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bullet weight

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Rinconjoe, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. Rinconjoe


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    Dec 1, 2006
    carthage NC
    Ok I have been reloading 40 S&W 40 in 180 Gr bullet:
    I know there are at several other main weights
    And there may be others weights.
    What is the main difference between them all other than the obvious the weight,
    Is some better for target shooting or home defense, thanks
  2. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    Likes Received:
    Oct 19, 2011
    It always gets back to that kinetic energy thing of light but fast versus slow but heavy.

    In theory, a fast light bullet can deliver more kinetic energy because kinetic energy is proportional to mass times (velocity squared). It's actually E = 1/2 m * V^2

    There are those who prefer slow and heavy for competition because there may be less felt recoil.

    Around here, LE tends to use the .40 S&W 180 gr JHP running somewhere around 990 fps (Federal Classic). When the .357 wheel gun was king, the more popular round was a 125 gr JHP at some blazing velocity around 1500 fps.

    There is no real desire to have a bullet overpenetrate and cause collateral damage so some bullets at a lower velocity may be preferred.

    As to how they shoot? Some guns will prefer one style of bullet over another. In the .45 ACP world, the 200 gr LSWC might be among the most accurate and, IIRC, the 185 gr jacketed SWC is a favorite among bullseye shooters. In the .38 SPL world, it's hard to beat the 148 gr HBWC but it's moving at a snail's pace.

    I haven't started loading .40 just yet. I did order a couple of thousand 180 gr JHP the other day so I'll be starting soon. In my case, I want to match the LE 180 gr 990 fps round.

    Buy a hundred of each likely candidate and shoot them at varying velocities and see what you like.

    That 200 gr bullet is more commonly used in 10mm loading. I don't think I would go that heavy.

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012

  3. sig357fan


    Likes Received:
    Apr 8, 2008
    SW OH
    Other than weight you’ve got velocity and point of impact.

    Velocity is product of powder charge (or pressure produced) and bullet weight, you can go heavy/slow or light/fast or vary in between the two.

    Point of impact is a product of velocity, bullet weight, distance to the targert and where your point of aim is, not an uncommon practice on fixed sighted weapons to adjust powder charge or change bullet weight to effect point of impact in an effort to bring it to point of aim.

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  4. Taterhead

    Taterhead Counting Beans

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    Dec 13, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    The 200 grain weight is better suited for the 10mm Auto case in my opinion. Nosler 135 JHPs are fairly popular too. They can be boosted to pretty high velocities for some pretty high muzzle energy readings. I have seen well into the 800s lb/ft of energy through my 10mm with that bullet. Fun, but a bit lightish for my tastes. They go on sale now and then so they can be picked up for reasonable prices.

    For general range use, for me it boils down to what I can buy for a good deal that gives reasonably good groups. All weights should function with the right load development. Lately it has been mostly 180s that I load because I like that weight and I find them for good prices. I think that is a good all-around weight for 10mm & 40 S&W. 165s are great too.

    For home defense, a lot of folks like mid-weights like 155s or 165s. I really like the 165 gr Gold Dot HP. I'm one of those "on the fence" about using hand loads for SD, so I currently carry factory. I do have a bunch of handloads of defensive ammo onhand for the great alien invasion though.

    What you'll need to do is have some fun working with different types. Shooting them at paper and other stuff to see what groups well for you and gives the terminal results you are looking for. Take good load notes so that you can refer to them later as you cycle through different components.

    Of course bullets with the same weight might not be created equal in terms of pressure and performance. Bullets will have different bearing surfaces, alloys of jackets, fit to barrel, hardness of lead, length, etc. A 180 XTP will have a different pressure relationship with your barrel than a 180 CMJ. If you switch bullet types, reduce and re-work the loads please -- even if they are the same weight.