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Managing Recoil - Preparation for Buffalo Hunt

This is a discussion on Managing Recoil - Preparation for Buffalo Hunt within the Firearms & Ammunition forums, part of the HUNTING EQUIPMENT, FIREARMS & AMMUNITION category; Gents, I am super pumped as I start my journey in quest for Black Death in Mozambique with Great Land ...

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    Default Managing Recoil - Preparation for Buffalo Hunt

    Gents,

    I am super pumped as I start my journey in quest for Black Death in Mozambique with Great Land Safari's and PH John Henry Keyser in September 2013. This will be my first Cape Buffalo hunt and preparations are under way.

    With that being said I need your advice - I have been to SA twice for plains game and used Bertha, my .300 Win Mag, to do the talking. I am now moving to a .375 or .416 for this adventure. Is there a signifcant difference in recoil between .300 to a .375/.416 and if so any tips managing recoil as well as preparing for this hunt?

    I want tomake sure I do my due diligence before we put our lives on the line. I would also like to learn from yall (Texas accent) how you would train for this dream hunt.

    Thanks ahead of time for sharing.

    dt

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    As reference from a table by Chuck Hawks

    .300 win 180gr - 26lb recoil

    .375 H&H 300gr - 37lb recoil

    .416 Rigby 400gr - 58lb recoil

    As for managing recoil. Use the best recoil pad available. Keep the gun snugged into your shoulder when shooting. Roll with the shot and do not over brace yourself. Shoot only enough to become confident in your rifles zero and your ability to tolerate the recoil while maintaining accuracy. Remember that recoil will feel much milder when you are full of adrenalin. If you find yourself flinching or dreading the shot or stressing about recoil at all while aiming, save yourself the grief and retreat to a smaller rifle before you cause any long term bad shooting habits. Being beat up by recoil is not for everyone and fewer people than will admit it can handle repeated beatings by a firearm. Your PH will appreciate a well placed shot with a smaller caliber rifle far more than a bad one from a cannon.
    The journey is the reward.

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    gday dtarin
    i recently acquired a 375HH and although ive only fired 9 shots out of it as ive been busy with work ,i found that the recoil was a lot less than i was expecting im a 30 cal type bloke myself and i would compare it to my 300 rum or maybe a tad more it was more managable than i was thinking it was gunna be the first three shots were snapped off pretty quick and all hit the gum tree iwas aiming at which was about 130metres away ive always been keen on muzzle brakes but after conversing on here im thinking im not going to worry about it on this riffle .
    as for the 416 thats way to much gun for this little black duck .but then again ive not had the oppotunity to play with such a cannon it sure would be fun i think ...

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    Do all of your practice from real hunting positions.
    That will mostly be standing and with shooting sticks or free hand when it comes to buffs.

    A recoil table gives an indication, but it really tells very little in my opinion.
    The shape of the stock, weight of the gun and what recoil pad have much more effect on the felt recoil than the cartridge used.

    Make sure that the gun fits you perfectly and as Diamondhitch said, use the best recoil pad available. I find Limbsaver to be very good.
    Use lightly loaded ammo most of the time when you practice.
    The recoil you get while hunting and using fully loaded ammo you will not notice, but you can develop a subconscious flinch if you practice a lot with fully loaded ammo.
    If you are recoil sensitive, stay far away from using the gun from a bench.

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    The felt recoil of the 375 is not that far off to your 300. IMHO it's a pleasure to shoot. I can't comment on your 416 as I've never shot one, but one can assume it's felt recoil is greater than the 375. I would just practice, I'm sure you'll get used to it. If it worries you that much and is unconfortable to shoot, you could always install a good muzzle break and your 416 will probably feel like a 243. Good luck with the guns and the hunt!!

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    A .375 with 300gr premium ammo is all you need for buff. Your PH will have the heavy artillery if it's necessary. Your PH will also have you on the sticks for the shot, so practice off sticks as much as possible. Get yourself six 8" x 8" steel plates. Set them up at 50, 75 and 100 yards. Practice knocking them down front to back, and then back to front. Train for follow-up shots by placing two plates side by side. Get used to your rifle and your scope. Try to use cheaper 300gr ammo, if you can find some, on training, so that you get used to it's recoil. Enjoy the practice and the planning.

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    I'm going with the Doc on this one good advice...

    My best always
    Jaco Strauss
    Kwalata Wilderness safaris - South Africa/Mozambique
    Jaco@kwalata.com
    www.kwalata.com

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    I think Doc has it down to.

    Having just acquired one of those darned 300 win mags I can say that it felt like it punched more than the 375.

    Now, I have to qualify this:
    I did no extensive target shooting with the .375, I did target shoot the 300 and the big black target I was using for the 375 back drop seemed to take my attention away from recoil for some reason.

    It took me all hunting season this year and significant target shooting to learn to shoot the 300 effectively at various ranges.

    Good luck.
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    .375HH I can handle easily, and frankly, I don t need more.

    .416 Rigby is not for everyone !

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    My CZ550 (.375 H&H) has only slightly more felt recoil than my Remington 7600 (.30-06.) I'm sure a lot of that has to do with the weight and barrel length of the respective rifles.

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    Thank yall for your insight, experience, and information. All very helpful and will be taking you up on your tips....I have been looking at purchasing a used .375 H&H Winchester Safari Express...and now a limbsaver recoil reducing pad too. Any thoughts or experience with the gun?

    In terms of practice...anybody have a routine down. I usually practice dry firing daily and then live firing at the range every other week four months prior to my trip. I have noticed I typically shoot and inch to 2 inches from the bulls eye down when shooting off sticks. I would like to correct this.

    Thanks again for your help!

    dt

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtarin09 View Post
    Thank yall for your insight, experience, and information. All very helpful and will be taking you up on your tips....I have been looking at purchasing a used .375 H&H Winchester Safari Express...and now a limbsaver recoil reducing pad too. Any thoughts or experience with the gun?

    In terms of practice...anybody have a routine down. I usually practice dry firing daily and then live firing at the range every other week four months prior to my trip. I have noticed I typically shoot and inch to 2 inches from the bulls eye down when shooting off sticks. I would like to correct this.

    Thanks again for your help!

    dt
    I don't think you can go wrong with the M70. I have one and it's deadly accurate. I would recommend 50 shots or so from a standing position, then move to the bench. It's more recoil than a .300WM but it's more of a shove than the crack of Bertha. At this point, some 2 1/2 years after buying it, I'll send 20 or 30 down the tube at the range from the bench without thinking about it.

    You won't need a Limbsaver, the Safari Express comes with a Pachmayr Decelerator which works very well. I know you want to buy a used one, but I think you'd have a tough time finding one from the new South Carolina plant. And I do recommend you get one from there.

    If you don't mind me asking, how much were you planning to spend?
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    Phil,

    I am looking at spending around $1500.00 for my rifle...the barely used Winchester Safari Express I am looking at costs $105.00. I thought about stepping up to my friend's Winchester Pre 64 .375 H&H. Thoughts?

    I also know I need to drop several pounds before the hunt....but I amotivated.

    dt

    dt

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHOENIX PHIL View Post
    I don't think you can go wrong with the M70. I have one and it's deadly accurate. I would recommend 50 shots or so from a standing position, then move to the bench. It's more recoil than a .300WM but it's more of a shove than the crack of Bertha. At this point, some 2 1/2 years after buying it, I'll send 20 or 30 down the tube at the range from the bench without thinking about it.

    You won't need a Limbsaver, the Safari Express comes with a Pachmayr Decelerator which works very well. I know you want to buy a used one, but I think you'd have a tough time finding one from the new South Carolina plant. And I do recommend you get one from there.

    If you don't mind me asking, how much were you planning to spend?
    I also have one of the SC M70SE .375 models, and I am very pleased with it. It needed an extended base to fit the scope that I wanted, but it required nothing other than a simple trigger adjustment (easily done) and it was ready to hunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtarin09 View Post
    I have noticed I typically shoot and inch to 2 inches from the bulls eye down when shooting off sticks. I would like to correct this.
    dt
    I had the same issue shooting off of the sticks before my first plains game hunt. My buddy noticed that I tended to squeeze the trigger a bit more aggressively than you would off of the bench. Once I started focusing on better trigger control, my shots grouped higher.

    Regarding the 375 v 416. I went through the exact same decision making process when selecting my buffalo rifle. I bought a 375 and then was doubting my decision....until I shot a friends' 416. I have a high tolerance for recoil (love shooting my 470 NE double) but did notice that I was waaaaay more comfortable and confident shooting my 375 than the 416. To me at least, the felt recoil of my 375 feels NO WORSE than my 300 Win Mag (with a muzzle brake), or my Ruger MII 30-06. Definitely less recoil than a 300 Weatherby Mag. In other words, the "recoil factor" is not in my head when I shoot the 375. The 416 was another story. As someone else said above, the 375 is more than enough for a buffalo as long as you shoot it right. So select the rifle/caliber combination that YOU ARE 100% COMFORTABLE WITH. Definitely try to test drive both if you can.

    Good luck on your hunt!!

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    When I booked my 2005 Zimbabwe Buffalo hunt, I decided to use a .375 RUM for that hunt. Fresh out of the box and at the first trip to the range, the recoil of that beast was worse than anything that I had ever shot. It was definately not a fun rifle to shoot.

    So to tame the felt recoil of that rifle I had a KDF muzzle brake installed on it, I re-stocked it in a laminated stock that fits me and is fitted with a Limbsaver pad and an in-stock mechanical recoil reducer. That reduced the felt recoil is about the same as my 7mm Rem mag, and the rifle is not at all unpleasant to shoot.

    I then comfortably shot a hundred or so practice rounds with it and had a great Zimbabwe and South African hunt with it. I took it to South Africa again in 2007 for a plains game hunt where I used it to make my longest one shot kill on any animal, a gemsbok at 348 yds, and I shot a couple of other animals from prone positions -- all without any discomfort from recoil.

    About 3 years years ago I also built myself a .300 Weatherby with the same recoil reducing modifications as my .375 RUM -- a custom stock that fits me, a KDF brake, a Limbsaver pad, and a mechanical in-stock recoil reducer. It's felt recoil is about the same as my .270 Win, and it is one of my favorite rifles. It is no problem to take it to the range and shoot a box or more shells through it from any position, then go over the the skeet range and shoot 100 or more 12 gauge targets.

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    My experience is limited but I will offer it up. I knocked the scope off on my Tikka T3 Lite in 7mm Rem Mag on hunt in SA last July and ended up borrowing my PH's .375 H&H in a CZ 550. I am not really recoil sensitive but was a little anxious about shooting the .375. I fired a few rounds from the bench before going hunting and the recoil was significantly less than my 7mm. I would have let my 11 year old brother shoot it before shooting my 7mm. I remember at the time comparing it to shooting 3" 12 ga. loads. The recoil was definitely more of a push rather than the harsh smack of a 7mm or 300 winmag.

    I enjoyed it so much I actually picked up a CZ 550 in .375 H&H last Friday.

    Best of luck to you!

    I have not shot a .416 but would imagine the recoil is quite a step up from the .375

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    I had a stright-stocked Browning lever rifle rebarelled to .375 Ruger (from .300 Win Mag). Most guys said it'd be a bruiser, literally, to shoot. They were wrong. It has the original recoil pad but I had my gunsmith add a mercury supressor in the stock. What a difference. My 5-foot2 wife & I share it on safari. Practice standing, using sticks , Bog Pods are good.

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    HI dtarin09

    I also own a 375H&H & only shoot 300gr premium bullets which is enough to kill anything in Africa.... My brother in law bought a 416 Rigby and I had the opportunity to shoot it this past weekend....!

    Firstly, I,m 6ft 2' tall and weighs 146kg so the recoil of my 375 is very manageable for me.... So when I took the 416 to the shoulder my thouhts were "how big difference can there be between 300gr & 400gr"?????

    BANG!!!!! a BIG difference....

    Took me 6 shots to get it to hit the vitals on the paper target at 50 meters... Shots 7 & 8 were beauties. Went back to my 375 H&H after that and I were in love all over again! Its not that I'm bad mouthing the 416, its just like with any other rifle, the more you shoot it, the better you'll get. In my opinion the 375 will be beter & like DOC said you'll have a PH with a big stick to back you up, IF necessary....

    PS: Very nice Kudu!!! Congrats
    Edward Els
    els.edward@yahoo.co.uk
    South Africa

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    Ith I went through this same decision process, but have backwards thinking than most other posters. I finally ended up with a new model 70, in .416. It has a noticeable jump in recoil when compared to a 375, but this is comparing full power 400 grain bullets. However, the large stock and decelerator pad does very well with handling the recoil. As others have said already, the more you shoot a rifle, regardless of how much it recoils, the better you will shoot, and the more comfortable you will be. I will be using mine next May in South Africa with 300 grain barnes tsx bullets for eland and a 338 for the smaller fare.

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