Getting Ladies Used To Recoil

Whacker

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I have a question for you hunters who’s wife’s shoot heavier recoiling calibers or you ladies who shoot heavy recoiling rifles. My daughter is into hunting and is currently 16 but when I get around to making my first trip to Africa she will most likely accompany me. She shoots a 6.5 creedmoor and a .243 right now hunting here as it’s plenty large for the whitetails and hogs. What is the best way to get her into shooting heavier recoilers before the trip. I have plenty of time as it will most likely be 2022 at least but I want her to be comfortable and not develop a flinch either. I grew up hunting with a 300 Win Mag as a first rifle because it was all we had available and while it was rather hard recoiler to start with I adapted and overcame it but I don’t want her scared of the rifle or the recoil either. I was thinking letting her shoot my 12ga with staggering loads of recoil to see where her comfort levels lie as she currently has shot high brass game loads as probably the hardest recoiling round. Thinking if she can work her way up comfortably with shotgun rounds may be the easiest and most economical way to get her into a little larger rifle before we get her one. What is everyone’s thoughts on how to accomplish this? Thanks in advance for your replies.
 

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Well unless you’re going after eland or bigger just let her use that creedmore with premium bullets.

I think ladies are like men when it comes to recoil. Some handle it better than others. If you do need to step up to a larger caliber, stock fit and a decent recoil pad are critical. Never let her shoot from the bench. Standing with sticks is probably the best option.
 

Whacker

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Well unless you’re going after eland or bigger just let her use that creedmore with premium bullets.

I think ladies are like men when it comes to recoil. Some handle it better than others. If you do need to step up to a larger caliber, stock fit and a decent recoil pad are critical. Never let her shoot from the bench. Standing with sticks is probably the best option.
Should have specified our North American game as well I suppose...she is wanting to go elk hunting as well with me next year if we get tags drawn...I think the 6.5 would be capable with a well placed shot but I would like her to be able to take a little harder hitting rifle if possible and she is comfortable doing so. I currently don’t have anything in between calibers from 6.5 to 300 Win Mag. Had the thought of getting a 30.06 for her to use as I have no doubt she could work up to that easy and yes we will be PG on overseas trip no DG when we get to go
 

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Whatever applies for men (and boys) recoilwise, same applies for women (and girls). Start training with 22lr, and progress upwards slowly.

In order to optimise, consider buying for your daugher a rifle of approriate caliber, with female optimised type of stock.

Untill recently rifles were built by ergonomics "for men - only", and women had to adjust - no other option did they have.
Today, more and more factories and gun makers are turning attention to womens part of market, and design stocks accordingly.

Below is example of weahterby camilla rifle for women, by wetaherby - check the comments.
Do the reasearch, and choose smart. Choose caliber with lighter recoil, such as 308 win, or less.

Consider that: cost of safari for 2 persons minimum, ttl expense, plus insurances costs, plus return tickets, plus shipping, plus taxidermy, plus additional costs, souvenirus sightseeing etc - a new rifle for your daughter will be only a small overall price percentage in totla cost, and both of you will have maximum experience, and memories to cherish. So buy her a womans gun, and spend enogh time training untill she gets used it.

ladys-rifle-4.jpg
 
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Kevin Peacocke

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It sounds to me like a BlaserR8 and a set of bassels is a magic recipe.
 

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@Whacker - recoil sensitivity is not gender specific.
It's just that most of the hunting community is male.
So it's assumed that females are different when it comes to recoil.
They are not, they are individuals just like males.
Everyone will react a little different to it.

I agree with @WAB and @mark-hunter.
She needs a proper fitting stock.
There are off the shelf options.
However a custom rifle stock isn't too expensive either.

Dry fire practice off sticks will be her friend.
Work up slowly and at HER pace, not yours.
2 or 3 shots could be an entire range session.

FYI - My wife is 5'4" and 130#.
Shoots a R8 Intuition in 300WM and 375H&H.
Your daughter will get there.
 

Whacker

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@Whacker - recoil sensitivity is not gender specific.
It's just that most of the hunting community is male.
So it's assumed that females are different when it comes to recoil.
They are not, they are individuals just like males.
Everyone will react a little different to it.

I agree with @WAB and @mark-hunter.
She needs a proper fitting stock.
There are off the shelf options.
However a custom rifle stock isn't too expensive either.

Dry fire practice off sticks will be her friend.
Work up slowly and at HER pace, not yours.
2 or 3 shots could be an entire range session.

FYI - My wife is 5'4" and 130#.
Shoots a R8 Intuition in 300WM and 375H&H.
Your daughter will get there.
I wasn’t trying to sound gender specific or that ladies were any different sorry if it sounded that way that wasn’t my intention. You nailed what I was looking for it was more about what the best way for her to handle the different recoil was because she is different size and weight. Actually she is identical in size to your wife so I need to find something that really fits her length of pull better because as you say most of my stuff is geared for someone about 6 feet tall with a much longer arm length. I would love to get her in to a 300WM eventually but don’t want to send her there right off. Sounds like I may need to get her two new rifles along the way but that’s ok. She loves her 6.5 which is really about equivalent to my 308 in felt recoil so I’ll try to find her one a next step up that is better fitted to her size along the way maybe 30.06. Especially being a hand loader I think it could be loaded down with lighter bullets and then loaded up with heavier bullets along the way to bridge the gap nicely.
 

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I worked with my wife on shooting and recoil management, the first and one of the most important is gun fit !!!!!!! Aproper fitted rifle will help mitigate recoil very well. My wife's rifles from 22 to 375 all have the exact same stock and 1 3/8 kickezze recoil pad on it. Women tend to listen better than men about how to shoot etc. Next make sure that you get a scope with as much eye relief as appropriate for the caliber. One of the fastest ways to make ladies recoil adverse is being scoped by a bigger rifle. If you reload start with a lighter bullet an min charge of powder and work her way up the scale. Do most all the shooting off sticks. Teach her how to weight the front foot with the rear foot heel light so she can let the recoil rock her back as the weight rolls from the front foot to the back foot. Just like you would do in a contact sport like football and a bigger opponent runs into you. At each range session shot say a 22 the shoot a couple shoots from the bigger rifle then back to the smaller rifle. When my wife was moving from her 338 to 375 started with light 250 loads and no more than 10 shots a session. She has worked up to full loads with 300 gr and shoots 20 rounds over a session along with about 100 rounds of 22 to 7mm.

Always let the progression be on her schedule! Recoil is different for everyone so if your daughter's ends up being at the 30/06 level or 40+ it will be on her terms. Just give her the guidance and don't let well meaning guys tell her that that 300 or bigger I'll hurt her.

You will also get a very warm inner smile the first time she tell a bunch of tough guys at the range the her 375 is easy to shoot if you know how
 

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African Plains Game comes in a variety of sizes. Her 6.5 CM is all she needs for species under 300 lbs., maybe slightly larger given perfect shots and angles. BTW that was the criteria for using my 6.5 X 55 Swedish Mauser on my first Safari. Larger animals are going to require more powerful rifles and I'm betting that your daughter understands that. The schedule or timetable to move up to a larger caliber must be HERS. The previous discussion and advice about using a stock designed for women is a good place to start. However not all women benefit from them. I suggest sending "Just Gina" a PM and ask her to relate her experience while transitioning to a larger caliber. You can also use the Search feature on AH to read about her journey. While I think your idea of hand loading for a 30-06 is good, I think that hand loading for a 35 Whelen is an awful lot better.
 

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African Plains Game comes in a variety of sizes. Her 6.5 CM is all she needs for species under 300 lbs., maybe slightly larger given perfect shots and angles. BTW that was the criteria for using my 6.5 X 55 Swedish Mauser on my first Safari. Larger animals are going to require more powerful rifles and I'm betting that your daughter understands that. The schedule or timetable to move up to a larger caliber must be HERS. The previous discussion and advice about using a stock designed for women is a good place to start. However not all women benefit from them. I suggest sending "Just Gina" a PM and ask her to relate her experience while transitioning to a larger caliber. You can also use the Search feature on AH to read about her journey. While I think your idea of hand loading for a 30-06 is good, I think that hand loading for a 35 Whelen is an awful lot better.
@Shootist43 thanks for the suggestion...I have heard of the 35 Whelen before but never had done much looking into or thought about it until I read your post. I was looking up some of the ammo ballistics and velocities and it looks like quite a versatile cartridge in even factory ammunition and especially for a reloader. You have provided me with reading material for the rest of the day now I’m interested in learning more about this one.
 

Hunting Hitman

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Should have specified our North American game as well I suppose...she is wanting to go elk hunting as well with me next year if we get tags drawn...I think the 6.5 would be capable with a well placed shot but I would like her to be able to take a little harder hitting rifle if possible and she is comfortable doing so. I currently don’t have anything in between calibers from 6.5 to 300 Win Mag. Had the thought of getting a 30.06 for her to use as I have no doubt she could work up to that easy and yes we will be PG on overseas trip no DG when we get to go

As someone who manufactures custom ammunition I can tell you the 6.5 Creed is more than capable of harvesting a mature elk. We have shot 6 elk over the last 2 seasons with said caliber and all but one of the elk were 1 shot kills and the other needed a second.

143 grain ELDX custom load is the way to go. Enjoy your hunts with the Daughter and shoot straight.
 

Shootist43

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Whacker, what I didn't mention previously is that my 35 Whelen went to Africa on both of my Safaris. Moreover, on our first Safari both of my sons used 35 Whelens as well. They used a 300 Win. Mag. for their backup rifle.
In case you haven't noticed I'm a big fan of that caliber.
 

LiegeRiver

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I bought my wife a Savage Lady Hunter in 30-06. From the moment she first shouldered it, she noticed and commented on how good it felt. Fit is everything. She shoots it very well.
 

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Most people underestimate the recoil of a 12 gauge. If your daughter has already shot 12 gauge high brass loads she’s already handled recoil at 300 Winchester levels. However, I think most new shooters will tell you a 30-06 is harder recoiling than 12 gauge because of situation they shoot it in. You shoot a shotgun at flying clay targets and a rifle at paper. I think your idea to allow her to work up with your 12 gauge won’t really identify whether she will have good shooting habits or not, buying a 30-06 and working up loads that she consistently shoot well would build a lot of confidence with a particular rifle. For factory ammo, Hornady makes their custom lite ammo for 30-06 with a 125 grain bullet at 2700 fps, which should be very comparable to her 6.5 to start. Since you handload, there are even more options for you. Attached are links to recoil tables to compare.
 

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BigSteve57

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My wife's rifle was a Browning A-bolt in .243 Winchester with a shortened stock fit just for her. She didn't mind the recoil at all and refused, due to recoil, to shoot my rifle which was a Browning Bolt action in 30-06.

Then for our trip to Africa I got my Blaser R8 in .375 and she, very bravely IMHO, agreed to hunt with "my" 30-06. So what happened? Practicing with it helped her to know what to expect. On the hunt she experienced the phenomena I think a lot of us know so well when we take that shot at game: "Hey I didn't even feel the recoil...heck I didn't even hear the shot". She did struggle with the fit of "my" rifle.*

The point please: as others have said I personally think it's stock fit and not so much recoil that's the real problem as one can be taught to handle recoil. But rifle fit is a constant that doesn't change.

*I'm not sure it's "my" rifle anymore now that she's learned to shoot it and I have the Blaser in .300 WM and .375 H&H M which I will probably use for pretty much everything. I should just ask her if she wants the rifle cut to fit her or better yet maybe see if I can get a custom stock for her. Hmmmmm...
 

Ridge Runner

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The 30-06 would be a good choice for her from varmints to elk in North America and African Plains Game.

I have fired several custom LR 6.5 CMs, and I own a variety of 30-06s, IMO not much difference in recoil comparisons.
 

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I think the interest of the individual to shoot a bigger rifle is crucial. If a person doesn’t want to move up, don’t push it.
I agree that you are likely to buy a couple additional rifles in the progress. (Or just get an R8)
The 6.5cm will work, it did for my son with PG up to and including zebra.
 

CBH Australia

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Buy her a new rifle. Yes fit is important. My wife needs a shorter length of pull but will fire any of my rifles but still needs something to fit her for best results. She uses my one shotgun, an ATA that we use to shoot a few clays in the paddock. The lop is too long and she gets a bruise.

My nieces were about 16 when I got my .375H&H and lined up for a shot straight after I tried it, I think it’s partly being open to the recoil if you are happy to try.

I like the 7mm calibres but have .308 and .300wm too.

What about reduce recoil loads?

Hodgdon do a rebranded ADI powder. Check and confirm this but H4895 should be our ADI AR2206H . If so that can be used at the rate of 60% of the maximum charge weight making it lower recoil. 60% of max offers a large range to work within and up to. This is a versatile powder that works across a variety of cartridges . Those that are proportionate bore to case ratio at least.

Please confirm for yourself!

Then buy her a rifle to fit her. If you can’t get a .280 then a .308 or .30-06 is a nice median fit between what you already have.
 

CBH Australia

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Most people underestimate the recoil of a 12 gauge. If your daughter has already shot 12 gauge high brass loads she’s already handled recoil at 300 Winchester levels. However, I think most new shooters will tell you a 30-06 is harder recoiling than 12 gauge because of situation they shoot it in. You shoot a shotgun at flying clay targets and a rifle at paper. I think your idea to allow her to work up with your 12 gauge won’t really identify whether she will have good shooting habits or not, buying a 30-06 and working up loads that she consistently shoot well would build a lot of confidence with a particular rifle. For factory ammo, Hornady makes their custom lite ammo for 30-06 with a 125 grain bullet at 2700 fps, which should be very comparable to her 6.5 to start. Since you handload, there are even more options for you. Attached are links to recoil tables to compare.
Agreed, straight off even a .308 can be stiff recoil on the bench. My .300wm
is more so but shooting one round at a time on game I hardly consider it, that could be standing shots too, get her used to shooting of sticks, you will most likely shoot off sticks in Africa.

A Limbsaver recoil pad does make a noticeable difference if you do have a rifle that has a sharp recoil, but the configuration/combination of my .375H&H is fine with a factory pad.
 

BeeMaa

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I bought my wife a Savage Lady Hunter in 30-06. From the moment she first shouldered it, she noticed and commented on how good it felt. Fit is everything. She shoots it very well.
My wife's first rifle was a Savage Lady Hunter in 270WIN.
I put a 12 oz. mercury recoil reducer in the butt stock.
After a year of shooting it every week, she asked for a .30 caliber.

Enter the Blaser R8 Intuition with a kickstop (recoil reducer).
We agreed on a 300WM and started her with reduced power loads.
That lasted for 3 shots and she wanted to take a poke with full power loads.

She's never looked back but still takes it easy at the range.
Between 6-9 shots is about all she will do.
Although she does dry fire practice several times a week.
She says it's a stress reliever.
 

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