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Lighter Bullet versus Heavy?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by kyarcher, Mar 30, 2012.

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  1. kyarcher

    kyarcher Member

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    I've been looking for a good hollow point .40 personal defense round to use in my M&P and during my google search most come up with 180 gr rounds.
    Whats your opinion? Lighter faster bullet or the slower heavier bullets?
     
  2. abq87120

    abq87120 Member

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    My Glock G23 40 has less recoil with 180g bullets compared to 165's. At least to me.
     
  3. Freedom_fighter_in_IL

    Freedom_fighter_in_IL Member

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    abq, are those 180's loaded light? Generally, a heavier bullet, if loaded to spec, will kick harder than a lighter one.

    kyarcher, heavier bullets will of course penetrate better but all in all, it depends MOST on the accuracy as to which would be better for you. Whichever one shoots the best from your firearm and YOU are the most comfortable shooting (practicing) with will be the one you want to shoot. Penetration doesn't make a tinkers damn if you miss!

    So, choose whichever shoots the best and most consistently from your firearm as well as FUNCTIONS well in same firearm. Some firearms are actually picky about which bullets are loaded up and will cause feeding/jamming problems. Had that issue with an older Smith semi. in .45acp. I tried loading up some lighter bullets and the damn thing would stovepipe like crazy.
     
  4. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    Shoot what you gun likes best, between the 155 and 180's their isn't enough difference to worry about as far as performance. My BHP's all like the 165 gr. weight significantly better than the 155's and 180's, so that's what I load them with.
     
  5. Dnaltrop

    Dnaltrop Member

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    I like the 165gr Ranger-T's in my M&P, they were easy to shoot and keep on target at speed. Hydra shock of the same weight performed similarly. As did the FMJ bulk rounds I used to buy.

    I'm Loading 180gr XTP's (it's what was on the shelf last shopping trip) just under max listed pressures, and while fun, it's a bit slower to follow up a shot than all the lighter factory stuff before it. No more, or less accurate (for me) at 50'.

    Buy a few boxes of heavy and light rounds and see what "feels" good. You're the expert there.
     
  6. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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    If you are talking about a 165 gr. vs. a 180 gr. bullet...there really isn't a lot difference there (15 grains).

    Depending upon how each is loaded (hot or not) you might notice a different recoil impulse (one might feel sharper), but terminal performance (at normal self defense ranges) would be negligible (assuming the same bullet construction).

    I carry a 45 ACP and use a 165 gr. bullet in the summer months...but switch to a 230 gr. in the winter months to get better penetration through heavy clothing.

    Of course the difference there is significant (65 grs.)

    The "40 cal" is pretty "snappy" in most pistols...but you might be surprised to find that a reasonably loaded 180 gr. can be easier to shoot than a HOT 165.
     
  7. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    Kyarcher, what many shooters do not understand when it come to faster and lighter or heavier and slower has more to do with energy transfer or hydrashok upon impact of target. In most cases regardless of weight and especially a bullet designed to fragment as is the case with hollow points for example in order for the bullet to fragment or mushroom it requires a certain velocity to accomplish this. And if all energy transfer is to happen upon impact with little chance of going through the target than it must be going fast. A slower projectile will not transfer all it energy into the target and stands a better chance of going all the way through.

    Also as stated above every weapon is going to react different with different types of bullets because of recoil so you should find what is appropriate to your hand gun and you the shooter.
     
  8. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    For me, I chose heavy/slow for my current carry pistol, a M&P40c which is carried in a tuckable holster year-round.

    I carry the XM40HC (essentially 180gr Federal HST sans nickeled brass) not because I believe it to be "the best", but because I bought a significant amount of it for $17/50. It functions flawlessly from my pistol, it's controllable and accurate.
    Despite being heavier and slower than the 165gr HST, it penetrates slightly less as it expands to a larger diameter.

    There are a plethora of factors that make various JHPs "effective". However, I would recommend finding something that's decent yet affordable (preferably in a common weight) and practice with is as much as possible.
     
  9. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    As far as recoil impulse, as a general rule, the lighter bullets have more of a "snap" and the heavier bullets have more of a roll or push.
     
  10. Shoot66

    Shoot66 Member

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    ^+1.
    I do not believe in hydrashock in HG velocities.
    HPs are illegal around here. I prefer heavy FPs.
     
  11. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Member

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    I carry Cor-Bon 140-gr DPXs in my Walther PPS. Deep penetration, great expansion, even through clothing, and significantly less muzzle-flip than the 180-grs. Shoot like a good 124-gr 9mm +P out of a similar weapon. :cool:

    FWIW, I carry 165-gr Federal EFMJs when I must travel through the People's Republic of New Jersey. :rolleyes:
     
  12. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Member

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    I sometimes choose a faster, lighter bullet when using shorter barrel weapons to make up for velocity loss.
     
  13. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    If I was routinely carrying a .40, these days I would load it with 125 gr all-copper HPs @ 1300fps. Expect great penetration.

    Of course, I would only use it if it ran well in my gun and I could shoot it accurately with good follow-up shot splits.
    If we're talking NJ, you apparently have the options of Hornady FTX and Flexlock bullets (Crital Defense and Critical Duty) and Federal EFMJ (Guarddog) as legal, expanding bullets.
     
  14. iLikeOldgunsIlikeNewGuns

    iLikeOldgunsIlikeNewGuns Member

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    I'm far from an expert in this department, but I stick with heavier JHPs with +P in my .45acp, Right now I'm carrying Hornady +P 230 grain JHPs, I also like the Fiocchi +P FMJs and have both ready in mags :) I'm mostly posting so as to subscribe and read more regarding this subject
     
  15. boomhower1820

    boomhower1820 Member

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    For .40 it's 180gr for me. I am a fan of heavy and slow. In my experience the lighter the weight in 40 the more muzzle flip you get. My carry round is Gold Dots.
     
  16. Sky

    Sky Member

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    "Action reaction, always"!
     
  17. Manco

    Manco Member

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    In .40 S&W, any decent JHP from a reputable manufacturer at 155-180 grains is going to be pretty effective; I'm not saying that others wouldn't be (some lightweight, very fast all-copper-bullet loads are excellent), but this is a safe bullet weight range for JHPs in this caliber.

    In this caliber, standard loads have pretty similar momentum, regardless of bullet weight, so the most important deciding factors are reliability and shootability, which depend on the individual handgun and shooter. The only way to know for sure is to try them out for yourself.

    Personally, anything seems to work for me and my primary defensive handgun, although I slightly prefer 180-grain JHPs because they're more pleasant to shoot, due to having less blast, flash, and snap. It also doesn't hurt that 180-grain loads are some of the most heavily-used in law enforcement, and that they generally have a good reputation for effectiveness in that application.

    Heavier bullets tend to "kick harder" in terms of total momentum transfer (recoil impulse), that is true, but some people may be more sensitive to peak force (often perceived as "snap," I suspect, and could be interpreted as "kicking harder"), for example, which in many cases is significantly higher with lighter, faster bullets, all else being equal. And since the total momentum tends to be similar, by and large, for 155-180-grain loads in .40 S&W specifically, it's not much of a factor here anyway.

    All else being equal (which in practice is rarely the case), heavier, slower bullets appear to penetrate more in soft, wet media (e.g. the human body), while lighter, faster bullets may have an advantage in hard, dry media (e.g. walls and car doors). There are a lot of other factors involved, however.

    Yep!
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  18. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    Absolutely. The deformability and brittleness (frangibility) of the bullet material and the bullet shape (especially meplat) will be big factors.

    Other than that, some folks like to talk about "sectional momentum density", the velocity times the SD. A typical 180gr/950fps .40 would have a value of 153; an odd duck like the 125 gr would have a value of 146.
     
  19. RedLyons

    RedLyons Member

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    This is purely my opinion, and everyone should know what an opinion is worth, but in all the reading I've done about this I have the impression that when it comes to hollow points the speed is more important than the weight. Regardless of the pistol caliber, it seems to me that all the rounds that offer reliable expansion are the ones that are going over 1000 fps, and the closer you get to 1100 fps very rarely do they fail to expand.

    Don't take my word for it, keep reading and see what you find.
     
  20. youngda9

    youngda9 member

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    I typically go standard to slightly on the heavy side for whatever I'm carrying. The bullet will expand the same amount, so why not have the extra mass to help penetration. Besides, at handgun energies that's really what's important. A few extra foot-pounds at the expense of getting penetration through and through just isn't worth it IMO.
     
  21. gym

    gym member

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    Many pro's say use the heaviest round your gun will take. I usually do other than 9mm, where I use powerball, in 100 grain at 1350 fps, it's lighter than my 102 grain golden sabre for my 380. I just feel that speed in that HP will do more damage, and the kick isn't bad from a 26. My Emp in 40 gets 165 or 180, really not much diference,I have 4 different self defence loads from hornaday to winchester "low recoil" the Win was suprisinglly low, and accurate but it is hard to tell damage shooting paper, it shoots hydra shocks very smooth. 45's I go 230, hydrashock or hornaday . I like the plastic tip for hollowpoint ammo, as you do get a smoother feed. Hydrashocks are the exception they have fed in every gun I have used them in.If I can double tap it and stay close on both bullets, it works for me. I also carry a mag with FMJ's in it as my back up mag. In case there is a barrier that somone is shooting from.
     
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