.40 Caliber - What's the Point?

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Urban Coyote

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I get the idea of .32 or .36 guns for smaller game, I get the .45 for targets and deer, the general purpose .50 and the .54 on up big game thing but what is the need for .40 caliber?

By the way, I own a couple.
 

rchas

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The old National Park Service Popular Study Series monograph "Rifle Making in the Smokey Mountains" notes:

"The calibre of the mountain rifles deserves a word of mention. Strictly speaking, these rifles had no calibre in the ordinary sense of the word. Usually, however, four kinds of rifles were made: one of about .35 calibre (0.35 inch) which was called a squirrel gun; one about .40 calibre (0.40 inch) called a turkey rifle; one about .45 calibre (0.45 inch) called a deer rifle; and one of approximately .50 calibre (0.50 inch) called a bear gun."

It is a bit of an odd caliber--a little too much for small game, and not quite enough for large game unless you are really, really close.
 

Tom A Hawk

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Its a delightful caliber. Potent, accurate and a lot of fun to shoot. Easy on powder and lead. I made this Tennessee with interchangeable barrels in .40 and .50.

You have to look close and through the smoke, but the white, disappearing target about 60 yards down range is a disposable water bottle.

 
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I am pretty new to the .40 (lil over a year now) and it clearly out shines the .36 on the far end on targets. We can hunt deer with a 40 here in Arkansas as well. I think for me it is also a "feed back " effect for lack of a better way to explain it, the .36 just does not respond the same way. Now, if I had a real light .36 rifle I might see things differently. I have only shot a .32 twice. To me it was rather anti-climatic. Yep it was accurate enough (we were shooting 40 yards) but there was virtually no feed back.

RM
 

Rock Home Isle

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I get the idea of .32 or .36 guns for smaller game, I get the .45 for targets and deer, the general purpose .50 and the .54 on up big game thing but what is the need for .40 caliber?

By the way, I own a couple.
It’s kind of the same paradox as to why the .50 calibre is such a popular Muzzleloading calibre…the .50 calibre is legal for both deer and elk. It has a dual purpose in the minds of most outdoorsmen. “If I buy this gun, I can hunt my deer, and later if I want to…I can hunt elk with the same gun.”

The .40 calibre is the same kind of bridge calibre, between squirrel rifle / big game gun. I can shoot my .40’s all day for not much powder or lead…and I can load it up and take deer sized big game, if I want too.

In our current wonderful economy, it serves well in conserving resources, and allowing us old timers to still take a deer or 3 each season. Sort of the old adage. “Beware the man that shoots one gun.”
 
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I shoot a .40 won many matches with it, killed small game and deer. They hold wind better than a 32 or 36 and ball is big enough to kill deer. Never got a deer the ball did not exit.

You do have to pick your shot and pass when conditions are not right for a sure kill. Many shooting bigger calibers ought to learn that. IMHO
 

Urban Coyote

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Interestingly Thompson Center, God rest their traditional muzzleloader soul, made the Cleland Match Rifle in .40 caliber. I've never seen one and I've heard they're kind of rare. I wonder what made T/C select the .40 to offer in a match gun?
 

hanshi

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I had a .40 for years but never hunted with it. Years later the barrel was acdentally ruined so I had it reamed out to .45. It was very, very accurate and served primarily as a target rifle. I wouldn't hunt deer with a .40 if a .45 was around but it can do the deed. That .40 - 38" X "B" wgt GM barrel and weighed just over 8 lbs. At .45 it was some 6 oz lighter. With its swamped barrel it handled beautifully. I think the .40 makes a superior "just woods roaming" rifle.
 

Gordoncourtney

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I get the idea of .32 or .36 guns for smaller game, I get the .45 for targets and deer, the general purpose .50 and the .54 on up big game thing but what is the need for .40 caliber?

By the way, I own a couple.
The .400 was a very popular round specially in double rifles , that’s shooting bullets and cordite 1885 onward and one of the most favoured rifles for Africa. Why .400 and not .450 is just history buyers choice, ,

it’s a tiny .400 ball or a long bullet of say 400g I gues it just used less lead than a .45 or .500 I cannot see the point of such tiny patched balls , but there we are. It was what made our woodsman happy Other than that with a ML no idea

You can say why a .375 for Africa. It was just what the gun company made together with bullets. So perhaps a gunsmith just made .400 ML. To out whit the competition why have I got a .35 percussion double rifle for me just use a .500 for everything ,however my .500” Bp unmentionable used a 440g bullet and 140g BP no doubt costly to shoot and a lot to carry. One’s mind gets twisted around but in truth who knows.

Photo unspeakable 450-400 2125ft sec. And 4200 ft lbs of energy steel
Jacket dangerous game bullets. Sorry no lead balls
 

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Josephg

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I get the idea of .32 or .36 guns for smaller game, I get the .45 for targets and deer, the general purpose .50 and the .54 on up big game thing but what is the need for .40 caliber?

By the way, I own a couple.
40 caliber rifles tend to be cooler than other caliber rifles. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or what?
George Schalk rifle 2.JPG
 

Gordoncourtney

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Oh that’s beautiful I could not afford one at auction ( $6k to $8k )
I settled for two Swiss 7.5/53 ( brass available cheap and bullets are .308) £800 each at holts auction

That’s it
 

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