New forum member here, and I sure hope I'm not opening a big can of worms with my first post (I did at least do a search first )
Full disclosure: I've been a "1911 guy" for a while now. However, I recently had a revelation when I bought a 4" N-frame 45 acp revolver as a "fun gun". The revolver was supposed to be a range gun that would let me shoot my 45ACP handloads without me having to then pick up a bunch of cases . Anyway, what really surprised me about the revolver was how much less muzzle flip I was getting using the same 45acp loads as in my 1911. Using a high-hand hold and magna grips, the revolver's front sight would barely move off target after each shot and it ended up that I could not pull the trigger fast enough for me to loose control of the muzzle!
No doubt about it, the wheelgun was easier to control and I suspected that the difference had to be from the lack of a recriprocating slide or from a lower bore axis (or both).
So, I got curious about bore axis heights, and started using photos from the internet to measure bore axis heights on various guns. I first scaled all the photos using their barrel lengths, and then measured the distance from the bore axis of each gun to what seemed like the highest point of control for the firing hand. On autoloading pistols this highest point was taken to be where the tangential slope of the tang exceeded 45 degrees (ie, when the tang "flattens out" to the horizontal). On revolvers the highest point was taken to be that of the highest point of contact attainable along the backstrap. Now, I'm completely willing to conceed that this might not be "the" best way to estimate the height of the bore axis with regard to the shooter's hand (there might not even be a "best" way). But it is at least a consistent way to measure.
Here are some bore axis height measurements (in inches):
Sig 226 1.44"
M1911 (GI spec) 1.33"
HK P30 1.25"
1911 (beavertail safety) 1.2"
S&W M&P40 1.08"
SA XDm 1.05"
Walther PPs 1.00"
Glock 19 0.89"
Steyr M9 0.85
S&W N-frame (highest possible grip I can get w/ magnas) 0.85" (!!)
Ruger LCR 0.80"
Now that all that's done, I'm still left with the question of exactly how important bore axis height really is? Lots of gun board folks say that it's a meaningless measure and that differences on the order of a few milimeters have little bearing on how controllable a gun will be. Intuitively it makes sense to lower the bore as much as possible, but is there a point of diminishing returns?
What I do know is that I'm suddenly thinking hard about the Steyr and the Glock (and I thought I had sworn off Glocks for good )
What do all of you think about the importance of bore axis height when it comes to shooting for speed? Over-hyped or of critical importance?