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Old November 10, 2006, 05:11 PM   #1
lempka
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What is the best .40 self defense ammo...

IYHO. I am looking for the best self defense ammo for .40 SW. I am really stuck on 180 grain (I want to throw the most weight that the gun can handle), but wanting to know what you guy and gals would recommend.
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Old November 10, 2006, 05:19 PM   #2
mete
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Most rounds other than the reduced recoil ones work well .Why do you think you need 180 s ? I've carried 155 Hydra-shoks but now carry Corbon DPX 140 gr. I have full confidence in both.Lots of choice !!
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Old November 10, 2006, 06:39 PM   #3
virus77
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Choose something that feeds reliably for a self defense round, you are going to have to try different loads. For instance Gold dots arent much good when they jam ever other round (in my cz compact at least) id rather hit u with 10 rounds of ball then hope to get u with the one shot of gold dot, hehe.
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Old November 10, 2006, 07:51 PM   #4
shooter71
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ive always read that the higher grain in 9mm is the better round like say 124gr..but as far as the 40 goes ive never seen anything saying that the 180grain was any better than the 155 or 165..ive never shot any 155 but the 165 shoots better to me than the 180 for follow up shots

in fact if u go to the black hills ammo site and look at the 40sw..the 180gr actually transfers less energy than the other two..but i dont think u can go wrong with any of the 40 loads
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Old November 10, 2006, 08:09 PM   #5
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155 grain, 1200 fps

From my reading on the subject, I think the best .40 caliber defense ammo is a 155 grain hollowpoint with muzzle velocity of about 1200 fps, giving 500 ft-lbs of energy (4 inch barrel). This has done well in gelatin tests and actual shootings, and is used by quite a few law enforcement agencies, including the Border Patrol. The three brands you might try are:

Remington 155 grain JHP - 1200 fps
Winchester 155 grain Silvertip - 1200 fps
Speer 155 grain Gold Dot - 1200 fps

I personally use the Winchester Silvertip because it feeds well in my .40 caliber guns (G23, Sig P229, USP 40c).

Here is the descriptive page on the Speer Gold Dot:

Speer 155 grain .40 caliber Gold Dot
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Old November 10, 2006, 09:27 PM   #6
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I've not tried much self defense ammo but I like speer gold dots.
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Old November 10, 2006, 10:44 PM   #7
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Federal 165gr HST. I like the lighter bullets to avoid set-back, and for extra fps in compact barrels, bu the 180 looks great too.

Bare Gelatin
Bullet Caliber/Weight Penetration Expansion Retained Weight
Federal HST 40 S&W 180 gr. 11.5” 0.945” 101.78%

Heavy Clothing

Bullet Caliber/Weight Penetration Expansion Retained Weight
Federal HST 40 S&W 180 gr. 13.0” 0.788” 101.56%

Thru plywood:
Bullet Caliber/Weight Penetration Expansion Retained Weight
Federal HST 40 S&W 180 gr. 12.5” 0.772” 100.33%

Wallboard
Bullet Caliber/Weight Penetration Expansion Retained Weight
Federal HST 40 S&W 180 gr. 13.0” 0.786” 101.78%
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Old November 10, 2006, 10:48 PM   #8
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I like Winchester Ranger SXT 165 grain best. I've read good numbers, and results in the field have been outstanding. I use it in my HK USPF 40, and S&W 4013. Regards 18DAI.
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Old November 11, 2006, 12:12 AM   #9
lempka
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Thanks for the input everyone. The reason that I use the 180 grain is that I did not find that I had any better recovery with 155 or 165 than the 180 for a second shot. I like that the 180 is found every where and is the most reasonable cost. I also have read a lot that makes sense in using the the heavier weights just equal more transferable enegy to the target.

What do you think about solid copper bullets? The test that I have read are somewhat impressive. But cost is high!!
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Old November 11, 2006, 12:42 AM   #10
Syntax360
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I'm with you, lempka! 180gr. is the way to go IMHO.

Winchester Ranger 180gr. RA40T is top notch stuff. The 135-165gr.'s seem to have a lot more perceived recoil to me. Plus, the 180 would do a better job on barriers, though that's definitely not a major factor for determining a carry load.
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Old November 11, 2006, 05:40 AM   #11
mete
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The Corbon DPX I carry uses the all copper HP made by Barnes. They do better in penetrating barriers and can expand even after going through barriers where others tend to close up or plug up. All tests show great performance [they work fine on woodchucks !] .It's too new to have much field results though Barnes bullets have an excellent record for hunting.
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Old November 12, 2006, 01:59 PM   #12
TacticalDefense1911
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If you want to stick with a 180 grain load the Winchester 180 grain Ranger T is probably your best bet. The Speer 180 grain Gold Dot is another fine choice.

If you are looking for other peoples ideas I personally like the Remington 165 grain Golden Saber and the Speer 155 grain Gold Dot, but I like bullets in the light-weight to middle-weight range. These loads have very good street results and perform well in gelatin and barrier testing. The 180 grain Winchester load is very similar to most middle-weight .40 loads in regards to penetration and temporary cavity.

If you like heavier bullets then go with the 180 grain Winchesters, they are a very good load.
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Old November 12, 2006, 06:09 PM   #13
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as someone who's been in a self defense situation, 180 gr hydras work well on bad guys. its not new but works very well.
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Old November 12, 2006, 07:43 PM   #14
DanV1317
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corbon, winchester rangers and hornady are all sufficient. The miniscule difference between ammo can be made up thousands of times with proper training/skill.
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Old November 12, 2006, 08:17 PM   #15
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Shot the load that gives you the best relability and accuracy out of your gun-
Buy as many different types as you can and shoot some groups- any 2 seaminly identical guns will not shot the same. Sorry no easy this is the best bullet for all guns out there
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Old November 12, 2006, 08:23 PM   #16
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Anything from Federal their primers go off every time...
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Old November 12, 2006, 10:27 PM   #17
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I like the wally world WWB personal protection 180 JHP for 17.99 a box.
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Old November 12, 2006, 10:59 PM   #18
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As I recall, the 180 grain round was the one the caliber was designed around, so should provide good reliability. There is one Federal low-recoil load that seems to have less stopping power.
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Old January 15, 2009, 06:42 AM   #19
Fire Guy
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Best .40 for defense

I know that this topic is old but I just found your site. Wanted to say that I read an artical the other day about an officer who was using .40 ranger sxt. The artical is in Law officer magazine, Peter Soulis Incident. He had shot a suspect 22 times with his glock 40. out of 22 shots, 17 hit center mass. The suspect lived 4 min after the last shot was fired. I think that the best round for defense would be one that will put the most energy on target the fastest. Extreme shock is a good chose.
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Old January 15, 2009, 09:21 AM   #20
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Of all the horrible and misinformed advice in this old thread (not all of it but a lot of it) I would say the recommendation to use Extreme Shock or any other frangible ammo is the worst.

If you really want to get educated on ammo and terminal ballistics then register to join tacticalforums.com and read up on the Terminal Effects forum. A lot of guys there that study that for a living and a low tolerance for BS.

Last edited by DigMe; January 15, 2009 at 09:56 AM.
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Old January 15, 2009, 05:07 PM   #21
Father Time
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I personaly preffer the 180 grain rounds but can recomind all of the following, they have done well in my "scientific" shoot the newspaper test...

180 grain:
Gold Dots
Remington Gold Sabers
Hydra-Shocks

155 grain:
Winchester Rangers
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Old January 15, 2009, 10:54 PM   #22
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I use Federal 155gr or 180gr HST in my duty gun, goes bang every time.
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Old January 15, 2009, 11:10 PM   #23
Jason_G
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The heavier rounds like the 180 grain generally give better penetration, although many of the lighter loads are more than sufficient.

Don't get wrapped up in those ft-lbs of energy numbers, as they are about the most meaningless number attached to the loading.

Jason
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Old January 15, 2009, 11:11 PM   #24
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155 gr. Double Tap
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Old January 16, 2009, 12:44 AM   #25
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My favorite carry load in .40 S&W is the 155gr Winchester Ranger.
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