.40 S&W - 165 gr. vs. 180 gr.

Discussion in 'The Ammo Can' started by CoolHandXDM, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. CoolHandXDM

    CoolHandXDM XDTalk Newbie

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    Hi everyone...I'm a newbie on the website and really appreciate you taking the time to read my post. If it is a topic that has already been covered, I apologize and would appreciate any links to relevant information.

    I'm just wondering what people's experiences are when changing from 165 grain to 180 grain loads for .40 S&W.

    I've had my XDM (4.5" barrel) for about 8 months now, and maybe have about 1,000 rounds through it. I've always shot 165 grain Winchester "white box" ammo from walmart.

    I've never really been too pleased with my accuracy, but I realize that it's something I need to continue to practice. However, I once read somewhere that someone else was having issues shooting 165 gr. through their XD or XDM, and they experienced an improvement when they changed to 180 grain.

    So, just for sh*ts and giggles, I decided to try a box of 180s, and I swear that I was more consistent with better groupings. With the 165s, I tended to shoot low at 20', and maybe would have 20% of my shots be outside of a well-defined group ("fliers" I like to call them).

    When I switched over to 180s, I seemed much more consistent, with a better centered grouping, and maybe only 5% of my shots that I would consider "fliers".

    FYI - I was switching back and forth between 165 and 180 so the number of shots I had taken, or fatigue, etc. wouldn't be a factor.

    Anyone else experience this or something else? I do find it a little hard to believe because at 20' you wouldn't think there would be much variance. Also worth mentioning is that the 165s tended to shoot lower than the 180s.

    Anyone else experience this or something similar? :confused:
     
  2. agalindo

    agalindo XDTalk 15K Member Founding Member

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    Looks like the extra muzzle blast from the 165gr makes you flinch more than the 180gr. Get some snap caps and intermix them in the mag when shooting. When you hit a snap cap you'll see what your going. It's not the ammo it's the shooter.
     
  3. john_bud

    john_bud XDTalk 5K Member

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    Psychosomatic response? ;)


    There shouldn't be much if any difference with that weight change if (IF!!) the rounds are all loaded precisely. WWB isn't bad, but it isn't top shelf stuff either. You may want to try some other brands of ammo too.

    Rolling in a snap cap randomly is always a good idea. Will show your level of flinch and will give you practice doing clearance drills. Nothing worse in my mind that a person hitting a dud during a high stress situation and then standing there like a statue because they have no reflexive reaction automatically clearing the weapon.
     
  4. CoolHandXDM

    CoolHandXDM XDTalk Newbie

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    This is a good idea, and I probably should do this. My question is, since I usually am at the range by myself, will this work since I'd be loading my own mags and could probably guess when a snap cap would be coming up?
     
  5. CoolHandXDM

    CoolHandXDM XDTalk Newbie

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    Yeah I know WWB isn't top shelf, but I have a hard time trying to convince myself to spend even more money. Any ammo suggestions that you prefer?
     
  6. nyj

    nyj XDTalk 100 Member

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    I shoot WWB out of my subcompact just fine, but like you, I'm more accurate with the 180gr. Gold Dot 180gr is what I carry.
     
  7. mtnshikaku

    mtnshikaku XDTalk Member

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    This is a great idea for all the reasons listed, clearing misfires to observing your trigger control issues. Just load a cap or two in different orders in a few different magazines (1st mag, cap at 3rd and 9th rnd, mag #2, 5th and 11th, mag#3 . . . . - - - by the time you've loaded a random magazine into your pistol, you won't know when the cap will be chambered. Works for me.

    To piggy back on Agalindo's comment about muzzle flash - - - try loading a couple 165's followed by a couple 180's, and pay attention to the felt recoil and noise level of the two different rounds - notice anything different? Likely there's a difference, and as he alluded, you're subconsciously noticing it and then anticipating it, which is affecting your shots.

    You mentioned your groupings were better centered with the heavier rounds - this is very likely because you were able to execute better trigger control for some reason. I bet you experienced what I did firing some 180 grn rounds . . .

    You asked about cheaper ammo - I bought some 180 grain Tula ammo a while back to give them a try in my XDm 40 4.5", mostly because they were heavier, I was curious to see what they would do, I'd read mixed reviews of them, and best of all they were about $4 per 100 cheaper than the 165 grn FMJFN WWB at my local Walmart. They (Tulas) do have significantly less felt recoil, and are significantly quieter. Based on that, you'd think I would shoot them better. (It may be why you shot your 180s better.) I surely can shoot them longer and with less effort and fatigue than the snappier, faster, louder 165 WWBs, and I do like that. But in my gun and in a supported stance at 15 yards or off my rest at 25 yards, the Tulas are not as consistent as the WWB's and result in a looser group with more fliers. So nope, I don't actually hit with them better. But to be fair to the Tulas, I can hit with them good enough for what I want to do with them. And I can enjoy shooting more of them at a time because of the reduced felt recoil.

    The pros - - 10% cheaper than WWB; much easier on the felt recoil and sound; shoots decent enough groups for fun range plinking; every round went bang, punched a hole thru paper :), or knocked over a steel plate; and less packaging waste (go green).

    A few cons - - the round is a much dirtier round, 100 Tulas crapped up things more than 500 WWBs (but that just means a lil extra cleaning, no big deal IMO); the steel brass isn't as conducive to reloading (or trading in to reload); the bimetal jacketing - steel/copper - isn't allowed at some indoor ranges (no prob for me, I live in the country and shoot on my own range); I had 3 FTFeeds from one 50 round box of Tulas.

    Bottom line - if you don't mind a little extra cleaning, you're doing shorter range shooting without a need for high precision, and you want to get some practice on your clearing drills, buy some Tulas and save some money and your joints! ;)

    I do like the WWBs, they may not be top end, but they do just fine in my gun, and I can get very satisfactory groups centered on the bull with them.

    Well . . . . . . Most days! :rolleyes:

    Good luck to you, welcome to the forum and keep working on your trigger control and dryfiring!
     
  8. NewBlackDak

    NewBlackDak XDTalk 1K Member

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    I'm the same way. My groups are better with the factory loads @180 GR. However, I started reloading again in January. I bought 2500 135 GR bullets, and have worked up a ~950 fps load that is super soft shooting.

    With those I can shoot a ragged hole.
     
  9. slowjoker

    slowjoker XDTalk Newbie

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    Try looking around at the store buy you that sell "cheap" ammo. I just checked my ammo locker and I have some of those 165 winchesters but I also have two boxes of 180 Winchester. I have to agree and disagree about the response to the snap of the 165 over 180 I have shot many rounds of many calibers and have grown accustomed to everything from small firecracker pops to S&W 500 my shooting style is fine but I do notice that with the cheaper ammo ($14-$18 out by me) you do get some variation in how the round performs. When I shoot hand-loaded competition match rounds I never see any fliers. You just have to remember 2 things 1. There is a reason it's cheap ammo. And 2. That statistically speaking most SD shootings take place over a distance of about 3 feet so at that distance it won't matter if you have fliers or not.
     
  10. CoolHandXDM

    CoolHandXDM XDTalk Newbie

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    Hmm...that makes me think there may be something to this 165 vs. 180 accuracy thing, but I know it still must boil down to my shooting technique mostly.
     
  11. CoolHandXDM

    CoolHandXDM XDTalk Newbie

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    Thanks for the tip of loading up 3 or 4 mags including the snap caps well in advance of getting to the range. I'll definitely try this. And thanks for the ammo review. I'll keep an eye out for the Tulas.
     
  12. CoolHandXDM

    CoolHandXDM XDTalk Newbie

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    Cool. I'd love to get into reloading some day.
     
  13. N.E. Tx.XD

    N.E. Tx.XD XDTalk 5K Member

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    When you see fire coming out the end of your barrel, you know then your not flinching. ;)
     
  14. agalindo

    agalindo XDTalk 15K Member Founding Member

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    As Nextxxd says, if you can call your shots you know your not flinching. As soon as you squeeze the trigger you should know where that shot is going to hit. You should also see you front sight rise then come back on target.
     
  15. CoolHandXDM

    CoolHandXDM XDTalk Newbie

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    Good tips from both of you; thanks!
     
  16. CoolHunting

    CoolHunting XDTalk 100 Member

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    I have not noticed any difference between 165 & 180 gr. (for the most part) myself.
     
  17. jimdanos

    jimdanos XDTalk 15K Member

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    In both factory and re-loads I can't tell much difference either.
     
  18. john_bud

    john_bud XDTalk 5K Member

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    I've been happy with "Zero" branded factory re-loaded ammo from Rose Distribution. Last order of 1000 165gr jhp was 269 to my door. They have both gone up in price and are now taking 120-150 days from order. (yeah, business is good).

    I'm thinking about getting a few "spare" rounds from this place.
    40 cal | SGAmmo.com

    Only a bit more spendy than the ZERO stuff, but it's top shelf stuff.
     
  19. gredden

    gredden XDTalk Newbie

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    I have a xDm .40 3.8 Compact with factory sights and about 1200 rounds through it. I am not happy with the accuracy of it at all. I did a little test yesterday. I placed 2 targets at approximately 25 yards. Using a pistol rest I shot 1 target with 180 gr Blazer Brass. I shot the other target with 165 gr American Eagle. I held at the same location. The consistently shot a tighter group with the 180 gr. The 165 shot a few inches low too. I don't believe I was flinching either, I could see the light coming out of the barrel when I shot. I also shot some Winchester PDX1 180 gr at 25 yards and my grouping was a little better than from the Blazer but not what I thought it should be. I think I should be shooting a tight pattern.
    I them performed the same test at approximately 50 yards. The grouping of the 180 gr grew quite a bit. The 165 gr shot so low that only 1 of 5 hit the paper on the human size target.
    I continued to shoot and I'm still not happy with the accuracy. I am going to perform some more test list this using the same brand ammo and add in some other brands that I have which include Magtech and PMC to see how it shoots from the rest. I might spring for some more expensive ammo to test.
    My questions is, could this just be an issue with shooting too long of distance for the shorter barrel? Does anyone else have accuracy issues out of their xDm 3.8? I have shot other people's Glocks and Sigs and I shoot them MUCH better. I really don't want to see my xDm but I am honestly thinking about it.
     
  20. agalindo

    agalindo XDTalk 15K Member Founding Member

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    :shock:
    This thread is over a year old.
     

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