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180 grain less safe than 165 grain?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by TheProf, Jun 16, 2012.

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  1. TheProf

    TheProf Member

    Jul 1, 2009
    Just got done reading the post about bullet setback. My question: Since the 165 grain (.40) is smaller than the 165 grain (.40), is there less problems with bullet setback creating dangerous pressures?

    In other words, although I like the 180 grain, would it be safer for me to go with the 165 grain?
  2. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

    May 22, 2009
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Not really. Both are loaded with powder charges that take into account the available space in the case. If you look at reloading manuals for a given powder as bullet weight goes up, the range of powder charges goes down.

    With that in mind the available space is already "proper", and in either either case you're starting at about the same pressure baseline.

    In any event, I think you're worrying a bit much about this. Unless you're sitting there cycling your ammo into your chamber over and over, you don't need to worry about it too much.
  3. Lonestar49

    Lonestar49 Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    So. Calif.
    Sub-sonic vs super-sonic, to start


    Actually, IF there is a "forgiveness" of and in the event of bullet set-back I'd favor (which I do in all 3 of my 40's) "sub-sonic" 180gr FMJ or JHP as they're velocity is lower, aprox 978fps vs 165gr super-sonic velocity of aprox 1135fps so IMHO there's a bit of room for more velocity, without consequences with sub-sonic 185gr vs a tad more velocity added to the 165gr's already higher velocity's. OMMV

    In all my 40's over the last 6yrs with managed mag and bullet rotations with checks before re-loading for a second time and always a check prior to 3rd, "re-loading/chambering, time being the 3 times is the charm to putting them down range, fired, I have yet to encounter any set-back (that would show up, noticeably -> that over this --> being correct bullet setting, for instance.

    But keeping an eye out, literally, for something that doesn't look quite right or feel right is "a good thing to use" rather than just loading up for granted with new ammo or not new, be it re-chambered bullet/s or re-loads.


    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  4. NG VI

    NG VI Member

    Dec 12, 2007
    Longer bullets allow the case to exert more tension.

    Usually heavier bullets are longer than lighter ones, all else equal.

    Just pay attention to your cartridges, maybe set a single round from your box of defense ammunition aside and use it as a fact checker if you are ever concerned about a specific cartridge.

    And don't play with your carry gun and ammo, that's the biggest thing. If you have a lockbox you can put it in at night, there's really no reason to ever load or unload your pistol except at the range.
  5. hentown

    hentown Member

    May 13, 2012
    Obviously, a longer, heavier bullet will be more prone to higher pressures created by setback, particularly if a fast powder is being used.
  6. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

    Sep 16, 2007
    With a heavier bullet, you're presumably starting off with a smaller internal case capacity. An equivalent amount of setback will result in a greater degree of change in internal capacity.

    OTOH, the heavier bullet might be less prone to setting back in the first place, cuz it seats deeper and might get a little better neck tension.

    So who knows?

  7. Bovice

    Bovice Member

    Sep 27, 2009
    I have never had setback problems in .40. If we're talking factory ammo, I wouldn't worry a bit. The setback issues are from the reloading process. Working the brass too much reduces your case neck tension, allowing the bullet to slip deeper into the case than it should. This can be alleviated by watching how much you expand the case mouth for seating, and not keeping cases for too many cycles.

    Setback with factory ammo would most likely occur from chambering the same round multiple times. Properly reloaded ammo is more resistant to this.
  8. coalman

    coalman Member

    Mar 23, 2012
    Both are safe. The 180gr has less margin for error. I always ran 180gr in .40sw.
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