First off joe4d, it is obvious to me that I stepped on your toes with my comparison comment, which was truly intended as a private joke with Mr. Wes. In hindsight I probably should have made the comment in a pm, rather that in an open post. So I apologize if I offended you with the comparison comment.
It is obvious to me you are a fan of the 40S&W, and it may surprise you to learn that I am as well. I currently own 4 pistols that are chambered or will accept barrels to fire the 40S&W. I have carried this caliber on duty, and willingly trusted my life to it for several years.
I also agree with you totally that shot placement is more crucial to me than is the caliber used, at least when speaking in terms of .38spc/9mm and above. I am not trying to step on anyone's toes who likes the .380acp or other smaller calibers. All I am doing is expressing my personal opinion that I feel adequately armed with calibers above those.
I also feel firearms are very much like buying vehicles to a large degree. Just as I think folks should purchase whatever vehicle that suits their needs best, I think the same holds equally true with both brands, models, and calibers of firearms.
I absolutely do not consider myself an "expert" at all. I am just someone who enjoys shooting firearms, reloading, and discussing gun related topics. My thoughts are largely based on my personal experiences as an avid shooter, LEO, police firearms instructor, police armorer, and reloader for the past 35 years. Based on my experiences I hold certain opinions, just as everyone else holds their own based on their own experiences.
But again I am simply stating my personal opinion in regards to this topic, and others are certainly entitled to agree or disagree as they see fit.
It is not that I dislike the 40S&W or do not trust it. If that was the case, I would certainly not own 4 pistols that fire it. But once I began to research the 357 Sig round it did seem to hold some strong points to me. I purchased one pistol in 40 S&W along with the 357 Sig barrel. Once I began to shoot various loads in 357 Sig, I was very pleased with how well the caliber and I got along.
As I noted earlier in a post, I have developed some medical issues that can making shooting larger calibers painful at times, and shorten my range time as a result. One of the advantages I discovered is that shooting the 357 Sig in comparison to the 40 S&W rounds I had to compare them to, I felt the 357 Sig had less felt recoil and not more than the 40 did to me.
Joe4d I am absolutely not trying to argue with you or anyone else over the merits of these two calibers. I suspect if anything close to a heated debate arises, this thread will get locked again. I would hate to see that happen, as I think many of our members as well as Mr. Wes might find the discussion his question produces to be interesting to them.
But I would like to trying to respond to some of your previous comments with "logic" this time, rather than poorly made jokes which could offend you sir. But to explain my comparison briefly, which will in part respond to some of your comments offered, let me put it this way.
As Mr. Stephens noted in his post, he gave some ballistics information that were obtained from ammo websites. To quote Mr. Chris: "here are some comparisons from Federal and Speer's web sites:
In the Federal Load, product # PD40S4H 135 grain Premium Defense Load we have a 135 grain bullet leaving the muzzle at an average of 1200 ft/sec with muzzle energy hovering around 432 foot/pounds. That's a very decent showing for .40 S&W round.
On the other hand, we have the Speer Personal Protection Gold Dot stock # 23918 round shooting a 125 grain bullet at a very respectable 1375 fps and boasting 535 foot/pounds in muzzle energy. The 155 grain load in .40 S&W is equal to the Federal Load."
I then took a look in one of my reloading manuals, as one of your comments suggested should be done. Unfortunately the two calibers do not offer loading with comparable bullet weights that are equal. Using the Accurate Arms manual, as this is the powder I use for both my 40S&W and 357 Sig loads, I did find a 40 125 gr frangible load, but to me that is apples to oranges, as the only viable comparison would be to use JHPs in both. The lightest projectile listed for the 40 is a 135 gr JHP, which using no 7 powder and start and max charges lists MVs of 1089fps and 1237 fps (fired from a 4" HS Precision).
The standard bullet weight for the 357 Sig is usually a 125 gr JHP (if we try to keep apples and apples), but since it will utilize a 9mm projectile as well as a .38 Super, Accurate lists a 124 gr JHP. Again using no 7 to keep things as equal as possible here, the same MVs are listed as 1161fps and 1320fps (again fired from a 4" HS Precision). Just a note, I use no 9 in this load, as that is what the manual suggest as the best suited powder, and my reloading experience to date has agreed. Using no 9 you obtain MVs of 1220fps and 1387fps. There is no 135 gr 40 load listed using no 9 to compare it to, sorry.
I readily admit that the differences Mr. Chris cited from ammo sites and what the Accurate Arms manual reflects are not tremendous ones, certainly not day and night. But the fact remains to me at least, that the 357 Sig does propel a 124/125 gr JHP projectile at higher MVs than does the 40 using a 135 gr JHP projectile. Again these were the two closest weights I could find.
Mr. Wes and I had previously discussed the 357 Sig a bit in offline pms. Again, just to explain the intent of the comparison I made that obviously offended you sir (sorry again), the .357 mag does propel the same weight bullet at higher velocities than does the .38 spc, and the magnum does so with a slightly longer case. If you will check a reloading reference, you will see that the .357 Sig case is slightly longer than is the 40S&W case. Both its longer case and higher MV were the basis of my comparison/joke to Wes that he understood. But again if I offended you buy making that comment, I do sincerely apologize.
You felt "... there is absolutely no advantage to .357 sig over the .40 it is just a funny looking .40 with a hard to reload case." While I do agree the differences between the two factory loads and reloads discussed are not night and day, to me the .357 Sig offers me a slight edge. The fact that I feel the felt recoil is reduced with a 357 Sig compared to what I experience with a 40 S&W JHP load (I shoot Gold Dot HPs in both calibers), allows me to shoot the 357 Sig with a bit tighter group at a bit faster pace. Those advantages do matter to me, especially given my medical issues which can make shooting difficult at times.
You also noted "... I would feel adequately armed with either if the .357 Sig was reliable." Joe4d I do not hold myself out as a gunsmith, but I have had good luck in keeping our issued weapons running to factory specs for the last 35 years. If you want to tell me the reliability issue you are experiencing in your 357 Sig pistol, perhaps I can offers some suggestions that will bring it back to total reliablity for you. Or at the very least suggest some issues for a competent gunsmith to address for you sir.
You also expressed your personal opinion in part, "The fact LEO is using it is irrelevant in my book too many factors other than effectiveness go into LEO guns and ammo..." adding several other thoughts to support your statement. You are certainly entitled to believe whatever you wish regarding LEOs and weapon/caliber selection processes. I have risked my life in part for the past 35 years so that you and everyone else is free to express their personal opinions without fear in this great country. (Of course short of speech which violates local, state and federal statutes.)
But that being said, I hope you will agree that I am also entitled to express mine. I do not wish to make my comments personal in the least, or offend you any further than I apparently did early on sir. So I will simply say I have been involved in many different evaluation processes over the course of my career. I also from personal experience hold the USSS, FAA Air Marshals and Texas DPS in very high regard, and simply do not feel they did anything less that attempt to select the best weapon and caliber they could find to arm their personnel with. So on that one, please just let me say, let's just agree to disagree on how the caliber came to be selected by various LEAs (tips my hat).
You then noted your belief, "I my mind most of the .357 Sig hype is because of the increase recoil and muzzle blast compared to a similar weight .40 round giving the impression of more power when it is simply not there." Unless I misread comments offered by folks here who stated they had fired both calibers, everyone was in agreement that they all felt less felt recoil when shooting the 357 Sig than they did with the 40S&W.
My best suggestion to your sir, is if your 357 Sig loads you are using right now give you both more felt recoil and muzzle blast than your 40S&W rounds do, I would seriously suggest you stop shooting them until you can resolve that. It is possible that your 357 Sig rounds are just "not right" somehow if they cause you to feel more instead of less felt recoil than your 40 does.
You mentioned the 40 was simplier to reload than the 357 Sig. To be honest, for me that has simply not be an issue in the least. I have not had the first problem while reloading the 357 Sig. Again if you are experiencing problems loading your rounds, please feel free to pm if you would like. I will be happy to offer some suggestions or tricks that might help to solve that issue for you as well Joe4d.
Please do not feel I am trying to argue with you at all, as I assure you I am not. As I said early on if the comments turn into a "heated debate" I fear this thread will simply be locked and I would hate that personally. I simply wanted to try to respond to some of your comments, and perhaps show you some other factors to consider.
It is certainly not my goal to turn you into a 357 Sig fan. You obviously are very happy with your 40S&W and it works well for you. I can understand and appreciate that feeling totally. I guess that is the point I am making for myself here.
As I noted earlier, I own 4 pistols capable of firing 40S&W rounds. Three of those 4 are also capable of firing the 357 Sig round. When Bar-Sto delivers my barrel, then it will be 4 for 4 at that point. For me, for a variety of reasons, the 357 Sig simply works better for me, and offers some advantages - largely reduced felt recoil and very tight groups.
To quote from the Accurate Arms manual regarding the 357 Sig caliber: "This is without a doubt the most ballistically consistent handgun cartridge we have ever worked with. The standard deviation for every single load developed was less than 10 FPS. The average SD was 5 FPS. This is impressive for any cartridge but especially so for a handgun. The small bottleneck and high working pressure of the round must both contribute to this amazing consistency."
Just an added note, the manual lists the SAAMI max as 40,000 PSI for the 357 Sig, and 35,000 PSI for the 40S&W.
But again the bottom line for me is that shot placement is the most important issue to me in surviving an armed encounter. Everyone should chose the brand, make, and caliber they feel the most confident with, and practice with it often using their carry round during training. For me that favored caliber just happens to be the 357 Sig. I am only trying to express my thoughts and personal experiences with the caliber, and explain why it works for me. If it does not work for someone else, I understand, and would simply smile and say stay with what works best for you.
Again Joe4d, I did not mean to offend you with my comparison in the earlier post. I am serious sir, if I can do anything to help you get your 357 Sig running reliably for you, or help you with any reloading issues you may be experiencing - I will gladly do so. To me as shooters, if we do not look out for each other, then shame on us.
Again just my thoughts. I know some folks will not agree, and that is fine.
But just a personal request to all members - please let's try our best to keep our comments calm and professional when posting. I have seen some great threads end up having to be killed in the past because some folks got a bit carried away in expressing themselves. To me when that happens everyone suffers because of it. Again just my thoughts and my personal request to all members who read this.
Shoot often and shoot well - it is your life afterall.