Question about recoil with handgun ammo.

Question about recoil with handgun ammo.

This is a discussion on Question about recoil with handgun ammo. within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; OK I'm confused, I've got people telling me in 9mm lighter grain bullets produce less recoil but in .40 cal. Heavier grain bullets produce less ...

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Thread: Question about recoil with handgun ammo.

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    New Member Array Krusty 40's Avatar
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    Question about recoil with handgun ammo.

    OK I'm confused, I've got people telling me in 9mm lighter grain bullets produce less recoil but in .40 cal. Heavier grain bullets produce less recoil than lighter grain .40, please excuse mu ignorance but will someone set the record straight for me please, thanks.


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    VIP Member Array Guns and more's Avatar
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    Well, One thing for sure. You can't have it both ways.

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    I think they are mistaken. Lighter is less, unless they're comparing hot, light SD loads against low-powered heavier target/range loads.

    My 230 grn LRN .45 ACP range loads have less kick than my Win. 230 PDX1s. But I if I load up the LRNs to max, they kick!
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krusty 40 View Post
    OK I'm confused, I've got people telling me in 9mm lighter grain bullets produce less recoil but in .40 cal. Heavier grain bullets produce less recoil than lighter grain .40, please excuse mu ignorance but will someone set the record straight for me please, thanks.
    We can always fall back to the basics, the theories and the laws of Einstein and Newton. E=MC˛ and the laws of motion generally clear up any confusion.
    How each of us individually experience recoil and relate this experience to others is where all of the variables come into play.

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    Felt recoil is very subjective dependent on many factors such as firearm design/weight, bullet weight, powder charge and ones own tolerance of recoil. As a general rule a lighter bullet will create less felt recoil since it has a lower mass and generates less rearward push or recoil.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
    "Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."

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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    As alluded to above, Newton knew his stuff...every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    So, if a the lighter bullet is being pushed faster, and has a greater muzzle energy than a heavier bullet, it would have more recoil out of the same gun.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

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    Member Array 007BondJames's Avatar
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    When SHTF recoil is the least of your worry. Adrenaline will take over. I have a 642CT S & W that is not pleasant to shoot. I just live with it. If it hurts my hand it must really hurt the BG.
    Hitler once said, “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerers who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.”

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    If you want to play with a little math here is an online version of the Powely Recoil Calculator, it is based on rifles but may work with handguns also.

    http://kwk.us/recoil.html
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
    "Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."

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    Member Array glockfan23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krusty 40 View Post
    OK I'm confused, I've got people telling me in 9mm lighter grain bullets produce less recoil but in .40 cal. Heavier grain bullets produce less recoil than lighter grain .40, please excuse mu ignorance but will someone set the record straight for me please, thanks.
    my personal experience with 135 grain 40 cal (hydrashok) got less recoil than 180 grain

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array INccwchris's Avatar
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    true, also from my training officers lips, the lighter the grain of the bullet, the lighter felt recoil, however, the lighter rounds also have less tendency to over penetrate and more velocity coming out of the barrel, i know it sounds like an idiom or oxymoron or what ever that may be, but its what he swears up and down is true
    "The value you put on the lost will be determined by the sacrifice you are willing to make to seek them until they are found."

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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    Since we need to compare lighter bullets with hotter powder, perhaps the solution to the question is to have someone that reloads make up loads that produce the same chamber pressure and kinetic energy using both light and heavy bullets. Then they can send everyone on the forum 100 or so rounds to test. That way we can get a subjective opinion on which has more felt recoil.


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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    I ran a couple calculations through JBMs site.
    http://www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmrecoil-5.1.cgi


    Some assumptions have to be made, I used a Glock 19 and 23 for examples. The fully loaded 23 is slightly heavier, and both get lighter as they empty, thus another assumption to be made in the calculation. It doesn't matter much.

    For a 115gr 9mm we get:
    4.7 FP of recoil energy at .7 lb/s

    For 115gr +P 9mm its:
    5.9 FPE at .8 lb/s

    for 147gr 9mm its:
    5.4 FPE at .8 lb/s

    So the light, fast round has the most recoil energy. No surprise, it also has the most on-target energy by a lot.

    In .40 lets pick a few loads. Again, assumptions are made, shouldn't be too critical. Have to guess on the charge weight, an insignificant amount.

    For the Federal 135gr PD (low recoil, also low energy) load we get:
    6.6 FPE and .9 lb/s

    the 135gr Cor Bon is a faster, high energy 135gr load.
    7.8 FPE and 1 lb/s

    165 gr Federal is a mid-range 165gr:
    6.6 FPE at .9 lb/sec

    The Remington Gold Saber is not a mid-range load in 165:
    8.5 FPE at 1 lb/sec

    Plug in your gun weight and your ammo and compare. The "low recoil" loads are, at least on paper, but the laws of physics still apply.
    Try not to screw up so bad they name the screw up after you. (Station 15 saying)

    NRA Certifed Instructor

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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    With a heavier bullet and lighter powder charge in a fast powder, recoil will be less than a light bullet, heavier powder charge in a slow powder.

    Run these numbers: 115gr bullet, 1150fps, 5.5gr powder, 2lb gun

    147gr bullet, 900fps, 3.7gr powder, 2lb gun

    The heavier bullet load will produce less recoil and recoil at less velocity than the light bullet load.

    Powder selection has a bearing on recoil that cannot be easily quantified with simply online formulas.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    Member Array HiFreq47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INccwchris View Post
    true, also from my training officers lips, the lighter the grain of the bullet, the lighter felt recoil, however, the lighter rounds also have less tendency to over penetrate and more velocity coming out of the barrel, i know it sounds like an idiom or oxymoron or what ever that may be, but its what he swears up and down is true
    Your training officer is only partly right on the first part. Your training officer is correct as long as the lighter bullet doesn't have more energy behind it than the heavier bullet. Heavier bullets are longer than lighter bullets. In order to keep the same OAL (overall length) of the round (bullet + case), the tail of heavier/longer bullet must sit deeper into the case than a lighter bullet. In handgun rounds, this creates pressure problems. The way many manufacturers fix this is by reducing the charge. So from a factory round perspective, its not uncommon to find more muzzle energy out of the lighter rounds.

    As far as the lighter rounds having less penetration - he's correct. Have a friend throw a rolled up piece of paper at you as fast as he can. Stick out your hand and stop that piece of paper. Now have your friend drive a car at you at 5mph. Stick out your hand and stop that car - not as easy eh?

    Momentum is a powerful thing. For the same reason that a heavier bullet will be less affected by wind (assuming similar ballistic coefficients) and will slow down more gradually than lighter bullets - that heavier bullet will also slow down more gradually when pushing its way through flesh and various bodily fluids.

    Here's the deal ... recoil is not directly proportionate to just bullet weight, a better gauge of recoil is muzzle energy. Muzzle energy takes into account both bullet weight AND bullet velocity. It's not a perfect measure, but it's about as good as you can get without putting a team of engineers and statisticians behind this question.

    If you're looking for a practice round - get the cheapest round you can get. Don't worry about bullet weight. Practicing with the same bullet weight as the one you are going to carry means nothing unless you are are carrying the same round. As we all know, two different 180gr loads from two different manufacturers can feel COMPLETELY different. If you're looking for a home/personal defense round, go with the heaviest, fastest round you can find that functions correctly in your gun. Get as much penetration as you possibly can (there is no such thing as over-penetration ... not outside of porn anyways) and train train train train train.
    Billy
    Fusion Tact-5 in a Pure Kustom Black-Ops Pro
    Glock 23 in a Barber Leatherworks IWB

  15. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Dragman's Avatar
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    I think lighter usually means less but there are many variables. hot loads VS target loads what powder is used what gun they are shot out of. I also think some people mistake muzzle flip for recoil. I have tested a 45 and a 40 cal in the same type of guns and using the same type of ammo and evey one who has shot them both says the 40 has more recoil. The 45 has more recoil but the 40 has more FELT recoil because of the muzzle flip IMO.
    To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women

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