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Thread: Recoil: Just How Much Is Too Much?

  1. #1

    Default Recoil: Just How Much Is Too Much?

    I suppose everyone has their limits. I've shot an "average" assortment of guns in my lifetime, and some I just don't care to shoot again...EVER! One of the first ones that comes to mind is an old 12ga Stevens single-shot from my teenage years. That contraption (all 6 lbs of it) would just kick the ever-living crap outta me and my friends...way too light.
    Another load I still use, (but don't like to), is 3" magnum Rottweil-Brenneke slugs in 12ga...600grs of dynamite at something like 1540fps from my Rem 870. Kicks like no tomorrow, but I imagine it would kill just about anything that walks the earth. Yeah: I still use'em...if I'm in bear country...
    Had a Sako Lightweight 375 H&H, and recoil was tolerable only if I had time to properly shoulder the thing. That particular rifle (IMO) is just way too light for caliber. (about 7 1/2 lbs) My Win 70 in 338 was very acceptable...could literally shoot 2 or 3 boxes at the range with no problem...wonderfully accurate too. And the Weatherby Vanguard I had in 300 Win Mag? No problem...could have shot that one all day long. Strangely enough, the 7mm Rem Mag I once had kicked worse...(sharp and fast)
    Had a Sako 416 Remington Mag...yeah it was powerful, but way no fun! Sold it after firing less than 30 rounds...
    Lastly: my Marlin 45/70 with full-tilt handloads (400gr Barnes soft points at a chrono'd 1970fps)(yes...load was taken out of a manual...I didn't "invent" it)....ugh!....yep...it "thumps" 'ya. Occasional black and blue shoulder...they're right at my upper limit...but I'm gonna stick with'em anyway! I figure if I don't like'em, then neither will Mr Grizz...

    So...is there some particular caliber/load, where you "draw the line" at?
    Just curious...if there is any consensus...what are your experiences?

    Marshall/Ak

  2. #2
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    Default I can tolerate...

    a 12 ga...with around 1400fps on some, & have shot 3" mags before as well, & never really had problems with them...but I do get should brusies when shooting mags...

    My .30-06 kicked my butt one day when I pulled the stock into my shoulder to try & hold my gun steady, but then next time I shot it, it was fine...someone suggested I should "do away with the death grip" & it worked...

    Too much??? The African safari on The Bucket List...

  3. #3
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    Recoil is a funny thing some guns seem to recoil much more then others. The worst rifle I ever fired was my buddy's 338 win mag with a boss brake. It hurt the shoulder a little but the brake made it feel like I had just been punched in the face as well. I don't mind some pain in the shoulder but have been hit in the face enough for real that I can do without being punched by the muzzle blast. That same day at the range a friend had a 500-460 Weatherby, granted it weight about 4 lbs more, and the kick was greater but I did not find it near as bad, mostly because it was all in the shoulder not the nose or cheek.

    By pure accident one of the nicest recoiling guns I have ever fired is my current 30-06. I had always laughed at Monti-Carlo stocks with cheek pieces but I am now a believer. It does not slap my cheek at all and with the recoil pad feels about like a 30-30 to my shoulder, even when driving 180 grainers at 2800 fps.

    If you are interested in calculating the theoretical recoil of a gun and cartridge this site has a good script, actually everything on the site is rather good.

    Here is a picture of the 30-06 stock I like so much, I just refinished and reshaped it a little so there is a before and after pic.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Very interesting thread... I find the recoil on my Browning A-bolt stainless stalker 325 pretty comfortable. My 7mm mag is easy going and my 270wsm is a pleasure to shoot. The 325 is that largest think I have pulled the trigger on honestly. I do have a rifle I won't shoot though, we technically my wife has a rifle I wont shoot! Her little 308 rugger M77 compact beats me to pieces. It has a quick sharp recoil and a length of pull that is way to short for me. She can put a box through it and still function with only mild tenderness, I have a hard time putting 4-5 rounds through it and then I am ruined for the rest of the day. I also have a little Rossie single 20 gauge that I picked up for the kids, it weighs nothing and is sweet misery to shoot! It kicks 10X worse than my mossberg 500 12 gauge but dang if it isn't fun to shoot!! I get beat up bad with it because ammo is cheap and I always end up taking "one more shot" till the box is empty. so much for a "kids gun" I will be in the market for another one in 410 when I get home...darn <grin>

    I am not a HP junkie in the gun dept. I will probably buy a 375-416 size rifle at some point and probably hunt with it but when I die I doubt it will have more than 100 rounds down the tube!

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    Default 12 guage

    i have a winchester 12 gauge defender, that with slugs is to me unbearable! think i would rather get eaten by a bear than shoot one with it. Had a huskavarna 30/06 years ago that was unbearable too, think it was the stock design on it that made it worse. Sold a ruger #1 in 45/70 3 years ago when I went to shoot a bear (gun was on safe, and man did i catch myself flinching!) with stout handloads that gun was the worst ive ever had. I have the guide gun now with a simms it is great fun to shoot, as a matter of fact its my favorite gun now.

  6. #6
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    Interesting thread. The worst rifle I have EVER shot was a 300 Weatherby in a rechambered early model 70. I fired 5 rounds out of it and it took a month to get rid of the flinch. I also don't care much for the 375s I shot although I routinely shoot several 338s. I guess 338s are about at my upper limit. I did have a '06 model 70 w/180 grainers that was not much fun either but I was a kid then. Have fun. J.

  7. #7
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    Its interesting to see how different people react to recoil. The absolute worst to me was an old single shot 12 ga. Liked to have flattened me to the ground, but it was light and I was shooting 3 inch mags. Normally I could almost shoot skeet with a pump or autoloader with 3 inch mags. I have shot the 375 H&H and truly enjoyed it as well as a 458 Win Mag with no problems. I have a 300 WBY mag and can shoot it all day. BUT, I can't stand to shoot a 338. It must be how it makes its recoil. The 338's I have shot all seem to give you a really sharp jab.

  8. #8

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    When I started goose hunting, I had a single shot H&R with 30 inch barrel. That thing was very light. The firdt time I went to fire it, me and a buddy went to a spot and he threw some old cans for me to shoot at. The first time I fired that thing (with 3 inch goose loads) I was completley taken by surprize. It felt like someone had just slammed me in the should with a framing hammer. I thought WOW!.... maybe I just need to hold it a little firmer against my shoulder. Well I did and fired again and the result was the same. It knocked the snot out of me. I figured I would have to just man up to it and take it if I wanted to hunt geese. So my friend chucks another can, I swung on it and could not for the life of me pull the trigger. I was done for the day. And this is shooting from the standing postion, not a bench.

    I went to the sporting goods store to look for recoild pads and found a slip on version and put it on the single shot and went to shoot it again. Sweet... I could shoot it all day with that slip on pad.

    My Ruger M77 7mm RM was a pretty good kicking gun I could shoot about 20 rounds from the bench and then I would start to flinch a little. Shooting it offhand was absolutley no problem, nothing near what the single shot was like. For some reason I never put the slip-on on it while bench shooting.

    When I got my 300 WSM I decided to try the slip-on pad while bench shooting it. It kicks just a little harder than the 7mm. With the pad on, I can fire it all day long. with it off, I dont think I would last 20 rounds on the bench, I have fired it up to about 15 times without the pad and my shoulder was feeling it.

    Where to draw the line? Everyone has their own limitations with a particular rfile or shotgun. With a slip-on recoil pad, I think I could shoot just about anything all day.

    -MR

  9. #9
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I think most folks can stand much more recoil than they imagine. For me discomfort comes from recoil velocity not just the recoil ft. lbs. I have no qualms with a .375 , 45-70 or a 12ga. But a .340 Wea., a light .338 or even a .300 in a poor stock just makes me cringe.

    Decent stock design can also mitigate effects of recoil more than most folks realize.

  10. #10

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    Had, notice I said had, a Ruger M77 in 338 that kicked the crud out of me. My buddy didn't believe me and tore up his elbow bench shooting. My 300 wby is sharp but managable. 375, 45/70 and others are no problem.

  11. #11

    Default My Recoil Limit is When It's the Primary Thought When Shooting

    I have shot and have owned .458 Win Mag, .375 H & H, several .338 Win Mags, a .325 WSM, several .300 Win Mags, two .300 H & H's, a lightweight S&W .44 mag revolver, etc.

    With absolutely no doubt, the most unpleasant recoil I have ever experienced was from my friend's 4 bore elephant rifle. It weighs 17 lbs. and shoots a cast lead conical bullet that weighs 1150 grains. I don't recall the velocity he had it loaded up to, but one offhand shot was all I wanted. The rifle almost came up out of my hands. It bruised my shoulder and my neck felt mildly sprained for about a week. It sure does make an impressive hole in the target, though. (1.05" diameter). I would never carry that rifle on a hunt, because the recoil would be the foremost thought on my mind when I shouldered the rifle.

    I met a good guy at the Birchwood range a few weeks ago, and noticed that he was shooting a Smith and Wesson .500. I asked how he liked it, after watching him fire about a dozen rounds through it. He said that he was getting used to it, and was getting to really like it. He asked if I would like to fire it, and I accepted the offer, and fired two shots. I definitely like the feel of the gun, and the quality of its manufacture, but that recoil is out of the question for me.

    I just don't want the recoil of whatever gun I am shooting to be the primary thought on my mind when I shoot. Those two are the only ones that ever really made me feel like I didn't want to shoot them any more. That said, the S&W 329 has very unpleasant recoil if shooting real heavy loads. I really like it with 240 grain bullets at around 1250 fps, though. The .458 Steyr Mannlicher with heavy loads has real substantial recoil, too, but it doesn't seem to hurt much--just moves me a long way. No fun on a bench, though.

    I have also noticed that lots of practice seems to diminish the felt recoil of any of the big guns. Is it numbness, or just brain damage?

    Back to the house painting project!

    Jim

  12. #12
    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    I think most folks can stand much more recoil than they imagine. For me discomfort comes from recoil velocity not just the recoil ft. lbs. I have no qualms with a .375 , 45-70 or a 12ga. But a .340 Wea., a light .338 or even a .300 in a poor stock just makes me cringe.

    Decent stock design can also mitigate effects of recoil more than most folks realize.
    That pretty much the way it works with me. I've shot .458s and shoot a .375 somewhat regularly, other than getting my attention, I didn't feel like I was pounded excessively.

    The worst was a Ruger M-77 with wood stock, hard rubber "pad" in .338 WinMag. I shot it twice and set it down. I've shot others that were in aftermarket stocks with decent recoil pads that weren't too bad, but still give me more of a jolt than I care to put up with.

    My limits for a handgun is a throttled back .454 Casull which is why I've opted for a .45 Colt instead.
    Now what ?

  13. #13

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    I have zeroed in a 416 Rigby, a 458 Lott and a 460 Wby and they were not pleasant. However they did not come close to a NEF 24" 12 gauge Turkey gun shooting a 3 1/2 inch turkey magnum. Those things kick so hard that I would concider them unsafe. I bloddied my own nose and the hammer ate the web between my thumb and trigger finger. I thought I could handle any amount of recoil but that thing kicked my butt.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    I have zeroed in a 416 Rigby, a 458 Lott and a 460 Wby and they were not pleasant. However they did not come close to a NEF 24" 12 gauge Turkey gun shooting a 3 1/2 inch turkey magnum. Those things kick so hard that I would concider them unsafe. I bloddied my own nose and the hammer ate the web between my thumb and trigger finger. I thought I could handle any amount of recoil but that thing kicked my butt.
    Oh you're killing me, absolutely killing me. the part about, "the hammer ate the web between my thumb and trigger finger." almost gave me a hernia. Any "turkey magnum" video?

  15. #15
    Member Doug in Alaska's Avatar
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    Too much is what you perceive as being too much. If you can't handle recoil from large magnum rifles, get an .06 and be happy!

    JMHO
    Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

  16. #16

    Default Recoil comments

    I think the "biggest" gun I ever shot was a 10 gauge shotgun....it was one of those long barreled "goose guns". I think it had a recoil pad as I recall, and although the recoil was stout,I didn't consider it unmanageable or anything. But then I didn't shoot it too many times,as it belonged to a friend of mine--and we were not hunting,just blasting away at some improvised targets. Which leads to an interesting point....if one shoots too much with a heavy kicker during practice,his practice could be counterproductive. Same thing if good hearing protection is not used.....muzzle blast will make the gun seem to kick much harder,and seem like a tiger(not to mention ruin your hearing),while a good set of muffs will make it seem like a *****cat. I like to do most of my practicing with rimfire rifles...no recoil,just fun shooting. The shooting fundamentals are the same when I grab one of my centerfires. I handled one of those 4 gauge elephant guns one time....could hardly hold the thing up it was so heavy--but did not get a chance to shoot it--I'm kinda glad now

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    The biggest rifle I shoot well is a 375H&H, and I take it hunting every fall. I will admit that bench shooting it for zero is not pleasant, and I must be uber-focused to keep from twitching/flinching/convulsing as I squeeze the trigger after a few shots. Thank goodness I developed loads for it years ago, and simply check zero every year.

    I'm pretty sure that none of us ever notice the recoil of any rifle when shooting at game.

    Doc

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    My 450 Ackley built by Brown Precision on a Remington 700 weighing under 7 pounds unscoped shooting 500 grain bullets over 2,300 fps was to much.
    Tennessee

  19. #19

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    Two guns come immediately to mind. First was a H and R 45-70 single shot with the straight stock. Very light with a short stock. One day I put about 30 rounds through it for what ever reason. I went home with a split lip, bloody nose and a shoulder bruised all the way to my sternum. Every time I shot that thing off the bench I punched myself in the face due to the stock. A very accurate gun though, that I actually shot quite well. The other would be my early edition Mossberg 835. Took it to the range to pattern it from the bench with max load 3.5 inch #4s. One round was enough, nearly knocked me off the bench. I think my buddy is still laughing. That is a very light gun for that load. Unfortunately I haven't shot the rifles as much as I used to, or would like and have become quite recoil shy due to it. My Savage 7mm Mag I've been told is very unpleasant to shoot but I tolerate it O.K. if I shoot regularly, which I haven't. I love shooting my wifes .270.

  20. #20
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    My worst recoil gun was one of the old singleshots in 12ga with the brown plastic stock from the WWII years.It was my first big gun and shot it from age 11 till I went in the Corps.The gun that hunt me was a 460Weatherby with their fancy high comb stock.The stock made my teeth hurt

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