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Here's a delicate question about the 40S&W

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by Tmygun, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. Tmygun


    Jan 17, 2010
    Is it true that the 40S&W is the least accurate of the pistol cartridges? I'm not trying to step on toes or start any arguments, it's just something I've heard for years. Even in my Speer manual they talk about using certain powders to get better accuracy for the 40, yet they say the 10mm is an inherently accurate cartridge. If it's just a shortened 10mm, why the accuracy difference?
    I'm just curious to hear what people here have to say to this, people with experience with this cartridge. I've never shot or owned a 40S&W, mainly because I've always thought the 45acp was simply perfect. I do however have G20 10mm on the way:supergrin:.

  2. GarryK


    Jan 1, 2010
    No helpful info on the .40 accuracy, but congrats on the G20. I picked one up last week and have about 150 rounds through it. I'm a bit more accurate with my G17, but that's mainly on "rapid fire" exercises. one at a time, there's little difference.

    I do have a Lone Wolf .40 conversion barrel coming for the 20, but from what I've read, the LW barrel may be a bit more accurate than the stock G22 barrel. I won't have any basis for comparison.

    If the LW conversion ever gets here, I'll report back.................

    Good luck with your flame war! :tongueout:

  3. Petrie


    Nov 26, 2008
    I think that's a fair question. I've read a quite a few articles that talked about the .308 cartridge being inherently more accurate than other rifle cartriges. Or that the 45 acp and 38 special where inherently more accurate pistol rounds.
  4. JoshK


    Dec 5, 2009
    Austin, TX
    i'm actually more accurate with my G23 than i have been with other guns i've owned.... i've noticed less recoil than previous .45's i've owned and more accuracy in certain cases....

    i personally think innacurracy, a lot of the time, with any caliber is shooter related.... i know the cartridge does come into play.... but so does the skill of the person pulling the trigger....
  5. GIockGuy24

    GIockGuy24 Bring M&M's

    Jul 14, 2005
    With Amber Lamps
    When 40 S&W was first developed by S&W and Winchester it loaded only with 180 grain bullets and was designed for a four inch barrel a fast powder was chosen. The 180 grain bullet was due the first FBI 10mm load. The fast powder was due to the 4 inch barrel, or so they thought at the time. The ballistics were where they wanted them but the accuracy was behind most other pistol cartridges. Federal was the first company to load a different weight bullet with the 155 grain Hydra-shok. The Federal load was loaded shorter than others and this caused feeding problems in a lot of pistols. The 155 grain bullet were a bit more accurate than the 180 grain bullets. Hornady finally really improved the accuracy of 40 S&W with both 155 grain and 180 grain bullets. It was found this accuracy, that is common in other pistol cartridges, was possible in 40 S&W by using slower powders. So it's true the poor accuracy of early 40 S&W was due to using fast powders and can be fixed by using slower powders.
  6. Aces and 8s

    Aces and 8s Dead Mans Hand

    Jan 4, 2010
    Your Back Yard
    Honestly dont know the history of it much but from my personaly experience the 9mm is more accurate then the .40S&W

    I picked up a 9mm and was dead on. Then I picked up my .40 and wasnt hitting my target as well as the 9mm.

    Maybe it was a combo of being excited to shoot my OWN handgun for the first time (mainly grew up shooting grandfathers pistols 9mm and .45 and my rifles) or maybe I am just not used to the .40 yet. Only time will tell.

    I do know one thing, I love my G22 :)
  7. Jeager106


    Sep 23, 2005
    Some definitions are in order here.
    What is accuracy?
    To whom?
    At what distance(s)?
    Are we speaking of practical acuracy or shooting a dime out of your wifes fingers at 50 yards?
    I'm old school. Never shoot benched at anything less than 25 yards. I want 3 inches or better for a defensive weapon.
    Oh, and what are you feeding your handgun?
    Right now, if you can find Wally's Win White Box you may be happy with 6 inch groups rested at 25 yards.
    Some of my handguns in all major defensive caliber, 9mm, .357 Sig, 40, and .45 are lucky to shoot 6 inches with WWB. However my H&K full size USP .45 shoots a bit over 2 inches all day with WWB.
    My M22 with conversion .357 Sig barrel shoots 7 inches or worse with WWB, but I broke down, paid the price for a box of Remington .357 Sig Golden Sabers and it averaged 2.5 inches. I did nothing but change ammo.
    My M22 with handloaded 165 grain Sierra shoots 1 3/4 inches, at 25 rested. That good enough for ya?
    Suits me fine.
    My G-34 shoots WWB at 2.5 inches which SUCKS for a M-34, however handloaded 125 grain Rem h.p. bullets shoot 1.5 inches and I'm thinking with some load tinkering it will do better.
    My Para Ordinace, Springfield Loaded, and Kimber CustomII won't shoot WWB for crap. Handload an accuracy load from a manual and the Kimber shoots a ragged hole, the Para a bigger ragged hole, the Springfiled 2 inches.
    So define accuracy please.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  8. Tmygun


    Jan 17, 2010
    Yes, I would say my definiton of accuracy would be 25yds. rested. I know every gun is an animal of it's own with likes and dislikes. It's just that I've heard that the 40S&W was picky in every way (rested, standing,etc.) over other calibers. I know that it no doubt has good practical defense accuracy.

    Quote:My M22 with handloaded 165 grain Sierra shoots 1 3/4 inches, at 25 rested. That good enough for ya?
    I'd say if you get that down to 1 2/4" then it would be good:tongueout:.
    Thanks for all the replies, it's very interesting to discuss.
    Happy shooting!!!!

  9. Desertscout

    Desertscout Millennium Member CLM

    Nov 22, 1999
    I have quite a few .40's and I am a stickler for accuracy. I shoot well and I understand the difference between mechanical accuracy and shooter accuracy. The .40 has so far been one of the most accurate semi-auto cartridges that I have shot. It keeps up with most any of the rest of them.

    The target below shows 3 types of ammo out of the same gun, a G35, in a rest at 25 yards. The top group is 1 3/8"


    I haven't experienced the terrible WWB either. I realize that I may not be able to do this 100% of the time but I have several videos of .40 caliber, 200 yard shooting and they do as well as any of them...

    This isn't great but it's acceptable...

  10. thegriz18

    thegriz18 Paper Killer

    Jun 17, 2007
    Friend Zone
    The .40 is a very accurate cartridge. Check out this picture. The one flier was all my bad.
  11. Tmygun


    Jan 17, 2010
    WOW, that is some excellent accuracy:wow:!!!! If the 40S&W is capable of that kind of accuracy, I don't know what all these gun writers are talking about:faint:.
    You're a fine marksman Desertscout!!!! That Gold Dot ammo looks mighty accurate.

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  12. AJSully421

    AJSully421 Armed Citizen

    Apr 19, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    They are more accurate than I am...

    With the additional snap of the recoil, it might be a factor with some who will declare that the .40 is not as accurate as other calibers.

    It is the indian... not the arrow.
  13. When its fired out of out of my SIG P229 its the most accurate round I fire!!
  14. Brucev


    Jul 19, 2009
    "WOW, that is some excellent accuracy:wow:!!!! If the 40S&W is capable of that kind of accuracy, I don't know what all these gun writers are talking about..." There are many times when readers have the same question.
  15. vinnier6


    Mar 5, 2002
    op...where do you people come up with this crap....
  16. Glock39Pirate


    Nov 17, 2009
    Between a 9mm, .40 and .45, I shoot the .40 the worst due to the snappiness of the round. FYI I shoot a .45 GAP better than any other. :cool:
  17. ChaneyD


    Mar 20, 2003
    I think I read something at one time about the aerodynamics of bullets by caliber regardless of firearm. Seems load, bullet wt, sectional density, etc, was more accurate in the .38 special caliber.
  18. GreenJip


    Sep 8, 2009
    For me, accuracy is anything capable of hitting center mass. I don't know any calibure that is not combat accurate, only shooters. But, I have been curious as to what grains perform optimal given barrel length.
  19. Stuntman_Mike

    Stuntman_Mike /̵͇̿̿/'̿̿ ̿ ̿ ̿


    As much as I'd like to blame things other than my shooting for bad range days, it boils down to user error.

    If someone can consistantly ring a gong from 230 yards away with a G23 / G27, it's probably not the round's fault.
  20. SDGlock23

    SDGlock23 Glockoholic

    I've got to say that all my .40 cal Glocks shoot better than I do, and I like to think I'm a pretty good shot. Just because some jackhole gun rag writer can't shoot a .40 doesn't mean the .40 isn't an accurate cartridge.