heavy vs light bullets in snubbies

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by 38 special, May 20, 2009.

  1. 38 special

    38 special New Member

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    I found that a heavier bullet shoots higher than a lighter bullet out of a snubbie at say 15 yards. I read somewhere that it is because the heavier bullet doesnt quite make it out the muzzle before the recoil starts lifting the gun. If this is the reason, then if I loaded a lighter say 125 grain bullet at the lowest puiblished load to reduce velocity,might it then shoot closer to where a 158 grain bullet would hit if I loaded the 158 at max load? Has anyone experimented with this?
  2. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    I believe with no proof other than my limited knowledge of physics that the bullet is long gone before recoil takes affect of raising the muzzle. It is a weight and time thing, light bullet (any bullet) verses heavy/any gun. From my own experience I like fast light bullets from my 2" gun and I would not shoot it at anything beyond about 7 yards with any expectancy of hitting what I was shooting at. While I have seen and even made some unbelievable shots at well beyond even 50 yards with a 2" gun just playing around it was in my opinion a lucky accident and had nothing to do with skill.

    Ron
  3. 308 at my gate

    308 at my gate New Member

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    If your just looking a shot placement for lighter bullets compared to heavier bullets then why can you not adjust your sights. If your looking for stopping power I will take the slow heavier bullets any day. It is about maximum energy transfer. The heavier bullet will do a better job.
  4. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    According to Newton, as soon as the bullet starts to move, the gun starts to recoil. The heavier bullet recoils more. The slower bullet is in the barrel longer. Therefore when the heavier, slower bullet leaves the muzzle, the muzzle is higher. It does not take much of a difference in muzzle height to make a large difference in bullet impact. Consider how much movement you have in a rear sight, and how much that little sight movement can affect the bullet impact.

    I can think of two reasons for not adjusting the sights. The big one - most (although not all) 2" guns don't have adjustable sights. Hard to adjust the sights on most J frame Smith 38s.

    Second reason is he wants to shoot a lighter bullet in practice, for less fatigue from recoil and less cost for powder and lead, but still have the sights dead on for his "social" bullets, that are full weight and full power.

    But it's probably the first reason.
  5. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    I would be really surprised if at the sort of distances you're shooting a snubby it's going to make any difference worth mentioning.

    I mean at 15 yards can we be talking about more than an inch? An easy thing to check though.
  6. carver

    carver Moderator

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    I shoot 158 gr. DEWC for practice, my own loads, (slow and heavy) and 158 gr. +p's for carry. I don't even look at whitch bullet hits higher or lower. None of the snubbies were meant for bullseye target practice, and snubbies are intended for close up work, not 45'. Try shooting at 7yds. This is what the snubbies were meant to work at. I'm not saying that you can't hit a target at longer ranges, because you can, but the snubbie is not a bullseye target pistol.
  7. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    Alpo: You might want to reread Newton's laws a bit more. I assume you are referencing his third law of motion which states: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction"; while that is true there is a little more to it than that. The larger mass of the pistol takes up time to accelerate the pistol allowing the light mass of the bullet to be long gone before the mass of the pistol accelerates. Newtons first law states: Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion (meaning even sitting still) unless an external force is applied to it". That law and the other one I was relying was his second law which states: "The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F=ma. Acceleration and force are vectors; in this law the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector." It only makes sense to me that the larger the mass the more force and time is needed to accelerate it. "Time" being the key word which is a component of acceleration. If you think about it, a gun will stop recoiling while the bullet is still going down range and as such it will not start recoiling/accelerating until the bullet has left the barrel. As an example I can shoot my 50 BMG at ranges whereby I have completely recovered from the recoil and then thereafter watch the bullet hit its target through the scope.

    I will throw in another example. Lets suppose we are in outer space with no gravity. We have a basket ball and a lead ball the same size of the basket ball. Both are weightless yet it would take far more force and time to accelerate the lead ball because of its mass then it would the basket ball.

    Admittedly to some I sound like I know what I am talking about when in reality I think I only know just enough to make me dangerous.Lol

    Ron
    Last edited: May 21, 2009
  8. 38 special

    38 special New Member

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    Alpo I believe you are right on with your first paragraph.That is my understanding as well. You are also right on the sights (They are fixed sights)
    Like Carver, I shoot mostly at seven yards but I have found that the DS shoots close to same point from 3 to 15 yards. The 158 grain bullets usually shoot 4 to 5 inches higher than my 125 grain bullets at 15 yards and not quite as high at 7 yards. For carrying i use the 125 grain bullets simply beacuse they shoot very close to point of aim at 3,7 and 15 yards. i would actually prefer the heavier bullet like Carver but this particular gun just shoots too high (for my liking).
    Your third point is also well taken. But then I usually shoot 148 grain hollow base wad cutters with mild load for practice(but they shoot high as well).
    I'm mainly just curious about the physics of this in general.
    I was just thinking that if the heavier bullet takes longer to get out of barrel then if I loaded the 125 grain bullet with very mild load then perhaps it would shoot higher like the heavier bullet because the velocity would be lower and it wouldnt get out the barrel that much faster. BUT then the recoil wouldnt be as much so maybe that would cancel out. I'll do some more experimenting and let you know what the results are.
    I appreciate everybody's comments posted and anymore thoughts. Its just more of a technical discussion topic than anything else.
  9. 38 special

    38 special New Member

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    Alpo, Is'nt it possible that when the ignition takes place,the immediate force created to drive the bullet out of the cylinder and past the forcing cone and into the barrel would result in an instantaneous reaction in terms of recoil?
    Here is something else to throw in the mix- I was bench shooting a revolver once and had the butt resting on the bench and the barrel on the sand bag. I normally bench rest it without resting butt on anything just in my hands. I noticed it shot low and I had just sighted it in a week before and it shot dead on. Then I realized what I had done. Apparently with the butt resting directly on bench, the recoil didnt lift the barrel like it normally would. Sure enough, Itried it like I usually do and it shot dead on. the force was transmitted into the bench so the barrel didnt lift like it normally would have(apparently).That's kinda why I think the recoil is instantaneous.You're right it would probably take alot of ciphering to figure out what EXACTLY what is taking place.
  10. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    38 special: You make a very good argument against mine with the experience you had with the butt being pushed against the bench. I am off to find a Ransom rest and start playing with allowing the gun to recoil and not allowing to. Please don't you or Alpo take offense because I mean none but rather I think this is fun stuff.:)

    Ron
    Last edited: May 21, 2009
  11. 38 special

    38 special New Member

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    No offense at all. It is fun to figure out these kind of things. The more I learn about guns,reloading,shooting, the more fascinating it becomes.
  12. 308 at my gate

    308 at my gate New Member

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    I own 3 snubbies myself and I do know that they do not come with adjustable sights. When I shoot different loads I still have to adjust my sight picture to compensate for the difference. I should have been more clear on that.

    I also hand load for my snubbies and how much of a price difference can there really be from 125 gr bullets to 158? Especially target loads.
  13. 38 special

    38 special New Member

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    I just saw that I addressed that last post as Alpo. I meant muddobber. I must be getting old.Anyway yes, let me know what you find out thanks.
  14. Ursus

    Ursus New Member

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    I think the reason lies in the trayectory of the bullet. A heavier one has a more arched fligh, a ligth one flies flatter. Thus, at a short distance, the heavy is going to hit higher than the ligth one
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