Managing Recoil

ChrisG

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Hi all,

I have a .375 H&H in a model 70 Winchester that, with a scope, weighs around 9.5 lbs. It isn't outrageous to shoot and I can probably put about 15 rounds through it from field positions (standing, sitting, kneeling) when at the range without any major discomfort. I don't do more because I am wary of developing a flinch and my shooting going downhill from there. But it still takes me a couple seconds to recover after each round and get back on target. What I try to do it keep my pectoral muscles loose and use my support hand to pull the gun into my cup of my shoulder while leaning into it. I still get a chunk taken out of my trigger finger every now and then from the trigger guard though. I am just wondering, since a number of guys and gals here shoot much larger rifles than that, and I am considering getting a .416 Magnum Mauser, What tips do you have for managing recoil and maintaining a good sight picture for follow-ups? Is getting your trigger finger smashed occasionally just a part of firing a medium bore or larger rifle?

I see guys on videos (some even have been posted here) able to shoot big bores like a .458 Lott or .505 Gibbs and get off 4 rounds as fast as they can rack the bolt because their recoil management skills make it look like they are shooting a .30-06. In my experience, there is always a trick to something, just going to the range and burning up hundreds of rounds of ammunition until you figure it out is definitely not efficient, especially since there is such a wealth of knowledge in places like this. Thanks for any input.
 

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Go skeet shooting with a 12 ga, shooting 3.5" magnums.... duck or geese loads. That recoil is about the same or much more than a big bore. Then the recoil won't be so noticeable...(y)
 

Petrus Geldenhuys

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this is a very interesting topic you've got going here....
I also have a Winchester Mod 70 Safari Express in a 375h&h and i must say that i do not experience any recoil issues with that calibre...I've installed a mercury recoil reducer tube and it feels like a 30-06 out of the bench.

But i would like to see the replies of the other guys who might know some recoil tips and tricks because Ive just purchased a .450 Nitro Express double and the recoil on this rifle is allot more, also get the odd chunk cut out of the trigger finger with this one.

One tip i know is to lean into the rifle with your weight distributed onto your front leg, this assures that you always have a steady stance and that your body can roll back without you loosing your balance.
 

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Chris I cannot speak for others and how they manage it,I guess everyone has their own opinions and techniques.
I just got back from the range today with my Ruger No1 in 375H&H. I have been battling a ripped up rotator cuff and bicep muscle for a few months now,but it does not keep us off the range;) I am a pretty light bloke round 75kg including my rifle:) so shooting off the bench rattles my teeth sometimes with the big guns.

As far as you fingers being banged goes I would suggest changing your grip and the way you engage the trigger,normally if your grip is deep on the gun you are pulling the trigger around its middle, try working more towards the bottom of the trigger as this will also help you make use of mechanical leverage on the trigger. Combined with this I would suggest you forget about rolling with the recoil if you want to get back on target fast. I lean into the rifle pretty heavy and pull with both my front arm and the rear arm to get the rifle snug in the shoulder.
What I will also suggest you do is putting a slight right twist into the rifle with your front arm and a slight left twist with your back ( not a dance move). Best I can describe it is like twist drying a towel with your hands, this should not be over tight,just tight enough to engage the muscles in your forearms without you shaking all over the place. It will also help with the pistol grip on the stock not slipping in your hands durring recoil which may also be why your finger is being banged up.
You will feel less recoil with a more relaxed shooting technique,but you will be much faster on the follow up shot with the one mentioned above.

Best of luck.
 

ChrisG

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Go skeet shooting with a 12 ga, shooting 3.5" magnums.... duck or geese loads. That recoil is about the same or much more than a big bore. Then the recoil won't be so noticeable...(y)
Well... As much fun as that sounds, It doesn't really answer my question. I'm not uncomfortable with the level of recoil of the rifle. I feel like fooling myself by simply shooting something bigger isn't going to teach me anything except that I can't manage the recoil of the bigger gun any better. Other than occasionally getting my trigger finger smacked, It doesn't hurt my shoulder at all, but recovery from the shot takes, in my mind anyway, much longer than it should and would decrease my chances of a good accurate follow-up shot at game. It isn't that I am looking at ways that I can mitigate the shock and pain of recoil, because for my .375, they really aren't there, other than the aforementioned trigger finger issues. What I am looking for is tips on how to to manage it effectively so that I can become a better field shot and hunter.

To give you an example: I used to shoot USPSA competition with a 9mm Springfield XD. My times started out atrocious but I got better as I did it until I hit a plateau, I couldn't get any faster because I didn't know effective techniques to minimize pistol/sight movement upon firing until I had a guy at the range one tell me to cant my support hand slightly to the ground and pull back against the gun, keeping it in tension. It sped up my shooting tremendously just by managing the recoil effectively. It isn't that the 9mm has horrific recoil, but the recoil it does have is detrimental to fast accurate shooting and keeping that to a minimum allows you to concentrate on hits and not have to rush a shot because you are running out of time from the sights jumping around.

I hope all my rambling makes sense.
 

ChrisG

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Chris I cannot speak for others and how they manage it,I guess everyone has their own opinions and techniques.
I just got back from the range today with my Ruger No1 in 375H&H. I have been battling a ripped up rotator cuff and bicep muscle for a few months now,but it does not keep us off the range;) I am a pretty light bloke round 75kg including my rifle:) so shooting off the bench rattles my teeth sometimes with the big guns.

As far as you fingers being banged goes I would suggest changing your grip and the way you engage the trigger,normally if your grip is deep on the gun you are pulling the trigger around its middle, try working more towards the bottom of the trigger as this will also help you make use of mechanical leverage on the trigger. Combined with this I would suggest you forget about rolling with the recoil if you want to get back on target fast. I lean into the rifle pretty heavy and pull with both my front arm and the rear arm to get the rifle snug in the shoulder.
What I will also suggest you do is putting a slight right twist into the rifle with your front arm and a slight left twist with your back ( not a dance move). Best I can describe it is like twist drying a towel with your hands, this should not be over tight,just tight enough to engage the muscles in your forearms without you shaking all over the place. It will also help with the pistol grip on the stock not slipping in your hands durring recoil which may also be why your finger is being banged up.
You will feel less recoil with a more relaxed shooting technique,but you will be much faster on the follow up shot with the one mentioned above.

Best of luck.
Thank you! I will try that when I head back to the range.
 

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Grip, stock fit all make a difference, I own 2, 416 Rigby's a Ruger and a CZ 550. I can shoot the CZ all day long, without a problem, but the Ruger just beats me to death. I have found as a rule of thumb Ruger wood stock and me just don't get along. A Ruger with a "plastic stock" fits me better, I don't know why.
 

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Have you considered a slip on Limb Saver recoil pad? Also, there are some shirts out there that have an opening for gel inserts for your shooting shoulder.
 

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Have you considered a slip on Limb Saver recoil pad? Also, there are some shirts out there that have an opening for gel inserts for your shooting shoulder.
I think the term "managing recoil" is being confused with "recoil hurts me and I don't like it." I am fine with the recoil and am not looking for suggestions on minimizing felt recoil. I am looking for tips on how to effectively control it to better my shooting techniques in field positions if that makes sense. The fact that my finger gets whacked every once in a while may well be due to me not gripping the stock hard enough and my hand sliding forward under recoil. Sorry if that was misunderstood... I tend to ramble.

The rifle actually has a fitted screwed on pachmayer pad which works very well. It used to have a brake installed on it but I had it removed and the barrel trimmed and re-crowned because I hate muzzle brakes and the recoil wasn't painful anyway.

Thank you for your advise anyway. A Gel pad may allow me to extend my range sessions a little more.
 

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Chris if the rifle has been used a bit you may want to crisp up the checkering a bit for better grip.
 

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Maybe try some reduced loads to build your confidence up. Shoot off sticks and not the bench. Take a breather between shots. No need to shoot, shoot, shoot....heck I need a break once in a while too on the larger bores. My 375 H&H is a CZ and I have it customized so I can shoot about a box of ammo before I get sick of it.
 

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I have owned 30-06's that would sit you on your ass and make you want to drink whiskey to ease the pain. Then I have shot a 8 bore and the recoil wasn't much different (as far as pain ). I found out (in my case it was stock design. Not saying that's the issue with yours, but it could be the reason for your discomfort, have a drink and take it to a smith.
 

ChrisG

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I have owned 30-06's that would sit you on your ass and make you want to drink whiskey to ease the pain. Then I have shot a 8 bore and the recoil wasn't much different (as far as pain ). I found out (in my case it was stock design. Not saying that's the issue with yours, but it could be the reason for your discomfort, have a drink and take it to a smith.
Yeah, Like I said... The recoil itself is not the issue. As in, its not painful. I am looking for techniques that you guys use to channel it so that it disrupts sight picture as little as possible and allows rapid follow-ups. hunthardsafaris gave me good advice and that was what I was looking for, namely techniques to control the recoil of a bigger caliber so that it can effectively be used in the field. Recoil doesn't bother me. I used to have a 5 pound single shot 12 gauge that I would put multiple 3" slugs through at the range (again, very slowly because I had to recover from the muzzle being pointed into the sky. I do know now that my shooting goes downhill after a little while more from recoil fatigue than anything. I am looking for practical recoil controlling techniques that allow faster, more accurate follow-up shots so that I have a better chance of putting them into game animals quickly.

Just so you guys know: The rifle is a Model 70 super express and it actually fits me fairly well (Winchester did a good job with their stocks as far as I am concerned.) It doesn't need a mercury reducer or a brake or anything like that because it already weighs 9.5 lbs. I just would like to keep the sights as close to on target as possible and am looking for the techniques thebig bore guys use when shooting a heavy rifle, be it a double or a magazine rifle. Thanks! :)
 

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Hey Chris,
I can tell you what I did with my 375. It was a nice shooter, but my girlfriend was going to be using the gun as well on a safari last year. No, I am not comparing you to a female shooter. LOL. I contacted Lonnie at Superior Ammunition. He developed a load with plenty of power, but changed the powder up so the gun did not have such an abrupt recoil. The rifle had been magna ported as well. She shot the gun so well practicing off the sticks at home, that I had no concern with her handling the gun or shooting game. I also gave it several test runs with the new load. Unreal the difference. Muzzle jump went way down and follow up time and accuracy went way up. After quick one shot kills on a waterbuck, lion, and sable, my PH inquired about what loads I was using. He also wanted to shoot the rifle as he did not see my girlfriend getting rocked when she fired it. At that point, he commented that it was the "finest shooting 375 he had ever fired" and was wishing he could keep it. I am no expert on guns or shooting them but I know the gun shoots like a 30-06 in comparison and is quite pleasant to shoot on the range or at game.
A friend of mine had Superior load some rounds for his 416 and it made a great difference for him as well. I think as long as you are not shooting buffalo or elephant or something really large and heavy skinned/boned you should be fine in regards to using the same round for hunting as dialing your gun in. If not or don't want to take any chances, then take a different load into the bush. Lonnie asked me what animals we planned to shoot with the loads, and made his decisions based off of that list as well as caliber, etc.
Hope this helps....it made a big difference for my rifle and the loads still have enough velocity and energy to put game on the ground quickly as well.
 

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Yeah, Like I said... The recoil itself is not the issue. As in, its not painful. I am looking for techniques that you guys use to channel it so that it disrupts sight picture as little as possible and allows rapid follow-ups. hunthardsafaris \gave me good advice and that was what I was looking for, namely techniques to control the recoil of a bigger caliber so that it can effectively be used in the field. Recoil doesn't bother me. I used to have a 5 pound single shot 12 gauge that I would put multiple 3" slugs through at the range (again, very slowly because I had to recover from the muzzle being pointed into the sky. I do know now that my shooting goes downhill after a little while more from recoil fatigue than anything. I am looking for practical recoil controlling techniques that allow faster, more accurate follow-up shots so that I have a better chance of putting them into game animals quickly.

Just so you guys know: The rifle is a Model 70 super express and it actually fits me fairly well (Winchester did a good job with their stocks as far as I am concerned.) It doesn't need a mercury reducer or a brake or anything like that because it already weighs 9.5 lbs. I just would like to keep the sights as close to on target as possible and am looking for the techniques thebig bore guys use when shooting a heavy rifle, be it a double or a magazine rifle. Thanks! :)
Well that being said, (and this works for me with almost all rifles ) again, for me, I don't wrap my thumb on the pistol grip, I lay it on top of the grip. I use the first 1/4 inch of my index finger. I slightly pull with the lead hand/forearm. However it doesn't work with all rifles, sometimes it is stock design. I don't fight the rifle, it's going to kick after the trigger is pulled. Just go with it and learn your recovery time, and try to improve. I don't really have much more advice than that.
 
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Petrus Geldenhuys

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Chris, just a quick question, does your 375 have a straight stock or is it slightly bent down? Ive experienced different shooting styles between the two, a straight stock allows the gun to move backwards without lifting allot and this allows you to get back on target quicker. Where a bent stock allows the rifle to whip upwards allot more than back.
 

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For me it is about rifle fit and shooting position. The better a rifle fits not only is the felt recoil less but so is the muzzle flip, which is what I think you are talking about more than anything here.

Then there is stance and grip. When I get the trigger finger hit or my cheek hit I'm usually not gripping well enough or my feet aren't set right. I personally get better results with one foot back (right for right handed) but toes facing the target. When I get them sideways the rifle tends to slide out of the shoulder pocket a bit. The bigger the gun the more important this becomes.

Hopes this helps..
 

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Chris, just a quick question, does your 375 have a straight stock or is it slightly bent down? Ive experienced different shooting styles between the two, a straight stock allows the gun to move backwards without lifting allot and this allows you to get back on target quicker. Where a bent stock allows the rifle to whip upwards allot more than back.
It is a straight walnut monte carlo style stock with the cheek piece. Thank you this is useful info!
 

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For me it is about rifle fit and shooting position. The better a rifle fits not only is the felt recoil less but so is the muzzle flip, which is what I think you are talking about more than anything here.

Then there is stance and grip. When I get the trigger finger hit or my cheek hit I'm usually not gripping well enough or my feet aren't set right. I personally get better results with one foot back (right for right handed) but toes facing the target. When I get them sideways the rifle tends to slide out of the shoulder pocket a bit. The bigger the gun the more important this becomes.

Hopes this helps..
It Does! This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for from experienced big bore shooters!
 

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Well that being said, (and this works for me with almost all rifles ) again, for me, I don't wrap my thumb on the pistol grip, I lay it on top of the grip. I use the first 1/4 inch of my index finger. I slightly pull with the lead hand/forearm. However it doesn't work with all rifles, sometimes it is stock design. I don't fight the rifle, it's going to kick after the trigger is pulled. Just go with it and learn your recovery time, and try to improve. I don't really have much more advice than that.
Thank you! I do try and keep my thumb up on top, usually because if I don't it smacks me in the face. I will just have to try and grip it a little tighter or get my checkering recut as some others have suggested
 

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