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Best .40 cal, 200 gr. Personal Defense bullets?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by cstarr3, Mar 15, 2013.

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  1. cstarr3

    cstarr3 Member

    Jan 15, 2012
    So, I have looked around and found that people are under the opinion that Speer Gold Dots get the nod for personal defense over Hornady XTP, and the Hornady is usually used in favor of the Speer in hunting applications.

    I happen to have acquired a .40 Super barrel for my Glock. I want to shoot 200 gr. bullets, and all I can find are Hornady XTP tipped rounds. It seems Speer doesn't make a 200 gr. .40 cal bullet. I am unlikely to use a pistol to go hunting. Therefore, I want something that revolves around self defense. The lack of suppliers has made me consider loading my own.

    I was wondering: How do other bullets, like Nosler's JHP, stack up to Hornady's XTP in the 200 gr. category? Are there personal-defense oriented bullets like Gold Dot that anyone might recommend? I have heard that XTPs tend to require higher velocities for good expansion. At higher velocities of the .40 Super, do Hornady's XTP perform on par with Speer Gold Dot, i.e., they do not over penetrate?

    For those who might feel the urge to ask:
    1) Why am I interested in .40 Super?
    Because I am a caliber whore when it comes to handguns. I have the three staples (9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP). I also have conversions for 10mm, 9x25 Dillon, and .400 Corbon, and I also own guns that shoot .357 Sig and 7.62x25 Tokarev. I am working on projects/saving up for eventual purchases that will allow me to shoot 5.7mm, .50 GI, .45 Super, and .460 Rowland. I would eventually like to get a .38 Super, .45 GAP, and of course, a .50 AE, but those are all way down the road (each for a different reason, of course).

    2) Why do I want 200 grain bullets?
    .40 super is a hot round, and it is able to push heavier bullets at more than adequate velocities. I tend to prefer lighter bullets (155 gr.) for .40 S&W, slightly heavier loads (165 gr.) for .400 Corbon, and even heavier loads for 10mm (180 gr.). That is by no means absolute, though. This should keep the trajectories of each caliber similar (though by no means identical).
  2. ku4hx

    ku4hx Member

    Nov 8, 2009
  3. Torian

    Torian Member

    Feb 10, 2013
    I tend to shoot a lot of underwood loads using the .40 caliber rounds (10mm). My loads of preference are the 180 and 200 grain XTPs.

    My experience has been that at lower velocities, the bonded gold dots works superbly, but once you start pushing that velocity envelope, the XTPs perform better.

    They are both outstanding HPs in my opinion. The gold dot generally has excellent expansion characteristics, while the XTP is more of a penetrating HP (great for hunting, but also works for SD).

    I have only shot noslers in lighter loadings (135 grain). For a nonbonded round, it performed well and maintained bullet integrity at high velocities.
  4. 481

    481 Member

    Feb 22, 2009
    If you can push the 200 gr XTPs fast enough to open reliably (700 - 1200 fps according to Hornady), then they ought to give you both expansion and all the penetration you could ever hope for.
  5. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Member

    Apr 1, 2005
    I think the .40 Super is interesting for sure. Speer actually does, or maybe I should say did, list a 200gr Gold Dot but I've never seen it, and it's not a reloading compenent for sure. I do have some experience with the 200gr XTP and 200gr Nosler.

    The XTP is the tougher of the two for sure, no question about it. I have no doubt the .40 Super could scoot them out at over 1300 fps with relative ease. In the .40 S&W with 6" bbl I've loaded 200gr XTP's to approx 1250 fps. They penetrate well (very well really) and while it did shed about 15gr of lead, it did pretty well. The 200gr Nosler on the other hand will blow apart even doing 1100 fps. If I were to go in the field with my .40 and a 200gr pill, it would be the 200gr XTP loaded with a muzzle velocity of approx 1225-1250 fps.

    I feel the XTP would hold up still at even higher velocity, but there comes a point when you have to ask why. Hornady shows the 200gr XTP with a velocity window up to about 1250, but I'm sure it's going to hold up pretty well even at 1300+. Not to change course here, but I have a big issue with pushing .400" JHP bullets a lot faster than their designed, the only result is less penetration, not more (up to a point). If there were .400" JHP bullets that would hold up to "extreme" velocities that would be a different story, but no such beast exists.
  6. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

    Aug 23, 2012
    I don't know about 200 gr. bullets but I do know that in the realm of the standard .40 S&W load the best I have seen by far is the Hornady Critical Duty cartridges. Yes they are factory rolled but IMO that's a good thing (a must actually) for a SD round. I have seen very, very few failures in centerfire pistol rounds from the factory over the years.

    I tested the Critical Duty ammo against Gold Dot of the same weight (close anyway 175 gr. for the Hornady vs. 180 gr. for the Speer) and clearly the Hornady penetrated better and opened up better. I shot both from a SA XDm short barrel version (3.8). It wasn't even close actually. I had been carrying Gold Dot but I immediately switched to the Hornady for carrying.
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