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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You folks that carry a .40 S&W, what sort of load are you carrying? I've been using the 165gr GDHP, a medium power load. It's been feed reliable and very controlable, but I've been thinking about switching to something a little hotter. I've heard some people bad-mouth the Federal Personal Defense load, but the 135gr .40 load seems decently hot - 1100+ fps at upwards of 400 ft-lbs energy. Any suggestions?
 

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Hi there,
I carry a Glock 23 daily, and my carry load is the "white box" Winchester USA 180gr JHP.
 
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As I have been testing/tinkering with more .40 loads my Steyr is loaded with Winchester Ranger T 180gr JHP.

For non-LEO users I would carry the Pro Load 180gr GD JHP.

I would not qualify the 135gr loadings as harshly as saying they are worthless but I would not recommend them to anyone that can handle a true .40 caliber loading in the 180gr range.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David DiFabio on 2001-09-18 10:00 ]</font>
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
From what I have seen, the hottest .40 loads are the 135 grain high velocity rounds (not the federal PD rounds), at least numbers-wise. I don't have any data on penetration in gelatin. David, can you give me some detail as to why you prefer the 180-grainers? I figured Shawn Dodson would recommend the 180gr, Facklerite that he is :smile:. You out there, Shawn?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Spackler4013 on 2001-09-18 14:36 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Spackler4013 on 2001-09-18 14:37 ]</font>
 
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Over 15 grains that is what is lost.
In one bullet/shooting the difference isn't worth a Clinton $3 bill.

Spred over ten rounds on target then you are giving something up.

Spackler,
Quite honestly and this is not a flame, but if I wanted to carry a 9mm (135gr) then I would.
If you are going to the .40 in the hope of rasing your "power" factor then at least go to a larger/heavier bullet.
A "Facklerite" I am not actually, but the 135gr "hot" loads are probably the single worst load you could carry in the 40.
They notoriously underpentrate fragment early/fail and generally make a very shallow very poor wound, in a neck/facial shot they are ok but for anything larger than a common (dog)house pet you are going to end up in trouble if your adversary decides to continue fighting after your first few rounds fail to pentrate any vital organs.

As to the Personal Defense loads, great name. The often quoted reduced civil liability and low recoil/power are these loads greatest assets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I went out today and burned up some Federal 135gr PD rounds. They cetainly do have reduced recoil, even less felt recoil than the 165gr Gold Dots I've been using. I appreciate the input from everybody. At this point I'll stick to the Gold Dots, and see if I can find some good test data for various rounds.
 

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As David mentioned, anything under 165gr in .40 will fail to penetrate enough to stop a fight under the varying circumstances you will encounter in the real world. You cannot rely on having your assailant stand at 90 degrees while you make an unobstructed head shot. Chances are, the threat will be moving, and will have his arms or other objects/cover in front of him. You will probably also be moving, and in a low-light environment on top of it all.

Save your money and time, and stick with a standard 180gr "non-premium" load from Win., Fed., or Rem..
http://www.cheaperthandirt.com carries all of them

Once you have a .40 bullet that penetrates to around 14"-15" in gelatin, and expands to .66-.68 cal., you have maximized your potential in that caliber, and it's time to move on to more important things, like more training.
 

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I second the ProLoad 180 grainers. That's what I'm using at the moment.
 

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David, is the ProLoad round better than the factory Speer offering?
 
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Better is truly a subjective term in this case as the bullet is identical.

I understand that Pro Load uses a better flash retardent but beyond that I believe the differences in velocity are slight.
 

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I doubt there is much of a difference between the Speer and the ProLoad in all reality. However, you might be able to hit http://www.ammoman.com and get the ProLoad at a better price, if you buy in quantity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I dug out some old test data that I had stashed away, it says the Speer 180-grain expanded to .68" in gelatin, with an 18.5" penetration. It had the deepest penetration of the six 180-grain rounds tested. The 155-grain version was .69" when recovered, 15" penetration.
 

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All of the test data I have shows the 180gr. Gold Dot at 12.8" of penetration and .68cal. My own tests have shown the same results.

The 165gr. load actually penetrates about an inch more than the 180gr. load, and expands more as well.

In my tests, the 180gr. loadings have always been more consistent in their performance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Clay, from all the test info that I can find, it seems like all of the 155, 165, and 180 grain JHPs are good performers. What have your tests shown? Did you find anything that you would consider inadequate?
 

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Just as a rule of thumb, if you tend toward wanting deeper penetration look to XTP and Gold Dot (in that order), and for rapid expansion look at lighter bullet weights from companies like Triton and Corbon, Silvertips (Win), and such. The SXT, Golden Sabre, Hydra-Shok, etc, in the same weight all tend to penetrate less than the XTP, and slightly less than the Gold Dot, or around the same.
 

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The 155 and 165gr. loads seem to be a bit inconsistent compared to the 180gr. loads, as they often fail to expand, or penetrate the minimum amount(12") in gelatin.

The Winchester 155gr. Silvertip has some pretty horrendous muzzle flash, compared to the 180gr. offerings, which is common in all of the Silvertip loadings I've tried in 9mm and 45acp.

The 180gr. loads are all very similar in performance. As David said, there isn't a nickel's worth of difference between most of them, which is why I recommend picking a load that is reliable, available, and inexpensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I switched to the 180gr Gold Dot, in part based on the input from everybody who replied to this thread. I'll run a hundred or so through first, to make sure they are feed reliable, but I don't expect a problem. Thanks again, everybody.
 
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The 180gr GD load is a great round and you have made a very good choice, one that will maximize the output from your .40 S&W.
 
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