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180 gr. vs 165 gr. is there a difference in performance?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Nomad101bc, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. Nomad101bc

    Nomad101bc Well-Known Member

    I always buy 180 gr. for my CX4 .40 S&W carbine. 165 however is cheaper and more abundant by bulk. Is there a difference between 165gr? Will it cycle the bolt and perform as well?

    I have always been worried about switching grains but it could save me several bucks just not sure if its okay to do so and if it will jam or not. Will the recoil be the same?
  2. -v-

    -v- Well-Known Member

    It should cycle your firearm just fine, its basically the equivalent of running a 9mm with 115gr or 147gr, both work perfectly fine. Running the numbers on the 165gr load, at "average" factory velocities it packs both more energy and more momentum then the 180gr load as well, as a virtue of increased velocity.
  3. CountGlockula

    CountGlockula Well-Known Member

    I shoot both on my .40S&W Glocks. I like the 180 grains better.
  4. Call me crazy, but why don't you just buy a box and see how it works in your gun? I can't imagine the CX4 is that sensitive to ammo as far as cycling, but I don't think you'd be out much trying one box.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2008
  5. Nomad101bc

    Nomad101bc Well-Known Member

    The only thing I own right now thats less than 180 grain are my federal home defense JHP's which are too expensive for plinking. Next time I am at a sporting store I will buy a box of 50 and compare.
  6. DMK

    DMK Well-Known Member

    I find that 165 gr seems to shoot more accurately in my CZ40. Maybe it's a little easier to shoot. The cheapest 180gr FMJ that I can find (CCI Blazer) is a hair cheaper than 165gr though. I think 180gr is more popular for some reason.

    For SD ammo, I don't see a lot of difference between 155gr, 165gr or 180gr in all the tests I've seen. That varies a bit in brand to brand though.
  7. spwenger

    spwenger Well-Known Member

    165 gr. Apples and 165 gr. Oranges

    The original loading in .40 S&W was the subsonic 180 gr., intended to emulate subsonic .45 ACP loads in a package amenable to a smaller grip frame than that required for pistols chambered in .45 ACP. It wasn't long before hotter loads with lighter bullets, such as the 155 gr. JHP's favored by the US Border Patrol, became available. These loads have a snappier recoil than the subsonic ones.

    There are two different kinds of 165 gr. loads in this caliber. There are the hot loads, such as the Remington Golden Saber and there are the subsonic loads. The latter were apparently developed for agencies that had adopted the .40 S&W and had trouble getting all of their officers to "qualify" even with the 180 gr. subsonic loads.

    As a result, it's important not to lump all 165 gr. .40 S&W loads together. Both terminal performance and cycling reliability may vary with the intended velocity.
  8. Jason_G

    Jason_G Well-Known Member



    The 180 gr looks a little better to me, but only if you can shoot it just as accurately and get back on target just as fast as with the 165 gr. Those are more major than the tiny bit of performance difference you'll see with the different bullets IMHO (assuming it's not just a plinker). Also, those were from a handgun, not a carbine. They both ought to cycle in your carbine though.

  9. Nomad101bc

    Nomad101bc Well-Known Member

    Well thanks for the ballistic gel results that helps alot. I think I will look into acquiring some of the more affordible 165 grain bulk ammo. I figured there would be no real difference in expansions since .40 S&W fires the round at such high speeds.
  10. Jason_G

    Jason_G Well-Known Member

    No problem. The only difference that I see is that the 180 gr has the potential to penetrate a little more from what I've seen, but that can vary from load to load among manufacturers, and penetration probably isn't going to be a problem if it's getting shot out of a carbine anyway. I'd just go for whatever's cheaper, as long as it's not junk. Just my 2 cents.


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