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Thread: Handgun Recoil

  1. #1

    Default Handgun Recoil

    Hey, I'm shopping for my first big (bear protection) handgun. Of course, recoil is a factor, and having never shot anything bigger than a 44 mag, I'm apprehensive about the unknown. Obviously, what I need to do is try out others' guns before buying. But until I get the chance to do that, I have a question.
    All I really want is 1400 fps. If I'm going to go up in recoil, I'd rather go up in caliber while staying @ 1400, rather than go up in fps with the same bullet. I'm really really drawn to the 475 Linebaugh, w/380 gr. @ 1400...but I've never shot anything even close to that (like I said, I've only had opportunity to shoot a 44 mag). I'm also thinking of the 454 Casull, w/320 gr., loaded down to 1400 (it's capable of over 1600 w/that bullet). What I'm wondering is how much recoil I can shed by down-loading that casull to 1400? Will it make much of a difference? Or what about loading a Colt w/that bullet up to 1400? would that be better? Or would the felt recoil of those options not be so different than the Linebaugh option? (if so, I'd go w/the Linebaugh).
    Any thoughts are appreciated!

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    Default 454

    I had a 454. short barrel(don't remember the exact in. mabye 6" or 7")
    1st good thing bout it was after the 1st shot the hand would be numb .
    2nd good thing bout it was after the 1st shot you couldnt hear your buddys laughing at you .
    3rd good thing bout it was it made a really cool looking paperweight .
    I traded it for a shotgun .
    However i did know a guy in mcgrath that had a 454 w/12" barrel and claimed it wouldnt kick much more than a .44

    1 very very bad thing is they came with a factory defect . they'd shear lead entering the barrel after leaveing the cyldr. They fix it for free ,ya just gota get it to florida . 5 rounds thur mine and it'd stiffin up ..10 and it'd seize up. I shudder to think how close i may have come to blowing my hand off .
    I am far from a expert and tarus may have fixed this problem by now , but because they were aware of the problem and still sold the guns i will never again buy a tarus without haveing it checked out first .
    o and btw after 10 rounds i was wundering if i had broke my palm .

    good luk on yur hunt

  3. #3
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    Default Handgun Recoil

    I own a 454 Ruger Alaskan and don't find the recoil too punishing. While casual shooting, you know you have shot it, but I have never felt any pain while shooting it.

    I recommend ear protection highly when shooting the 454 casull ammo though.

    And beyond popular folk lore, it will not come back and smack your forehead, unless your a noodle arm or a whimp!!

    I haven't used it in a defense situation, but my opinion is, if one ever had to use the gun for self defense no recoil would be felt at all.

    I would not recommend loading it down. Use everything its capable of in a hunting or defense situation, for your adrenaline will be so high you won't feel a thing when you fire it. If you have to use it, you'll be glad you left it charged to the max.

    The 454 Alaskan shoots 45 colt too, which is very mild to shoot as compared to the 454 casull. Lots cheaper too.

    I persoanly like the 454 Casull, 300 grain jacketed flat point for hunting and self defense. I shoot the 260 gr 45 colt for fun.

    Good Hunting,

    Katz

  4. #4
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    Default Big Bore Punch...

    go_north,

    You're going at this the right way but there is a flaw in your theory. First there is nothing magical about 1400 fps. Secondly high velocity in a big bore revolver is not what makes them more effective, that's what makes the formidable recoil. The difference in recoil from 1200 fps to 1400 fps is a helluva lot!

    I have owned and shot everything (very well, I might add) with the exception of the 500 S&W or the 460 S&W. I've shot them just never owned them and don't want to. (I have a serious problem with the brake) The 500 with the brake in a 4" gun isn't bad on recoil but it weighs as much as a rifle.

    The 44 Mag with 7 1/2" barrel will get 1400 fps with a 300 grain cast bullet. (not jsp) They really can't do that with any shorter barrel. I don't want to lug around a 7 1/2" barreled revolver. My guns are 4" to 5 1/2".

    In this barrel length 1250 -1300 fps is more common except with the 5 1/2 " 454 Casull, I can easily get 1500 from a 355 grain hard cast bullet. That is far more than what's fun to shoot and more than what is needed for a short range bear gun. I have a 4" Ruger redhawk converted to 5 shot 475 Linebaugh. To say that this gun has recoil would be a big understatement. It will launch 400 grain cast bullets out at 1400 fps. Since this gun is so nice and handy and light and dainty, it is good to shoot with what is now called 480 Ruger loads. (Same thing just shorter.) I have never owned a 480 Ruger and probably won't until they offer it in a 4" Redhawk, don't want a heavy weight Super Redhawk. The 480 ballistics are probably the best compromise of any big bore gun. The can shoot 350 grains at 1200 fps and are much more comfortable to shoot than the 454 or the 475. They also perform better in the shorter barrrel configuration than the 454 or the 475.
    Right now the 475 is a custom gun only and you won't be able to shoot it at 475 levels so it is pretty much out. The 454 can be had in a Ruger SRH but barrel length is either too short or too long, same thing for the 480. A 480 Ruger in a four to five inch would be perfect. That brings me back to my very expensive custom Bowen Redhawk, four inch 475 and just shoot 480 Ruger ammo or down load the 475 case. 350 grains at 1250 fps is nice to shoot and will exit the far side of even the biggest bear.

    The 454 would have the advantage of using the 45 Colt round which can be a 300 grain at 1100 fps not a bad bear gun in it's own right.

    Back to the 44 mag, still a very good package. Very few folks ever master this caliber, if you're not there bigger won't be any better. So many folks load the 44 (and other big bore revolvers) wrong. These guns have always, for me, performed their best with heavy cast bullets. It is much better to run this gun at less than top velocity with bullets heavier than "standard" (the 240-250 grain JSP's). An interesting thing is that the 44 with a charge of 20 grains of powder (any of several different powders) will launch a 240 grain JSP bullet at 1300 fps, that same gun, with that same charge, will launch a 280-290 grain cast bullet at 1300 fps! Now that is better, and we can get better terminal performance with that bullet. Also we can slow it down and give up some recoil and get the same level of performance. This applies to all the big bore revolver calibers.

    Now Ruger catalogues a 4" 44 mag Redhawk, this would be my first choice in an off the shelf revolver. IF Ruger makes this same gun in a 480 Ruger caliber, that would be it.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  5. #5
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    Default Recoil is your friend!

    If you get a heavy hit on your end, imagine the punch delivered at the other end of the barrel. If you are shooting for real, you want to make it count and recoil is part of the deal.

    I am a regular-size guy (150lbs now that I am fat) with normal to smallish hands. I own a 4" .500 S&W magnum and stoke it with 400gr hard cast at 1300 fps. I own a 6" .454 Casull and load it to shoot 300 gr at 1400 fps. My 3" .44 mag is loaded with 300 gr at about 1000 fps. I only shoot one or two cylinders (10-12 rounds) per revolver per week with these working loads simply because I load those rounds with new brass and like to conserve the resources. Even my wife can handle those manly loads with no problems. For practice, I have my reduced ***** loads that use old brass and they are for practice, plinking, and felling trees. You can guess that I am a big bore afficionado.

    The smallest revolver I own is a .38/.357 mag S&W scandium. It's made for carrying and not for shooting. Full house .357 mag loads out of that little belly gun reduce me to a quivering wimp - but full house loads is what I carry in it because if I ever need to use it in anger that's what I want to be shooting.

    My point, if I have a point, is that you are not constrained to practicing with full house loads. Find something that feels good and use that for practice, then load it with big boy loads when going out for real.

    I guess a secondary point is that if you are going to play with the big guns you will have to reload to tailor the weapon to your preferences.

    Other than that, Murphy, as usual, said it best.

    Good shooting,
    Dan

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    Default

    I own, reload for, and shoot very often both the Ruger 454C Alaskan and the 500 S&W mag 4" barrel. Both would be very effective for bear control and as for recoil...... Unless the 500mag is loaded very hot it has the same and in some cases less recoil than the 454C. Reason.. Muzzle break and weight. So your getting a lot more bang for the recoil with the 500 imo. However.. Muzzle break means burst ear drums if you shoot the thing without hearing protection. I havent met anyone yet who goes into the woods with hearing protection on. Granted you would hardly notice in an emergency situation tho I nearly refused to fire a 300 Winmag a second time at carabou once because the noise literaly caused severe pain in my ears hehe.

    One other consideration is weight. I found that packing the 500 on my hip for a full day caused low back pain of all things. It takes getting used to when your packing that much steel on your hip. The 454C is much lighter and easier carry for long periods.

    The grip on both is basically the same tho the 500's is a little bigger. I really like the smooth action of the Smith also. Hammer pull is cleaner and smoother than the Ruger.

    Holsters are much harder to find for the 500 but I've been going to www.cowboyneeds.com and finding any holster for any gun I have. If they dont have it they will make one for you.

    Both are fairly accurate once you've shot them enough to not be effected by recoil. And it does take practice not to flinch with these babies.

    I have extensive load info for both including Barnes XPB's and about anything Hornady has to offer. More bullet manufactuer's are jumping on the 500 mag wagon too. One of my favorites is the 500gn Hornady FP for the 500. It should knock over a truck if it was charging you. hehe.

    So sound, recoil, weight,... what else? Oh yea, one nice thing about the 454C is that I can load 45 colts for the boy to shoot. Little punk can dang near outshoot me with it too.

  7. #7
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    Default

    I bought a Super Redhawk 454 a while back. I haven't shot it yet, but am itching to. I will be primarily shooting 45 LC because of the recoil and cost (btw, who has the best ammo deals in Fairbanks now?) but will definitely be popping off a few full blown 454 loads to make sure they're going where they need to go. I was considering buying a pair of shooting gloves which are advertised as being recoil absorbing. Does anyone know if they're worth the money? Thanks......Louis

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    Iíve been considering upgrading my Bear Protection revolver too.

    Sometimes, when I donít have my rifle with me, I carry a Ruger 357, New Model, with a 6.5 inch barrel. I use a couple/three different brands of 158 grain SWC hard cast bullets, and I donít load them hot. This gun is very pleasant to shoot. The recoil is very minor, and if I hold it to full arm length, it doesnít even hurt my ears. That is not to say, I like it, but I can do it, without great concern. I always wear ear protection when I practice, but my point is, I could do without it, if I had to.

    I ask myself, would a 44 Mag., double-action revolver with a 4 to 5 inch barrel be substantially superior for the purpose of Bear Protection. (Double Action, Heavier bullet, and larger caliber.)

    Iím definitely NOT a big-bore handgun enthusiast, and would load the 44 Mags with the same type of bullets, SWC, hard cast, at medium velocity for the 44. My concern with recoil is my ability to get off more than one shot, or time between shots.

    Murphy stated ďThe difference in recoil from 1200 fps to 1400 fps is a helluva lot!Ē

    Anyways, when I hear about all of these larger than 44 calibers, I wonder if Iím on the right track.
    Smitty of the North

  9. #9

    Default

    Go North, you say you're considering drawn-down .475 Linebaugh and .454 Casull; you might consider .480 Ruger since it's basically a "short" .475. I haven't shot this round but hear it's more like a big push rather than a sharp kick like the .454's. If you consider buying your ammo off the shelf you might also want to try Winchester's 250 gr. super-x jhp in .454 to see what it's like - it looks like the tamest load out there, but I haven't shot it either so can't attest to how it feels. I think it only fires at 1300 fps. I'm in the same boat you are - the biggest caliber I've shot is .44 magnum, but I've been looking into stepping it up a bit. I kind of wish I had the luxury of time to load my own ammo.

    Louis, have you thought of getting grips that are designed to absorb recoil? Pachmayr and Hogue both make some for the Super Redhawk. I'm going to buy one for a Smith .44 to see if it makes a difference.
    Last edited by Wolfeye; 03-18-2007 at 22:25.

  10. #10
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    Default pistol version 45-70

    Any one have ,shoot, got info on these . I shot a bud of mine's a while back and really liked it for range and accuracy . (compaired to the 45 colt i had at the time)
    Now asides from hauling a short ton of steel ...or a one wheeled cannon as i call it , what are the pros and con . is tarus the only outfit that makes 1?
    I got two ss.44 , 1 ruger 1 s&w but i dont sleep well with em' in the bush .

  11. #11
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    I have had a S&W 629 44Mag 5" for several years. Last year I bought a 500 Mag 4". I couldn't be happier. The recoil between the two is very similar even though the 500 is considerably more powerful. I can squeeze 5 shots out of the 500 with complete control, good recoil recovery, and I don't need to ice my hand. I do wear hearing protection, but I always do when sport shooting. As for the comments about the weight? My 500 Mag weighs 11 ounces more than my 44. Yep, 11 ounces. My 4" 500 Mag weighs in at 3 pounds, 9 ounces. All the stories I hear about how heavy a 500 is are told by people that don't own one. Carried in a chest pouch, which is what I prefer for a gun I'll be carrying while wading or packing, it's no burden at all.

  12. #12
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    Wink

    Whatever gun you choose as has been stated before hard cast is the way to go. For a carry gun its hard to beat a ruger SB in 4 5/8. Trying to fire a short barreled 44 MAG with stout loads in a short barreled gun is all the recoil that I"'m willing to deal with. I doubt that I would be able to shoot a double action same length of barrel/weight much quicker, after trying to recover from recoil and getting back on target! The new model SB has a round trigger guard, and helps against shreading your knuckles to pieces as recoil climbs I"ve shot both types! I hate brakes so I will not use them by choice. Folks say that by changing the grips from wood to rubber helps also, but I"m set in my ways and won"t do that so I deal with the pain. LOL Shooting hard cast bullets you don"t have to worry about expansion,or penetration, they out penetrate most rifles. My gun likes Fed 300 grain castcores at 1250 fps , 7.5 in. gun, and 320 CP gas checked bullets hand loads at 1200 ,1300 fps, gusstimate. My scoped ruger super redhawk 9.5 barrel loves them, bullets touch at 50 yrds off a sand bag rest but this is hardly a bear protection gun. Bill
    ; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 SAMUEL 2;30

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    Like Murphy, I have shot most of them. I own a 480 Super Redhawk which has been chopped and channeled by Wildwest Guns in Anchorage. It was a spendy proposition but I think worth it. It now wears a 4 5/8 inch barrel, the trigger pull is like a S&W and it has moon clips. The moon clips are worth the money, a real advantage if you need a speed loader (since no one makes them for the 480) but it is really nice when you want to change to a different load (grouse vs. bear). They took the 7 1/2 inch barreled Super Redhawk weighing somewhere around 54 oz and turned it into a dream carry 39 oz. Recoil has not changed that I can tell. If you can handle a hot loaded 44 mag you can handle this puppy. Happy hunting. Jim

    PS. I forgot, I did not get the barrel ported, I don't like them either. Can't really see the need.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I haven't shot any of the S&W rounds, but have shot many 454's, 475 and 500 Linebaughs in a variety of handguns, ie Freeedom Arms and custom Ruger's. Personally, I can't handle the recoil of the linebaughs, try as I might. I can handle any level of rifle recoil, but for some reason, I'm limited on handguns.

    A buddy got one of the first Ruger 480's, and I found I could shoot it very well, so I got my own. To me the 480 feels like a big 44 mag, and pushing 400 gr 1200 fps, with same powder charge a 44 uses to push a 300 gr 1300 fps, that's exactly what it is. While I have a special bullet mold that would allow me to push that 400 gr 1400 fps, I never have, because I can't handle that level of recoil. Scoped the 480 will put 5 shots in 1" at 50 yds, and with irons I'm about 2" at 50 w/ a rest.

    Try and shoot the various big guns before buying, to see what you can handle. It's pointless having a gun you can't shoot accurately.

  15. #15

    Default S&w 460

    Well I haven't seen anyone mention the S&W 460 yet. So I thought I'd bring it up. I own the S&W 460V which is the 5" model. The 460 is built on the same X-frame as the 500. I purchased the gun for many reason one of which was bear protection, another was versatility. This weapon can fire .45LC, .454C and .460. I use the .45LC when plinking and just for fun. When I'm packing it for bear defense or hunting in general I use the .460 rounds.

    Like the person who posted earlier about the 500 I've found the combination of its weight and the muzzle brake make it much easier to tolerate shooting big loads. I'm also not a large guy by any means (5'7", 145lb). However I really enjoy shooting his gun.

    Just my 2 cents. Prior to buying anything you should try and find someone who owns one and shoot it to form your own opinion.

    -J

  16. #16
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    Hey Guys;

    Just my 2 cents here. A 44mag with heavy hard cast bullets will put a moose down no problem and should have no trouble with a bruin at close range. I really feel the whole bear protection thing is way overblown. I've been fishing alone and away from crowds for years and have never had more than a false charge and rarely at that. Also most folks dont put in enough range time to be efective with a handgun and average Joe whould be doing himself and the bears a favor by ussing a long gun 12 ga and lever action 45-70 guide gun imeadiatly come to mind.

    Just one Alaskans opinion
    Rick P.

  17. #17

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    You've all been incredibly helpful- thanks!
    Just a couple more questions- is the degree to which a cartridge is loaded below its potential a major recoil factor? In other words, the 500sw is capable of 440 gr. @ 1600, so would 420 gr. @ 1200 not recoil bad just because that's so far below its potential? Would it still recoil significantly more than 380 @ 1200 out of a 480 Ruger/475 Linebaugh?
    Secondly, would a Linebaugh down-loaded to 480 Ruger loads recoil identically to the ruger? For instance, if I sent 380 @ 1200 out of the Ruger and 380 @ 1200 out of the Linebaugh, would I notice a difference?
    Thanks!

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    I can answer the first part of your question with regard to my 500. I have CorBon hard cast ammo and I also have less potent and less expensive Buffalo Bore practice ammo. Can I notice a difference in recoil? Yes, but I keep the soft bullet brake on all the time. If I shot both rounds after changing the brake the difference may be reduced. (The gun is supplied with two brakes,)

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    If you live close to Eagle River drop me a line when it warms up a little. We can head out to Birchwood and you can shoot my 4in 500, 6.5in 500, and my 6.5in 460 and my 4in 44 mag.
    Tennessee

  20. #20

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    Once again, thanks everybody for your help. And Randy, thanks for the kind offer.
    I really am curious though- does anybody know if there's a recoil difference between identical loads in 480R and 475L? Does 400 @ 1200 in 480R feel exactly like 400 @ 1200 in 475L?
    Thanks!

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