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Caliber by order of recoil

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by valnar, Oct 5, 2003.

  1. valnar

    valnar Well-Known Member

    I saw an old post on the 1911forum where somebody listed their opinion on the order of recoil for pistol calibers. I thought that was a good idea. The list was a bit wrong based on my limited experience with a couple of the calibers, so I ordered it differently. (I'm sure I have it wrong myself)

    Feel free to reply and place them in the proper "order" or add others. If nothing else, it will help other newbies as this question comes up a lot. Keep this in relationship to recoil, not stopping power. I certainly don't want another 9mm vs .45ACP debate!


    .454 casull
    .38spl +P
  2. cordex

    cordex Well-Known Member

    Too many variables.
  3. valnar

    valnar Well-Known Member

    True, I won't argue that. So let's assume a gun that is average for the caliber specified.

    ie. A modern S&W L-frame or Ruger GP-100 for a .357 Magnum; a 1911 or SIG P220-ST for a .45ACP.

    Don't figure the recoil of a .357Mag on any J-frame Scandium guns!

    Would that help?

  4. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Yeah! The dreaded ''variables'' ... the greatest needless to say would be the size and weight of the gun being used ... maybe even too the hand size and strength of the shooter.

    Be that as it may .... in a broad sense i think the list is pretty close probably .... maybe slot in under .454 Casull, the Ruger 480. Oh and perhaps too the new S&W .50, and 475 (? is that right?) Linebaugh, up at the top.
  5. Shane

    Shane Well-Known Member

    I haven't shot every caliber you listed, so I took the liberty to remove some and add others I have shot. Listed with greatest perceived/subjective recoil at top, least subjective/perceived recoil at bottom:

    .454 casull
    10mm (hotter than average handloads)
    .357 magnum (180-200 grain @1200-1250 fps)
    .45 ACP +P
    .40 S&W
    .357mag (158 grain @1200 fps)
    9mm +P
    .38spl +P
    .32 ACP
    .22 magnum
    .22 LR

    This is just a general opinion, as I realize the weight of the gun, shape of the grip, and other factors can influence perceived/subjective recoil. For example, my .357 magnum revolvers are mostly heavy revolvers that soak up recoil. OTOH, my .40 pistol is much lighter so recoil is much more pronounced
  6. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Well-Known Member

    I would rate the .38special above a 9mm (in general, revolvers seem to kick more for me than pistols). Also, if the 10mm is from a pistol, then I would rate it below a .357mag -- otherwise the above list seems about right with the exceptions that I just made.
  7. Shane

    Shane Well-Known Member

    Its a subjective issue, so there is really no answer that works for everyone IMO.

    But to explain why I put the 9mm above the .38 special....jarring (quick) recoil hurts my wrist more than slower recoil. The .38 and .38 +P from a full sized medium frame revolver (like the GP 100) to me just feel like a slight push. Most 9mm rounds though from a typical size 9mm (Sig P226 for example) feel more like a moderate jarring snap.

    As far as the 10mm and .357 magnum, most 10mm pistols I've shot weigh less than full sized .357 magnum revolvers, plus in general the semi-auto grips do not fit my hand as well as the shape of revolver grips. So while the 10mm may produce less recoil if measured on the machine, from a subjective and perceived standpoint they "feel" harsher to me than a typical 158 grain .357 magnum in the 1200 fps range.

    As a general rule, I can handle revolver recoil much better than semi-auto recoil. The grip shape of the typical revolver, and the way revolvers recoil to me is less harsh than semi-autos. This is subjective, since it seems most people are different than me and prefer semi-auto recoil.
  8. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I'll chime in on the "too many variable" bandwagon too :D But on the soft end of the scale, I'd go w/ the 22lr and that 500 S&W Magnum :eek: on the high end. The rest can be pretty subjective ;)
  9. GoldenLoki

    GoldenLoki Well-Known Member

    Hmm, I'll take a shot at it, based on the guns I've used:

    .357mag (scandium J-frame)
    9x18Makarov (likely due to blowback design of the pistol)
    .38spl +P
    7.62x25 Tokarev
    .22mag (NAA mini)
    .32H&R magnum
    .32S&W Long
    .22mag (S&W K-frame)
  10. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Well-Known Member

  11. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    I've found that many .380's and .38 snubbies are more punishing to shoot than much larger calibers. A .44 mag in a Redhawk is a pretty painless proposition. A hot .380 from an AMT will really get your attention.

    Larger calibers get shot from larger packages that make up for a lot of the felt recoil.

  12. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Well-Known Member

    Chris, I found that to be a very interesting link. Would you know how to determine the powder weight of factory ammo? I don't see that info listed anywhere on the box.
  13. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Well-Known Member

    Not without sacrificing a cartridge. You could always use a kinetic bullet puller to yank the bullet and measure the powder manually or, fire the cartridge, measure the case weight, add the bullet weight as advertised. Then, measure a loaded cartridge. The difference is powder weight.

  14. stans

    stans Well-Known Member

    I can tell you that my 7.5 inch Ruger Super Redhawk with 180 grain JHP loads has less felt recoil than my 2 inch Smith & Wesson model 640 with 125 grain JHP loads!
  15. Moparmike

    Moparmike Well-Known Member

    Witness 10mm recoil?

    Ok, with that link, I posted a 175gr win-silvertip, looked up some reloading data and estimated 10grs of powder (for 1290fps), with a 3lb and a 2.5lb gun. It came back with:


    Recoil energy in ft-lbs: 6
    Recoil velocity in ft/sec: 11


    Recoil energy in ft-lbs: 7
    Recoil velocity in ft/sec: 14

    What does all this mean? Is there a comperable way to tell without shooting the gun (I havent bought it yet)? How bad will that be?
  16. BHPshooter

    BHPshooter Well-Known Member

    Interesting thread...

    But where's the .50 AE? :p

  17. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Well-Known Member

    The. 50 AE is normally out of a 6" Desert Eagle, I'd put it just above a .357 Mag in a standard revolver. It may move a lot, but my arms get tired holding it up LONG before they get sore from shooting it, unless I'm shooting one handed. Then the force is more concentrated and my palm gets sore after about 3 shots of full power loads.
  18. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Totally facetious I know but ..... this thread should by rights be called ........

    ''Recoil by order of caliber'' not other way around! .............. just being pedantic!:p

    Been an interesting thread tho .......

    And i still say ... ''Viva the variables'' ........... :D
  19. lycanthrope

    lycanthrope Well-Known Member

    I shot a 3" 45-70 revolver and it in no way kicked like a .454 Casull. In fact, it really didn't kick as much as a full power .44 mag.
  20. Kentucky Rifle

    Kentucky Rifle Member In Memoriam

    Also, a lot depends on how you're feeling on a paticular day...

    THIS is going to blow some of you away, but one cold day it hurt to shoot my Jetfire .25ACP. It was an outside, covered range and a cold rain was falling. What can I say? It hurt, that's all there is to it. And *usually I don't even notice recoil.
    I almost didn't post this experience. It STILL sound's silly to me. :mad: :confused:


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