View Full Version : lightest kick; lowest noise?

November 8, 2005, 12:51 PM
All other things being equal (ie, frame and slide material, barrel length, etc) does a 1911 have less kick in 9mm or 38 super? What about the sound quality? Can a 38 super be altered to take any other loads?

November 8, 2005, 01:51 PM
Mathematically, in a given gun, the load with lowest ft-lbs of muzzle energy will have the lowest recoil. Felt recoil is subjective and varies widely by individual. IMO the load having highest pressure remaining at the muzzle will have the loudest noise. This will vary by pressure of load and barrel length.

Good shooting and be safe.

November 18, 2005, 06:09 PM
2 LHB1: humbly disagreeing about recoil here: it's defined by momentum rather than energy. Comparing two bullets with identical loads, the lighter bullet will have more energy; yet the heavier one will have more momentum and, consequently, more recoil (even though it's slower and delivers less energy).
-Best regards.

November 18, 2005, 07:42 PM
It's been 40+ years since I studied physics in college but as I recall the physical law of equal and opposite actions was stated using kinetic energy instead of momentum. That is why my statement refers to kinetic energy in comparing total mathematical recoil to muzzle energy of bullet. Perhaps someone with fresher info can fill us in.

Good shooting and be safe.

November 18, 2005, 07:46 PM
Your post isn't quite right either. The heavier bullet moving slower will have more kinetic energy as well as more momentum and recoil. For every reaction there will be an equal and opposite reaction, this is the Law of Physics that applies every time you pull a trigger. The 9mm should have less recoil using a bullet in it's average weight class than a 38 Super using a bullet in it's average weight class. Use a heavier bullet and the recoil goes up respectively because the weight of the bullet goes up as does the load of powder needed to fire the heavier load. More powder and weight of bullet equal heavier recoil to the shooter because of the same Law of Physics will always apply.

You can change the bullet weight of a 9mm to a heavy one and it have more recoil than a lighter load in the 38 Super. Energy plus momentum gives you the recoil. If you use a very heavy recoil spring, the felt recoil can be lessened by the spring, but actual recoil is still going to be the same no matter what spring you use. There are a lot of different things that go into felt recoil and I am not going to touch them all here, but there are things that can be done to lessen the effect of recoil. How you hold the gun with respect to the hands and wrists being inline as well as not locking out the arms will help lessen the effect of recoil. Neither of the two guns you mentioned should be too much even for a young shooter if they hold the gun correctly.

Just know that when you use more powder and a heavier bullet, recoil will go up accordingly no matter what caliber you are talking about. If you take everything into consideration, the gun using the most powder and heavier bullet will always have more actual recoil. There are several things that can make a gun feel like it has less recoil just as an example, look at the WSM's. They use about the same load of powder and use the same bullets as the Magnums they are a copy for, but they exhibit less felt recoil.

Jim Watson
November 18, 2005, 08:56 PM
Recoil is based on the conservation of momentum, not kinetic energy. The recoil energy of a centerfire handgun is in the range of 5 to 10 ft-lbs, more for the lightweight magnums and the monster magnums.

November 19, 2005, 04:08 PM
LHB1: it's conservation of momentum for recoil, really. Conservation of energy deals with something else: i.e. much energy will be conveyed to bullet and firearm given how much energy was released by burning powder. Don't forget part of it that goes to heating your firearm and the bullet :)))

cntryboy1289: refer to comparison tables on different bullets/loads. You'll see that heavier bullets with identical loads have less energy, which is understandable: they travel slower; kinetic energy is in linear proportion to weight yet in square proportion to speed.

Best regards!

November 19, 2005, 07:15 PM
Could you explain to me which bullets and powder loads are you referring to? If you compare a heavy bullet moving slow to a heavy bullet moving fast with both bullets being of equal weight, the faster moving bullet will have more recoil simply because the energy needed to expel the bullet at a faster rate is greater. Recoil is not a conservation of energy.

You don't conserve energy in the process of firing a bullet down the barrel. Energy is released down the barrel, but that reaction causes an equal an opposite reaction in other direction which is recoil. If you use more powder with the same bullet, it will do two things: Speed up the bullet of course and create more recoil due to more energy being generated.

A big slow moving bullet doesn't necessary mean less kinetic energy either nor does it mean less recoil. A fast moving light bullet won't necessarily create more energy nor more recoil, but it can do both using the right caliber of bullet and powder combo.

November 19, 2005, 09:01 PM
cntryboy1289: Comparing different loads makes no sense indeed as it's comparing apples and oranges. All said holds true for 2 arbitrary yet identical loads, using 2 different bullets. Lighter bullet will have more kinetic energy yet less momentum.

- Best regards

November 22, 2005, 04:30 PM
"All other things being equal (ie, frame and slide material, barrel length, etc) does a 1911 have less kick in 9mm or 38 super? What about the sound quality? Can a 38 super be altered to take any other loads?" #1 Yes thay have a lighter kick in 9mm but for lack of a better word is "sharper".Now as for the 38 super if I remember rite is a very hot round something like a 9mm+p+p or something on thay order.Now can it be altered to take other rounds I would say yes and no. The cost would be great if it can be done at all.If you have a 1911 you can probly just get a new barrel Mag,link,and barrel bushing. Sound quality the faster a bullit movers the "sharper" the sound AKA louder.In most cases.