Recoil Mitigation

Grouser

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Okay, this involves sticks/tripod usage.

I am the recent new owner of a .375 H&H. From a recoil standpoint, quite a step up from my old friend .270WBY.

Off a bench, it was a killer. (I'm a recoil pansy).

Shooting off my tripod, I have developed a habit of having one tripod leg forward. I slide the rifle forward to where the sling stud stops against the tripod. I wrap my left hand around the sling/stud/tripod junction making one unit. (This is handy if I need to make a last minute adjustment as I pick up the rifle/sling/tripod unit and move as one with rifle still on my shoulder). While using this grasp, I push against that front leg. Right hand snugly pulling the stock to my shoulder, but shoulder and left hand pushing forward on that front leg. According to my bath scales pushing against a wall, it is easy to push forward (and some down) in amounts above 15 pounds. Obviously won't work with a bi-pod. ;)

This makes my 8.625 pound rifle recoil like a 20 plus pound rifle. Serious mitigation.

Now listen, if this is mathematically impossible, please keep it to yourself. I'm in painless bliss.

Grouser
 

MMAL

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Grouser. I once took a lesson from a navy seal shooting instructor. He knew his stuff. What you describe above is exactly what he taught when shooting off of sticks with One exception. The left hand pulls the gun into your shoulder not the right hand. The simple reason being is that you fire and the right handcomes off the gun to work the bolt. Thus the left hand pulls the gun to the shoulder but the shoulder and body push the rifle and sticks forward just till you think the two rear legs will come off the ground. Yes this helps with recoil and steadiness.

One final point is you can do this with a bi-pod as well. Put the legs at a @45 degree angle in front of you and you can get the same push forward.
 

flatwater bill

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The recoil of my 375 is approximately twice that of my 30-06, and I find it unpleasant. Many on this site happily shoot cannons. Not me. Thanks for the tip......FWB
 

Velo Dog

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Hello Grouser and MMAL,

The information you guys posted sounds excellent.
I plan to try same.

Meanwhile, I use another trick that, if you hand-load your ammunition, works well.
It is simply to use the lower powder charges, as shown in your favorite reloading book / internet site.
It noticeably reduces recoil, if however slightly, nonetheless it is noticeable.
The African cartridges I regularly load down a bit, include the .375 H&H, the .416 Rigby, the .458 Lott and .500 Jeffery.
My favorite .375 “Bush load” is a 300 grain round nose soft (Hornady, Woodleigh, etc) leaving the muzzle at about 2400 fps.
I’ve shot critters in both Africa and Alaska with this load and it has always worked absolutely perfect.

I load my .416, .458 Lott and .500 Jeffery, all to only just a little over 2100 fps, using 400 grain, 480 grain and 570 grainers respectively.
Admittedly, I have not shot anything yet except inanimate targets, with these last 3 large bore cartridges.
Nonetheless, from the sticks while standing, they are quite tolerable.
Likewise, if there is any land animal alive today that I cannot dispatch with a well placed shot from any of the above described ballistics, I would be quite surprised.

Cheers,
Velo Dog.
 

shootist~

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I'll give it a try! I'm a recoil sissy as well.

If you have a butt stock ammo carrier (and reload) here's an inexpensive trick to add some weight to the rifle, which also acts to reduce recoil.

Take some fired brass and resize without the decapping pin. (This leaves the spent primer in the case.) Mark the case head with your permanent marker of choice.

Fill with birdshot, but leave enough room to seat a bullet.
Seat whatever bullet you happen to have in surplus.

I used fired 308 brass, 150 grain fmj's and #8 1/2 "Magnum" shot.
Six 308 dummies weight just over a half pound - similar in weight to six 9.3x62's.

FWIW, the placebo effect may be as much benefit as the added weight. :)
 

Professor Mawla

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Good day , Grouser .

Would it be possible to show us a photograph of the stock of your .375 H&H ( Holland & Holland ) Magnum ? If not , then please tell us what make and model of rifle your .375 H&H Magnum is . And also the barrel length . And also tell us your height and weight .

Good stock fit is the real key in mitigating recoil . I have even seen .375 H&H Magnums weighing barely seven pounds , which were actually quite pleasant to shoot . This was due to the excellent stock fit . The gentlemen at John Rigby & Co . ( to name only one company ) have mastered this craft particularly well .

To put matters into perspective , this is my .458 Winchester Magnum .
1A185CB1-E711-476E-B608-2D9178181E47.jpeg

It uses a contoured French walnut stock and a 25 inch Douglas Premium barrel which really helps to keep recoil to a minimum . My height six feet six inches .

I am quite confident that you shall be able to have your recoil problems sorted out in absolutely no time .
 

Grouser

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Professor, good day.

I figure there is very little that my Mark V .270 WBY won't accomplish. So my .375 is Weatherby's Vanguard S2 with what is referred to as their Tupperware stock. Not very pretty, but very serviceable. Scope is a Leopold 2~7X. I'm 5'8" and 190 pounds. Rifle fits fine. As a retired bird hunter, rifle fit is further down the list compared to fit for wing-shooting.

Adding weight and reducing loads are helpful but pushing 15 pounds forward at trigger break seems to be most helpful.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Grouser
aka Trent

WBY Vanguard S2.jpg
Tripod1.jpg
Tripod2.jpg
Tripod3.jpg
 
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Tucketed

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My 375 was slightly short. I added a Pachmayr Decelerator Slip On Recoil Pad over the existing pad. Makes a world of difference.
 

shootist~

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I'll give it a try! I'm a recoil sissy as well.

I was out this morning with a 9.3x62, 308W and a 22. Keyed on loading up my Bog Tripod (sticks) with lots of forward pressure.

I did not use the sling swivel stud since I mount that forward of the yoke. Left hand is also forward and wrapped around the yoke and rifle forearm (thumb over the top of the barrel, keeping everything snug).

Loading up the sticks (aka significant forward pressure), worked very well indeed - both for lessening perceived recoil with the 9.3, as well as improved accuracy. I did some very nice groups from the sticks on steel at 225 yards.

This is essentially the same thing as used when shooting from barricades in the gun games.
 

BeeMaa

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@Grouser
I was using the same grip on my Bog-Pod when shooting my 375.
It worked OK, but I switched to gripping the rifle forend instead.
My reasoning is that as you recoil, you don't pull up the sticks at the same time.
Leaving the sticks in place makes for a faster follow up shot.

It made a big difference when I moved up to shooting the 416RM.
Check out this video of me shooting 2 shots of 416.
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOwTD0tEtxdrkU69Ls_JMK5dIYCCnh3dcL1PmS8

Also, I put two legs forward on the tripod and one to the back.
This allows me to just push a little bit to gain a little height if needed.

EDIT - I also stand a little more upright than most.
I roll with the recoil instead of trying to stop it.
I'm 160# and 70", so not much difference.
 

MMAL

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Grouser,

I saws you picture of your left hand. Try turning it palm up and grabbing the rifle stock around the U of the tri-pod. That was what I was taught. Just an fyi and really in the end, it is what works. I do not worry about being pretty, just get the bullet where you need it to be.
 

Grouser

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Thank you all!
The sling is the link. It gives a solid push against the yoke, and the rifle is bonded to the yoke. My firm grasp of the tripod allows me to pick up the tripod with the rifle solidly attached for a quick and easy relocation. When the trigger breaks, my left hands grip remains unchanged except now I am pulling back to free my right hand to cycle the action with the butt against my shoulder for a following shot.
I’m sure there are many variations, but making the rifle part of the tripod works best for me.
 

colorado

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I have a Mark V in 270 Weatherby as well. The recoil of a 375 H&H is maybe twice as much but is slower. How does your 375 H&H fit you? Is the length of pull right? If it's a bit short consider putting on a Limbsaver slip on recoil pad over your current recoil pad. It makes a lot of difference and it's cheap.
 

Royal27

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I once took a lesson from a navy seal shooting instructor. He knew his stuff. What you describe above is exactly what he taught when shooting off of sticks

So you've been to SAAM and trained with Dog. Great stuff there! (y)
 

Kevin Peacocke

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Hello Grouser and MMAL,

The information you guys posted sounds excellent.
I plan to try same.

Meanwhile, I use another trick that, if you hand-load your ammunition, works well.
It is simply to use the lower powder charges, as shown in your favorite reloading book / internet site.
It noticeably reduces recoil, if however slightly, nonetheless it is noticeable.
The African cartridges I regularly load down a bit, include the .375 H&H, the .416 Rigby, the .458 Lott and .500 Jeffery.
My favorite .375 “Bush load” is a 300 grain round nose soft (Hornady, Woodleigh, etc) leaving the muzzle at about 2400 fps.
I’ve shot critters in both Africa and Alaska with this load and it has always worked absolutely perfect.

I load my .416, .458 Lott and .500 Jeffery, all to only just a little over 2100 fps, using 400 grain, 480 grain and 570 grainers respectively.
Admittedly, I have not shot anything yet except inanimate targets, with these last 3 large bore cartridges.
Nonetheless, from the sticks while standing, they are quite tolerable.
Likewise, if there is any land animal alive today that I cannot dispatch with a well placed shot from any of the above described ballistics, I would be quite surprised.

Cheers,
Velo Dog.
The 375 H&H 300gr downloaded to 2400fps is what a 375 Flanged Magnum achieves. In the opinion of Dr Kevin Robertson and others this is a better velocity for 375 anyway. I find my FL better to shoot than the H&H even though the FL rifle weighs quite a bit less.
 

MMAL

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So you've been to SAAM and trained with Dog. Great stuff there! (y)

Unfortunately not. This was at Hudson Farms in New Jersey.
 

One Day...

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Hello Grouser;

Since you are looking to acquire proper habits, with much apologies please allow me to say that you are not doing it right, and please allow a few observations :)

1) As indicated by MMAL and BeeMaa, you need to use your left hand to pull the stock rearward into your shoulder pocket during aiming, and to control firmly the forearm lift under recoil. The way you hold the sling provides no aiming stability and little recoil control.

2) If it is rested behind the tripod/bipod fork, the swivel stud (when it is located on the forearm, which is not ideal on a high recoil rifle - hence barrel band swivel studs on DG rifles) has a very good chance sooner of letter of biting hard into your left hand when you hold the rifle by the forehand, especially when you get into 416, .458 etc. calibers.

3) Grabbing the tripod/bipod together with the forearm will result in lifting the tripod/bipod off the ground under severe recoil, especially when you get into .40+ calibers, and will slow down considerably a follow up shot as chances are good that the tripod/bipod will not return to its proper position.

4) Therefore, the proper left hand position is to have the swivel stud ahead of the bipod/tripod fork, and to hold the forearm only - not the tripod, and not the barrel - firmly, as follows:
Proper left hand hold for sticks.JPG


5) To minimize the lateral (side to side) sway of the rifle on the sticks, it is important to have the rifle resting on the sticks near the forearm end (which you are doing correctly), otherwise the upper body sway will result in substantial muzzle wobble:
Rifle middle on sticks.jpg
:
Incorrect position: the rifle rests on the sticks near the front action screw, resulting in the upper body sway inducing substantial muzzle wobble.

Rifle forearm on sticks.jpg

Correct position: the rifle rests on the sticks near the end of the forearm, resulting in the upper body sway inducing minimum muzzle wobble.

6) To further minimize the lateral (side to side) sway of the rifle on the sticks, it is important to form a triangle between the sticks and the two feet:

Wrong feet position for sticks.jpg

Incorrect feet position: the two feet in line with the tripod result in the upper body sway inducing muzzle wobble.

Proper feet position for sticks.jpg

Correct feet position: the two feet forming a triangle with the tripod result in little to no upper body sway inducing little to no muzzle wobble.

7) To minimize the longitudinal (front to back) sway, it is important to lean heavily (within reason) onto the tripod/bipod (which you are doing correctly). Placing the left foot slightly ahead of the right foot will also prevent tipping backward and loosing balance under strong recoil.

8) To facilitate recoil absorption, it is important that the tripod/bipod fork be almost at shoulder height so that the body can rock back under recoil, rather than fight painfully the recoil, being hunched over the stock (and risking a very painful scope bite).

If regularly practiced, this proper shooting form will result in darn near 100% hits standing off the sticks on an 8" steel plate out to 200 yards, without recoil pain or body hurt, even from the most powerful rifles (e.g .458 Lott).


PS: Keep in mind that full power practice has but little to do with shooting form practice, and that you can practice endlessly and almost for free your shooting form with a .22 LR out to 150 yards on a 6" plate. The passing grade is 5 series of 5 shots each (25 shots total) for 25 hits at 150 yard. Every miss resets the count. By the time you get there routinely (say after 500 to 1,000 .22 LR practice rounds for most folks), you will be amazed to discover that .22 LR shooting form carries seamlessly into full power rifles shooting, and there is not much Africa can throw at you that you will not be ready for :)
 
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Tra3

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I think @One Day... is spot on.

I like to allow the weight of my arm to pull the foreend of the rifle into the sticks while pulling the rifle into my shoulder pocket (think no lifting at all) That helps keep the barrel down. I’m now curious to know if that downward pull has a detrimental effect on accuracy.

the correct feet position as described above also helps square the shoulders to the rifle which helps one’s head to not be so close to the scope. I own (earned) three scope scars, which is enough for now.
 

shootist~

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This is such a great thread. The following was in response to a PM, but after another range session this morning I thought I would post a version here as well.

It all boils down to whatever works best to get solid First Shot Hit. Recoil mitigation is a Huge part of that with the bigger calibers! Old 3-Gun saying: "You can't miss fast enough to win"! :)

Loading up the sticks (pushing forward) is absolutely working for me. Thanks to Grouser for the post that made me look at what I was doing! :)

I've also been working on better breathing technique that I got from a professional shooter (sniper, PRS, etc.) the other day. All basic stuff that we can forget at times when we get out of our normal element. Between the two, things are really coming together for me.

I ran a few off the sticks again today at 219 yards (10" & 12" steel) and also at 325 yards (12" & 18" steel) with very good results. Shot with forward hand both behind the yoke (aka Good Day) and in front of yoke / thumb over the barrel (my normal). Both worked, but I just like my hand out further - and recoil control is better there for me - (old 3-gun habit).

BTW, there is no reason that more that one method cannot be practiced.

Do what gets you the confidence to make that first shot count.
 

Fastrig

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Okay, this involves sticks/tripod usage.

I am the recent new owner of a .375 H&H. From a recoil standpoint, quite a step up from my old friend .270WBY.

Off a bench, it was a killer. (I'm a recoil pansy).

Shooting off my tripod, I have developed a habit of having one tripod leg forward. I slide the rifle forward to where the sling stud stops against the tripod. I wrap my left hand around the sling/stud/tripod junction making one unit. (This is handy if I need to make a last minute adjustment as I pick up the rifle/sling/tripod unit and move as one with rifle still on my shoulder). While using this grasp, I push against that front leg. Right hand snugly pulling the stock to my shoulder, but shoulder and left hand pushing forward on that front leg. According to my bath scales pushing against a wall, it is easy to push forward (and some down) in amounts above 15 pounds. Obviously won't work with a bi-pod. ;)

This makes my 8.625 pound rifle recoil like a 20 plus pound rifle. Serious mitigation.

Now listen, if this is mathematically impossible, please keep it to yourself. I'm in painless bliss.

Grouser

Something else you might give a go, and I'll pause while the he-men gasp at this, but try wearing a shoulder harness shooting pad. I've abused my body more than I should have over the years from playing football, riding motorcycles like a banshee, jumping out of airplanes, and any number of other stunts that seemed like a good idea at the time. My shooting shoulder has been dislocated a few times and it's a bit recoil sensitive with powerful shotguns and heavy caliber rifles. I finally swallowed my pride a number of years ago and started wearing a harness with a good quarter inch pad and it has made shooting enjoyable again. I tried the half inch pad, and while it mitigated pretty much all of the recoil, it added just too much to my LOP comfort zone. The quarter inch pad mitigates a good chunk of the recoil without goofing up my shooting posture. You feel a little self conscious the first few times you wear one to the range, but you forget about it after a box or so of shots and your shoulder isn't sore and you aren't flinching.
 
 

 

 

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