40 cal. S & W


#1

Greetings to everyone, I have taken a break from collecting to focus on my shooting. For those of you that do not know me I was in a airplane accident Sept. 2004 that left me in a wheelchair and burned over 50% on my left side and losing 4 fingers on my right hand, I do have enough of my index finger to shoot my AR 15, A2.

I do shoot pistols with my left hand only. My question has to do with my latest gun I bought which is a Berretta Model 96, 40 cal. S & W. I went through all the
FMJ`s in my collection to find they are all flat nose. If anyone has an idea why this is would be interesting to know. Thank you, Tony
You can see my story on youtube that the History Channel did in 2008, just type my name, Tony Albanese on youtube to view.


#2

Hello Tony. After watching the YouTube video, all I can say is that it’s a miracle you are still here! Someone was definitely watching over you!

Happy collecting/shooting!

Dave.


#3

Tony - Aside from the fact that within the scope of FMJ bullets, a flat nose is probably a more effective defense load than a round nose projectile, I don’t know any particular technological reason why they seem to have settled on the FN as the “normal” bullet shape for this caliber.

However, being a skeptical old man, and also very found of the old Colt/Winchester calibers (interchangeable between Colt Revolvers and Winchester rifles), I have to ask myself if it is simply coincidence that the original 180 Grain FMJ FN bullet for the .40 S&W, a cartridge developed in league with S&W by Winchester-Olin. is basically a jacketed, carbon-copy of the classic Winchester 180 grain lead bullet for the .38 WCF (.38-40) Models 1873 and 1892 rifles and various Colt handguns?

We don’t know each other, but regardless, I am sorry to hear of your accident, as I believe all on this Forum will be, and hope for the best recovery possible for you. The fact you are back on the range, simply with a different type of firearm to shoot, is in my view a great sign. Keep at it!


#4

Hello Tony.

The .40 S&W hit the market in 1990 and was a by-product from the FBI’s testing and the short lived adoption of the 10MM cartridge (which came about because of the 1986 FBI shoot-out in Dade Co. FL). The length of the 10MM required the use of a full size frame pistol. IIRC the FBI’s 10MM load (Federal XM1001) was designed around the 180-190gr JHP at approx. 950fps (which many 10MM fans call “10MM Lite”).

Winchester figured out that by shortening the case they can get the same, if not more, velocity as the 10MM Lite, and by using a truncated or flat point bullet in 180gr (the standard bullet weight for this cartridge), the .40 S&W cartridge can be adapted to medium sized pistol frames chambered in the 9x19mm caliber.

The .40 and the 9x19mm cartridges are nearly the same overall length with the .40 using a flat point bullet. This is why so many shooters buy a .40 pistol and with a new barrel and magazine in 9x19mm, they now have dual caliber use in one pistol (and with just a .357 Sig barrel they can use three calibers in one).

Reloaders have the option of using RN bullets in the .40 case, but they have to be careful as to what type and how much powder to use while maintaining the proper OAL of the cartridge itself, especially when using the longer 180gr bullets.

As a side story, years ago I had the opportunity to talk to an FBI SA from the Sacramento, CA office and I asked him how he liked his S&W M-1076 10MM pistol. He told me “Hate it!”. It was way to heavy to carry it while wearing the standard business attire as it pulled his pants down! He said many of his fellow agents would ditch their gun in their desk drawer, briefcase or just tuck it under car seat (!).

Seems that in the very near future the FBI is going to ditch the .40 caliber and go back to the 9x19mm caliber with Winchester supplying most of their training and duty ammo.


#5

Leon-Thanks for filling in the details. However, I must question the part about converting a .40 caliber auto to 9 mm, or the reverse, with nothing more than a barrel and magazine. That works perfectly well with the .357 SIG cartridge, barrel change only, but to convert from .4 to 9 mm should also require a complete 9 mm slide. The breech face for a 9 mm should be smaller than that for a .40, and that would pose problems with the position of the extractor. Also, the extractor shape in some instances might be wrong for the 9 mm anyway. In some designs, it might even require separate replacement of the ejector.

Even if it accidentally worked, I would think dependability would be highly suspect. Again, am not talking about the .357 SIG conversion, only the conversion from .40 to 9 mm Luger.

Perhaps I am missing something somewhere. I do not pretend to be a firearms engineer, but I do have almost sixty years experience with self-loading pistols.
If someone knows I am in error, please correct me but also explain why and how such a conversion would work properly using only a magazine and a barrel.


#6

John: Actually, there appears to be quite a market for the .40 S&W to 9x19mm conversion barrels. You’ll note that shell plates from many reloading die and progressive press manufacturers are the same for the .40 S&W, 10mm Norma, and 9x19mm. Likewise, some M1911 manufacturers have used .45 ACP breechface slides with their 10mm and .40 S&W pistols. Colt played the same trick back when they standardized on .380 ACP breechfaces in the slides of both the .32 ACP M1903 and .380 M1908 Pocket Hammerless.


#7

That’s interesting. Admittedly, I don’t own a .40 auto to examine extractor fit, case head fit to the breech face, etc. Even though I have hundreds of rounds of .40 S&W in my collection, and thousands of 9 mm, I have not measured the case head dimensions. I will do that when I find time. It is hard to believe in the interchangeability of the two calibers to that extent, but then, I haven’t tried it. Perhaps my own belief that since the cost of the barrel, etc. can buy a lot of ammo for the original gun (or used to anyway - who knows these days with all the hoarders driving up the price of ammo). I never found the attraction to such conversions, especially if they are on the “Mickey Mouse” side of the equation.

The Colt Pocket Hammerless was a no-brainer. The two cartridges, due to the very pronounced semi-rim of the .32 auto cartridge. are very close to each other at the head (that is, the .32 is close to the .380). Many companies have used the same magazine for both calibers - CZ 24 and CZ 27, FN-Browning Models 1910 and 1922, etc. The Czechs marked their magazines different - I don’t recall seeing a caliber marking on the original clips for the vz. 24, but the mags for the vz. 27 were marked with the model, as I recall, but I have used the Mod 27 clip in a Model 24 myself, with good success. I owned a Model 1922 Browning clip that had “7.65” on one side and “9 mm” on the other, both factory-stamped. Slovenia converted a few Makarovs to .32 Auto (7.65 Browning) with nothing more than a new barrel. They even used the 9 mm clip for the 7.65 mm cartridges, although with the advice that you must load only 7 rounds instead of 8. I have tested that use, although only by loading a magazine, since I have no 7.65 mm barrel for a Makarov to try the feeding, but was told by a Slovenian collector that his specimen of pistol worked just fine.

So, I guess as usual, I engaged my mouth before I did my brain; that is, I went with gut feeling and did not research my answer. What is it they say about “a little knowledge?” Perhaps it is a dangerous thing.

I will satisfy my curiosity as my son has his CHP issue .40 Auto, and I will have him bring it down to the house one of these days just to check extractor fit and the like for myself, although I don’t doubt Dan’s words. He has forgotten more about the mechanics of firearms than I will ever know.


#8

Thanks to everyone`s responce, it has created some questions about the .40 S&W. We all now know much more than we did.
I hope we continue to get more information on this subject, thanks to all that have read and answered this question, Tony


#9

[quote=“JohnMoss”]Leon-Thanks for filling in the details. However, I must question the part about converting a .40 caliber auto to 9 mm, or the reverse, with nothing more than a barrel and magazine. That works perfectly well with the .357 SIG cartridge, barrel change only, but to convert from .4 to 9 mm should also require a complete 9 mm slide. The breech face for a 9 mm should be smaller than that for a .40, and that would pose problems with the position of the extractor. Also, the extractor shape in some instances might be wrong for the 9 mm anyway. In some designs, it might even require separate replacement of the ejector.

Even if it accidentally worked, I would think dependability would be highly suspect. Again, am not talking about the .357 SIG conversion, only the conversion from .40 to 9 mm Luger.

Perhaps I am missing something somewhere. I do not pretend to be a firearms engineer, but I do have almost sixty years experience with self-loading pistols.
If someone knows I am in error, please correct me but also explain why and how such a conversion would work properly using only a magazine and a barrel.[/quote]

John,

I don’t know if ALL .40 pistols can be converted over to 9mm, but there is a huge demand for barrels to convert Glocks from .40 to 9mm. Apparently the extractors are big enough to grip the 9mm’s rim and hold in place as the cartridge is chambered. I’m hearing from those who convert their Glocks from .40 to 9mm are doing so with very little to no problems. Some have gone as far as using their converted Glocks as legal carry pistols. Personally I’ve not tried the conversion, but it does work.


#10

Leon - thanks for the insight. I haven’t had a chance to measure the two cartridges yet. I am pretty busy with family matters right now. I am surprised it works, but as I mentioned in my response to Dan, I guess my prejudice got the best of me, as I simply see no practical use to such a conversion, especially going down in effectiveness from a .40 to a 9 mm. However, different strokes for different folks. I guess that’s what makes the world go around. Keeps the accessory makers rich at the same time.


#11

Given how expensive .22 LR is getting, the 9mm conversion barrel is probably cheaper in the long run than a .22 conversion kit. Plus, a 9mm projectile makes a more visible hole in the target than a .22, and the 9mm recoil will be closer to the .40 given that no one manufactures a floating chamber .22 conversion.

Part of the reason the conversion barrels function is that the diameter of the 9x19mm case at the extractor groove is the same as the .40 S&W case. In contrast to a M1911, I really don’t think that a Glock’s extractor applies much tension to the outer diameter of the case rim. If you fire a Glock without a magazine, the spent case typically falls out though the empty magazine well.


#12

Dan - I have never owned a Glock Pistol. Does it have a separate ejector or is the ejector built into a magazine lip. If the latter, the might explain empties falling our through the mag well when no magazine is inserted.

Regarding expense of .22 vs. 9 mm, that misses my point, which I grant is simply my own opinion, and that is why bother to convert at all. Learn to shoot the gun in the caliber it was originally built in and that the shooter selected for himself. If you can afford to buy a 500.00 plus pistol, the difference in cost between 9 mm and .40 ammo borders on the irrelevant.

Again, I appreciate you input, but I stand by my opinion. Personally, there has been little improvement in self-loading pistols since The Colt/Browning Model 1911 came out, and none, in my view, since the Browning HP was introduced, although being in Europe, they got the caliber wrong. Still they are fun to shoot and I have fired thousands of 9 mm of all bullet shapes, weights and brands out of mine with not one single malfunction, since I almost immediately dumped all the FN factory magazines that came with mine years ago, and purchased good magazines made by Mec-Gar in Italy.


#13

A fellow shooter inadvertently fired 9 mm rounds from his .40 pistol and did not realize what he was doing, because it worked, except that there were no bullet holes on the target at 25 m.