Recoil: what does it mean to you?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by vinnymbogo, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. vinnymbogo

    vinnymbogo AH Veteran

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    I'm having some trouble understanding why some shooters/hunters have an issue with recoil bothering their shoulders. This is a problem I've never experienced. I own or have handled calibers up to 500 NE and 3 1/2" 12 gauge magnums. My "go to" rifle is a .416 Rigby and I'll shoot 410 gr Woodleighs (2375 fps) all day long and not have any soreness or bruising on my shoulder. Most of the rifles I load for, I will work towards the tightest group; they aren't always loaded to the max, but generally pretty close. I always tend to use the heavier bullets for each rifle as I prefer their wind-bucking characteristics. I am probably considered on the slim side: 6'1" and 180 lbs. I never lean into the gun, I pull back the forestock with my off hand and my trigger hand is somewhat looser.

    That being said, if I get careless or happen to be shooting at an odd angle, I've been slapped on the brow or nose by the scope more times than I care to admit. My shoulders also have a bit of arthritis from weightlifting in my youth, yet shooting heavy recoil rifles or shotguns doesn't seem to bother them (I'm ambidextrous: firearms I prefer right handed; archery, I only shoot left handed). I'm not pretending to be a tough guy, just curious as to the physics! Any other AH readers have any similar experiences or ideas?
     

  2. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Elite

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    Bragging?:)
    Good for you. I now have more recoil issues since I have had multiple surgeries, getting old(65) and more RA through out my body.
    You may find that all that shooting of hard recoiling rifles combined with other activities will take a toll on your body as you age. It did me. If you are already my age then I do not know what to say.

    Just like the work I have done and shooting for years without ear protection has caused a loss of hearing for me. Because of that I never allowed my daughter to shoot without ear protection. Same with other people I take shooting. I have plugs and 4 sets of ear muffs.
     
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  3. vinnymbogo

    vinnymbogo AH Veteran

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    No surgeries yet (knock wood) but I'm not that far behind you in age:59. I hear you (pun intended) on the hearing loss!:Headphone:.
     

  4. lcq

    lcq AH Elite

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    recoil means flinching, less accuracy and punishment. If that makes me a wimp I'll own it. lord to be able to legally buy and own a supressor, a god send for my shoulder and ears
     

  5. vinnymbogo

    vinnymbogo AH Veteran

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    I flinch as well, but that is more a fear of what the scope may do if I`m not concentrating. I also wish supressors were legal here in the great white north.
     
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  6. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    The physics boils down to equal and opposite reaction. A rather light projectile moving one direction
    combined with the pressure of gases in the same direction causes a much heavier rifle to move in the opposite direction at a much slower but not negligible speed.

    If you're the shooter of the projectile you now become the energy sponge that receives the kinetic energy transfer from the rifle. Now how that energy is absorbed and the resulting touch and hearing sensations which is quite subjective from shooter to shooter is realized will vary from person to person even with the same rifle.

    Just a few variables: Stock design, shooter technique - grip/rolling with the shot, recoil pad and experience with shooting bigger kickers

    I'm sure there are more. "Felt" recoil is an interesting topic and I know for some it's worse than others. There's also no doubt in my mind that while the physical punishment that your body feels and your ears may endure is "real" that a portion of this is mental. My biggest bore is a .458 and it with no doubt by the numbers is my hardest kicker. But there was a time that my .300 Win Mag was my biggest kicker and I respected the recoil of that gun. However after having owned and shot my .458 for sometime now, the .300 WM gets no extra thoughts regarding recoil even with 200gr loads. But the physics of the .300 haven't changed so why has my "felt" recoil lessened? Has to be mental. It's not like I've been working my shoulder on a regular basis at home with a sledge hammer.
     

  7. lcq

    lcq AH Elite

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    I had a Parker Hale in 7mm mag that left a very blue mark on my shoulder, sold it cheap and never looked back. I'm sure it was crappy stock design that made it worse than other guns
     

  8. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    For most of this summer I spent working on loads for my newly acquired 404 Jeff and I was also working on fine tuning my 375HH. I developed some soreness in my shoulder but considering I was running a 100 yds down range between the two I expected to be a little uncomfortable, but what I did notice I developed quite a flinch. I was able to get good groups with the 404 but just couldn't get the 375 dialed in because of the flinch.I finally retired the 375 to the closet for the rest of the shooting season and shot small to medium bores, my flinch is gradually diminishing and shooting is getting to be fun again altho I seem to still be pulling shots a little left
     

  9. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    It's not like I've been working my shoulder on a regular basis at home with a sledge hammer.

    I like the idea Phil, I'm going to start a daily regimen of hammer therapy!

    As to the OP, I don't have adverse effects from recoil that I am aware of, aware of. There are certain rifles that do not fit me well, one being a M70 458 WM, that rifle hits me in the right spot and I don't like it. Full house Lott loads in my Caprivi feel fine. Had a Mark V 460 WM that when I touched the trigger it made me break out with a case of turrets syndrome, hated that rifle! 505 Gibbs, no problem, 470 NE pleasure to shoot. Now from a bench is a different story, some of these rifles make the human body do things they shouldn't off of bags from a bench. But I think most of the problems with recoil tend to be fit, mental and then physical issues. But as I said before, no effects peronally that I'm aware of click slurp that I'm aware of! Lol
    Cheers,
    Cody
     

  10. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    My shoulder is fine after a number of shots from a big bore, but the back muscles tend to seize up, which is worse.

    The issue for most of us is not the pain, I think. What happens with recoil is that at some point, your mind will start playing tricks on you, and you will begin to anticipate the recoil. Once that happens, a flinch is almost certain to develop. It's not about fear, and it's not about being a baby. It's just the mind. Some people get it - most, I'd say - and at some point, with a big enough rifle, I think almost anyone will face the problem. It can be conquered, but I'm not sure it needs to be if it only impacts you in the larger calibers.

    I am susceptible to recoil, and at one time stopped at about a .404, which is frankly all the rifle anyone - who is not a PH - should ever need. I got a great .416 Rigby a couple of years ago, which is heavy enough, and fits me well enough, that I can shoot it while hunting with few issues. I have no desire - or, more importantly, need - to go bigger.
     
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  11. Longwalker

    Longwalker AH Enthusiast

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    I agree that being bothered by recoil is mostly a psychological issue, but we really don't have much control of our subconscious. I sometimes flinch when shooting such mild cartridges as .308 or 7x57 out of a 9 lb rifle and other times have no trouble shooting an 8-1/2 lb .375. Wish it was otherwise, but not much I can do about it but practise and concentrate - and always wear hearing protection, which helps me tolerate recoil better too!
     
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  12. siml

    siml AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    @Hank2211 , you got it spot on.

    I saw a client take a shot with his 470ne double on the range, when he pulled the trigger he flinched so badly....he had even forgotten to load it....that's the loudest "click" I have heard...
     
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  13. Jwg223

    Jwg223 AH Veteran

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    The worst recoil I've experienced was my Benelli M1014 shooting 3" slugs from a concrete bench. Shooting from a bench is very different from shooting standing. It physically hurt, and that pain made shooting good groups rather mentally challenging. I think I shot 15 rounds or so and then called it good. I was tearing the center out of the target and that is good enough for 1oz of lead at 1700fps.
     

  14. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Behaviour Modification, plain and simple. A flinch is on the way if you are ever hurt.
    Anyone of you hang out near a wasp nest after you have been stung? Not likely.
    I bet you get a little tense next time you see or hear one.


    If the rifle does not fit you well, you hold it improperly you will truly feel it. As the OP noted.

    The one place where I have plenty of experience with recoil is shotgunning.
    I have shot more types of game loads out of a 12 gauge shotgun than the vast majority of people.
    Different loads recoil differently in the same firearm. Powders, payload size, etc.

    Some loads actually hurt and others produce no reaction. I have zero idea why because the specs on the package, fps, lead weight are the same.

    I have checked for bias by having someone else load a random shell in the gun and neither of you get to look at it.
    Then see how it feels.
    Most folks don't do 15 different random loads in one session.
    Over and under vs Semi Auto felt recoil differs.
    Short stock, heavier weight firearm change felt recoil.

    Maybe the OP is just a lucky one that has rifles that fit and most of the time holds them properly.


    Want to prove you don't flinch. Have someone load (blind to you) random blanks into your shotgun or rifle.
    Video tape it, you will catch yourself if you do.
     
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  15. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Yes....

    This is essentially how I taught my boys about recoil and to prevent flinching. I would "load" the rifle for them at the range when there for practice. Then one day while there I closed the bolt on an empty chamber. Neither had a serious flinch nor were they complaining of a sore shoulder or being hurt. But a bit of a flinch and I was able to point it out to them. From there they learned to concentrate on the target only and not the rifle. It is a mental game at that point. Seems to have worked for my wife too.
     

  16. AFRICADEE

    AFRICADEE AH Member

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    image.jpeg It means that some time you will have a blueish shoulder.... After 22 quick shots to sight in a new and stubborn scope in the veld after the first scope gave up the ghost and the Blue Wildebees culling had to continue.... 416 Rigby... 400grains at 2400f/ sec. Dead rest over the Cruiser... I still love my Rigby....
     

  17. siml

    siml AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Africadee, that's some serious punishment.
     

  18. Patrick R

    Patrick R AH Fanatic

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    Hell ya...why? ouch...
     

  19. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    I agree with Phil. There was a time I thought my 300 win mag kicked a lot. Then I got a 45-70 and thought that was the thumper. Then I got a 416 Ruger and was sure that it could crack a persons shoulder. So what did I do....I bought a 458 Lott and man does that thing hit you. But I've fired a 500 NE that seems to kick about like the 416. It does indeed have something to do with the construction of the rifle but once you shoot one that you know packs a special thump all others a measured to that rifle in terms of felt recoil.
     

  20. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    There is something to be said about accepting the recoil the rifle doles out. When I got my 375 there was definitely a learning curve. My initial impression was that it really wasn't all that bad because it pushed rather than punched. My 06 felt more like a jab. But, some days I would come home after shooting the 375 with a headache. Worse, I would lose my target for a bit until my eyes refocused. But, by working up various loads I got to accept the way the gun handled. I also had my son load the 375 and swap in snap caps just to calm me down. I vividly remember the first time I saw the bullet hit the target and the earth leap up behind it. For me that was momentous because I had removed myself from the recoil of the 375. I guess you want recoil to happen, but not happen against you, if that makes sense. In the end I saw every hit in South Africa, even the one I almost botched.

    BTW I sent my 06 out to have a recoil pad, LOP and trigger adjustments done; when I got home the 375 just felt more comfortable!
     
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