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Old 07-27-2019, 01:48 PM   #161
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I'm continuing to move forward to understand fully how to design the best reloads for my Walther Q5 SF. This all started when I had failure to eject and failure to extract and there was so much information I decided to pull the string and see what was driving all this sort of thing. You can read the posts in string above to get the history and many solutions and options.

I decided to build an accurate loading guide for my 115 grain round nose reloads and having a new velocity meter I loaded the following matrix of 100 rounds at 5 different powder levels covering the full range that I have shoot and loaded in the past.

I have the upgraded SpringCo recoil system with red and white springs, I have ordered the yellow and when it arrives I will update my charts on which spring works best in the power factor ranges.

I will look at developing the same data for the 124 gr bullet in the near future.

In shooting the rounds during the testing I really liked the lower power factor rounds. I used the white spring with the lower three powder loads and the red with the last two. During the test I had no failures to eject or extract. I was also using my extractor spring.

Happy Shooting, Keth
If you like the lower power factor loads, try some 147gr bullets (I use Precision Delta 147 FN bullets). At ~125/130 PF they're sooo soft. 115 and 124 at the same PF recoil a lot harder. I tried 115, 124, 147gr, two powders (HS-6 and Titegroup), and while titegroup vs HS-6 was a very mild difference, the bullet weight made a large difference in the recoil impulse.

I assume this is because kinetic energy is proportional to the square of velocity * weight, but power factor is just velocity * weight, so given the same power factor, the heavier bullet at the lower velocity will definitely be kicking less kinetic energy. If they wanted to normalize for bullet weight, they should really update that formula, cause the math seems to work out exactly one way to me.

Also 20 rounds per test is overkill if you just need velocity numbers. you can save some time doing just 5 rounds or so. You'll still get a good idea of how powder charge affects velocity.
Makes sense, thanks. I have been using 115 gr because I'm so cheap, 😆. I do have some 147 gr bullets so I'll do that test next. I do 20 rounds to get a point that is statistically valid, should be 21 but hey my box holds 100.

Which brings up a good point I should be chasing the most efficient load for the money?

Soft and cheap, Keith
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Old 07-27-2019, 02:23 PM   #162
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the math seems to work out exactly one way to me.
If you're chasing the softest possible recoil impulse at any given power factor, then yes, that's correct. That's why some people even load 160 grain bullets in 9mm. The trajectory is like a rainbow, but they shoot super soft. Some people prefer lighter bullets because the heavier ones can (supposedly) result in the slide moving sluggishly.

I actually even noticed a big difference in perceived recoil going from 115 gr to 124/125 gr bullets. I've never bothered to go to 147 gr because I'm quite happy with my 125 gr loads, and there's a significant price difference. I suppose I should at least give heavier bullets a chance, but IMO a 125 gr Blue Bullets truncated cone bullet over 4.0 grains of N320 is plenty soft already, so I'm not sure if I'd perceive it to be worthwhile.

The only truly valid way to test it would be to run the several courses of fire several times each with different bullet weights with someone else loading the mags so that you don't know which ones you're shooting on any given run. Best times/scores would win, and it would be interesting to see how it played out over many trials, especially with different shooters; it may be that one person would do better with 125s, another would do best with 115s, and another would do best with 135s, 147s, or 160s. I'm not personally interested in putting *that* much effort into it right now, not to mention burning that much money experimenting, when I'm satisfied with the load I'm currently using. YMMV, of course.
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:12 PM   #163
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The Flipping Muzzle on a Q5 SF

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If you like the lower power factor loads, try some 147gr bullets (I use Precision Delta 147 FN bullets). At ~125/130 PF they're sooo soft. 115 and 124 at the same PF recoil a lot harder. I tried 115, 124, 147gr, two powders (HS-6 and Titegroup), and while titegroup vs HS-6 was a very mild difference, the bullet weight made a large difference in the recoil impulse.

I assume this is because kinetic energy is proportional to the square of velocity * weight, but power factor is just velocity * weight, so given the same power factor, the heavier bullet at the lower velocity will definitely be kicking less kinetic energy. If they wanted to normalize for bullet weight, they should really update that formula, cause the math seems to work out exactly one way to me.

Also 20 rounds per test is overkill if you just need velocity numbers. you can save some time doing just 5 rounds or so. You'll still get a good idea of how powder charge affects velocity.
Ok, I did a lot of reading about recoil and Power Factor and a bunch of other interesting stuff and here is my conclusion. First there is nothing like real shooting to determine how a change is perceived by the shooter. What you think you will get is not always the case. However, when it comes to standard non vented barrels the power factor is a close representative to the force a gun will see when shooting. Now vented competition guns have the ability to counter the muzzle flip with release of the gas as the bullet is leaving the chamber and smoothing or reducing the force. Power factor is velocity times the weight / 1000 and yes velocity is a square function but I think it's still the same for all speeds as the velocity goes up so is the force needed to move it forward faster so it all balances out. So given every thing is equal, then a 147 gr bullet at a reduced velocity can have the same power factor as the 115 gr bullet at a higher velocity, it is what it is and other than a few other factors PF will be equal for all different bullet weights. One of the other factors can be the powder burn rate, which if slower, will distribute the force over more time providing a softer shot. And I agree there are other factors in this equation but I can't control any of them.

So shooting a 125 PF should feel the same for all bullet weights. Now, I could be very wrong here and will happily accept that if someone can show me how. For my own understand of perceived muzzle flip, I will be doing a study at 147 gr bullets and will post the results and provide my perceived input when shooting the lower weight and higher weight bullets at the same PF. I will also post the data as before.

Happy shooting, Keith
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:28 PM   #164
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I have the upgraded SpringCo recoil system with red and white springs, I have ordered the yellow and when it arrives I will update my charts on which spring works best in the power factor ranges.

I will look at developing the same data for the 147 gr bullet in the near future.

In shooting the rounds during the testing I really liked the lower power factor rounds. I used the white spring with the lower three powder loads and the red with the last two. During the test I had no failures to eject or extract. I was also using my extractor spring.

Happy Shooting, Keth

Just so happen I got the yellow spring today and best I can tell the springs (red, yellow and white) have the same specifications except the wire diameter and the yellow spring free length is
.425 inches longer, there is .002 inches difference between each of the three (red .047, yellow .045 and white at .043 inches). I measured the force in lbs at 50% compression and there was exactly 1 lbs difference between each of the springs, (red at 11 lbs, yellow at 10 lbs and white at 9 lbs).
I think the yellow spring free length being a little longer applies more force on the closed slide to insure you get a good strike on the load.

I had no idea the this was so finely tuned and such a small difference could make such a difference case ejection and stiff shooting vs. and softer shooting. I'm really amazed at this. Great job SpringCo on such a fine tuned recoil Systems,

So for really low PF loads use the white spring (not sure they even state this as they have the yellow and red posted on the web for the Q5 SF now). Medium yellow spring will work and for the kick ass rounds use the red.

If you run really soft rounds and still have issues with Failure to reject or slide lock on empty mag, then order the white spring posted on their web page.

Happy Shooting, Keith
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Last edited by keithwhite100; 07-30-2019 at 10:09 AM. Reason: Added picture and information on longer yellow spring.
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:15 AM   #165
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I didn't know that there was a white spring from Sprinco, so I just got the yellow (for the PF 133 match ammo) and the red (for factory ammo).

In regards to "felt recoil", "power factor" and bullet weight, I think that the felt recoil should be identical between a 115 gr and a 147 gr bullet with the same power factor.

This is because the "power factor" is actually just the momentum of the bullet. (The divide by 1000 is just to get a smaller, humanly-readable number when using "grains" as the unit of mass and feet-per-second as the unit of velocity.) Momentum is:

p = m * v

When the bullet exits the barrel, the gun (with mass 'm2') is given an equal momentum (p2) backwards (the recoil):

p2 = m2 * v2

So you can calculate the backwards velocity 'v2' of the gun by:

v2 = m * v / m2

So when using the same gun (with the same mass 'm2'), the only thing that's different between different bullet weights and loads is m * v. Or the "momentum" of the round. Or the "power factor" of the round.

So the recoil of a particular gun when shooting different rounds should be identical if the power factor is identical.

Humans don't feel kinetic energy. E.g. driving a car at constant speed (with high kinetic energy) doesn't feel anything. But we do feel a change in momentum (a.k.a. "impulse"), e.g. when changing speed because of a collision.

ALL THAT SAID, everyone I've talked to says that a heavier bullet with the same power factor results in less felt recoil....!! I am confusion.


Btw, all the above is assuming a closed barrel where the gun powder burns at a constant rate throughout the bullet's travel through the barrel. Constant force F over the time t (J = F * t) gives the bullet its exit momentum (p = m * v).

It's interesting that Keith's chart showed a linear relationship between load and exit velocity. This would mean that:

A. The force F is very nicely directionally proportional to the amount of gun powder used. I guess this means it's good gun powder.

B. The time (t) the bullet is in the barrel (or at least the amount of time that the gun powder burns and pushes the bullet) is pretty much the same for all tests. But I think it should show up in the chart. For example, this time (t) is shorter for shorter barrels, and the recoil is noticeably stronger with shorter barrels. So I think Keith's chart should taper off and the velocity should increase less than linearly with more gun powder.
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Old 07-28-2019, 08:28 AM   #166
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ALL THAT SAID, everyone I've talked to says that a heavier bullet with the same power factor results in less felt recoil....!! I am confusion.
The lighter bullet velocity is significantly greater than the heavier bullet. For example, a 230gr bullet with velocity of 850ft/sec equates to a PF of 195. To create the same PF using a 124gr bullet the velocity would be approx. 1600ft/sec. Using the energy equation the 124gr bullet develops 705ft/lb of energy vs 370ft/lb.

Using 9mm rounds of 147 and 124 the 147gr develops 326ft/lb of energy and the 124gr develops 390ft/lb at a power factor of 147 for both.

Last edited by chandler5566; 07-28-2019 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:04 PM   #167
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The lighter bullet velocity is significantly greater than the heavier bullet. For example, a 230gr bullet with velocity of 850ft/sec equates to a PF of 195. To create the same PF using a 124gr bullet the velocity would be approx. 1600ft/sec. Using the energy equation the 124gr bullet develops 705ft/lb of energy vs 370ft/lb.

Using 9mm rounds of 147 and 124 the 147gr develops 326ft/lb of energy and the 124gr develops 390ft/lb at a power factor of 147 for both.
Ok, F(net)=M*A, or A= F/M

PF = M*Vel/ 1000

A = delta Vel / delta Time

Given the different bullets one at 147 grain bullet and one at 115 gr fired out of a gun the force to accelerate the bullet to the end of the barrel is a mass and time function. Both loads will have similar barrel pressures but the 147 bullet load requires less powder (chemical energy) to obtain the same chamber pressures. The 147 grain bullet with greater mass keeps the bullet in the barrel longer (lower velocity) allowing more time to build the pressure. The force will be similar between both loads. That is why when you load it's not just the powder you go by but the pressure that is produced in the chamber of the barrel. If you loaded the 147 bullet with the same chemical energy as a 115 gr bullet you would exceed the recommended safety limit of the gun barrel. So, I still think that PF of the two bullets being the same will have the exact same force on the gun.

However, it could be that the 147 gr bullet with slower acceleration and more time in the barrel will spread the force over the longer time period.

I loaded my test rounds of 147 this morning and will test them tomorrow at the range it will be interesting if I can feel the difference with similar PF of the two bullet weights.

Now, for power factor we are measuring the speed after the bullet leaves the gun, it is not accelerating at this point only decellrating from that point on. It will not gain velocity after it leaves the gun. So the equation for PF = M * V should be accurate when applied in this example.

Care to dance? Keith
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:32 PM   #168
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However, it could be that the 147 gr bullet with slower acceleration and more time in the barrel will spread the force over the longer time period.
Oooh, this is it.

A slow acceleration (heavy bullet) uses a weaker force and is much easier to control than a fast acceleration (lighter bullet) that uses a stronger force, even if the two bullets end up with the same momentum (power factor) at the end.

So the “felt recoil” is spread out over longer time and therefore weaker and easier to control.

So, the proper measurement of the recoil is F = m*v/t. This is called the “impact force”, and is what a proper power factor formula should look like.

But USPSA just skipped the ‘t’. Probably because it’s trickier to measure and using just the momentum (m*v) is “good enough”.
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Old 07-28-2019, 07:57 PM   #169
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Oooh, this is it.

A slow acceleration (heavy bullet) uses a weaker force and is much easier to control than a fast acceleration (lighter bullet) that uses a stronger force, even if the two bullets end up with the same momentum (power factor) at the end.

So the “felt recoil” is spread out over longer time and therefore weaker and easier to control.

So, the proper measurement of the recoil is F = m*v/t. This is called the “impact force”, and is what a proper power factor formula should look like.

But USPSA just skipped the ‘t’. Probably because it’s trickier to measure and using just the momentum (m*v) is “good enough”.
Right, but when you go out and shoot same pf loads with different bullet weights, its a noticeable difference. Light loads are fast and hard, while heavy loads are slow and soft. IDK if m*v is really 'good enough' at all, or more competitors would shoot min pf 115 loads (which basically equals most factory bulk 115gr ammo).
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Old 07-28-2019, 11:37 PM   #170
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Right, but when you go out and shoot same pf loads with different bullet weights, its a noticeable difference. Light loads are fast and hard, while heavy loads are slow and soft.
Hmm... It sounds like you completely misunderstood what I just wrote. I explained why rounds with the same PF but different bullet weights have different recoil. With the physics and math to back it up.

I also explained exactly what the power factor formula is missing, and why they (knowingly) decided to keep it simple and just use m * v.
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