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Old September 7, 2012, 06:52 AM   #1
Nathan
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Do We Need a New 40 Revolver Option?

I really like revolvers and I really like the 40 S&W.

In your opinion, would a 5 shot moon clip fed 40 revolver from S&W sell? I'm thinking 3" K frame fixed sight DAO gun with black DLC coating, compact round butt wood grips and Novak styled night sights. What do you think?

or

Would it be better as a new rimmed case caliber, let's say the 40 BGS(Bad Guy Stomper). Maybe it could be .05" longer, have a bit of taper and be loaded to 25000 - 30000 psi MAX to ease ejection. Same basic gun as above, but with the idea reloads would be carried in a speed loader or speed strip.

Either one would be targeting a .401" 155gr GDHP at 1200 fps. .401" groove dia and .4015" throats.
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:04 AM   #2
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The .357 works for me, but unfortunately I can't say all my calibers start with a "4".
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:26 AM   #3
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Don't we have 41 cal S&W & Ruger Revolvers???
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:55 AM   #4
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Would this ideal cartridge be a .38-40?

As I recall, the first modern auto pistol round, the name of which I forget (and which most other people don't remember either), was created with bullets intended for the .38-40. Was this the .41 Action Express?

At one time, both the .38-40 and the .44-40, originally introduced for rifles, were available in so-called high speed loadings, presumably not intended for revolvers. Somewhere out there in radio land are statistics for these loads no doubt.
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:55 AM   #5
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Not really.
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Old September 7, 2012, 07:57 AM   #6
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I just assume get a .357.
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Old September 7, 2012, 08:04 AM   #7
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S&W has already tried the medium frame .40 revolver concept before with the 646 and it didn't catch on (was only made for about a year IIRC). The 646 was made on the L-Frame most likely because the J and K-Frames simply aren't big enough to shoehorn a .40 into. You see, the K-Frame already requires the bottom of its forcing cone to be ground flat in order to clear the yoke. This makes the forcing cone thin at the six o'clock position and thus is the root of the K-Frame Magnums' issues with lightweight .357 Magnum ammunition. A .40 caliber barrel would have an even thinner forcing cone which would only exacerbate such issues. Similarly, while J-Frames do not have the "flat spot", their forcing cones are not very thick to begin with and there simply isn't enough metal there for anything bigger than a .38/.357.

Even in the L-Frame, .40 S&W is pushing the limits. While L-Frames are perfectly up to .357 Magnum pressures due to the thickness of their forcing cones, S&W has stated before that the L-Frame would not hold up to .41 Magnum (which is only 1,000psi higher max pressure than .357 Magnum or .40 S&W). I suspect that this is because of the larger diameter case and bullets necessitating a thinner forcing cone and chamber walls.

Now, the new Charter Arms Pit Bull is fairly similar in size to a K-Frame, but it's relatively new on the market so its durability has yet to be seen.

Part of the issue as well is that one can pretty easily match or exceed the ballistics of the .40 S&W with the .357 Magnum though the initial bullet diameter is smaller (with careful load selection, the expanded diamters are very close). .357 Magnum is already a well-established revolver cartridge and most so-chambered revolvers still on the market had their bugs worked out years ago. Likewise, if bullet diameter is what you're after, five-shot .44 Special revolvers like the Charter Arms Bulldog, Taurus 445, Rossi 720, and S&W 696 are available in the same size and weight package as a .40 and have an even larger diameter bullet with ballistics fairly comparable to a .45 ACP.
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Last edited by Webleymkv; September 7, 2012 at 08:10 AM.
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Old September 7, 2012, 08:13 AM   #8
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This is why i think there is room for this thing in the overall realm of gun/cartridge line ups.

Quote:
The .357 works for me,. . .
Me too. I don't need this new gun, but it would attract me like a cat to a laser! 357 mag is good, but pressures in real 357 mag rounds is high, so extraction can be sticky. Are there downloaded 125 - 135 gr HP SD loads which exit a 2 - 3" gun at 1000 - 1200 fps? Also, when it expands, it is a super round. If it does not expand, it is a pretty small bullet, just punching a hole. Just thinking out loud. I see this argument isn't solid.

Admittedly, this is not much of a benefit over 357 mag, but if you have neither. . .357 mag ammo is already pricey, so this could be price competative and offer a slight advantage.

Quote:
Don't we have 41 cal S&W & Ruger Revolvers???
We do. Do any of these have CCW packability? Also, 41 mag is a serious round. Maybe too much recoil for SD in a 3" gun. Yea, a 170gr bullet at 1800 fps is too much heat for me to CCW.

Quote:
. . ..38-40. . .
Great SA caliber. . .but it is longer than a 44 special!

40S&W, 38-40, 44 spcl, 45 ACP for comparison.
So, my take on that round is too big for a CCW revolver.

Quote:
41 AE
I think Wikipedia said this best,
Quote:
The .41 Action Express is a pistol cartridge developed in the 1980s to reproduce the performance of the .41 Magnum cartridge in semi-automatic pistols.
Quote:
44-40
Same issues as 38-40 and 41 mag.
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Old September 7, 2012, 09:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
357 mag is good, but pressures in real 357 mag rounds is high, so extraction can be sticky.
SAAMI standard pressure for .357Mag is 35,000 psi, while standard pressure for .40S&W is... 35,000 psi. No advantage there.
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Old September 7, 2012, 09:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
This is why i think there is room for this thing in the overall realm of gun/cartridge line ups.


Quote:
The .357 works for me,. . .

Me too. I don't need this new gun, but it would attract me like a cat to a laser! 357 mag is good, but pressures in real 357 mag rounds is high, so extraction can be sticky. Are there downloaded 125 - 135 gr HP SD loads which exit a 2 - 3" gun at 1000 - 1200 fps? Also, when it expands, it is a super round. If it does not expand, it is a pretty small bullet, just punching a hole. Just thinking out loud. I see this argument isn't solid.
SAAMI maximum pressure for .357 Magnum and .40 S&W are the same at 35,000psi, so any sticky extraction problems that you might have with .357 Magnum would also be just as likely with a .40 S&W.

Also, there are downloaded .357 Magnum loadings which meet your criteria. Speer's 135gr Gold Dot Short Barrel loading is advertised at 990fps from a 2" barrel. Likewise, Remington's 125gr Golden Saber is advertised at 1250fps from a 4" barrel and typically runs 1100-1150fps from a 2-3" barrel in nearly all the chronograph tests I've seen.

Finally, .357 Magnum is one of the most reliably expanding handgun cartridges available. Because it's not typically limited by the feeding cycle of a semi-automatic, semi-jacketed bullets with very soft lead noses can be used which expand aggressively even at snubnose velocities. However, as I mentioned earlier, if you don't trust any bullet to expand, you can get a .44 Special into essentially the same size package which is even larger in diameter than the .40 S&W is to begin with. Not only that, but .44 Special is lower pressure than .40 S&W, .357 Magnum, or even .38 Special (SAAMI maximum for .44 Special is 15,500psi), so your chances of sticky extraction are reduced.

Quote:
Admittedly, this is not much of a benefit over 357 mag, but if you have neither. . .357 mag ammo is already pricey, so this could be price competative and offer a slight advantage.
While .357 Magnum ammunition is more expensive than .40 S&W, a .357 Magnum revolver can also fire .38 Special ammuniton which is pretty comparable in price to .40 S&W. Also, .38 Special could be used as a lower recoil alternative as it would likely generate substantially less recoil than a .40 S&W of the same size (all reports I've read about the Charter Arms Pit Bull describe the recoil as rather "brisk" or "snappy").

Quote:
Quote:
Don't we have 41 cal S&W & Ruger Revolvers???

We do. Do any of these have CCW packability? Also, 41 mag is a serious round. Maybe too much recoil for SD in a 3" gun. Yea, a 170gr bullet at 1800 fps is too much heat for me to CCW.
Taurus has made their 415 five-shot .41 Magnum for years though I think the recoil of said gun would probably be pretty vicious. Also, Winchester's 175gr Silvertip is an excellent .41 Magnum self-defense loading as it's advertised at 1250fps from a 4" barrel. A revolver such as a 4" S&W M57 or M58 loaded with Silvertips would be a very reasonable cold weather CCW in my estimation.
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Old September 7, 2012, 09:16 AM   #11
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Nathan, you left out a key word in the wiki description of the .41AE. It was designed to duplicate the performance of the .41 Magnum police cartridge. That was a downloaded, Special equivalent loading, very similar to .38-40 or .40S&W. Not remotely like 170@1800.

Also, the .41AE was designed to work in 9mm type guns. I believe it headspaces 9mm, with the intent being to allow barrel and caliber changes from the same gun.

The .40S&W pretty much made the .41AE unnecessary.

With regard to the .40 revolver, in N frames the 610 allows more versatility. I don't see a CCW .40 getting any smaller than an L frame, so I don't see a point to it, myself.
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Old September 7, 2012, 09:18 AM   #12
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Check out Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel 357 Magnum 135 grain JHP @990 FPS at the muzzle. Their 38 Special +P SB load uses the same bullet and has a velocity of 860 FPS. Speer states on their website the 38 Special round is tested from a 2" barrel. I do not know how they tested the 357 Magnum round.

Besides, 40 S&W just isn't that great. I find it to be too much of a compromise in a revolver. You may as well maximize the cartridge's power if you're going to go with a medium or large frame revolver. I can see staying with 38 Special, 327 Magnum, 22 Magnum or 22 Long Rifle for small framed revolvers.

The S&W 610 in 10mm can handle it, though it is an N-Frame. They're not that difficult to conceal. Practice with 40 S&W and carry 10mm.

Last edited by tomrkba; September 7, 2012 at 09:29 AM.
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Old September 7, 2012, 09:34 AM   #13
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Honestly, if one wanted to build a medium-frame revolver in a bigbore semi-auto caliber, .45 ACP would probably be the way to go. Taurus made the Model 455 in that caliber for years (as well as the Model 450 in .45 Long Colt) so we already know that it can be done. With a 185gr loading like Winchester's Silvertip, you can fairly easily match the ballistics of a 180gr .40 S&W and do so with a larger diameter bullet at lower pressure (SAAMI max for standard pressure .45 ACP is 21,000psi and .45 ACP +P is 23,000psi). You could also go with .45 Long Colt as it's pressure is even lower at 14,000psi.
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
In your opinion, would a 5 shot moon clip fed 40 revolver from S&W sell? I'm thinking 3" K frame fixed sight DAO gun with black DLC coating, compact round butt wood grips and Novak styled night sights. What do you think?
I wouldn't buy one. I've got 357's, 44's, and 45's (Colts). If I can't handle it with one of those, I probably don't need a handgun for it.
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Old September 7, 2012, 12:38 PM   #15
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Charter Arms totally missed the boat with their new 40 cal revolver, was all set to buy one and then found out ... no moon-clips, (duh ! ! ! ) which means no quick reloads, which means its handicapped for CCW duty ,,, why would anyone build a rimless cartridge revolver if not for quick reloads (moon-clips). Talk about a production and marketing fiasco.

You may want to check out the M310 Nightguard, moon-clip revolver for 40 S&W/10mm, which gives the handloader a lot of versatility. Not sure if its still in production but I still see new ones popping up for sale.
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Old September 7, 2012, 02:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Charter Arms totally missed the boat with their new 40 cal revolver... why would anyone build a rimless cartridge revolver if not for quick reloads (moon-clips).
Many Charter buyers are not "gun people". These folks are attracted to a small gun that takes a powerful, large-caliber cartridge that's readily available at Wal-Mart. These buyers don't have fantasies of reloading with lightning speed like Jerry Miculek; they would potentially be turned off by having to fidget with moon clips, particularly the process of removing spent cases without bending the clips.

Speaking of which, remember that bent moon clips can cause function problems that few non-shooters have the knowledge or patience to resolve- the same problems which prompted many enthusiast shooters to adopt the .45 Auto Rim cartridge in place of .45ACP when using earlier moon clip revolvers!
Quote:
You may want to check out the M310 Nightguard, moon-clip revolver for 40 S&W/10mm, which gives the handloader a lot of versatility.
The M310 is a big and expensive gun built on S&W's full-size N frame; it's NOT aimed at the same market segment as the Charter.
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Last edited by carguychris; September 7, 2012 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Minor reword...
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Old September 7, 2012, 02:44 PM   #17
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I don't know if the market would support a "41 Special" but it would make sense. In my opinion it would be a better seller than a new "40 special" and easier to make because the shell would be identical to the existing 41 mag in every way except length.
In larger and heavier guns there is nothing wrong with the 41 magnum. I have always loved the old M-58 S&W revolver, but it's not made anymore.

Remington made the "M&P Load" for years and it was a very good idea for those that wanted less than full power.
The 41 is an excellent round. It never got as popular as the 44 and the 45s, but it does have a lot of merit.
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Old September 7, 2012, 02:46 PM   #18
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I could see the Charter Arms Pit Bull being attractive for use as a BUG to a semi-auto in .40 S&W, particularly amongst cops using department-supplied ammunition. The problem is that the .40 S&W Pit Bull is substantially larger than a S&W J-Frame which itself is considered by many to be the upper limit of acceptable size for a BUG.
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Old September 7, 2012, 04:38 PM   #19
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I am no fan of the forty in autos and it seems the revolver already has better with the .357. My autos are 9 or 45 ACP.
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Old September 7, 2012, 04:54 PM   #20
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S&W already offered a revolver chambered for 40S&W.
The model 646. It was a 6 shot L frame. They are big bucks if you can find one for sell.

Jim
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Old September 7, 2012, 05:30 PM   #21
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The 40 is a good cartridge from an auto and should be fine from a revolver provided that its grip distributes recoil well and its barrel/cylinder gap is not excessive.

I initially welcomed the .40 Charter snub, then learned of its inability to accommodate quick reloading via common methods- speed loaders or moon clips. That was my 'wothehell' moment and I lost all interest.

Rimless cartridges create their own set of problems when used in revolvers. When the benefits outweigh the problems, you go with it. The 45 ACP/AR is a prime example of a win in that equation. The 40 S&W? Not so much. I kinda doubt we'll see a rimmed version as we have been down that road before.
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Old September 7, 2012, 08:49 PM   #22
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.41 Special?
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Old September 7, 2012, 09:45 PM   #23
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Stephanie B, if your question was aimed my way, there is no .41 Special. A lot of old timers had pushed for a .41 revolver, pushing a 200gr bullet at 950fps, as being ideal for police work. When the .41 Magnum came out, it was marketed to LE, but didn't take off - too much power and recoil for the majority of customers.

Some handloaders would load .41 Magnum down to the 200@950 level; relative to a .41 Magnum, the relationship is similar to that of .44 Special to .44 Magnum.

I am not sure why commercial manufacturers never came out with an official .41 Special. There was a time it could have really sold.
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Old September 8, 2012, 01:16 AM   #24
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IMHO

I don't see it. I don't see it as a seller. 10mm Nightguard can shoot 40 S&W with moon clips, it's just bigger.
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Old September 8, 2012, 03:58 AM   #25
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I wish S&W would bring back the 646 in a 3" barrel, with a Stainless Steel Cylinder, a pined front sight, and a Pro Model without the Loc. Smith & Wesson seems to quit on some new models a little too quickly. This was a good example.
I have owned a 610 for 20 years. I also own a 310 Night Guard, and conceal carry it in my rotation.
I like the 40 S&W cartridge. I like Moon Clips, and I also like the L Frame S&W revolvers. I would buy a 646 as described above at a reasonable price.

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