AR15 recoil; Colt vs others


January 19, 2013, 11:55 AM
Hello everyone, I wanted to share an experience I had the other day and ask for the experiences of some people with a lot of AR15 shooting under their belt. I have an AR15, doublestar lower with a spikes tactical 16" mid length upper. Only real aftermarket part is a YHM fold down front sight gas block and an H3 buffer. The gun has a short snappy recoil, nothin that hurts the shoulder or anything obviously, being an AR15, but it does in my opinion make rapid fire follow up shots a little difficult to keep on target; lots of muzzle climb with quick firing. Now, I shot a buddy of mines Colt the other day, carbine length gas system, pretty much a stock rifle it seemed other than a metal railed handguard. This thing kicked like a 22 though. I was able to dump 30 rounds into about a 4 or 5 inch group at 100 yards in a matter of seconds. My question is, what is it about a Colt that would make it kick like a 22? Are all Colts like this? I know that many will respond this post saying, yep it's a Colt, there's your answer....but why? What exactly is it about the Colt that would make it so smooth and recoil absorbing? Didn't have a fancy butt pad or anything. I've had metal handguards on my rifle and it didn't make any difference. Input?

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January 19, 2013, 11:59 AM
Do you know what kind of bolt carrier yours has as opposed to that of the Colt?

January 19, 2013, 12:09 PM
The bolt carrier can add very little weight. A heavier buffer or a mid-length or rifle length gas tube has a lower recoil impulse due to lower port pressure in the barrel.

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January 19, 2013, 12:16 PM
My guess is the Colt had a heavier buffer. I believe Colt ships their carbine-length gas system rifles with "H" buffers, which are heavier than the "carbine" buffers a lot of manufacturers use.

January 19, 2013, 12:22 PM
A semi-only bolt carrier has a slightly sharper recoil impulse than a full-auto bolt carrier, all else equal.

January 19, 2013, 01:38 PM
The other possibility is the the first rifle is over gassed while the Colt has a smaller gas port.

My wife's AR is a BCM middy that I'd describe as soft shooting. Totally reliable with the standard carbine buffer too.


January 19, 2013, 01:55 PM
I have a 14.5 BCM midlength with a pinned battlecomp flash suppressor. Its the easiest rifle to keep on target. The recoil if any is straight back into the shoulder.

You might want to change your A2 flash suppressor with a battlecomp. It will help with any muzzle flip.

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Texan Scott
January 19, 2013, 01:56 PM
My experience is strictly military... I've never fired a civilian AR.

BUT, the M16A2 kicks a bit less than the m4, and is easier to get back on target. Part of that is the extra weight, but some of it is the longer sight radius and softer gas impulse on the longer rifle. The shorter tubes snap sharper IMO.

Edited to add: if I were to get a civie AR, I'd prob get the A2 type, but emphasis would be on shot placement- accurate first shot, not so much rapid second or third. When I shoot fast, I miss a lot more. I'd rather make the first one count and THINK about a second than hit off-center and muff the next couple. I'm not a very good shot when my adrenaline is up.

January 19, 2013, 02:01 PM
same ammo?

no, not all colts are like that

why did you put an H3 buffer in there??

if you want less movement in the gun, you need less reciprocating mass. get rid of that heavy buffer. switch to a lighter weight carrier (e.g. JP low mass). add a muzzle brake.

it's true the spikes could be over gassed.

you need a heavy buffer when you want delay the bolt movement, or if you need more mass to ensure the bolt goes into battery on a very dirty gun. an example of when you would wnat to do this is if you had a 10" barrel and a suppressor and you want a little extra time for the chamber pressure to drop before you unlock the chamber.

odds are, you could throw a muzzle brake on your rifle and it would feel even better than the colt. but definitely swap buffers unless you've got a really good reason for putting it there in the first place.

January 19, 2013, 04:27 PM
great to see so many replies

both the colt and my rifle had standard A2 flash hiders. my buddy who owns the colt said that it was pretty much mil-spec, besides the fact that it was not select fire. now, i know that mil-spec is a pretty broad term, but I'm assuming that it meant that the carrier was indeed the heavier one(for lack of the proper term). my bolt carrier is the standard civi one, with about an inch of fully circular metal on the rear, versus the longer "cylinder" of complete metal on the other carriers(terribly sorry for this awful description, i used to know all of the terms but am drawing a complete blank right now :o )

to answer the question as to why i put the H3 buffer in, i started out with the standard buffer, not even the H buffer. it was way overgassed and the casings were ejecting way forward(or way to the rear, i can't remember which one indicated overgassing, but i remember for sure that it was way overgassed) and this was when i had the doublestar 16" carbine length gas system upper on it. (by the way, the mid-length system made no difference in recoil, which surprised me when i got it and fired the first few rounds out of it. so perhaps the spikes upper is overgassed?...) Anyway, when i got the spikes upper, it came with an ST-T2 buffer(pretty much the equivalent of an H2 buffer it memory serves me correct), and it was still overgassed, which led to the H3 buffer which still seems to leave a little bit to be desired...
Also forgot to mention that I'm running a Wolff extra power action spring in the rifle. I don't think this would contribute to it though, as the gun kicked even worse with the standard spring.

Ahhh, perhaps i should have saved up the extra money and got a Colt. live and learn I suppose..

January 19, 2013, 04:30 PM
correct taliv, same ammunition. even with the lightest loads, it never seems to make a difference with the way my rifle kicks.

January 19, 2013, 06:08 PM
Normally you'd expect a 16" midlength to be smoother than a 16" with carbine length gas. My PSA, BCM and Daniel Defense uppers (all using an H or H2 buffer and FA carriers) are smoother than a buddy's 16" carbine gas Bushmaster (with standard buffer and SA carrier). They kick out brass from 3-4:00 o'clock.

No doubt you're right the Spikes is way overgassed. Only thing I can think of is use light loads like Wolf/Tula steelcase.

January 19, 2013, 08:41 PM
My JP Rifle is very soft recoiling. Of course, it is designed to be so.
Compensator + Rifle Length Gas Port + Low mass carrier/bolt + low mass buffer weight and spring + adjustable gas.

If I dial back the gas on 52gr match, it is about the same as my .22lr bolt action rifles.

January 19, 2013, 08:58 PM
My experience shooting AR's entails my stock Spikes mid-length and my Dad's stock Colt LE6920 carbine and my Spikes is much softer recoil.

January 19, 2013, 09:05 PM
I don't consider a rifle overgassed as long as the brass gets extracted every time. You haven't seen overgassed until you've seen an AR that bends or rips the rim off the case and leaves the case in the chamber.

I wouldn't worry about it. Every rifle's a little different. As long as it's reliable, that's what matters.

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