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What Makes a .40 S&W So Good?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by RonGoode, Jan 1, 2004.

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  1. RonGoode

    RonGoode Member

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    Educate me please.
     
  2. FireInTheHole

    FireInTheHole Member

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    135gr JHPs @ 1500fps out of a 4.5" barrel. :D
     
  3. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    Is it so good? I've heard first and second hand stories of 9mm failings including at point blank range but they are pretty few and far between.

    I think the 40 only gained success because of the FBI adopting the 10mm then some lesser folks complaining of the recoil.

    Other than fitting a few more rounds in a same sized (as a 45) magazine, I don't see any role the 40 fills that isn't filled just as well by a 9mm or a 45... At least as far as civilian use goes. Not that it isn't a viable self defense chambering. I just have never seen an overwhelming need for it.
     
  4. J.M.

    J.M. Member

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    A .40 cal hole is better than a .35 cal hole - however it is not as good as a .45 cal hole. - JM.
     
  5. 4thHorseman

    4thHorseman Member

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    Good size hole, fast follow ups, easy on the wallet, easy to get bullets, easy to control, knock down power,no huge flash of light, ears don't ring after a time at the range, small grip, many different loads, easy to conceal in small weapon, and great penatration in targe.:)

    PS, I still love my 1911 45 best!
     
  6. SnWnMe

    SnWnMe Member

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    It is the first bullet designed from the ground up to be an LE bullet. So in theory it feeds better than 9 or 45 because the profile is optimized for JHP.

    It addresses both the large cap and big bore needs of some folks in a platform that is not overly large.

    I won't say it's so good but it is the most successful new round in recent history.
     
  7. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    I've never understood why the 40 is supposed to feed better than the 9mm. I would think the 9mm and the 10mm should both feed more easily and more smoothly because of their relatively longer profile.

    Not that I have proof or anything... it just makes sense.
     
  8. mrapathy2000

    mrapathy2000 member

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    9mm is the same length as 40S&W. which is why alot of people are using 40S&W 10 rounders as 9mm hicaps sometimes requiring at most feedlip work though not all the time requiring feedlip modding some mags will work flawless with 9mm and 40S&W.

    how is 10mm supposed to feed better it uses the same bullets though some heavier.

    40S&W FMJ rounds will expend pretty nicely roughly the size of a quarter unlike 9mm which zips through most items and keeps on sailing supposedly also a problem with 10mm.

    40S&W is a nice middle man cartridge you dont get as many rounds as 9mm in a mag then again if you aim you wont need them.
     
  9. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    The 40 will FAR surpass 9mm and get quite a ways past the 45acp for sheer power. Do the math on those 135's at 1500 FPS, that is 675 lb/ft of energy!!!! It makes a big enough hole, fits in 9mm sized guns that are significantly smaller than 45 platforms, offers good magazine capacity, reasonable recoil, hits harder than 9mm or 45 in nearly all factory loadings, and is readily available.

    I had no use for a 40 until I was given one. Then I was forced to learn about it, use it and get to know it. It has replaced my 45 as the primary "bump in the night" gun and my 9mm's are all gone. I have a lot of respect for the 40 now that I took the time to educate myself. I really tried to hate the 40 but logic tells me it is the better mousetrap for defensive use. Just don't tell my brother, I had a yard of hide chewed off of him for not getting a 45 a year or so before my 40 appeared:uhoh:, he would probably thump me if he knew I was praising the 40 now.
     
  10. 461

    461 Member

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    I always kind of looked at it as the solving of a nonexistent problem. The 10mm was the answer to a real issue, and the .40 was the compromise for the folks that couldn't handle it. The .40 gives an extra round or so on the .45 and in a 9mm sized weapon. The size difference is miniscule at best, and the performance difference is also negligible. I think hype is what sold the round instead of performance. I would have really enjoyed seeing the 10mm get the good press as I think the round has been under valued for what it offers.
     
  11. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    Cor-Bon lists their 135 grain load at 1325 feet per second. Where are you guys getting 1500fps? That's 10mm territory.

    .40S&W operates are pretty close to peak pressures already; it doesn't offer a lot of room for hotloading, I'm told. It's ballistically superior to 9mm, but isnt' as powerful as 10mm and makes a smaller hole than a .45.

    But, there's nothing glaringly WRONG with it, either. If you like a gun in .40, get it. But I wouldn't buy a gun in .40 if it was also available in either .45 or 10mm.
     
  12. FireInTheHole

    FireInTheHole Member

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    Nightcrawler:

    Go here.
     
  13. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    Well, I suppose. I liked running .45 Super through my CZ-97. Talk about an increase in pressure...

    But then, I tend to consider .45 Super the truly modernized .45ACP round...
     
  14. WonderNine

    WonderNine member

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    I'm of the opinion that the tapered case of the 9mm feeds better than all other pistol rounds including the .357 SIG.
     
  15. Hal

    Hal Member

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    YMMV on this.
    2 reasons I personally don't like the .40 S&W-
    1.) The majority of the guns it's chambered in are based on the 9mm. Metal has to be removed in order to make the larger round fit the gun.
    2.) The 40 S&W - in 180 gr - is particularly suseptible to extreme pressures in the event of "bullet setback".

    http://greent.com/40Page/ammo/40/180gr.htm

    The above link shows how high the .40 S&W can spike with minimal setback. Industry rule of thumb for a safety margin is SAAMI max times 2. In the case of the .40 S&W, max is 35K psi.
    Bullet setback is something that all auto loading firearms do to the ammunition to some degree. Good premium self defense amunition (Hydra - Shok 230 gr .45acp for example) will have a cannalure on the case to help prevent the bullet from being driven too far into the case. Poorly made ammunition, such as the **Cor Bon 124 gr 9mm I have, will NOT have a cannalure.

    Bottom line here is that after doing quite a bit of research on line into the KB, I've come to the conclusion that the major factors listed as being involved:
    - lead bullets in a polygonal barrel
    - pistols based on a lesser caliber
    - bullet setback
    - unsupported case
    - high initial pressure
    are most likely to be found in a gun chambered for the .40 S&W. For the time being, I'll take a pass on the .40. Like I said though, YMMV.

    **In fairness to Cor Bon, I've noted that on their current web site all their offerings now show a cannalured case.
     
  16. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

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    The .40 S&W is just another choice in a self defense round. If you like it, fine. If not, nobody is going to make you use it. I personally like having as many choices as possible. I have a CZ-75B in .40 S&W and a SIG PRO 2040.They are fun,accurate, and reliable. I also own .45 ACP's, 9mm's,.44 Mags, .357 Mag's, .38 Spl's, .380 ACP's, and .22 LR's. They are all just choices and are all a blast to shoot. Shoot well and often.
     
  17. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Member

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    Leaving out dangerous overloads, .40 S&W won't give you anything near 135gr @ 1,500 ft/sec. Kids, don't blow yourself up because some guy on the 'net said it was OK. :rolleyes:

    As for .40 S&W... I don't think that its very minor ballistic edge over 9x19 is justified by the decrease in capacitiy, increase in recoil, and the cartridge's smaller margin of safety by design.

    Comparing full-power loads of approximately equal sectional density in both calibers, we find:

    Winchester +P+ 9x19: 127gr @ 1,250 ft/sec, 450 ft-lbs
    Winchester .40 S&W: 155gr @ 1,200 ft/sec, 500 ft-lbs

    An edge of 50 ft-lbs and 0.045" diameter is hardly worth crowing about... and having shot both out of comparable guns, the kick of the .40 is considerably nastier than even +P+ loads in 9x19.

    The fact of the matter is that, caliber partisans aside, there is hardly any ballistic difference between 9x19, .40 S&W, .357 Sig or .45 ACP worth mentioning.
     
  18. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    I agree with Sean Smith here...

    135g at 1500 fps is not available commercially for a reason.

    The fastest 40 S&W load I can find on any of the manufacturer's web sites is Corbon's 135 g at 1325.
     
  19. twoblink

    twoblink Member

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    WOW.. a .40SW debate.. I'm in! :)

    From Winchester's website:

    180 Grain JHP .40SW || 115 Grain JHP 9mm || 230 Grain JHP .45ACP
    Velocity (fps) 1010 || 1225 || 880
    Energy (ft lbs) 408 || 383 || 396

    Marginal gains at best.. Not a whole lot of difference between them.

    If you multiply the grain X velocity X energy, you get what I call a bullet performance index..

    .40SW = 74,174,400
    9mm = 53,955,125
    .45ACP = 80,150,400

    The .45 and the .40 are close..

    The .40's advantage is near .45 performance, in a near 9mm size. You get a little bit more than a 9mm, but without a huge size penalty. Why the LE loved it. A faster bullet than the .45 also.

    But the truth of the matter is, not a big difference between the 3. Shoot what you can shoot best with.

    I agree with the problems of the .40. It's usually build from a stepped up 9mm platform ( a bad idea IMHO) like the glock .40's. That means weaker parts that weren't designed to handle the pressures of a .40 within it's initial design spec.

    Then there are those who for some reason, won't step up to a .40, and put a ++++PPPPP++++++ in their 9mm in attempts to blow themselves up
    :rolleyes:

    I like the .40. A good balance between firepower and size. If you want serious power, go 10mm. But the truth is, whatever you can shoot more accurately should be your caliber of choice.
     
  20. DigMe

    DigMe Member

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    :confused:

    I've gotta ask what kind of "metal" the jackets on your FMJ's are made of...tin foil?! When I dig my FMJs out of trees and stumps they are normally hardly deformed at all..if so the might be a tad bit pressed thinner from top to bottom but there is NEVER any expansion. My FMJ target rounds are Winchester White Box by the way.

    brad cook

    ps- Maybe you meant to say hollow point..?
     
  21. FireInTheHole

    FireInTheHole Member

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    I'm sick of people telling me 1500fps is an overload. Go to HODGDON'S and see for yourself. Listed velocity for 12 grains of LongShot is 1480fps. I took the time and hand measured each round and found this to be an accurate claim. (1482fps average for 10 shot group from my chronograph) Listed pressure is only 32,400psi... and the overall length is shown to be 1.125"... my loading used 1.130"... my only deviation from the recipe was by using winchester brass, which is likely insignificant.

    I dont know why corbon doesnt produce a higher velocity round. It is certainly not for lack of powders.

    Personally, I dont think 1500fps 135gr ammo is available commercially because it requires a spring change and can be difficult to shoot.(I can only shoot 100-150 before fatigue sets in...and I've shot alot of these) It produces excessive flash and is very loud.(similar to a hot .357mag from a snubby) I've also read that expansion becomes troublesome at velocities greater than 1400fps for most 135gr JHP... I havent gotten around to any media tests, but rest assured, I will.
    -FITH
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2004
  22. PCRCCW

    PCRCCW Member

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    Ive got one thats very close and the hottest I know of.......Goegia Arms has a +P+ (Ya I know about the pressure's of the 40 S&W, save your typing skills........K? ) 155 gr 40 S&W @ 1300 FPS..........=581 FPE.......

    Just for reference.................Shoot well........
     
  23. clubsoda22

    clubsoda22 member

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    Cor-Bon likely doesn't load hotter because most .40's have unsupported chambers. They don't need any glocks going kaboom with their ammo.

    Personally, i feel that permanent cavity diameter + penetration = incapacitation. Muzzle energy doesn't mean nearly as much when it comes to stopping power.

    Here's why i like the 40. Almost as good as a .45 in a smaller package with a couple more shots. Less kick too for faster followups (IMHO)

    You really shouldn't feel disarmed with a 9mm, nor should you feel like you have some huge advantage with a .45. .40 is a good midrange, but with modern hollowpoints, any of the big three service pistol calibers should perform very well.
     
  24. FireInTheHole

    FireInTheHole Member

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    I've loaded and shot nearly a 2k full power .40 loads through my unsupported glock barrel and have yet to see a smiley. I have noted a slight case bulge...just like all factory ammo...but nothing that cant be resized.

    I found some nice pics of 1475fps 135gr noslers in ballistic gel:

    Test #10
    Test #18

    Funny though.... they were shot from a 10mm.:D
     
  25. N3rday

    N3rday Member

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    While we're on the subject, how bad is 10mm recoil anyway? How does it compare, say, to a .357 magnum? .40 s&w is said to be about .45 ish, with maybe a little more muzzle flip?
     
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