tissue and delivering enough energy to bring the target down.
    While the tissue penetration between the .40S&W and 10mm Auto may be similar, they are dramatically different in nearly every other way, including accurate range, energy delivery, surface penetration etc. Remember, the .40S&W is a lightened up 10mm. A 10mm can be loaded to perfectly match any .40S&W. A .40S&W cannot be loaded as hot as some 10mms. In deed, you can get a good 200 to 400fps greater velocity out of a 10mm, which enhances surface penetration, accurate range and energy delivery. If even 200fps seams like an unimportant difference in speed, then I challenge you to custom make some .40S&W loads that crono at only 200fps, put a few of them down range and see how comfortable you would feel getting hit by one, baring in mind that this speed alone makes up the minimum difference between .40S&W and 10mm Auto max loads.
    Many of men have been killed by led balls moving at 400fps and under.
  12. moooose102

    moooose102 Senior Member

    Oct 21, 2007
    West Michigan
    all i can tell you is that the only penetration test that matters is on in actual flesh. be it human or a game animal. the 10mm ia quite a bit more powerful that the 40 s&w. and as such, will have quite a bit more recoil and report. if you can handle those, and you want the extra power, then go for the 10mm! if the extra recoil and noise will bother you, go for the 40. be honest with yourself. nobody else will care. but if you flinch on every shot, your accuracy will be lousey at best. and no gun, not even a 700 nitro express, can be lethal (not even to paper targets) unless the shot placement is there. i did consider a 10mm when i bought my 45. but i also considered what my intended target was. for me, it is for personal defense. and the 45 seems to me like the best caliber for the job. if i was going to use an auto loader for hunting deer, i would choose the 10mm, or someting even more powerfull than that. i am certain that a deer can be taken with my 45. in fact, i took a deer with my .357 magnum, using 158 grain winchester silvertips.
  13. Soybomb

    Soybomb Senior Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    I think you're looking at different things really. Super deep penetration comments about 10mm are probably things you're seeing from hunters who can have a hard time getting sufficient penetration from common handgun rounds.

    When we go to self defense with handguns against people we're loooking for 1.) sufficient penetration depth 2.) to crush as much tissue as possible causing a bigger wound to stop an attacker sooner. An extra .30" expansion would be something positive.

    Personally though I think .40 is the choice for most shooters because of how hard it is to find defensive rounds in 10mm, and the additional price of 10mm. 10mm is for reloaders.
  14. Majic

    Majic Mentor

    May 3, 2003
    Use FMJs and load the cartridges to full power and it will be easy to see the 10mm out penetrate the .40. After all the .40 is nothing but a shortened and down powered 10mm. Now when looking at SD loads a certain goal is established. All rounds no matter the caliber have the bullets tweaked to expand and the powders adjusted to drive the bullets to a certain depth agreed upon by everyone as ideal. The powerful calibers are not loaded to their full potential and the weaker calibers have bullets with thinner jackets.
  15. saturno_v

    saturno_v Senior Member

    Nov 7, 2007
    True but I never saw the ammo you mentioned in any gun shop or sporting goods stores (Including Cabela's) nor are they offered by many major or even remotely popular ammo manufacturers except, in some cases, for the 50 AE which is used only in the big unwieldy Desert Eagle (only 7 rounds). I would choose a more reliable revolver over a DE anytime of the day...

    By the way the 460 Rowland and the 45 Winmag (the first basically offered only by Corbon and the latter only by WInchester) are extremely close in performance to full power 10 mm loads, actually I suspect that the numbers are the same because these 2 cartridges published numbers are related to at least a 5.5 inch barrel while the 10 mm Auto published numbers are for a 4.5"

    These calibers basically are a technical exercise more than anything else....

    So the 10 mm auto is the most powerful autoloader cartridge relatively common and easy to find in stores and in a form factor which allows the use in high capacity autoloaders (the real advantage of automatic pistol is in their magazine capacity compared to the wheel guns)

    I agree with you that 200 fps is significant..way more significant that your example may explain....the energy and momentum potential of a given bullet travelling at 200 fps is WAY LESS than the additional energy and momentum carried by the same bullet travelling at 200 fps FASTER than a "baseline", let's say, of 1100 fps....

    Velocity and energy/momentum do not increase in linear fashion.....
    Last edited: May 20, 2008
  16. OFT

    OFT Member

    Apr 15, 2008
    The 10mm is pretty close to the .41 magnum. It's certainly no cream puff like the .40 S&W. I think that I would choose the 10mm for a woods gun and a 40 for sociable carry.
  17. saturno_v

    saturno_v Senior Member

    Nov 7, 2007
    I love the 10 mm but a 40 4&W a cream puff??? :eek::eek::eek:
  18. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

    Apr 20, 2008
    In gel, most handgun calibers perform similarly. However, step up against something like shooting through barriers like car doors or auto glass and that is where the 10mm shines above the 40S&W.
  19. mpmarty

    mpmarty Participating Member

    Jul 12, 2006
    So. Western Oregon
    Well, I'm off to Alaska this week and will return after June 9th. Going with me will be my Witness full size all steel 10mm. Sixteen rounds of alternating Barnes solid copper FMJ and 200gr Hornady JHPs. All over max loads of AA #9 in new Starline brass. If I encounter any over agressive brownies I'll let you know how they work (or I wont if they don't).:D
  20. Northalius

    Northalius Member

    Jan 21, 2008
    Virginia, U.S.
    And who said the 10mm can only be had in full-size guns? You've never heard of the Glock 29...


    At a height of but 4.4 inches, and shorter in length than a Compact Glock 19? I'd not say that's full-size; would you? ;)

    It has an 11 round capacity, with the option to also have a Glock 20 15-round mag inside, if you want.

    A man commenting on the Reviews area of DoubleTaps' website, concerning their 10mm 200 grain FMJ-FP round: He says he put the round straight through a dense telephone pole! He said, with a 6" barrel, velocity is roughly 1400 fps, with 860 ft. lbs. energy.

    Check out DoubleTap 10mm ammo: http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/ca...21_25&osCsid=8dbe528c19cc480dbb5ea999e06ddc5d

    Now, the DoubleTap 200 gr. WFNGC Beartooth round is advertised as being 25 fps faster and 30 ft. lbs. more than their 200 gr. FMJ-FP round. I'll let you do the math on that one, with a 6" barrel. :D

    The gel results seen with DoubleTap, were done with a stock Glock 20 4.6" barrel. I've seen Mike McNett (owner of DoubleTap) say the G29 (with 3.78" barrel) actually had superior expansion and penetration with the 10mm JHP rounds, since the ones fired out of the Glock 20 were passing velocities they were meant to fly at in the first place. This is because most (or all) popular semi-auto JHP rounds are made for the popular carried calibers today, which're slower in velocity: .40, 9mm, .45, etc.

    DoubleTaps' 135 gr. actually fragged up in gel, because it flew in at 1600+ fps (from 4.6" Glock 20 barrel), for which it wasn't meant for that velocity!

    With a FMJ, you want the longest barrel possible, however... since the FMJ can stand against a lot of resistance when they hit hard targets!

    DoubleTap also sells XTP rounds, which are specifically made for high velocity expansion... but "slow expansion" however. These are nice for hunting deer. But I'd always use 200 gr. FMJ or Beartooth for bear defense in the woods.

    Many people worry so much about "overpenetration" when they hear me say "Use 10mm for defense!" I show 'em the gel results, and they're pretty amazed. The higher speed velocity of the 10mm make expansion even more dramatic and reliable than the slower-velocity calibers, in fact!

    Fire JHP rounds from a .22 or .25 (or some .380s)... and you'll see their expansion is close to useless, and thus why many go for FMJ rounds when they're using a mousegun for personal defense. It's the total opposite with high-speed rounds, such as the 10mm: JHP rounds are used to their full potential with the 10mm velocities! Even with them peeling back a little bit when fired from a 4.6" barreled Glock 20! Still good, but G29 (3.78" barrel) is a little better. They're both showing the borderline of what modern JHP rounds can stand up to at certain highend velocities.

    So, in the end: yes, the 10mm may not seem like a huge advantage using JHP, as compared to the .40 S&W penetration... but that's only if you're NOT looking at the EXPANSION results! The 10mm shows a dramatic improvement in expansion over the .40 S&W. The more expansion, to less penetration will happen afterward, since it's gaining in resistance the more it expands. If the 10mm expanded to the same diameter as the .40 S&W, it'd penetrate much deeper than what you see in those DT results.

    I'd guess the 10mm would penetrate about 18 inches, if it only expanded to .70, yet traveling at those speeds and same weight grain compared.

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