Simple Question.. looking for simple answer.

Discussion in 'Caliber Talk: Ammunition, Reloading, and Shooting ' started by TheCollector, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
    I'm new to reloading and one of my quests is to make a softer shoot for Mrs. Collector as she goes up in caliber.
    Here's my question in the simplest of words. Given that the powder is equal, does a lighter grain bullet (ie. 115 gr.) shoot softer (less perceived recoil) than a heavier bullet (ie. 147gr)yes? No? no difference?
  2. RSCamaro

    RSCamaro Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2017
    The heavier bullet will have a perceived softer recoil or flip. The heavier round tends to push more strait to the rear instead of flipping up.


  3. Mike0251

    Mike0251 Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 25, 2016
    The powder charge would not be equal for 115 vs 147. The heavier bullet sits farther into the case therefore requiring less powder. However I would tend to agree with the above statement on recoil with a heavier bullet.
    Use reliable reload data from the manufacturer and they show the min and max loads most of the time. The min loads will all be powder puffs.
    For example from Alliant's reloading book:

    115-gr Speer GDHP Power Pistol CCI 500 Speer 1.125 6.7 1212

    147-gr Speer GDHP Power Pistol CCI 500 Speer 1.130 5.0 975
    gaijin, RSCamaro, xerts1191 and 2 others like this.
  4. Novak77

    Novak77 Well-Known Member

    Mar 1, 2019
    I'm sure someone who is way more knowledgable than myself will chime in, but I asked a similar question to a friend who's into IDPA and this was his answer.

    1- Bigger = slower / less recoil / slower follow up shots

    2- Smaller = faster / more recoil / quicker follow up shots

    3- Some kind of sweet spot = perfect lol

    I can't remember his exact logic behind the more recoil / faster follow up shots thing lol.

    As a side note in my personal experience 124gr factory ball S&B, Remi, Winchester, Blazer, Aguila, etc is about the sweet spot for me as far as recoil goes.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
    TheCollector likes this.
  5. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
    Faster follow up is not a priority... an acceptable recoil for my shooting partner, who has equal say in our gun related $$s is the goal. :rolleyes:
    RSCamaro, xerts1191 and Novak77 like this.
  6. CHS71

    CHS71 Active Member

    Jan 11, 2018
    If I could make a suggestion, choose the lighter bullet (115g). Then select a few powders that are known to work well for your caliber. Make five rounds of each at the minimum powder charge (slowest velocity). Shoot them and pick the one that has the best combination of accuracy/felt recoil. Another suggestion would be to try a lead or coated lead bullet that can be shot at a slower velocity. If you’re shooting a 1911, just keep in mind that to shoot really soft loads, you might have to change springs to cycle the slide properly.
    Happy shooting!
  7. Novak77

    Novak77 Well-Known Member

    Mar 1, 2019
    You sir are a wise man. My wife to enjoys shooting and I must say its a blessing and a curse. Our firearms collection is second to none, but my wallet is continually sad lol.
    UBOATDOC, RSCamaro and TheCollector like this.
  8. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
  9. jjfitch

    jjfitch Well-Known Member

    Mar 26, 2012
    There is no simple answer to your question without more information.
    Since you are reloading you should have more than one reloading manual.
    Hopefully one will show pressure along with other data about loads.
    Some faster powders are not suitable for heavier bullets. Signs of over pressure may begin before acceptable velocity is reached.
    Some slower powders are not suitable for lighter bullets. Erratic grouping for one.

    So it is important to be specific about your reloads. Exact powder and charge, bullets, COL, crimp and etc.

    Now back to your question: It is unlikely that the pressure will be the same so the recoil won't be the same. Higher pressure should result in higher felt recoil.

    "an acceptable recoil for my shooting partner, who has equal say in our gun related $$s is the goal." :rolleyes:

    A really wise man develops the load for their partner's specific needs!

    What gun?

    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
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  10. TxTrail80

    TxTrail80 Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 24, 2018
  11. TxTrail80

    TxTrail80 Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 24, 2018
    Everyone thinks they are immune to recoil.
    It is cumulative.
  12. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
    Her two current favorites now are a DW Guardian 9mm & a JEM/Caspian all steel .38 sup. commander size.
    gps man likes this.
  13. Mike0251

    Mike0251 Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 25, 2016
    Not the one I went out with! Soft yes, but an animal lmao!
  14. daved20319

    daved20319 Active Member

    Jun 27, 2018
    Have you considered switching to a revolver? No action to cycle, so you could conceivably run even lighter loads with no need to modify anything. With the additional upside of a possibly better trigger. Just a though.
  15. Old Sea Dragon

    Old Sea Dragon Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2018
    I shot 32 longs through my Sp 101 (327 Federal) last week and it was amazingly light recoiling and accurate. In regards light loads you want the lightest bullet with the lightest, by weight, powder charge.
  16. BigJimP

    BigJimP Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2018
    Momentum is mass X velocity.../ so if you load a lighter bullet at the lowest velocity in the may or may not give you less momentum than a heavier bullet -- but it depends on velocity of heavier bullet. Momentum isn't recoil ...but its an easy calculation on what to expect from your load & estimate recoil.

    Looking st some load data ....for 115gr & 147gr in 9mm. may or may not have less recoil with a lighter bullet...( powder charge may be about the same ...)...
    115gr X 1135 fps = 130,525... so a little higher recoil
    147gr X 855 fps = 125,865

    Powder selection will give you different felt recoil...because the burn rate and length of time, at higher pressures, caused by powder burn...affect how the recoil feels.

    In general...faster powders ...reach their peak quickly ...and give less felt recoil. But it may be snappier...

    In general...slower to pressure over a longer time frame ...and it gives you more felt recoil. It will give you more of a thump ...than a snap..

    I suggest...stay with a light bullet in 9mm .....stay with minimum published loads ...and look at burn rate tables for powder....find a faster powder...a mid range ....and a slower a pound of each or find a buddy that uses them and borrow 50 grains ...( make up 5 to 10 rds of each test ). You test them...I think you'll know immediately which she will prefer. Then let her test them. You'll find something...

    A revolver is a fixed action gun its going to give you more felt recoil than a semi-auto. Pick the heaviest gun you have in 9mm as well....weight of gun is a big factor in recoil. Make sure she is using double ear protection....good ear plugs ( molded are best)...then ear muffs on as well...... it helps ! Flash & muzzle blast really affect how a shooter perceives recoil.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  17. Dave Jessee

    Dave Jessee Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Dec 31, 2014
    Powder charges identical the felt recoil from the 115gr will be softer than that of the 147gr.
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  18. jjfitch

    jjfitch Well-Known Member

    Mar 26, 2012
    I also reload for 9mm, 38 Super and 38 special.
    Over the years I settled on one bullet that shoots great in all three, yes all three!

    I reload the Extreme 9mm, 135 grain RNFP .356 dia, in all three. Of course each load is adjusted for the specific task. Faster powder for the 9mm and 38 special (Tight Group) and slower powder for the 38 Sup. (Win Auto Comp) Performance has been completely acceptable.

    I also cast a similar bullet from NOE Molds in .358, sized .357 for the same calibers with the same results. No leading just dirty from the soft lube I use.

    The beauty of reloading allows the benefit of tailoring bullets and loads to meet specific needs.

    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  19. DukeSoprano

    DukeSoprano Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Jan 17, 2013
    Berrys 147 FP, 1.23 OAL TITEGROUP 3.7 grains, 10lb recoil spring

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  20. RatBikeRod

    RatBikeRod You Don’t Know Me!

    Nov 22, 2017
    His last line nailed it. I do the same across 9mm, 38 Super and Sig 357 though I tend toward a 124-125 RNFP bullet. I have been toying with either switching out all my 45 brass to small primer pocket to further reduce component type/cost, but still have quite a bit of large pistol primers.

    I had, at one point, thought I would just stick to shooting 9mm, 38 Super, Sig 357 and 357 Magnum. But I like 45 ACP too much to let it go completely.

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