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OK... is .40S&W a safe choice? What do you think about this?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Daguerre, Jan 7, 2003.

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  1. Daguerre

    Daguerre Member

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    I understand that some people prefer .45, others 9mm, others .40S&W, etc. This thread is NOT about what caliber is your "favorite". For the record, .45, .40, 9mm, .357, .38, .45 Colt, and .22 are my favorites depending on mood and my purpose at hand.

    I recently bought a new Browning Silver Chrome Hi-Power in .40 cal and totally love the pistol. It has quickly become equal to my 1911's in terms of my appreciation for a pistol. In some ways, more than equal to my 1911's. It's amazingly reliable with a wide variety of rounds, very comfortable to shoot, and accurate. And I plan to buy a couple more Browning HP's in 9mm as well, just because I'd like to have them.

    The .40 shoots just fine for me... doesn't seem too sharp or at all difficult to control. Heck, I put several hundred rounds of full power .45's through various of my dozen or so 1911's every week, so for me .40 in a Browning Hi-Power is a cupcake to shoot.

    My ONLY QUESTION about .40 results from reading a comment made by one very assertive and highly opinionated individual on another forum who stated that .40 is basically an "unsafe" caliber to own and fire. His thesis is that there are too many gun "blow-ups" with it (due to poorly designed pistols and/or bullet set-back problems?) and that many, if not all pistols chambered for it can't effectively stand up to the "power" of the cartridge.

    I have learned not to base my decision making on the words of ANY one individual, but his words have caused me to think a little more about my selection of forty caliber.

    So I'd like to get a little more input from those with more knowledge and experience than my own. It seems to me that there are a great many experts with significant experience who endorse the forty caliber (even if certain gun models, like Glock, may have unusually high incidents of ka-booms with forty).

    What do you think? If you enjoyed shooting a Browning Hi-Power in .40 (which was specifically redesigned and beefed up for the .40 caliber, by the way, not just a rechambered 9mm pistol), would you feel confident and safe shooting forty?
     
  2. voilsb

    voilsb Member

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    I don't have a .40, but I've done research into it because it's a caliber that interests me. I want one.

    From what I've read, you'll want to avoid the 185gr .40 loads, but otherwise are fine. The reasoning is that the 185s are sometimes seated too far back in the case, resulting in too high pressures, or too far forward, resulting in too low pressures. I don't remember off-hand if it's high-pressures causing KBs or if it's low pressures causing rounds to get lodged in the barrel.

    I know that the lower weights, like the 165s, are fine.
     
  3. jc2

    jc2 member

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    The .40 S&W (and 357 Sig) have more kabooms with factory ammunition proportionally than the 9x19 and and .45 ACP, but it is probably not statistically significant--in other words, nothing to worry about. They major culprits seem to be Glocks, but kabooms have occurred in other weapons as well. FWIW, Browning did a good job the design of the .40 S&W High Power, and I have heard of no kabooms involving it (but it has not seen the wide-spread usage of some other the weapons either).

    The .40 S&W is by no means an unsafe round, and your Browning is well-designed for the .40 S&W (unlike some other handguns). I wouldn't sweat it at all.
     
  4. Kahr carrier

    Kahr carrier Member

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    Personally I think 40cal is fine ,the Chp in the Prk use the S&W 4006 in 40 cal with no problem and they use the Winchester Ranger ammo .
     
  5. Gary G23

    Gary G23 Member

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    I have shot over 50,000 40cal rounds (mainly through Glocks), and have NEVER had a kBoom.
     
  6. rblack

    rblack Member

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    I've had a number of 40's including the Browning HP. Of all the 40's it is my opinion that the Browning is the one of the best for shooting that caliber. On most of my forty's the brass comes out looking just fine, however when I formerly owned a Glock 23 and 27 the brass was always severly bulged. This may not bother some folks, but it did bother me and I got rid of both Glocks. Life is too short and there are too many good guns that do not bulge the brass to play with those that do. Just my opinion, but it is my money I'm spending.
     
  7. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    Other than being a castrated derivative of another cartridge, I see nothing wrong with the 40.
     
  8. critter

    critter Member

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    Good replies, BUT you answered your own question. You like the gun, shoot it well and enjoy it. You shoot the .40 round well. 'Nuff said!

    It is a fine round in a fine gun that you like and shoot well. Now get out and SHOOT that thing and enjoy it! Everybody needs to be that satisfied. Have fun!
     
  9. jc2

    jc2 member

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    What's funny is you could say the same thing about the 357 Sig--only doubly so (at least the castrated derivative part).
     
  10. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

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    Hello. When the forty HP first came out, Browning contacted purchasers wanting them to send the guns back in. The reason was that the bbls were changed to offer more support. At that time, there was a factory round that routinely caused KBs in forty caliber. That load was Federal's 180 gr HydraShok; the factory's fixed that problem, but Browning/FN wanted their guns to work with it before the problem was fixed by Federal. I personally witnessed two such KBs with that ammunition, but with Glock 22s, not HPs. Both shooters contacted Federal who wanted the remaining ammunition and replaced it with several boxes of the "fixed" HydraShok.

    While I never saw a problem with the HP or the CZ75B in forty, I just don't care for the feel of the heavier HP in this caliber. As can be the case in any caliber, just check for bullet setback from rounds that've been chambered more than once.

    Best.
     
  11. agtman

    agtman Member

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    "is .40S&W a safe choice?"


    Okay ...

    1st answer: "safe" compared to what?

    2nd answer: only if your .40S&W pistol has been officially declared KABOOM!-proof by a government agency authorized to make such declarations and you've got the papers to prove it. :D

    3rd answer: well, by now I forgot the question, so I'll just recommend the 10mm Auto as the "safer" and more versatile alternative. Plus it's the parent cartridge for both the .40 and .357Sig, but is amazingly free of the downsides exhibited by its offspring: e.g., excessive muzzleblast, finicky bottlenecks, KABOOMS!, high-pressure issues, bullet setback, and, at least with the .40, marginal accuracy in untuned service guns.

    HTH. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2003
  12. HS/LD

    HS/LD Member

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    It is not the .40S&W round that has a problem it is a handgun that is not made well. ie. with an un-supported chamber.


    I have fired over 7000+ of the cheapest crap .40s I could find through my H&K USP Compact as well as hundreds and hundreds of higher pressure high quality .40s. Never had a problem.

    HS/LD
     
  13. yorec

    yorec Member

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    A Browning Silver Chromed Hi Power in .40, huh? Well, let me halp ya out...

    Very unsafe, in fact you're endanger just being in the same room with it. Let me get the address for my local FFL and I'll see that it's properly disposed of...


    The very gun I've been slobbering over for the past couple of months!!

    Seriously - I've also fired over 20000 rounds of .40 S&W at various trainning classes and facilitiesover the past half dozen years where the majority of other shooters were also using the .40 S&W . Never heard of one having a "blow up." Did see a .45 acp knock the slide of a 1911 though...

    FWIW
     
  14. tlhelmer

    tlhelmer Member

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    The .40 is safe. I have fired thousands of rounds of .40 and seen many more thousands of .40 rounds fired without a KB.
     
  15. dacinokc

    dacinokc Member

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    The current Fourty is a fine round with many fine platforms on the market. The reloading can be a touch of a trick, as pressures can are high to begin with. Not a beginner reload, but is can be done-
    I really like the 40!:D
     
  16. bad_dad_brad

    bad_dad_brad Member

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    The .40 is okay. I prefer the 9mm because I think it is just about as effective, and a whole lot cheaper to shoot. If I wanted to jump to something bigger than a 9mm it would be the .45.

    For my money, these calibers in semi-autoloaders are the only ones really worth considering, based upon their usage.

    .22 rimfire
    .32
    9mm
    .45

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  17. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    Do there seem to be more reports of KaBooms in 40S&W than in 9mm or 45 ACP? Yes. On the other hand, I know several 'gun guy' LEOs that have put thousands and thousands of rounds through G22s and G23 with no problems at all.

    I'm a 1911 guy, and I like the 45 ACp cartridge. But I would feel completely comfortable and well-protected carrying a G23 or G27.
     
  18. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Oh yeah, the .40 S&W is an unsafe round...

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again...

    The only thing "unsafe" about the .40 S&W are the reputations of the armchair pundits who think they know what the :cuss: they're talking about.

    There was a recent thread on TFL about this very subject. You may well be referring to it. I've tried searching for it, but for some reason the TFL search feature isn't responding right now.

    Read the thread, and draw your own conclusions.

    My conclusion is that I've still got all my fingers, toes, eyes, teeth, and ears, even after firing that deadly-only-to-the-shooter piece of trash explosive plastic low-grade Glock.

    Yes, I've seen a number of KBs with Glocks, early Glocks, and mostly with reloaded ammo.

    Browning did have a recall, some of the barrels on the original shipment of .40 Hi Powers were BADLY out of dimensional spec and there were two or three nasty surprises, but those would have happened no matter what the caliber.
     
  19. mr. e

    mr. e Member

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    I'm a .40 shooter and a hand loader. I've shot .40 in Browning HP, Sig 229, Walther P99, Ruger 944, HK USP, and Beretta 96.

    I work up all my loads very carefully, but I don't take any extra care with the 40 Auto cartridge. I load it with FMJ and lead bullets and a variety of powders. I haven't experienced any problems with the round and haven't seen anything with the spent brass that leads me to believe that it is inherently dangerous. (Unless, of course, you're on the business end of the barrel. :D)
     
  20. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    Statistics

    Lessee... .40S&W is well on its way to unseating the .45ACP and 9mm as the round of choice for LE agencies nationwide (if it hasn't done so already), therefore a LOT of it gets shot...

    ...by people who would absolutely report kBs, in hopes of getting their service weapon fixed/replaced by the contractor.

    So, what we have here are three factors in play:

    1. actual rate of kBs

    2. amount of rounds fired of the caliber

    3. relative likelihood of reporting any kB that occurs

    Mike

    PS So, does it kB more often? I dunno. Probably, but not to a statistically significant degree...though thats a guestimate.

    PPS The aformentioned post should not be construed as advocacy of .40S&W or any other caliber.
     
  21. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    "Unsafe"? Hmmm, well the .40 small und weak is seemingly more suspectible to bullet setback which will cause the infamous "LE malfunction" wherein the first round fires but the second round FTF. Maybe "unsafe" in that way, but this can happen with all rounds.

    As a LEO I carried a Glock .40 and noted setback a lot. Maybe something with the cartridge being shrunk--don't know. It is as "safe" as any other round.

    Good shooting.
     
  22. Handy

    Handy Guest

    .40 does seem a poorly designed round, both in its stubby shape and operating pressure. Its rarely as accurate as other cartridges in the a gun of the same design.

    Is it safe? Well, if your gun does Kaboom (which I also think is mainly a Glock .40 problem), it won't hurt you much. But follow-up shots are difficult.

    The .40 HP was extensively redesigned to make it work right with .40. The Glock wasn't (not just "early Glocks", nothing significant has changed about the barrel/slide/lockwork since 1981).

    I can see how a cop would prefer carrying a .40, but between 9 and .45 the consumer gets more advantages and weapon longevity. In summary:

    BUY A .40 BUILT FOR .40! NOT A 9MM WITH A WIDENED BREACHFACE!!!
     
  23. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    I was once at the range where a guy was in the middle of a screed about the .40 short & weak...

    Then I realized that every gun he had at the range was a 9mm...

    What a :cuss: ing jackass.
     
  24. Handy

    Handy Guest

    Why? Would you expect someone to deride a caliber or gun that they still own? Or do you have to buy a Gremlin before you're qualified to call it a piece of junk?
     
  25. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    It's called a concept, Handy.

    The CONCEPT that someone would deride the cartridge as being not powerful enough, and yet apparently own and carry guns firing a cartridge that is even LESS powerful.

    Get the concept?

    It was also evident from this guy's screed that he didn't actually KNOW anything about the cartridge, he was just parroting every negative and wrong thing that had previously been said about the round.

    If you don't like something based on personal knowledge and experience, that's one thing.

    But "Expert" ignorance is still ignorance. At that point you're no longer a person, you're a pull-string doll.
     
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