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Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies so far. Very interesting.

When I say "full power" load, I don't necessarily mean that it has to fully reproduce the recoil characteristics of factory self-defense ammunition. But getting reasonably close, so that your performance with self-defense ammo would be about the same as it is with your practice ammo, seems like it would be a logical thing to do.

As it happens, the recoil characteristics of my loads aren't as harsh as those of factory self defense ammunition, but they are reasonably close. I load for safety first, then accuracy, then power. Which is to say, I tend to stay away from maximum charge loads because they give no room for error on the upside: the charge had better never exceed maximum (though realistically, with the powder I'm using, a tenth of a grain or two over max occasionally would probably not break anything, but why take the risk when you don't have to?). And if I have to trade power to get accuracy, I'm willing to do that. It's more important for me to know that failures to hit what I'm aiming are are attributable to me than it is for me to get recoil characteristics identical to factory SD ammo.

I'm not enamored with "flash and awe" or anything of that sort. I don't load in order to make a bigger boom. Some people like to do that but I haven't any use for it.

I shoot for enjoyment more than anything else, like many of you. But as it happens, I enjoy shooting full power loads as much as I enjoy shooting something less powerful. But if it's less power that you want, why not go with a smaller caliber and save some money on bullets if nothing else? Larger caliber guns often (but certainly not always) have conversion barrels available for them so while there's an initial expense, it's not huge. The savings over time would probably offset it relatively quickly, depending on how much you shoot.

If I want essentially zero recoil in practice (or whatever), I'll shoot my airsoft pistol and save a huge pile of money at the same time, as well as gaining the not inconsiderable advantage of being able to shoot in my back yard.

About the only situation I can think of, which is a fairly common situation, is when there's a competition. If your goal is to do better than other people then a lower recoil round that achieves the necessary power factor will help. I haven't shot competition, yet, and I'm considering it, but I don't think I'd care too much about whether or not my shooting was better or worse than someone else's so much as whether or not it's improving over time. My competition in that case would be myself, and I'd be using a full power load so that the experience of shooting in competition and the (heaven forbid it should ever be needed) experience of shooting in the real world will be the same. As has been said, your real-world performance will sink to your training, and I expect the recoil characteristics of the training will matter, even if only a little.

By all means, if you prefer a mousefart load then shoot it! There's nothing wrong with it. I just wanted to find out what reason people have for using it.

Keep the replies coming!
 

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To dudel (who is now on my ignore list, so reply if you want, I won't see it);

7yds is actually quite a bit closer than I usually practice...but the point was to see how tight a group I could get...and I just don't get tight groups at 25yds. I have no problem knocking down the plates or even clearing a Texas star at 25yds...but there's a difference between trying to hit the same point 5 times and trying to hit any point on an 8" target.
 

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A good wabbit load indeed but wemember... never dwink wodka while hunting... you might get sick and womit. :whistling:

Jack
My days (and nights) of pouring down tumblers of cracked ice leveled off with Polish vodka are over. I got older and found out what Hank Jr. meant when he sang "The hangovers hurt more than they used to"

Oh, and speaking of drinking and your Scotch habbit, it's so classic. Where I come from Cutty and water is the national drink of the NJ chater of the Sinatra fan club. Your family must have been descendants of Wrongway Columbus himself. They landed in Florida when they were aiming for Belleville,NJ.:supergrin:
 

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7yds is actually quite a bit closer than I usually practice...but the point was to see how tight a group I could get...and I just don't get tight groups at 25yds. I have no problem knocking down the plates or even clearing a Texas star at 25yds...but there's a difference between trying to hit the same point 5 times and trying to hit any point on an 8" target.
Thats good shooting.

Texas Star at 25 yds would make for some very unhappy people at our club. I know that a lot of the people would run out of ammo before they finished that stage. Especially some of the newer shooters with iron sights.
 

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Thats good shooting.

Texas Star at 25 yds would make for some very unhappy people at our club. I know that a lot of the people would run out of ammo before they finished that stage. Especially some of the newer shooters with iron sights.
Glock 17, Meprolight ML10226 sights. If I go slow, I can pretty reliably knock down 6 plates (on a GSSF-like plate rack) at 25yds with 6 shots. The Texas star at 25yds, I'll miss one or two shots, but I will clear it while its still moving pretty good.

The sad thing is, as I've been shooting less, I'm actually better now with the 17 and iron sights than with my 34 with an Optima. It used to be the other way around.
 

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Thanks for the replies so far. Very interesting.

When I say "full power" load, I don't necessarily mean that it has to fully reproduce the recoil characteristics of factory self-defense ammunition. But getting reasonably close, so that your performance with self-defense ammo would be about the same as it is with your practice ammo, seems like it would be a logical thing to do.
Do you practice with your ears off? If you're simulating the load, why not simulate other aspects of the environment? Noise can be very disorienting.

I've found that my accuracy is within MOBB with light or heavy loads. I'll shoot the regular loads; but more frequently the lighter ones. Never saw the need to load barn burner loads.
 

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in the gun games there is often no option to go smaller as you say and stay within the rules. loading lighter is the only option. to use the inverse of your logic, if you enjoy shooting a round at or near full power why not use a larger more powerful round and get more enjoyment out of the experience?
 

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I only see the point when introducing a new shooter to a larger caliber. FOr me, if I want to shoot lighter, loads I drop a bore size. When guys start shooting too light, changing springs & krap, it just makes no sense. I never change a gun to match a load. I load to match the gun & then learn to shoot it. It is one relm the revolver rules. Flea flicker loads to elephant loads all in one gun w/o modifications.

Fred:

I'll only change springs to increase tension to accomodate hotter loads for my pistols. I laugh when I see these "racegun" matches. These guns are barely cycling. I wanna see these boys shoot standard loads or even defence type loads, - that'll be fun to see....:rofl:
 

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Seems a number of people are interested in "mouse fart" loads, i.e. loads that barely cycle the slide.

My question is: why?

If it's practice you're after, wouldn't you be better off with full power loads, so that when SHTF the rounds you'll be using will feel the same as they did during your practice sessions? That's especially important for followup shots, since the recoil has a huge impact on time-on-target for followups.
It depends on what you are practicing for. I don't load mouse farts but I don't load full power either. I'm not practicing SD I'm practicing for competition. I want to be able to keep my gun on target as easy as possible and a full power load won't let me do that.
 

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Opposition reflex (the tendency of you to resist any force exerted on your body) is less with lighter loads. therefore you spend less time trying to fight recoil and your own subconscious and more time working on good fundamentials. After all shooting only involves two things. Lining up the sight were you want the bullet to go and pulling the trigger without moving the sights. Everything else is just your mind and body reacting to the shot. So everything else is about teaching your body to react the way you want it to instead of how you nerves are wired. The harder something pushes against you the harder you resist.

When I started shooting light loads my shooting got better. I was able to work more on other fundamentals without recoil getting in the way. Not a big deal to most people. the average shooter is just trying to get holes more or less were they want them on paper. but if you are trying to compete the difference between winning and losing is very small sometimes fractions of a second over several strings. SO just your barrel dropping back down faster makes a big difference.

Am I worried about a self defense situation? No not at all. Most of the time muscle memory takes 1000 to 1500 repetitions to become ingrained. I if you are a competition shooter you should be shooting that many round a month.
 

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Oh, and speaking of drinking and your Scotch habbit, it's so classic. Where I come from Cutty and water is the national drink of the NJ chater of the Sinatra fan club. Your family must have been descendants of Wrongway Columbus himself. They landed in Florida when they were aiming for Belleville,NJ.:supergrin:

Many people mistakenly believe that 'Anchors Aweigh' is one of the first seafaring songs... not true. The first seafaring song was sung by the courageous Italian crews of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria...

"Hey Mr. Columbus turn the ships around... we want to feel our feet back on good old solid ground. Tell Queen Isabel that the world is round... hey Mr. Columbus turn the ship around."

Not one or our prouder moments but thankfully Gioacchino Rossini was able to overshadow that catchy little ditty be penning the Barber of Seville. :whistling:

Jack
 

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Many people mistakenly believe that 'Anchors Aweigh' is one of the first seafaring songs... not true. The first seafaring song was sung by the courageous Italian crews of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria...

"Hey Mr. Columbus turn the ships around... we want to feel our feet back on good old solid ground. Tell Queen Isabel that the world is round... hey Mr. Columbus turn the ship around."

Not one or our prouder moments but thankfully Gioacchino Rossini was able to overshadow that catchy little ditty be penning the Barber of Seville. :whistling:

Jack
I though he was freezing because he had no underwear?
















Oh wait, that was George Washington.:rofl:
 

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Fred:

I'll only change springs to increase tension to accomodate hotter loads for my pistols. I laugh when I see these "racegun" matches. These guns are barely cycling. I wanna see these boys shoot standard loads or even defence type loads, - that'll be fun to see....:rofl:
I don't know what matches you go to but every match I have seen where there is a "Racegun" catagory. The minimum power floor is 165 including 9mm which is in most cases a 115g at over 1400 Fps.
 

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I get requests from some of my competition shooters that I load for asking for light loads for matches. No big deal to me. As long as they will knock over a steel target and the shooter is happy they keep coming back with money.
 

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Makes no sense to use underpowered loads for defensive training purposes....what happens if you actually have to use full power +P self defense ammo :dunno:
I used to firmly believe that; but not any more. I tend to subscribe to the Shotgunred theory. Get the sight picture right, get the trigger squeeze right and everything else is after the fact. I find I shoot better with lighter loads (not necessarily mouse farts). Recovery is better, follow up shots are better. I still shoot the regular loads, and I don't see any difference in my targets between light and regular loads. So, I'll load cheaper loads, and shoot more.

On the other hand, the person who shoots on box of SD loads a year really hasn't trained either. Same question to you as to KC. Just curious, to you also practice with your ears off? Noise can be very disorienting (expecially indoors).
 

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Makes no sense to use underpowered loads for defensive training purposes....what happens if you actually have to use full power +P self defense ammo :dunno:


Okay, been cleaning the house, now I'm tired and bored... might as well stir the pot a little... or a lot.

I realize that I'm a newb to reloading and can't hold a candle to many around here when it comes to ballistics, powder choices, PF's, gaming, casting or most anything else... lets just say that with my limited abilities I'd have trouble spelling 'cat' even if I was spotted the 'C' and the 'T'.

The one thing I do have a bit of experience in however is 'social interaction' on a less than an amicable level.

Throughout the decades I have learned, both through personal experience and those who I've worked with and were kind enough to share their first hand experiences during debriefings, investigations or training sessions; there are many misconceptions when it comes to the majority of 'serious social' encounters.

Before I offend anyone let me state that these are my observations alone and certainly are not intended to include all possible scenarios.

Contrary to somewhat popular belief, there not only is no need to practice, (train) with full load 'carry' ammunition, it serves no real life benefit. This statement obviously precludes any argument one might make about ensuring functionality, proper terminal ballistic performance for a given need, complying with given laws or even department regulations... all of those are a given and not even a subject of debate.

The simple fact is, in a real life situation you could fire a howitzer in a phone booth and never feel the recoil, see the muzzle flash or hear the report. Your body, as well as all of your senses, as part of its natural desire for survival, reacts quite differently in a potentially life ending situation.

D. Manley posted very eloquently in his observation that 'muscle memory' will ultimately dictate your actions and performance, not your performance being dictated by recoil.

Sure it's fun to feel a gun buck in your hand under a heavy load, there's something viscerally satisfying in it... we all like it but it does nothing to enhance your overall abilities when normally dormant chemicals are coursing through your body. Consider an analogy for a moment; someone sneaks up behind you and jabs you in the butt with a simple little stick pin, your natural body response will be to suddenly jump forward... an involuntary response. Now reflect back on numerous instances where a parent, an average individual, somehow finds the strength to lift a several thousand pound vehicle off their child... or even a total stranger. Could it be done in a normal, non-emergency situation? Probably not... but in a life threatening situation it's amazing what are bodies are capable of reacting to... or ignoring.

If you are a gamer, (I'm jealous, I can't move quick enough to get out of the way of a parked bus), practice your sport, use the rules to your advantage and remember to smile for the pictures at the awards ceremony.

If you actually carry a gun for potential social interactions you must still practice... and train... but in a different manner. (It's still a game but as Bill Jordan once said... "There's no second place winner".

Rounds down range is the key. Ten thousand .22's will teach you more about muzzle awareness than a thousand full power loads... walking parallel to the berm and having a friend throw out a piece of broken clay bird from behind you will teach you more about instinctive, or reflex shooting than NRA target style shooting, (a fading art that is by far the best way to learn the basics of real pistol shooting), and shooting in dim light, rain, snow, heat and wind will teach you more than a pleasant day at the range on a Chamber of Commerce type day.

One other point before I fire up the vacuum again... if you carry a gun, learn to shoot one-handed... strong and weak. During social interactions the one partner you can absolutely rely on being there with you is our old friend, Murphy. If it can go wrong it will go wrong, and if you're not prepared for it it's gonna be a real bad day.

Again, these are simply my observations... yours may be entirely different.

Jack
 

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I used to firmly believe that; but not any more. I tend to subscribe to the Shotgunred theory. Get the sight picture right, get the trigger squeeze right and everything else is after the fact. I find I shoot better with lighter loads (not necessarily mouse farts). Recovery is better, follow up shots are better. I still shoot the regular loads, and I don't see any difference in my targets between light and regular loads. So, I'll load cheaper loads, and shoot more.

On the other hand, the person who shoots on box of SD loads a year really hasn't trained either. Same question to you as to KC. Just curious, to you also practice with your ears off? Noise can be very disorienting (expecially indoors).
I also agree with shotgunred. You hear too many people criticize competition shooters, saying they only shoot well cause they use only minimum power floor loads. I say to look again as to what shotgunred reiterated and believe it.
A classic example is Dave Sevigney, you hear that comment about him all the time. Just recently he broke a personal record in the IDPA classifier sub 60 seconds with a completely stock 4th Gen G22 and Major PF loads from Atlanta Arms. All the best competition shooters in the world past and present use match designed loads. I would put my money on any of them doing better in both competition and SHTF situations then any of the "Only because you shoot… do they do better" nay Sayers from the peanut gallery.
 

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I'll only change springs to increase tension to accomodate hotter loads for my pistols. I laugh when I see these "racegun" matches. These guns are barely cycling. I wanna see these boys shoot standard loads or even defence type loads, - that'll be fun to see....:rofl:
Maybe...but I sure wouldn't bet against Rob Leatham, David Sevigney, Brian Enos or anyone else with serious competitive skills. If you think these guys are only competent with "girly-man" loads, you're mistaken. Frankly, I wish I could shoot just a fraction as well with any kind of load.

I don't know what matches you go to but every match I have seen where there is a "Racegun" catagory. The minimum power floor is 165 including 9mm which is in most cases a 115g at over 1400 Fps.
+1. In fact, it takes a tremendous amount of gasses to run a true, "racegun" which translates into very hot loads. The recoil is minimized by the escaping gasses making the comp "work". Light loads and most factory loads will not even cycle a comped gun reliably and even if it does, the benefits of the comp are not realized. Just as an example of making major with a 115 9MM, 1400 FPS is required and that ain't no slouch.
 
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