What is a J-Frame's recoil like?


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MikePGS
March 10, 2009, 11:37 AM
When I look at recoil charts (like chuck hawks handgun recoil chart) a j-frame's recoil doesn't LOOK like it would be that bad. However I consistently see people talking about not wanting to shoot their j-frames a lot due to the sharp recoil. I haven't shot one (obviously) so was curious as to what the recoil was like. Is it comparable to any other handgun so that I can get a better idea? Or is the harshness due to the size of the gun and where it impacts on the hand? Any insight would be appreciated, thanks in advance.

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GUNKWAZY
March 10, 2009, 11:43 AM
It would of course depend on what loads and what grips you're little J frame is wearing.
If you're shooting some strong loads with short little boot cut grips, it's gonna sting.
Light loads with full sized grips you can get your hands on, not bad at all.

Jeff (GUNKWAZY)

mr2guru
March 10, 2009, 11:48 AM
This is on a 12oz 360pd:

.38's are a breeze and my 63yr old mom shoots them.

.38 +p are little more stout and let you know they are there... My mom doesn't shoot these. My g/f does.

.357 "short barrel" loads are stout and good carry load. These will surprise you and your hand will be red but not hurting after a cyl. full.

.357 "heavy" from Buffalo Bore or Double Tap will get your attention right now. You will not like it, and neither will the guy in the lane next to you. But it's an attention getter.

MCgunner
March 10, 2009, 01:00 PM
As long as it's .38 +P, very easy. I don't really believe in .357 snubs. Had a SP101, but it was quite heavy. It was easy to shoot even with magnums. The scandium stuff would get only .38 if I had one in MY pocket. I ain't got that much testosterone anymore. :D

1KPerDay
March 10, 2009, 01:15 PM
I have an airweight 37 and 38s hurt me. 158-grains in particular. I haven't cartridge that's "pleasant" to shoot, at least with the stock grips. wadcutters aren't bad but they're not particularly fun, either.

Guess I'm a wuss. :D

fishdog52
March 10, 2009, 01:27 PM
I consider my mod 60 the most un-fun gun I own. However, as a carry piece, it is practical, and reasonably capable. I wish mine were DA only as it is the only way I will use it.
On the other hand, I have a J frame 22 that is all around well balanced and great fun! So I use that for most practice.

Commander Crusty
March 10, 2009, 01:37 PM
My S&W Airweight 637 makes my hand sore for a week after firing just 30 rounds. On the other hand, I shoot it pretty well and have every confidence I get good hits with it under stress. I carry this gun a lot!

I'd like to try a steel frame 5-shot with a 3" heavy barrel and see how it feels. My 6 shot K-A frame Airweight kicks a lot less and weighs 24 ounces loaded--about the same as a steel J-frame.

earlthegoat2
March 10, 2009, 01:57 PM
Chuck Hawks is pretty old school so he is probably using either a Colt Diamondback snub, or Python snub, or steel framed gun of some kind which will not recoil to bad with any load. Or a longer barrelled revolver at that. I havent looked at his site in some time.

jc650
March 10, 2009, 02:03 PM
I have an MP340 and 38's arent bad at all. My carry rounds the Speer GDSB 38 +p's and they arent bad either. I can shoot any 38's with no discomfort. Like previously stated the 357's will get your attention.

I use the stock grips and usually shooot about 60 rounds at a time at the range.

ArmedBear
March 10, 2009, 02:39 PM
Snappy.

I bought a .38 Special +P myself, after shooting .357s. I can do it, with surprising accuracy, until the web of my hand throbs anyway. But I didn't think I'd ever carry .357s in it, so I opted to get the significantly less-expensive gun.

Light .38 "cowboy loads" can be fun to shoot in it, though.

3 grains of Trail Boss and it doesn't feel bad at all.:)

rcmodel
March 10, 2009, 02:59 PM
Load 158 grain @ 850 FPS .38 Spl..

1 pound J-Frame
Velocity of gun = 22.04 FPS
Recoil energy = 7.35 F/P.

3 pound gun
Velocity of gun = 7.54 FPS
Recoil energy = 2.51 F/P.

1 pound gun with .357 mag 158 @ 1250 FPS
Velocity of gun = 35.64 FPS
Recoil energy = 19.73 F/P.

3 pound gun with .357 mag 158 @ 1250 FPS
Velocity of gun = 11.88 FPS
Recoil energy = 6.58 F/P.

As you can see, it's all about the weight of the gun.

A J-frame .38 kicks harder & sharper then a .357 in a heavier gun.

Or three times a fast & hard as a heavier gun with the same .38 Spl ammo.

And then there is .357 Mags!

rc

ArmedBear
March 10, 2009, 03:24 PM
125 grains at 700 fps and it's not too bad, subjectively and mathematically equivalent to the 3 lb. .357 above. That's what I've been using.

.357s generally don't weigh 48 ounces, and a load like 158@1250 isn't bad in any full-size .357. That's really not bad recoil. It's noticeable, but not at all painful.:)

Where do you get my J-frame practice loads? Unfortunately, I've had to make them myself.

There might be a market for J-frame practice loads, given the immense popularity of the things and their similar competition.

rcmodel
March 10, 2009, 03:50 PM
The are selling a metric ton of Cowboy Action light load .38 Specials.

And theres always 148 grain Wadcutter target ammo.

rc

MDG1976
March 10, 2009, 03:56 PM
i used to have an airweight 38 spl. it was not pleasant to shoot with +p loads. but then again, it wasn't meant to be

ArmedBear
March 10, 2009, 04:04 PM
The are selling a metric ton of Cowboy Action light load .38 Specials.

Yes, but AFAIK the steel knockdown targets they use for CAS limits just how light they can be.

The J-frame practice load can be lighter and still work perfectly.

rcmodel
March 10, 2009, 04:26 PM
Well a 125 at 900 isn't going to hurt your hand much. Especially since it probably really only gets 800+ out of a real revolver.
http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=453964&kwtid=249737

Then theres this at 850 or 750.
http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=119961

rc

ArmedBear
March 10, 2009, 04:36 PM
700 or less is even nicer.

I want to do 90@650 or so. Maybe 700.

That should feel like a .22.

FireInCairo
March 10, 2009, 04:56 PM
It's not that bad, especially if you have a larger grip. I'm using the the Pachmeyer combat grip on my S&W 642 J frame, and it's made of the harder plastic-like stuff. It's not that bad. I imagine the rubber Hogue ones may be even more comfortable, too. With the extra pinky support, you have a lot more leverage to handle the small frame.

I would say it was a bit less recoil than the Ruger SP-101 .357 I tried (with regular .357 loads).

Is this Mike from Pro Guitar Shop, by any chance? :rolleyes:

WardenWolf
March 10, 2009, 05:01 PM
J-frames are just unpleasant. Bad design. There's a lot better compact revolver grips out there. Worse, because they're considered low-end guns, there's a serious lack of good replacement grips for them. We have a S&W Model 38 Airweight Bodyguard that's my mother's pistol. We're looking to replace it because it's painful to shoot, even for a grown man. As soon as the LCR comes out, the Airweight's going on Gunbroker.

BlindJustice
March 10, 2009, 05:11 PM
I have a Model 60-15 3" bbl. Adj. rear sight, which weighs in at
24 oz. empty. It has the stock S&W rubber grip that is 1-piece &
larger than the snubbies which conform to the frame shape. It has a
llittle longer length with enough for a good purchase for my little finger.

To give you a comparison, shooting 158 gr. RNL as well as 38 Spcl +P
125 gr. speer Gold Dot Jhps at the range I've fired up to 70 rds in a session
where it was in quick enough succession that the cylinder and barrel were
getting pretty hot to touch reloading. It wasn't abusive. Another time
I shot 10 rds of the .38 Spcl +p as before just to baseline for
comparison to a cylinder of .357 Mag 140 gr. Hornady XTP JHPS.
I stopped after the 5 shots of the magnum rounds. I'll stick with the +P for
HD but if I took it hiking/camping and weight was a consideration
I'd take it with some of each. I wouldn't want a snubbie LtWt in a
magnum with so much velocity loss due to the short barrel and recoil
I think a compact single stack 9mmx19 +P would offer more with
higher cap than the 5 shot J-frame.

Randall

ArmedBear
March 10, 2009, 05:30 PM
What do you mean, a serious lack of replacement grips?

I've seen a bunch of them.

brin747
March 10, 2009, 05:33 PM
I have a 642 Airweight with stock grips on it. I regularly run 38+p through it and don't find the recoil to be a problem at all. In fact, I love that little kick and usually end up running through a full box of ammo on each range trip.

WardenWolf
March 10, 2009, 05:40 PM
I said GOOD replacement grips. Nothing can really change the fact that the grip angle and overall girth is simply poor.

ArmedBear
March 10, 2009, 05:43 PM
If you want a K-frame, you can buy one.

That's hardly the point of the J-frame or its competitors.

This grip provides a modicum of extra girth.
http://ahrendsgripsusa.com/images/revolver/Revolver%20Pix%202.jpg

JJE
March 10, 2009, 05:48 PM
I handload 125 gr plated bullets that are max standard pressure (bottom end of +P) for a S&W 642 with Pachmayr Compac Pro grips (all fingers fit on grip -barely- but backstrap is uncovered). Shooting these rounds doesn't hurt, but the recoil and small grips make it very difficult to maintain a proper 2-handed grip for follow-up shots. If you are shooting genuine +P rounds out of a gun like this, you would have to be a very skilled shooter to maintain combat accuracy at speed (or else put gigantic grips on the gun).

Bottom line: Long before recoil actually becomes painful, shooting accurately and quickly becomes very, very difficult.

indiandave
March 10, 2009, 07:36 PM
I shoot my 642 a lot. I shoot mostly 148gr wadcutters. They are very easy to shoot. I shoot just a cylinder or two of my carry ammunition at the end of a range trip. This works out well for me.

As for grips I did not like the Uncle Mike's Boot Grips that came with the gun. They were replaced with Uncle Mike's combat grips. They cover the backstrap and make shooting the little gun a pleasure to me. I also have Crimson Trace Laser Grips. They also cover the backstrap and are a great learning tool.

It dosn't have to be a painful experience to shoot an Airweight.

Clarence
March 10, 2009, 09:15 PM
I can shoot 50 rounds of 38 +P out of my 642 with no problem.

I can shoot 38+P out of my M-60 all day long and 50 rounds of .357 Mag with no problem.

YMMV

Resto Guy
March 10, 2009, 09:31 PM
I posted this on the 642 Club thread on Saturday. The following day I shot another 75 rounds. My hand is fine, no soreness at all. But I work with hand tools all day, so my hands may be tougher than some.




First day at the range!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Guys. I found this site after recently purchasing my 642. I've read practically everything posted in "the 642 Club", and it has made me feel confident about my decision to get this handgun. Today I had a chance to try out my 642. After 500 dry-fires, I finally got to run some lead through it. I used 158 gr. Lawman target ammo, 130 gr. Winchester White Box (WWB) FMJ target ammo, some Winchester 110 gr. Silver Tip HP's and a box of +P Speer Gold Dot HP 135's. Total rounds fired was 198.
During the day I also switched grips from the Pacmayr Compacs to the Hogue Monogrip. I never tried the original equip. Uncle Mike's.
There was an immediate improvement in accuracy (and comfort) after switching to the Hogues. My best results today were with the SPG 135 Gold Dots, followed by the WWB 130. They had similar groupings. I fought with the Speer Lawman 158's that wanted to go high and left.
Just thought I'd post my thoughts....
Attached Thumbnails

2nd 41
March 10, 2009, 09:44 PM
i used to have an airweight 38 spl. it was not pleasant to shoot with +p loads. but then again, it wasn't meant to be

My 37 was not intolerable to shoot.......just that it's not the kind of gun you want to go target shooting with.

AKElroy
March 10, 2009, 09:56 PM
I have a Scandium 340, fired TWO 158 gr full house loads through it, now I know what it feels like to get shot. Tried 125 gr "reduced recoil" loads, still left a grip shaped bruise in the palm of my hand. Managed 5 rounds. It now stays full of 125 gr .38 +P's. A 12 oz gun IS RIDICULOUS for a .357.

Poor East Texan
March 10, 2009, 10:00 PM
I'd have to agree that a S&W snubby with wood factory grips SUCKS with 158gr.

I put what I think are Pachmayr oversize rubber grips and it feels WAY better.

I say think because it is in my Dads house and not in front of me.

chriske
March 11, 2009, 10:15 AM
My only snub -so far- is a stainless steel 2" barreled S&W 640.
I replaced the tiny slick wooden grip panels with rubber Pachmayr Compac grips . It is very comfortable with all non- +P 38 Spl. loads.
+P loads feel about like standard .380 ACP's from my PPK Walther : a bit less pleasant but certainly manageable for a dozen or so rounds (actually 15 shots, 3 cylinderfuls).

BlindJustice
March 11, 2009, 11:23 AM
I read a gun test of a S&W J-frame with the scandium frame and
Ti cylinder in .357 Mag. The author states that S&W recommends a
max bullet weight of 125 gr. HD/SD loads because of cylinder
strength concerns.

A friend at a range, said he observed in a similar gun to the type
described above with 158 gr. full house loads another shooter at the
range experienced a bulged cylinder.

Another reason I went with the all stell 60.

Randall

JWF III
March 11, 2009, 12:20 PM
I read a gun test of a S&W J-frame with the scandium frame and
Ti cylinder in .357 Mag. The author states that S&W recommends a
max bullet weight of 125 gr. HD/SD loads because of cylinder
strength concerns.

A friend at a range, said he observed in a similar gun to the type
described above with 158 gr. full house loads another shooter at the
range experienced a bulged cylinder.


I recently bought the 360PD Chiefs Special. Mine is the model with the stainless cylinder. I too heard sismilar things about S&W recomended loads, so I searched the manual. I did find the recommendation to shoot heavier than 120 gr. magnum loads, to eliminate frame cutting by the hot gases.

If the qoute above is correct about the Ti cylinders. That sure is a small margin for bullet weight. 120 gr.-125 gr.

BTW to answer the OP's question. I LOVE mine. Recoil is managable to me. I've owned it just over a week and have about 250 thru it to date. 50 of which were full house 158 gr. magnums.

My guess if you kept track of this thread with each shooter's grip type. With very few exceptions, you could draw a line down the middle between the stock wood grips and the stock/aftermarket Hogue (rubber) grips.

Wyman

raveneap
March 11, 2009, 04:52 PM
My SW 637 J frame, 38+P, is easy to shoot; perceived recoil is light.

coach22
March 11, 2009, 07:18 PM
After much experimenting, My J's are loaded with:
49 & 442 Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure 158's.
640 (38) First 2 are BB Standard Pressure 158's
and next 3 are BB 158 +P's.
Gives me a fast first 2 and warms me up for next 3.
340 PD Buffalo Bore 125 38 +P's.
Don't have to worry about crimp with a jacketed bullet.
Prior to BB's all were loaded with Corbon DPX 38 +P's.
For me, the DPX is an easy load to shoot in all my J's.
The BB's give me a little more power, albeit with
a little more recoil, but certainly able to control.
P.S. All 4 have Pachmayr Compacs.

wrs840
March 11, 2009, 07:49 PM
I have a 642 Airweight with stock grips on it. I regularly run 38+p through it and don't find the recoil to be a problem at all. In fact, I love that little kick and usually end up running through a full box of ammo on each range trip.

+1. My thoughts exactly regarding my 442.

Les

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