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40 s&w grains vs barrel length

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by sefus, Oct 17, 2007.

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  1. sefus

    sefus Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Eastern WA
    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.

  2. Bobarino

    Bobarino member

    Mar 12, 2003
    western Washington
    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.

  3. 40SW

    40SW Member

    Jul 19, 2007
    New Port Richey, Florida. United States of Americ
    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.
  4. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Member

    Feb 20, 2006
    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.
  5. shadowalker

    shadowalker Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    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

    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.
  6. sholling

    sholling Member

    Sep 20, 2007
    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 for 40S&W pistols with barrel between 3" and 3.5" and Federal 180gr HSTs or 180gr Winchester Ranger-Ts for full length 4" barrels. You might also look at DoubleTap's 180gr Gold Dot for your full sized pistols.
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