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Discussion Starter #1
I've recently started shooting USPSA and shot my first match last weekend with my SW1911 in the Single Stack class. Had a ball doing it and the weapon far outperformed the shooter. Would love to keep with SS but not sure I can do that every match just because of the cost of ammo (I don't reload) that would be required to practice as much as I prefer to during the week.



Because of that I have been thinking about participating in either Production or Limited-10. But I am not sure if I'd want to shoot Production with a .40SW when everything is rated as a Minor caliber regardless of what the true power factor really is. I'd think that I would be at a distinct disadvantage in Production shooting against a bunch of light recoil 9mm guns.



Likewise I see that many of the Limited-10 folks are shooting heavy DA doublestack 1911 style handguns. I've always felt that the 45acp has a much lighter recoil (especially in a heavy gun) than the .40SW does in a polymer gun. Too, there are a lot more modifications permitted to a Limited-10 gun ... many of which I have no real desire in pursuing for my M&P.



So, what I am trying to decide is this:



Do I sell or trade my M&P 40 for an M&P 9 and compete in Production... or do I suck it up and compete in Limited-10 with the .40SW??? I'd definitely be able to afford to shoot 9mm as much as my heart desires but .40SW isn't exactly breaking my budget either. I just can't afford to shoot 200+ rounds of .45acp every week in practice and then shoot another 100-150 three weekends a month at matches.



I see pros and cons to each option here but was hoping some of you could talk a little sense into me.




Thanks!
 

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Reload!! Shoot .40. Everyone seems to be stuck on 9mm being softer to shoot, I don't see it personally.
 

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I shoot my M&P 9mm in Production.



I would try a couple matches shooting the M&P .40 in Limited 10. I think if you can shoot the gun well, you can be very competitive with the M&P. If you decide it's not a good fit, then look at getting a M&P 9mm for Production.



I bought the 9mm because I knew I had to keep ammo cost at a minimum. This is the only way I can afford to practice.
 

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If you already have a .40 keep it. You most likely won't notice the difference in caliber when your shooting in a competition,
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sigman said:
If you already have a .40 keep it. You most likely won't notice the difference in caliber when your shooting in a competition,


Because of the adrenaline rush or what? I notice a big difference between 9mm and .40SW at the range.
 

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Broadside said:
[quote name='Sigman']If you already have a .40 keep it. You most likely won't notice the difference in caliber when your shooting in a competition,


Because of the adrenaline rush or what? I notice a big difference between 9mm and .40SW at the range.[/quote]



The better you get at shooting, the less of a difference you will notice between calibers. .45 is a mellow push that takes a while to get back into battery. 9mm is a snappier cartridge with easy to control flip. .40 is somewhere in between, but given the bullets available can be laoded to feel like a 9 shooting 147 or a 45 shooting 185/200 grain bullets. A good grip makes all teh difference in the world, and irons out a lot of the differences.



If you get into USPSA at all seriously, you WILL be reloading if you care about money. And if reloading, .40 is the most versatile cartidge for USPSA'a various divisions.



But if you are going to try and buy factory ammo, get a 9mm. There is no arguing the price differential these days.



Honestly, I load .40 and shoot USPSA, got my M&P last may, and already shot more in my own reloaded ammo than it cost to buy the gun.



There is no real right answer.
 

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raz-0 said:
[quote name='Broadside'][quote name='Sigman']If you already have a .40 keep it. You most likely won't notice the difference in caliber when your shooting in a competition,


Because of the adrenaline rush or what? I notice a big difference between 9mm and .40SW at the range.[/quote]



The better you get at shooting, the less of a difference you will notice between calibers. .45 is a mellow push that takes a while to get back into battery. 9mm is a snappier cartridge with easy to control flip. .40 is somewhere in between, but given the bullets available can be laoded to feel like a 9 shooting 147 or a 45 shooting 185/200 grain bullets. A good grip makes all teh difference in the world, and irons out a lot of the differences.



If you get into USPSA at all seriously, you WILL be reloading if you care about money. And if reloading, .40 is the most versatile cartidge for USPSA'a various divisions.



But if you are going to try and buy factory ammo, get a 9mm. There is no arguing the price differential these days.



Honestly, I load .40 and shoot USPSA, got my M&P last may, and already shot more in my own reloaded ammo than it cost to buy the gun.



There is no real right answer.[/quote]



Razo is right on with his comments. I have a MP40 & shoot production with it. I reload my own ammo as well. The load that I"m currently using was chrono'd at 137 PF(180 gr bullet). It shoots very flat, in fact a few of the guys at the club I go to that shot 9mm couldn't believe how soft it shot for a 40.



I just starting shooting a handgun as well as competing in the USPSA. What I am learning shooting production is that accuracy counts big time since it's minor scoring. I have even shot a third shot at paper to get the double alpha vs the alpha charlie. Using the production division as a learning platform will no doubt help me down the road should I decide to shoot another division.



I'm averaging about 900 rounds per month since starting in March shooting 3 matches per month and practices. All of that thas been with my reloads. My cost per round is just under $0.10 each or $100 per thousand. The advantages are huge! I can tailor my loads to suit my weapon, shoot more often
and learn more about shooting from the experience. At the local Wally World WWB goes for about $20 - $22 per 100 or $200 to $220 per thousand. Performance wise you get what you get out of the factory box. I'm saving $100 per thousand - that's what I told the wife - she's happy too




I think you can't afford NOT to reload! I purchased my Dillon 550 used from an Ebay auction for $550 with a lot of accessories and dies to load both 40 & 9mm. If it hasn't paid for itself yet it's darn close!



The following article was posted on Brian Enos's forum regarding the use of 40SW in production. It's a long and informative & raises some interesting points. Just some food for thought.







The Seduction of .40 minor in Production



What is the allure of the larger diameter round over 9mm? Whenever I see Production shooters, some of them run .40’s – by choice. Why? Is it because the .40 seems softer shooting than 9mm at the same power factor? Is it a matter of convenience – wanting to shoot another division without the expense of buying another pistol? With the US Production rules limiting capacity to ten rounds (IPSC Production has no ten round rule), is the advantage of 9mm lost to the wider diameter bullet and it’s bigger holes for scoring?



At the 2004 Nationals, 22% of the Production shooters chose minor .40 as their caliber. That’s up from 19% in 2003. Nearly half of the top eight Production shooters also chose .40 minor: Todd Sindelar (4th), David Olhasso (5th), and Dave Marques (8th). Matthew Mink shot a 9mm to sixth place at the 2004 Nationals but shot a .40 extensively (to 3rd place in 2003) before moving over to a CZ-85 Combat in 9mm.



As for the matter of convenience, the .40 does have a lot of appeal. A change in holster and gear placement, a bit less powder when loading ammo, and you’re just about set. Tom Kettells shoots a stock Glock 35 (save for a fiber optic front sight and 10lb recoil spring) because it “is my police duty gun. I started shooting it when Production started and I have continued with it ever since.” His bullet of choice is a Montana Gold 180 grain Flat Point sitting atop Vihtavuori N320 powder. Traveling just 730 feet per second, that load generates a “very soft” 130 power factor. Kyle Ferris, a grand master and section coordinator in Ohio, also uses his Glock 35 for two divisions – Limited and Production. And like Kettells, he loads a 180-grain bullet (Zero’s JHP) but uses Titegroup for his powder (loaded to 1.135” OAL). At 780 fps, his load factors 140 and according to him “this load just barely operates the slide (stock rod and spring). Brass just trickles out.”



Yet another .40 minor recipe comes from Dave Marques; “I use a G35 also. Clays is what I burn, behind a 180, very soft! I use a stock recoil spring and guide rod.” For the 2004 Nationals, Todd Sindelar also shot a Glock but he used a model 22 sporting Heinie slant pro sights, a Wolff 13 lb. recoil spring and a 2 lb. home made trigger job. And what was his .40 load? “I went through a lot of Titegroup but what I ended up using for about the last half of the year, and the nationals, was Clays under a 180gr. Zero JHP loaded out to 1.130" [overall length]. It came in at a pretty consistent 725fps for about a 130 power factor.” Like Mink, Sindelar has now switched over to a CZ pistol for the 2005 season.



Outside of the Glock camp, David Olhasso runs a Beretta 96G Vertec not only in Production class but in Limited and Limited 10 as well. His Beretta has a factory barrel, 11-pound recoil spring, LTT competition hammer spring, and custom sights. He loads a 180-grain Hornady Action Pistol bullet over Clays powder at an overall length of 1.112”. His load comes in at about 132 power factor (traveling 720-730 feet per second).



And what about .40 minor being softer to shoot than 9mm? “Perceived recoil” is one of those topics that maybe shouldn’t enter polite conversation, like politics and religion. After all, perception can only be a very individualized phenomenon. It’s hard to debate the pros and cons when the person you’re debating with retorts, “It just feels softer.” But, perhaps we can analyze the separate components that comprise recoil to make a more “educated” guess.



Perceived recoil is a balance between many factors. Part of it is the slide overcoming the recoil spring as it travels rearward. Part of it is the bullet and it’s velocity. While discussing recoil with Brian Enos (champion of multiple shooting disciplines and analytical guru regarding all things that go BANG), he suggested another component of recoil that I had not even considered: the torque/leverage that happens as the bullet grabs the rifling of the barrel. For the sake of this discussion, let’s eliminate the legion of hardware-based variables (gun weight, slide mass, springs…) and focus on ammunition. Therein, bullet weight and bullet speed are king.



Modern day IPSC requires all the intelligence those of us with opposing thumbs can muster. Power factor (bullet weight times velocity/1000) is a Stone Age gauge for measuring the energy impact on the shooter and the slide as it cycles. After all, a 200-grain .40 bullet traveling 650 feet per second is mathematically the same as a 135-grain .40 bullet traveling 963 feet per second. Shoot those loads out of the same gun, with no change in slide or spring weight, and they will feel vastly different.



Together, bullet weight and speed generate kinetic energy, which is delivered to the shooter with each pull of the trigger. The greater the kinetic energy, the more felt recoil…or at least that’s the theory. To equally compare one ammunition recipe against another, we need to abandon power factor in favor of kinetic energy measured in foot-pounds. The formula is: KE = bullet weight (in grains) * velocity² ÷ 450400. Now take a deep breath; I’m not going to turn this into a public broadcast episode of Nova. Why divide by 450400? Without making your head explode, let’s just say that the scientific community uses 450400 as a denominator to account for the acceleration of gravity and the conversion of grains to pounds and so shall we. Matthew Mink has a wealth of loading data for .40 minor and was kind enough to share it with me. The following table reflects his efforts to try every practical load at 131 power factor regardless of the bullet weight using Titegroup powder and an overall length of 1.125”.







You can see in the graph that the kinetic energy decreases when velocity decreases – even though the bullet weight is rising. If the heavier bullets actually generate less energy, then why isn’t everyone shooting a 200 or 220-grain bullet? Perhaps it’s that other component of recoil Brian Enos mentioned -- torque. A heavier bullet would have more surface area grabbing onto the rifling as it enters the barrel. The greater weight also is harder to start spinning, thus giving more torque. Though no one I spoke with would pin point why, the word “sluggish” was used more than once to describe a heavy bullet load.



An informal survey in the forum at brianenos.com confirmed what the top .40 Production shooters know. Nearly 60 percent of the shooters use a 180-grain bullet for .40 caliber minor. The next largest group at 22% said they preferred 155-grain bullets. The preference of the 180-grain bullet seems to indicate that a balance is required somewhere between the push of the heavy bullet and the snap of the lighter bullet.



David Olhasso described his choice of bullet this way, “In minor .40, anything heavier than 180gr will be going to too slow, so I have not even bothered to work up any loads for them. A friend of mine and I did a bunch of testing with lighter 40 bullets (155 & 165) and we determined that with every powder we had, the 180 was the best performer. To be honest, the best 165 and 155 .40 minor loads shot about the same as my 147gr 9mm load.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but did he just say that the 180-grain .40 load actually shoots softer than a 147-grain 9mm load?



It isn’t science until you take measurements, so let’s do the math. To make a 131 power factor, a 147-grain 9mm bullet needs to travel 891 feet per second. When we drop that velocity into the kinetic energy formula, the resulting “perceived recoil” thrown at the shooter is a 259 foot-pounds. That is a whopping 48 foot-pounds more than the 180 grain .40 caliber load at the same power factor. In other words, the 180-grain bullet delivers nearly 20% less felt recoil to the shooter. Now I think I begin to understand the appeal of .40 minor. If you want the softest round to shoot in Production, a 180 grain .40 seems like the best choice.



But alas for every great theory, there is always dissension. Matthew Mink came up with a very different conclusion which he explained this way, “I started using 180 grain bullets, then tried some 200's, then 155's, back to 180's, then 135's…I was constantly tinkering with the load, but the basic gun setup stayed the same. In back to back testing at the range, the different loads didn't really make enough difference in places I thought it should. But the big difference was match results. I had shot 3 or 4 of the best matches of my life with the 135gr bullets.” He goes on to say, “That totally goes against common thinking…I think it’s a function of perceived quicker slide speed and more focus while shooting the gun.” He then added this thought, “People will say you can't outrun the gun, and that’s true, but the perception is the gun is cycling faster, so a shooter can tune into the gun and shoot faster.” His CZ teammate Todd Sindelar agreed, “The sights seem to be moving in real time [with 9mm]. So much so, that it settles much like a dot on an open gun. It kinda jumps up out of the notch and quickly settles back down and jiggles a little. I guess that's what others refer to as a snappier recoil.”



So what then of .40 caliber? Mink had this to say: “My personal recommendation to new shooters is to start in Production with minor .40. It is easier to shoot than 9mm because of the perceived lack of recoil. I think with the proper springing [the recoil] is softer and spread out over longer time. But minor .40 will only take you to a certain point. I reached that point where I had maxed out on minor .40 and it took a caliber change [for me] to go faster.” In other words, he believes you need to shoot 9mm to win.



When asked if he could foresee switching to 9mm from .40, David Olhasso’s response was, “As long as USPSA Production sticks with 10 rounds, I will probably stick with .40 minor.” Olhasso explained his reasoning: “As the gun recoils, it seems to go right back to the same point of aim. My initial draw towards the .40 was the amount of recoil consistency the gun showed. Shot to shot, the gun does the same thing every time I pull the trigger. This helps me keep the gun on target and gives me much better scores.” He did mention one small caveat, “For the World Shoot, I will of course be using a 9mm because there is no 10 round limit in IPSC Production.”



So what conclusions can we draw? Yes, there is a convenience factor to shooting .40 minor and the larger holes may buy you the occasional A hit over a C hit. But the real appeal is the lack of recoil. Surprisingly in the perceived recoil debate, it looks as if we managed the discussion without venturing too far into territory that could be called impolite. Everyone I spoke to seemed to agree that .40 minor (at least the 180 grain bullet) is easier to shoot than 9mm. The argument that I heard was that it’s not possible to go fast enough to win with .40 minor. And that really is an argument. I think I know a few shooters who are anxious to prove that idea wrong! Regardless of whether or not minor .40 ever wins Production, it will be interesting to see if it will gain more popularity in a division originally built around 9mm guns.
 

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What in the Hell was that all about? :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
WOW... thanks for the info! It's going to take me a while to digest all of that.




I've decided to stick with the 40 for now though. I had Dan Burwell do his magic on the trigger and I picked up a SSS stainless guide rod and non-captive spring, all of which I hope will help make the gun a lot more controllable and predictable. The trigger alone is amazing now.
 

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Bryan W said:
That article was written by USPSA shooter Carina Burns Randolph just as a point of interest.


Thanks for adding that.

I was looking for the author to credit the writing when I posted and couldn't readily find it.



There is a graph that exlained recoil effect & energy but it didn't copy. The author did a great deal of research when putting the article together.
 
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