View Full Version : How does the recoil compare to a cartridge pistol?

August 12, 2010, 09:09 AM
Pietta .44 Navy, metal frame: 28 grains (volume) of Pyrodex P, and a .454 ball. I've only fired a Buckmark Bullseye .22 w/bullbarrel. Will mention I've fired about 5,000 rounds through it but never any higher caliber until the C/B. I've shot about 500 rounds through this and sure is a lot of fun! 28 grain seems the most consistant at 15 yards, although shoots high.

My question is at 28 grains, how does the recoil compare to a modern cartridge pistol or autoloader? A .25, .38, 357? Hope I'm clear on this. I have gone as far as 40 grains just to see the difference.

August 12, 2010, 09:20 AM
The recoil, to me, feels a little less snappy than a factory .38 load from my wife's Taurus M66 (which is a pretty heavy revolver). That probably makes sense, because the Taurus (sort of a Smith and Wesson 686 clone) has a frame about as large as the .44, but with a four inch barrel.


After the posts below, I guess I should point out that "snappy" probably is the wrong word to describe the recoil from a BP gun. But the closest analog is still the large frame .38, at least to me.

August 12, 2010, 09:20 AM
Generally the recoil on a BP pistol is more of a push than a wrench, if that make's sense.

I shoot mainly cartridge handguns in .32S&W, 9mm, .38sp, .357, 7.62x25, and 9x18 mak.

On my heavier loads of BP substitute in my '58 Rem, i haven't felt any perceived recoil above what I would figure my 9mm guns produce. However, it's really tough to compare. One is coming out of a 4" barrel of a steel framed auto loader. The other is coming out of an 8" 2.5lb revolver. Totally different feel.

I will say that BP tends to push back on you (thus seeming milder to me) than smokeless. One simply has to let a couple .357's rip to notice it:D

August 12, 2010, 09:22 AM
Comparing bp recoil vs centerfire smokeless cartridge recoil is like comparing apples and oranges. They're entirely different things.

The bp felt recoil is lower in magnitude and lasts longer than the felt recoil from a smokeless cartridge. BP burns slower, so the felt recoil is not as sharp. It's more like a push than a punch.

You also have to factor in the details of the smokeless cartridge. My 3" S&W Model 60 .357 magnum has totally different characteristics when shooting a .38 sp 145 gr SWC practice round than when shooting a Speer Gold Dot 158 gr .357 magnum personal protection round.

I would classify 28 gr rb in an 1851 Navy as close to, but lower than, a .38 sp practice round. More than a .22 lr or even a .22 magnum, but less than the .38 sp Winchester white box round. But again, that's hard to do because the felt recoil is a different shape time history.

August 12, 2010, 10:07 AM
Greetings Paul-3 and welcome aboard.

Hardcase's use of "snappy" is as good as any. And, mykeal is correct about it being a comparison of apples and oranges. You're familiar with the kick (felt recoil) of your Pietta -- now, assume that you been wearing invisible padded gloves all along while shooting your .44. In your mind's eye, take off the gloves and you'll have an idea of what a typical (if there is such a thing) center-fire smokeless powder pistol may feel like.

In reality, you may find a little .25 auto seems to have more kick than a .357 mag. It's because the .25 is usually found in small pocket pistols and the mag in larger revolvers. It's not the so much the energy of the round but the weight and grip of the gun that determine kick.

Remember, you're after consistency from your gun -- don't think of it as shooting high but as the sights being set low. Thus far, you've been experimenting with various powder charges -- how about different projectiles. Have you tried conical bullets? You'll get better accuracy.

August 12, 2010, 11:46 AM
I tried a .45 Colt Single action style revolver this last time at the range so I was able to get a direct comparison between the 8 1/2" barrel on my '58 Remington firing a RB & 29 Gr of FFg & the factory loaded cartridges in the Ruger Vaquero with a 5 1/2" BBL.

The .45 Colt cartridge was a much harder, sharper kick, & recoil was noticeably more up & left than the .44 Remmy. I tried the "pinky under the grip" hold I use with the Remmmy & it was decidedly unpleasant with the .45 load, compared to the "push" of the BP load.

I'm not sure how much difference the extra barrel length made as I don't have a 5" for the BP, or an 8" for the .45 Colt.:o

August 12, 2010, 02:10 PM
Here's a good comparsion between a 45 Colt Factory round and a Factory
45 Colt Black Powder round. The one with all the smoke is the Black Powder
(Goex) Factory load and the other smokeless load is a Winchester round.


August 12, 2010, 02:17 PM
Thank you all, pretty much answers my question. As you can see I've been lurking since April and have learned SO MUCH! My son-in-law bought me this for Christmas and have had so much fun with it. I live in the mountains of NC and can shoot whenever I wish. I bought the Buckmark .22 5 years ago and mainly shoot 25 yard target, freehand.
Shooting C/B; I think I have more fun loading and cleaning as actually shooting! I'm 61, originally from Illinois but retired to the western NC mountains, near Andrews. Pistol shoots about 3" high at 15 yards. But using my .22 25 yard target, I just aim at the bottom of the black. I'm amazed at the accuracy of this pistol.
Thanks again for the replies!

August 14, 2010, 08:53 PM
My goodness nice job on the comparison
From that video it readily appears the BP recoiled more but it looks more like a reaction to the way the pistol was gripped- loosely vs 45LC.

Regardless I am glad the consensus remains that 28g Remmy=38ish recoil-

I am looking for an original Remington cylinder if anyone has any idea where I might find one- The one in my original pistol has a crack that was soldered over back in the day it appears.

August 16, 2010, 09:22 AM
I've found that the recoil itself is less than a smokeless powdered gun but the smoke and noise is such that most novices will say it recoils more. It is much more intimidating to shoot. Also a lot more fun.

August 16, 2010, 10:52 AM
I'm amazed at the accuracy of this pistol.
If you think it's accurate shooting balls, give conical bullets a try.

August 16, 2010, 10:57 AM
Noz, I agree. In my experience, folks who shoot BP for the first time don't mention the recoil, their comments are about the blast.