Differences in perceived recoil and bullet weights 45 and others - Kimber Forum

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Old 06-20-2019, 09:20 AM   #1
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Differences in perceived recoil and bullet weights 45 and others

Okay maybe some of you with more experience with the 45 can explain this to me.

It has been my experience that lighter bullets in 9mm and 40 seem "snappier" than the heavier ones shot. In 9mm the 147 grain loads are more of a "push" than the higher velocity 115 and 124 grain loads. In 40 I almost always shoot 180s, but when I tried some 155s I found them very snappy.

So explain this.... I have read countless posts from 45 shooters about how much softer the 185 and 200 grain loads shoot compared to 230s. This seems counter intuitive to me, how can it be reversed?

I have shot about 2500 rounds of 230s through my Pro Carry so far, but I just bought a couple hundred rounds of 185s to try. I am not looking to reduce recoil, but I have noticed my Pro Carry has more consistent ejection direction with higher slide velocities. That and Bill Wilson says Commander sized guns shoot better with the lighter bullet weights anyway.

Thoughts and experiences? I have not shot the 185s yet but plan to Monday.
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Old 06-21-2019, 05:33 AM   #2
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Well nobody seems to know. I guess I will find out Monday!
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Old 06-21-2019, 05:52 AM   #3
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It's funny, when asked I always suggest using 147 gr. loads for breaking in a 9mm and 99% of the time people will complain that they're too "Snappy".

snap·py

/ˈsnapē/

adjective informal
adjective: snappy; comparative adjective: snappier; superlative adjective: snappiest
  1. 1.
    irritable and inclined to speak sharply; snappish.
    "anything unusual made her snappy and nervous"
    synonyms:irritable, irascible, short-tempered, hot-tempered, quick-tempered, fiery, peevish, cross, crabbed, crabby, crotchety, cantankerous, impatient, grumpy, huffy, brusque, ill-tempered, bad-tempered, ill-natured, ill-humored, touchy, volatile, testy, tetchy, snarling, waspish, prickly, crusty, peppery, bilious, liverish, dyspeptic, splenetic, choleric; informalsnappish, chippy, grouchy, cranky, on a short fuse;
    informalnarky, ratty, eggy, like a bear with a sore head;
    informalpeckish, soreheaded;
    informalsnaky;
    informalmiffy
    "he's in a snappy mood"

    antonyms:good-natured, peaceable
  2. 2.
    cleverly concise; neat.
    "snappy catchphrases"
    synonyms:concise, succinct, memorable, catchy, neat, clever, crisp, pithy, witty, incisive, brief, short, short and sweet, sharp, terse, curt, laconic, aphoristic, epigrammatic "a snappy catchphrase"

    antonyms:long-winded
    • neat and elegant.
      "a snappy dresser"
      synonyms:smart, well dressed, well turned out, besuited, fashionably dressed, fashionable, stylish, chic, modish, elegant, neat, spruce, trim, dapper, debonair; Moresoigné;
      informalsnazzy, natty, sharp, nifty, cool, with it;
      informalkicking, kicky, tony, fly, spiffy, sassy, stylin';
      informalon fleek;
      datedas if one had just stepped out of a bandbox;
      informalswagger;
      archaictrig
      "a snappy dresser"
I love the word, "snappy" but no where can I find that it refers to excessive recoil that they find uncomfortable shooting.
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:34 AM   #4
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Same goes for the 230 grain .45. People complaining that the Ultra.45 has too much recoil so they want to go to the 185 grain. I’ve not noticed any difference between 185, 200, or the 230 grain as far as recoil.
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:47 AM   #5
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To some extent I think it depends on the gun -- weight, recoil spring strength, etc., and the powder/load for the particular bullet weight. Lots of variables.

Some guns are softer shooting with heavier bullets, and some with lighter -- and then there is the 460 Rowland !!!
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:59 AM   #6
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I'm not a physics expert, but I believe what is termed 'snappy' is in part related to the slide slamming into the frame. You can see it with the below high-speed vid of a 1911 how the slide hitting the frame produces a 'snappy' jolt.

Blowback gun makers have to make compromises in slide mass and recoil spring rate to find a happy medium to accommodate a wide variety of ammo. How all this works with different weight projectiles and velocities results in different slide velocities when stopped by the frame.

This is very apparent in gas operated guns like my AR15. While I can't change Newton's Law, I can adjust the gas with my adjustable gas block to where the recoil buffer isn't slamming so hard against the receiver extension. 'Snappy" is greatly reduced.

If you notice in the vid the bullet exits the muzzle before the side moves reward, which would seem to indicate (uneducated ramblings here) the recoil energy is transferred and stored while the bullet is still in the barrel. All things being equal, faster velocities mean less time in the barrel and energy transferred faster might equal more 'snappy' I would also guess.


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Old 06-21-2019, 02:00 PM   #7
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thanks for that video Phil!
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:48 PM   #8
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"If you notice in the vid the bullet exits the muzzle before the side moves reward, which would seem to indicate (uneducated ramblings here) the recoil energy is transferred and stored while the bullet is still in the barrel."

Not an argument, for sure, because I don't know if my hypothesis any any better than what you have suggested. That said, I would lean toward the slide not moving until enough energy has been dispersed, to do so. While the bullet may have already exited, vast amounts more energy would be needed to make the weight of the slide move, as compared to the projectile. Since the explosive force is still behind the projectile, I think rather than storing energy, it is continually building it. Until two movable forces relent and move. The slide and the writs/arms of the shooter. Obviously sufficient energy, to push the projectile has been used and dispensed. Otherwise, every round we fire would go where the recoil sent it. What remains continues to build, until it either escapes the barrel, or moves something to create another escape route. Having said all that, maybe what I call build up, could be termed, "stored".
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:50 PM   #9
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Great video indeed, thank you.

It may not be actual recoil but "perceived" recoil. But there is no question in my small 9mms a 147 grain feels more like a "push" than a good velocity 115 that feels "snappier".

Someone had posted on another forum that muzzle energy had something to do with it, and often the higher velocity lighter bullet loads do have more muzzle energy. But that still doesn't answer why so many 45 shooters believe the 185 grain loads are more pleasant to shoot than the 230s.
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Old 06-21-2019, 05:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ChattanoogaPhil View Post
is in part related to the slide slamming into the frame.
Cool video.

While unrelated to the question at hand, I was intrigued about the 1:10 mark. Note how the cartridge being chambered is bouncing around like a tweaker on a cold night.

My iPhone does slo-mo video, not as good as a real camera, but it might be fun to play with.
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