.357 Magnum vs .40 S&W Ammo Comparison - Ballistics Info & Chart – Foundry Outdoors

.357 Magnum vs .40 S&W Ammo Comparison - Ballistics Info & Chart

The following ammunition cartridge ballistics information and chart can be used to approximately compare .357 Magnum vs .40 S&W ammo rounds. Please note, the following information reflects the estimated average ballistics for each caliber and does not pertain to a particular manufacturer, bullet weight, or jacketing type. As such, the following is for comparative information purposes only and should not be used to make precise predictions of the trajectory, performance, or true ballistics of any particular .357 Magnum or .40 S&W rounds for hunting, target shooting, plinking, or any other usage. The decision for which round is better for a given application should be made with complete information, and this article simply serves as a comparative guide, not the final say.

For more detailed ballistics information please refer to the exact round in question or contact the manufacturer for the pertinent information. True .357 Magnum and .40 S&W ballistics information can vary widely from the displayed information, and it is important to understand that the particular characteristics of a given round can make a substantive difference in its true performance.

Caliber Type Velocity
.357 Magnum Handgun 1290 530
.40 S&W Handgun 1070 420


As illustrated in the chart, .357 Magnum rounds - on average - achieve a velocity of about 1290 feet per second (fps) while .40 S&W rounds travel at a velocity of 1070 fps. To put this into perspective, a Boeing 737 commercial airliner travels at a cruising speed of 600 mph, or 880 fps. That is to say, .357 Magnum bullets travel 1.5 times the speed of a 737 airplane at cruising speed, while .40 S&W bullets travel 1.2 times that same speed.

Various calibers


Furthermore, the muzzle energy of a .357 Magnum round averages out to 530 ft-lb, while a .40 S&W round averages out to about 420 ft-lb. One way to think about this is as such: a foot-pound is a unit of energy equal to the amount of energy required to raise a weight of one pound a distance of one foot. So a .357 Magnum round exits the barrel with kinetic energy equal to the energy required for linear vertical displacement of 530 pounds through a one foot distance, while a .40 S&W round exiting the barrel has energy equal to the amount required to displace 420 pounds over the same one foot distance. As a rule of thumb, when it comes to hunting, muzzle energy is what many hunters look at when deciding on what caliber of firearm / ammunition to select. Generally speaking, the higher the muzzle energy, the higher the stopping power.

Again, the above is for comparative information purposes only, and you should consult the exact ballistics for the particular .357 Magnum or .40 S&W cartridge you're looking at purchasing.

Please click the above links to take a look at all of the .357 Magnum and .40 S&W ammo we have in stock and ready to ship, and let us know any parting thoughts in the comment section below.

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Gary Doetsch - Aug 25, 2020

Was trying to decide whether to use my 357 or 40cal. For pig hunting? This clearly shows advantages and is very helpful!

Evert Venter - Sep 02, 2020

There is something to be said for the effect of frontal area of the bullet on a target animal. If the kinetic energy of two bullets are the same but one of them has a significantly larger diameter then a target animal will “notice” a significantly larger hit from the wider diameter bullet. It is my opinion that the bigger diameter of the .40 will somewhat offset the speed advantage of the .357

Todd L - Nov 08, 2021

To mention something for accuracy, a 737 has a normal cruise speed of around 470 statute mph to 530 mph (Mach ,79) in the newer models. None have a maximum speed of 600 mph. Yes, I’ve flown airliners thousands of hours.

Billy D - Nov 08, 2021

Either round is more than enough for pig hunting or self defense. I harvested a pig with a 22 rifle, and the 40 cal certainly has more energy than a 22.

John Ganshow - Jun 02, 2022

Kind of a worthless comparison unless we know the grain weights of the bullets, and the barrel lengths they were fired from…

John Ganshow - Jun 02, 2022

Kind of a worthless comparison unless we know the grain weights of the bullets, and the barrel lengths they were fired from…

Pete Imperiale - Jun 02, 2022

40 is an excellent defense round. I like the 357 for hunting and for black bear defense.

Jd peek - Jun 23, 2022

357 mag 158grn vs 40 sw 155 grn is close but the mag is a little faster. Approximately 100 fps. The big difference is 6 rounds vs 14 rounds. Ohhh to be able to afford a Desert Eagle 357. Until then I’ll keep my SW 40 sw SD40VE.

steve - Aug 10, 2023

almost never do caliber comparisons with the 40 use comparable loads. the 357sig loads used are much closer to max pressures and/or with better powder, and a light bullet. most often the 40 in comparisons have a 180gr bullet, which is heavy for caliber with a much lower velocity. a max load 357s with a 125gr, and a max load 40 with a 150gr will have very similar performance. the advantage of the 40 is its ability to shoot much heavier bullets for different purposes. both are great rounds. the sig fell prey to the forces of the 9/45 cabal. the 40 has been intentionally downplayed by the same. too much money involved with keeping the older ones around

William sweet - Aug 28, 2023

Do you carry .22 and .30 caliber bullets for reloading?? Where/who might?

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