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Thread: what grain should I use?

  1. #1
    Regular Member Sorcice's Avatar
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    what grain should I use?

    I have a Beretta Px4 Full Size in .40. I'm looking at getting some more ammo in bulk online. The great part is I have shot 180gr, 135gr and 165gr(all hollows) and there is almost no diff in kick much less kick at all do too design of the gun. My question is what grain does what? I'm guessing higher grain = more "oomph" but for self def rounds what do you all recommend? Second question: What are opinions on diff makers. I have been using Federal rounds and never had a jam or misfire or really anything happen but targets getting holes put in them. Are CCI, Winchester, Hornady, etc really that different or should I go for price?

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    If going for bulk just for target shooting / practice, I get whatever is cheapest that functions in my gun. I prefer the 180 grain in my .40 but others will have their own preferences. Try some and see which ones work best for you. Any of them will work just fine for SD purposes.
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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    The grain # refers to the weight/mass of the bullet,
    not necessarily how much push is behind it.

    Something to consider for self-defense:
    All else being equal, heavier bullets penetrate more, lighter bullets open up more (hollowpoint).
    (Ask Grant Guess, member here... he knows a lot more of the technical stuff.)

    For target shooting, use whatever's cheapest & works in your pistol.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sorcice View Post
    I have a Beretta Px4 Full Size in .40. I'm looking at getting some more ammo in bulk online. The great part is I have shot 180gr, 135gr and 165gr(all hollows) and there is almost no diff in kick much less kick at all do too design of the gun. My question is what grain does what? I'm guessing higher grain = more "oomph" but for self def rounds what do you all recommend? Second question: What are opinions on diff makers. I have been using Federal rounds and never had a jam or misfire or really anything happen but targets getting holes put in them. Are CCI, Winchester, Hornady, etc really that different or should I go for price?
    Why of course you should use Everclear grain alcohol!

    However in ammo.... grain is a unit of measurement referring to weight. The weight of the bullet is expressed in grains, so is the weight of the powder. One pound = 7000 grains.

    In .40 S&W most "authorities" advise that the middle weight bullets in the 155-165 grain range are the most effective for defensive purposes.

    Price is one consideration, because you do want to do a certain amount of training with the same ammo you carry for serious business, and if it's more expensive you're probably less willing to shoot up "the good stuff" during training.

    You don't feel a difference in recoil? Get some Magtech Guardian Gold or Winchester Ranger and I'll bet you'll feel a difference then. They're pretty hot loads.

    I carry Winchester Ranger and Silvertips and Hornady TAP in my .40's. You won't go wrong with any of them.
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    Regular Member Sorcice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shotgun View Post
    Why of course you should use Everclear grain alcohol!

    However in ammo.... grain is a unit of measurement referring to weight. The weight of the bullet is expressed in grains, so is the weight of the powder. One pound = 7000 grains.

    In .40 S&W most "authorities" advise that the middle weight bullets in the 155-165 grain range are the most effective for defensive purposes.

    Price is one consideration, because you do want to do a certain amount of training with the same ammo you carry for serious business, and if it's more expensive you're probably less willing to shoot up "the good stuff" during training.

    You don't feel a difference in recoil? Get some Magtech Guardian Gold or Winchester Ranger and I'll bet you'll feel a difference then. They're pretty hot loads.

    I carry Winchester Ranger and Silvertips and Hornady TAP in my .40's. You won't go wrong with any of them.
    I'll give a few of these a try thanks!

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    Do you have adjustable sights, both windage & elevation? If you do, then you can adjust the sights to whatever ammo you choose. If not... you must adjust the ammo to the gun. I'll explain. Most handguns have driftable windage adjustment, but usually only target models have elevation. The best ammo is the one that hits where you aim. Lighter bullets will impact lower than heavier ones. If you cannot adjust your rear sight elevation to your point of impact, then you can compensate by experimenting and finding out which weight bullet impacts closest to where your sights are regulated for elevation. Don't worry about hitting left or right, you can drift adjust your rear sight for that. But to hit where you aim elevation wise, you cannot adjust your sights up & down, so you need to find out what weight bullet your gun "likes" for the sights you have. You can try sight swapping, with differant heights, but that's expensive (why they invented adjustable).

    For example, my Kahr CM9 hits 8" below point of aim at 15yds with 115gr 9mm ammo. That's way too low to compensate for by "stacking" the sights (not aligning with top of front sight even with top of rear notch, as they were designed for, but holding so front sight is above top of rear, raising point of impact). I either needed to replace the rear with something much higher, or try a differant bullet weight (heavier) to raise point of impact. 8" at 15yds is a lot, so I skipped the 124grs, and went right to 147grs. Perfect. Point of impact at 15yds is 1" above point of aim with Winchester 147gr JHPs. I was able to change the point of impact 8" at 15yds, just by switching to heavier bullets. Never touched the sights.

    If it was hitting low with the heaviest bullets, I'd have no choice but to replace rear sight, or just "aim high".

    Why is all this important? The best load for your gun, bullet weight wise, is the one you can put on target. The best super-duper ultra-expanding zombie-killing hollow-point bullet made, isn't worth crap if you cannot put it where you aim.

  7. #7
    Regular Member Sorcice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by safcrkr View Post
    Do you have adjustable sights, both windage & elevation? If you do, then you can adjust the sights to whatever ammo you choose. If not... you must adjust the ammo to the gun. I'll explain. Most handguns have driftable windage adjustment, but usually only target models have elevation. The best ammo is the one that hits where you aim. Lighter bullets will impact lower than heavier ones. If you cannot adjust your rear sight elevation to your point of impact, then you can compensate by experimenting and finding out which weight bullet impacts closest to where your sights are regulated for elevation. Don't worry about hitting left or right, you can drift adjust your rear sight for that. But to hit where you aim elevation wise, you cannot adjust your sights up & down, so you need to find out what weight bullet your gun "likes" for the sights you have. You can try sight swapping, with differant heights, but that's expensive (why they invented adjustable).

    For example, my Kahr CM9 hits 8" below point of aim at 15yds with 115gr 9mm ammo. That's way too low to compensate for by "stacking" the sights (not aligning with top of front sight even with top of rear notch, as they were designed for, but holding so front sight is above top of rear, raising point of impact). I either needed to replace the rear with something much higher, or try a differant bullet weight (heavier) to raise point of impact. 8" at 15yds is a lot, so I skipped the 124grs, and went right to 147grs. Perfect. Point of impact at 15yds is 1" above point of aim with Winchester 147gr JHPs. I was able to change the point of impact 8" at 15yds, just by switching to heavier bullets. Never touched the sights.

    If it was hitting low with the heaviest bullets, I'd have no choice but to replace rear sight, or just "aim high".

    Why is all this important? The best load for your gun, bullet weight wise, is the one you can put on target. The best super-duper ultra-expanding zombie-killing hollow-point bullet made, isn't worth crap if you cannot put it where you aim.

    I see. That makes perfect sense. I'll have to shoot a few diff grains then and see what's what. Thanks a ton!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sorcice View Post
    I see. That makes perfect sense. I'll have to shoot a few diff grains then and see what's what. Thanks a ton!
    It doesn't mean you cannot buy some cheap ammo for just target shooting or plinking. The more you shoot, the better you'll be. Practicing with any ammo hones the skills of trigger control, etc. But what you carry when things are serious, should be what your gun shoots best. Self defense specific ammo is expensive. If that's all you shoot at the range, unless you got deep pockets, you'll shoot less. You gotta strike a balance. Carry the best, but at the range, paper doesn't shoot back. The biggest mistake you can make is to just buy the cheapest ammo and hope for the best. If the cheap ammo does shoot the best in your gun, consider yourself lucky... it's rare.

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    Regular Member Sorcice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by safcrkr View Post
    It doesn't mean you cannot buy some cheap ammo for just target shooting or plinking. The more you shoot, the better you'll be. Practicing with any ammo hones the skills of trigger control, etc. But what you carry when things are serious, should be what your gun shoots best. Self defense specific ammo is expensive. If that's all you shoot at the range, unless you got deep pockets, you'll shoot less. You gotta strike a balance. Carry the best, but at the range, paper doesn't shoot back. The biggest mistake you can make is to just buy the cheapest ammo and hope for the best. If the cheap ammo does shoot the best in your gun, consider yourself lucky... it's rare.
    till now i have not had issues using Feds..but ya i'll check diff rounds out next time i get a chance. Really wish there was a range in Madison somewhere.. I know about the outer ranges in Oregon or up in Gander mountain but that's kind of a haul on the bus. Does anyone know if Madison transit is banning firearms?

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    Regular Member Zeus's Avatar
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    In Mas Ayoob's Gun Digest of Combat Handgunnery 6th Edition, he suggests 135gr JHP at 1,300 fps. He quotes coroner's data and an account of a knife wielding man shot in the stomach who was actually flung back and to the ground. Wound depth was 10 inches, ideal for defense but considered inadequate by the FBI requirements for penetration/barrier protocols.
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