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Thread: Recoil 38 super vs 45acp

  1. #1
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    Recoil 38 super vs 45acp

    If every thing else is equal does the 38 super generate less felt recoil than the 45acp?
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  2. #2
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    Yes as it is pushing a bullet with almost half the weight. Bullet is going faster but is still lighter and smaller.
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  3. #3
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    The answer to your question is more complicated than simple bullet mass and velocity.

    The autopistol doesn't produce felt recoil the same way as a revolver or other fixed breech arm, and the firing of the round doesn't provide you with much information. What you feel as recoil comes from compressing the spring and slide to frame impact...with the latter producing 90% of what you perceive as recoil...and by the time that happens...ballistically produced recoil is long since over.

    With the auto, the gun is the barrel and slide. The frame is the gun mount. The gun slides on rails, and the only connection between the gun and the mount is two springs. The recoil/action spring and the mainspring.

    Spring generated recoil depends mainly on how quickly the slide is accelerated and how much tension the recoil spring produces as it compresses. Impact generated recoil...muzzle flip...depends on how fast the slide is moving when it hits the impact abutment...which is where nearly all muzzle flip comes from.

    Recoil produced during the internal ballistic event is very brief. So brief that, by the time your brain detects it...it's over. Essentially, "recoil" in this sense is backward acceleration of the gun, and it only occurs while the bullet is being accelerated forward. Once the bullet exits...at about .100 inch of slide travel rearward...all acceleration ends and hence all recoil ends. All movement after that...both gun and bullet...is due to conserved momentum. Neither bullet nor gun can accelerate any further, nor can they even maintain peak velocity once the accelerating force has been removed from the system. Both can only decelerate due to the influence of outside forces.

    Simply put...by the time the slide hits the impact abutment, and you can actually detect "recoil" the bullet is about 20 yards downrange. Ballistically produced recoil ended well before that.
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  4. #4
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    I have a Colt Commander in .38 Super, it's recoil was nearly the same as Dad's 1911 .45. Once new grips were installed the recoil is quite a bit less, even less than my husband's 9mm. Which makes me wonder if the 1911 had grips designed to my hands if it's recoil would be tamed as well.

  5. #5
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    For me, felt recoil with a 38 Super 1911 is less than a .45 ACP 1911 (shooting, respectively, 130gr @1200fps and 230gr@830fps).

    Felt recoil is fairly subjective and some may differ. The Super feels snappier, which doesn't bother me but some people don't like.
    Have you donated to NRA-ILA lately? They need your money now!

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    Agree. I've done some competitive shooting with 1911s in both .45 and .38 Super. These were full-power defense loadings, not powder-puffs with light springs.

    There was less muzzle rise with the .38, and shot-to-shot split times were shorter. For me.

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