Does faster powder = less Recoil?


January 28, 2008, 03:23 PM
From reading these forums for a while and reading between the lines it seems people think faster powder in handgun loads provides less recoil. Is this true?

If it is true, is it because the powder is already burnt up by the time the bullet exits the barrel and does not have as much "blast"?

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January 28, 2008, 03:34 PM
Burning the solid doesn't lessen it's mass. It's simply converted to a gas that still weighs the same...
There may be less recoil because you shouldn't use as much energetic 'fast' powder in the gun as you would a 'slow' powder, so overall there is less mass/energy to deal with from the outset. (presuming all other components/conditions are the same otherwise...)

January 28, 2008, 04:02 PM
Main variables to recoil:

bullet weight
rifle weight
muzzle velocity
powder weight

Just above the table is a formula.

Steve C
January 28, 2008, 04:11 PM
Simple mater of physics.

Faster powder generally produces less recoil because they build pressure faster than slower powder and produce lower velocity rounds than slower powder with the same bullet. Since recoil is momentum or mass X velocity the lower the velocity the lower the recoil. The other factor is that since less mass of fast powder is used compared to a slower powder, the recoil attributed to the powder which is expelled from the gun as combustion by products is less for the fast powder. (FYI - all combustion products exit the muzzle at the same velocity regardless of the speed of the powder.)

January 28, 2008, 04:11 PM
Yes it can, but doesn't always, simply because we are burning less powder. Sometimes it can get "snappy" or "torquey" with the faster powder depending on how hard we are trying to push a bullet and how heavy it is.

It can also reduce muzzle flip by having less "energy" blasting out of the barrel since it is closer to being burned up than the larger charge of slower burning powder, hence less energy pushing back at the muzzle.

Hope that made sense.

Also, fast powders can get touchy at the top end, so be more carefull working up the load.

January 28, 2008, 04:12 PM
Interesting reading on powder and recoil.

January 28, 2008, 04:17 PM
Good read strat81

I borrowed this from that post by 1911Tuner:
So...To summarize...The faster powder used to provide a given velocity with a given bullet...the sharper the recoil forces will be on the breechface, even at equal pressure...than a slower powder loaded to higher volume.
That was was my point about getting "snappy" with fast powders, especially if we try to push it too hard. Tuner used "sharp". Sharp is good. I like sharp. It better describes it.

January 28, 2008, 04:22 PM
As a general rule a faster powder and heavy bullet reduce "felt" recoil in semiautomatics.

January 28, 2008, 04:31 PM
Red Dot gets downright unpleasant in big bore handguns once you get to "magnum" levels. Switch to a slower powder like Unique or Herco and you can get to significantly higher energy levels before the recoil becomes a problem.

My favorite .45 Colt load is Red Dot loaded *almost* to that point.

January 28, 2008, 05:18 PM
"felt" and "perceived" recoil are different than scientific actual recoil. The forces are the same as some have said here, but there is a reduction in "felt" recoil when you find the right powder/gun/bullet combo.


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