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Pistol recoil tolerance

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by gspn, Oct 3, 2012.

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  1. warhwkbb

    warhwkbb Member

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    I enjoy shooting guns I've never shot before, so recently at an indoor range I was offered a cylinder full from a 3" X-Frame 500SW. In exchange, I offered him my Grizzly 45 Win Mag. Aside from the ferocious blast, the 350g 500sw was actually pleasant to shoot. I expected a whole lot more considering it was only a 3".

    Meanwhile, my new friend only shot the Grizzly 45 once and said it was too much for him and handed it back to me. He may be right, I seem to have a little numbness in my middle finger after shooting a hundred rounds last time out with the Grizzly. I may have found my recoil tolerance. Not so much the round, but the platform itself!

    The heaviest recoiling pistol I ever shot was a Contender in 45-70... one handed! I only pulled that stunt once! But the most uncomfortable pistol I have shot recently is my wife's LCR with heavy 158g reloads. I started flinching after the 3rd cylinder. I can only imagine the recoil on the airweight 44's.

    Plow handled single actions work best with my small hands for handling recoil. I can handle 44mag and heavy loaded 300g 45 Colts for at least 50 rounds. I've also been wanting a FA454 and I'd love to try a Linebough if the opportunity presents itself.
     
  2. wildehond

    wildehond Member

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    I have a simple rule. Once I stop enjoying it, I stop. But the biggest killer for me is muzzle blast. That is quite a problem with short barrled magnum revolvers with full house loads. One of the worst I shot was a 1.75" ported barrel 357 magnum with hot 125 gr rounds in an indoor range. You could feel the muzzle blast in your sinusses. I have shot hot 454 Casull loads at that same range from a Rangin Bull and enjoyed it.
     
  3. 481

    481 Member

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    This. If it hurts, it's out. I don't need (or want) a flinch.

    I draw "the line" for comfort using free recoil velocity of the firearm as the measure.

    For handguns, anything that backs up faster than 20 fps is over the line. For rifles, the limit is 15 fps.
     
  4. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    I almost bought a .454 Casull Ruger Super Redhawk. I test fired it first with a full loads and then thought I could handle it. However, remembering that my hand was numb for about 5 minutes after shooting it brought me to my senses.

    I went with a .44 magnum Ruger Super Redhawk and the recoil with full loads in this gun really is well tolerated.
     
  5. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    Ain't that the truth. My SP101 with full load .357's is almost as much of a felt recoil as my .44 magnum. Small and light can be plain nasty.
     
  6. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    As I get older, and wear and tear are coming home to roost, .40 S&W in a SIG P229 has become too much for me, in quantity, but .45 ACP from an all-steel 1911 is still fine. The SIG has a higher bore axis, is a lighter-weight weapon, and the .40 is launching a fairly heavy bullet a a somewhat higher velocity than .45 ACP, so it feels "snappy" to me. As my employer mandates .40 in our duty pistols, I may switch weapons, if the G22, G23, or M&P40, the other authorized duty pistols, prove to kick substantially less than a P229. I used a G22 before the SIG, and seem to recall it having less felt recoil.

    I used to be tougher. The P229 did not bother me at all in 2004, when I bought it. I owned an S&W Model 629 .44 Magnum in 1984-1985, and settled on an S&W Model 58 .41 Magnum as a duty/carry sixgun in 1985, using it through most of the 1980s, while practicing with it often.
     
  7. Stress_Test

    Stress_Test Member

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    The heaviest recoiling gun I own is an LCR in .357. I mostly shoot .38 out of it, and just a handful of .357 at a time. About 20-25 rounds is enough for me. It doesn't feel too good when my palm starts to ache.

    Today I was shooting it at an indoor range, in a lane next to the concrete wall, with Remington 125gr SJHP loads. The blast is absolutely ferocious under such conditions. On each shot I felt the pressure wave and small particles smack against my face (safety glasses required!!). I actually made some decent hits with it at 7 yards, but after about 25 rounds I had had enough fun. Could I have shot a full box of 50 .357 out of it? Yeah, I could have. Did I WANT to? NO! I switched back to .38s :)


    Btw, my brother shoots some of those crazy ultra-magnum single action guns, and even he hates the LCR recoil!
     
  8. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    Better to shoot a gun than you can HIT with, than the biggest gun (load) you can shoot with.
     
  9. Bladesmith2000

    Bladesmith2000 Member

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    I love shooting .44 mag hot loads out of my Ruger Redhawk and I can take factory loads all day long. Shooting the S&W .460 is where I draw the line at fun. Twenty rounds of .460 leaves me sore the next day and a bit twitchy too.
     
  10. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    I haven't found my limit yet, although a couple or three cylinders of hot .44 Spl. out of the 20 ounce Bulldog Pug is enough in a day; Way snappier than my 629 3" with full house magnums. My SRH .454 is fun for about a box of the stout stuff. After that, both my hand and my wallet are a tad sore. The 340PD is about the most unpleasant I can think of, unless S&W decide to release a scandium 460/500....

    Two top loads:

    Brenneke 12 ga. 3" magnum 1-3/8 oz. (600 gr.) slug from 18" shotgun: 3,003 FPE

    Buffalo Bore .500 S&W 375 gr. XPB from 9" S&W X-frame: 2,746 FPE

    Don't know that I'd call a <10% difference "many times more powerful".........
     
  11. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    I am a pretty good shot with my rifle, but not so good right now with my revolvers. It takes a different skill set to get good with a handgun. For me, my poor handgun skills really are not related at all to recoil tolerance, just lack of dedicated skill building to date and practice. Hopefully, one of these days, I will get as proficient with a handgun as I am with my Marlin with Skinner peep sights. I actually love shooting my .44 magnum with high powered loads, don't bother me none at all. I just wish I could hit what I am shooting at. LOL
     
  12. HankB

    HankB Member

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    My S&W 340Sc was downright nasty with full power .357s; I put on Crimson Trace rubber grips that cover the backstrap, and thanks to that little bit of cushioning it's merely unpleasant rather than painful . . . at least for a couple of cylinders. (My normal carry load is Winchester 145gr Silvertip; the ones I've tested haven't back out the bullet under recoil.)

    The original T/C Contender with the swoopy wood grip was a real handful with the skinny octagon .44 magnum barrel; Pachmayr's rubber grips tamed that.

    I dislike large caliber single actions; the grip shape and high bore line don't go together well.
     
  13. .22-5-40

    .22-5-40 Member

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    Hello, everyone..interesting posts! Back in late 1970's..up thru mid 80's..I was heavy into IHMSA pistol silhouette. Started out with a 6" S&W Mod. 19..few months later a S&W Mod. 27 8 3/8. after about a year went to a .41 mag. S&W 57..finally a single-shot RPM in 7mm Merrill.
    That last one HURT!..we didn't have the padded ergonomic shooting gloves of today..I used a heavy leather winter glove with first finger cut off..palm of hand still sore days after!
    Nearly 20 years passed before I fired a revolver again...Too busy with rifles!
    Recently I have taken up revolver shooting again..mostly Colt S.A.A. & the two .357 Smiths. I find I am liking the mild but accurate loads more nowdays. The Smiths are now on a Special diet...and lead is the only metal I use.
    A nice Sunday afternoon with a mild mannered handgun is a good relaxing tonic after a 60+ hour workweek.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  14. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    The standard X-frame is 8-3/8", which ain't gonna give up but 20 or so FPS. And that's a lot easier to carry than a shotgun.

    You're attributing beliefs where they don't belong, in addition to countering your own point :scrutiny:

    Besides, I never said the shotgun w/slugs wasn't preferable to a .500 mag for big, nasty critter defense. I simply pointed out that it is not orders of magnitude more powerful. In point of fact, from equal sized firearms, the .500 S&W easily eclipses the 12 ga slug in terms of KE.

    None of this has a thing to do with the OP, either, so lets get back on track. Unless you have a PGO 12 ga SBS, shotguns do not belong in this thread.
     
  15. fastest45ever

    fastest45ever Member

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    Custom grips, built for YOUR hands are critical once you get much over .44 Magnum.

    I like to use numbers, like a recoil calculator, to quantify my observations.

    The worst are 525 grains at 1350 fps, out of a 3.6 pound gun. Generates around 62 ft-lbs of recoil. If you up this to 1550 fps, and you can, you get a handgun that recoils as much ft-lbs wise, as a .458 Win mag, or .458 Lott lite.

    180's rated at 1400 fps out of a 340PD. The SPEED of the recoil gets very high with the lightweight scandium guns. Speed kills. It also does a lot to injure your hands. You can get up around 50 fps of velocity with the 12 oz scandium guns.

    I've found that staying on the lower side of the pressure scale helps make recoil more manageable. Problem is this can come with greater velocity variations, and less accuracy.

    At a certain point bullet weight makes up for even lower pressure.

    You will find that a steady diet of high powered, and by that, I mean .454 Casull or greater level loads, will eventually do damage you can't reverse to nerves, mind, and arms. Be careful out there.
     
  16. ares338

    ares338 Member

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    I guess I haven't found anything I couldn't tolerate yet. The hardest kicking handgun is my Ruger LCR 357/38 revolver shooting 125 grain 357 loads. It's best described as a wall of pressure wave moving through your face...LOL. Still, to me it's just fun. It helps that I am a big guy with good upper body strength at age 63 so I like the recoil feeling. I'm sure I'll have to back off of these loads as time moves on....But until then boom!
     
  17. JRWhit

    JRWhit Member

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    I think the big bore appeal is more about the percussion than the kick. The percussion gives the appeal for me. A heavy bruise in my palm takes away the pleasantry of firing it. At one of the gun shows I attended I ran across a 454 casul in a snub nose air weight platform, used. I knew without asking why the original owner would decide it wasn't for him. I don't know why one would torture themselves with that but to each their own. Don't get me wrong,I'd still want to shoot it given the chance,go figure.
    On a cautionary note, If you have a big bore magnum, be very weary who you let shoot it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vycqTDfngzU
    If you have a large magnum this is a must see. Somehow the way she is holding the gun or clinching the trigger allows it to cycle the cylinder and fire again off of the recoil of the gun without intention and she is very,very lucky.
     
  18. bassdogs

    bassdogs Member

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    What am I missing? Just turned 65, not a 1k round shooter, and my handguns of choice are 1] Colt Trooper 6" in 357, 2] Glock 40 full sized, and Judge PD 410/45LC. Usually shoot a couple of them at a setting and 30 to 50 rounds each. Most of the time I practice with 38sp in the Trooper but always pop a couple full loads of 357 just to keep the feel. I consider all 3 of these to be heavy caliber weapons but don't find any of them to be hard to shoot. Recoil is stout but even with BB heavy 357 or 45LC the recoil is manageable and 2nd shot target acquisition is pretty quick. Maybe if I shot more rounds each time I would feel the pain?
     
  19. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    After 25 years of drilling holes for a living, I have a self imposed limit of 15-20 rounds of any really heavy recoiling gun. IE airweight magnums, 454 Ruger Alaskan or my 480 Rugers. I like to shoot 240-255gr cast SWCs at 800 to 1000fps much better.
     
  20. Bushpilot

    Bushpilot Member

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    The cartridge recoil levels that I can handle and those that I truly enjoy are two different things. The larger chamberings that I still really enjoy shooting lots of are 45 acp, 44 special and, 45 lc (usually all in medium or large guns). The 357 mags depend a lot on which size gun I'm shooting them out of... Medium or large frame guns are fun, no problem. Those that I can handle but don't necessarily want to shoot full power loads with all afternoon are my 44 mags and 7mm IHMSA. Of course, the size of the gun and the type of grips really matter as much as the cartridge that it's chambered for.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  21. Derek Zeanah

    Derek Zeanah System Administrator Staff Member

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    It really depends. I can shoot a .44 Magnum out of a single-action pistol and it's no big deal. The only .44 Mag I've owned though was a S&W 429, and that thing was set up so that the knuckle of my middle finger took a beating with each round. Not fun, and sold to a friend who liked it.

    9mm, .357 Mag, and .45 ACP are rounds I shoot well, but I have had problems with every .40 S&W I've owned (2 Sigs and 3 Glocks). It's something about the snappiness of the recoil -- I can handle it fine, but I'm more accurate shooting the same platform in a different caliber.

    I guess I'm trying to say two things:
    • There's more to this than "does it hurt when you shoot it."
    • I'm a sissy when it comes to pain handguns that don't fit well
     
  22. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    I'm going on 70 and some days the arthritis in my hands gets pretty bad, but I still love to shoot the big powerful hand cannons.
    The right grips make all the difference in the world.
     
  23. TrueTexan

    TrueTexan Member

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    Just recently got a 686 3 inch to go with my 686 6inch and I can shoot the 6 inch without problems with the 158 gr 357. When I shoot the 3 inch I really feel it so I'm changing the grips to Pachmayer and see if it helps.
     
  24. 56hawk

    56hawk Member

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    My actual recoil tolerance comes in at about 65 ft-lbs of energy. That's what my snub nose 500 does with 700 grain bullets. At that level of recoil I can only shoot five to ten rounds before my wrist starts to hurt.

    For felt recoil my M&P 360 is the worst with full power 357 ammo.
     
  25. spaniel

    spaniel Member

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    One must consider cartridge, gun weight, and grip design.

    Other than my 1858 Remington BP conversion 45 Colt which only shoots cowboy loads, my two bigbores are both lightweight guns....Taurus Tracker 41Mag, SW 329PD 44Mag. The Tracker grip is probably the most ergonomic and comfortable grip I have ever shot; despite the total titanium construction (it is ported), I can load it with the heaviest bullets that will fit in the cylinder at max charge and it is still pretty fun to shoot. I stop to spare the gun, not me.

    The 329 is another matter. When I got it, it wore the factory rubber grips, which exposed the backstrap. The N frame is also on the large size for my hands. I loaded it up with a cylinder of the only 44 ammo I owned....near-max loads with 240gr bullets...WOW...with every pull of the trigger I could feel the recoil increase as the weight in the cylinder got lighter. After 3 rounds, I was DONE. I was psychologically beaten and could not bring myself to pull the trigger again, it hurt my hand so bad.

    I ordered the X-frame 500SW grips and installed them on the gun...they cover the backstrap in rubber. The gun is now a tad more over-sized for me, but I've adapted. I can't say I'd shoot 150 rounds of full power loads in a day, but I can shoot 50 of the same loads that I used to not be able to empty the cylinder with, no problem. My typical range load is a mid-range load, and I can shoot that until I get bored.

    IMHO the .357Mag version of this gun is probably much more unpleasant, and the 329 does not deserve its reputation for punishment. People shoot it with the factory grips (wood or rubber, both exposing the backstrap) and pass judgement.

    I have no desire to go anything bigger or higher recoiling. Might as well make it a single shot. People always go for the biggest and baddest in the oh-so-fun bear threads, even though they probably couldn't pull off a second shot if their life depended on it....which is exactly the case, if a griz is charging you.
     
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