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Old August 6, 2009, 12:38 PM   #51
Jim March
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Join Date: February 14, 1999
Location: Pittsburg, CA, USA
Posts: 7,300
Yeah, basically the bullet everyone blamed post-shoot was a 9mm Winnie Silvertip 115gr that expanded perfectly and traveled through about 14" of tissue - up the forearm, brief airgap past the bent elbow, through the inside upper arm (taking out THE major blood vessel), out the arm, into the chest, stopped an inch or so short of the heart.

Obviously the bullet's fault. Not.

So that led them to the 10mm at 700ft/lbs energy or more, which started cracking their early-model S&W 10mm guns, plus the grip didn't fit smaller hands, and the recoil drove many of 'em nuts. So they VERY quickly ordered milder 10mm loads (the "10mm lite") at around 500ft/lbs energy with weaker slide springs to match, but that meant the gun was still oversize for the power.

So somebody at S&W realized you can take the 10mm case, shorten it to 9mm length, make a gun the size of a 9mm and the power of the 10mm lite.

That's how the 40S&W was born, and yeah, it started with the Miami86 shooting.

Now looking at all this years later, I took a different tack: I think they were RIGHT the first time on horsepower, they should have stuck with the 10mm or similar power but in a gun that's more controllable by nature. I'm not at all the first to think so, in fact a LONG time ago the 41Magnum was designed for this exact same purpose. Today, very good 357 loads by Buffalo Bore and DoubleTap match or exceed the effectiveness of most 10mm and even 41Mag, and since it's cheaper to shoot I went there - in a gun that lets me control that kind of power.

Ruger's New Vaquero in 357.

I knew I'd be modding the sights - didn't know I'd go THIS far () but it works.

The result is something with high practical accuracy (solving the major issue the FBI ran into in Miami) and big, big power (solving the other issue).
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