Techniques for heavy recoiling rifles

dougfinn

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I have found lots of very informative videos on YouTube that show the best stance as well as how to grip and hold the rifle to reduce felt recoil. I’ve used the techniques I’ve learned when shooting my 450/400 N.E. And it definitely makes the shooting more enjoyable, as with proper stance you can recover your sight picture quicker which allows me to enjoy watching the ground explode behind my target like an artillery shell just landed.
 

tarbe

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One thing I noticed - my 450-400 seems very manageable now that I have a couple hundred 470 NE rounds downrange!
 

colorado

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One thing I noticed - my 450-400 seems very manageable now that I have a couple hundred 470 NE rounds downrange!

Exactly! After shooting 10 rounds with the 500 Jeffery our 7.25 lb 375 Weatherby feels like a 270

:)
 

mark-hunter

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1. don't shoot a rifle that isn't balanced and weighted properly unless you like pain.

Matt85, what is balanced rifle? How to recognize it? How to define it?

This is the question that I searched for answer many times, but failed to get one.

I know that many times even a newbie hunter buying an ordinary, average deer rifle, possibly handling the rifle for first time in his life may say: "I love the rifle, its perfectly balanced!"

But when asked, what it means a well balanced rifle, ususally there is no answer, or no clear answer.
So many people are mentioning a rifle well balanced, but to get defintion is much harder.
 

Dr Ray

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ive taught plenty of people to shoot large bore rifles but its not the easiest thing to teach without being there in person.

some helpful tips:
1. don't shoot a rifle that isn't balanced and weighted properly unless you like pain.
2. plant your feet as if you are attempting to push a heavy object.
3. shift your center of balance forward onto your leading foot.
4. ensure the entire butt of the rifle has contact with your shoulder. this can be tricky and having a second person helps a lot!
5. pull the gun firmly into the shoulder. this doesn't need to be white knuckle pulling but someone shouldn't be able to force a finger between the stock and your shoulder.
6. the bigger the gun, the less tolerant it will be of mistakes in shooting technique.
7. with proper technique even the largest guns will not be painful to shoot. assuming they are of correct weight and have proper balance.

-matt

Well said and use a high quality scope with long eye relief.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Agree with all the comments so far. I would add that having a good recoil pad on the rifle helps too and I will use a Evo Shield shooter's shirt for extended range sessions.
https://www.evoshield.com/en-us/shooting?CMPID=Google-evoshield_sb_g_shooting_branded-category_broad-+evoshield +shooting +shirts-b-c-191361490068-&gclid=Cj0KCQjw77TbBRDtARIsAC4l83lVdfGcsjC3s-IDaYOmzgA6AI2BRdfOvKUA0soYajzLsEAkTtDvD7QaAhmvEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

I would add that when using a Lead Sled, don't over load it. Think about it: If a rifle weighs 8-10 lbs, the empty Lead Sled by itself will double the total weight and cut the felt recoil in half. Adding 25 lbs is the most I've ever used. Going with more weight will increase the chance of doing damage to the stock.

When shooting from the bench (without a Lead Sled), using a more upright body position as opposed to the laid out, leaning forward position used by target shooters, will allow the body to move with the recoil, similar to standing.
 

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tarbe

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But when asked, what it means a well balanced rifle, ususally there is no answer, or no clear answer.
So many people are mentioning a rifle well balanced, but to get defintion is much harder.

I think it is largely a subjective thing, there is no universal answer.

My preference is to have a hunting rifle balance between my hands. Some like muzzle heavy. Never met anyone who liked a rifle butt-heavy!
 

rookhawk

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Taking a wingshooting instructional class that uses the Churchill Method or the Instinctive Method is invaluable for managing the recoil of any rifle or shotgun. Foot placement and proper ready position are really important. The goofy "rifleman" stance with left foot pointing towards the target and right foot perpendicular to the target is not super comfortable nor smart. (with weight primarily on the back foot) A wingshooter's stance with shoulders thrust forward, right elbow up, weight on balls of the feet, creates a proper shoulder pocket for good fit of the butt to the body and allows the body to absorb the recoil while it pushes you back on your heels.

Orvis guide to wingshooting or Churchill's book are useful instructions for this topic.
 

ChrisG

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I know I have posted this elsewhere, but this is Ron Spomer Shooting a .416 Rigby. I think his posture is about perfect.



-He is leaning into the gun enough that it helps his body absord some of the recoil,
-He has a good solid grip on the rifle
-He is wearing leather gloves which sometimes help if you middle finger on your trigger hand is getting slapped by the trigger guard.
-arms tucked in which places more meat underneath the buttstock. (with arms splayed you are using more of your skeletal structure to absorb recoil, which is painful)
-his legs are set a good deal apart with his non dominant side foreward bracing him.

no he is not resting the barrel on the shooting sticks, he is well in front of them.
 

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AfricanEclipse

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Lots of good techniques mentioned here and the photo above is excellent.

I am not proficient at much of anything but I do like to shoot so I offer my 2 cents as food for thought.

While my .300 Win Mag isn't what I consider a "big bore" rifle, at 7.5 lbs all up shooting weight including a 1 lb scope and several oz. sling it will, without issue, teach you a lesson. At 5'11" and 195 lbs. I am not a big, beefy, guy. My right arm has been broken at the shoulder, elbow, and wrist and my neck has suffered whiplash too many times so comfort is a little important to me. When I first got it I shot the rifle a couple times and promptly ordered a Limb Saver butt pad for it. It was easy to install but if you're not good with power tools have someone that knows what they're doing custom sand the profile to streamline it with the stock. I highly recommend them. I even put one on my AR-10 (.308 win).
Personally, I think shooting off of sticks is the easiest on the body and shoulder. I put 30 rounds, yes 30, through it at one sitting while developing a load for it. I hurt for a couple days afterwards but that isn't the point. Agreeing with several of the posts above, the bio-mechanics of shooting in a seated or prone position are not the best for your body. But there are good techniques for those positions.
Until I am comfortable with a weapon and know how to hold and shoot it effectively I follow three simple guidelines:
1. Hold the rifle firmly and press it tightly to your shoulder. A python grip isn't necessary. Keep the elbow of the arm with the trigger finger between 45 and 90 degrees to your side. "Tightly" means preventing any and all recoil jump. The more surface area the butt pad makes with your body the more energy dispersion.
2. Lean into it and relax. Breathe. Remove all fear from your mind.
3. Let it rock you. (Not so much that the scope becomes part of your eye socket! :D) This is where standing allows your body to move with the rifle.

I shot that rifle from sticks taking game at 165, 225, and 296 yards wearing two thin layers and it was enjoyable.

Practice friends!
 

Franko

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I just picked up a CZ 550 416 Rigby and am yet to shoot it or anything bigger than my 9.3 x 62. I'm 6'4" and about 100kg's. Most guns are too short for me and the CZ seemed about 20mm too short at a guess, but I'm wondering how best to measure the correct length of pull for a rifle like this?
Thanks.
 

JPbowhunter

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I just picked up a CZ 550 416 Rigby and am yet to shoot it or anything bigger than my 9.3 x 62. I'm 6'4" and about 100kg's. Most guns are too short for me and the CZ seemed about 20mm too short at a guess, but I'm wondering how best to measure the correct length of pull for a rifle like this?
Thanks.
Keen to hear how you go with it. I'm 5'11" amd 83kg and like you haven't shot bigger than 9.3x62 or a 50 cal muzzleloader. Always wondered how I'd handle large bore recoil.
 

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I know I have posted this elsewhere, but this is Ron Spomer Shooting a .416 Rigby. I think his posture is about perfect.



-He is leaning into the gun enough that it helps his body absord some of the recoil,
-He has a good solid grip on the rifle
-He is wearing leather gloves which sometimes help if you middle finger on your trigger hand is getting slapped by the trigger guard.
-arms tucked in which places more meat underneath the buttstock. (with arms splayed you are using more of your skeletal structure to absorb recoil, which is painful)
-his legs are set a good deal apart with his non dominant side foreward bracing him.

no he is not resting the barrel on the shooting sticks, he is well in front of them.
Interesting. Spomer has a lot of rounds down range, and I won't question what works for him. However, from my experience, he is sitting too far back on his "weak" or right leg. And the photo might look different if I could see his posture full length. I am quite a bit more forward on my forward leg - regardless of caliber. I am right handed and the left shoulder ends up in an almost vertical line to the left ankle. As Rookhawk observes, that is classic British shotgun technique, and it works extremely well for a rifle as well. With the front leg as a pivot point, one has maximum flexibility for the shot and lots of room to recover from recoil.

If you really want to see folks punished by recoil, watch a goose hunter trying to handle 3.5 inch 12 bore loads. Laying out in a pop-up blind and trying to shoot them sitting make grown men whimper. And trying to shoot them off the back leg in a regular blind will sit you down again.

Finally, whatever position one uses, use it for everything - one reason English double gun technique is so helpful - everything is handled the same way. From stance and shooting position, I handle everything from a scoped .22, to my 12 bore Cashmore, to a .404 essentially the same way. When the manure hits the fan in the tall grass, or you have that 2 seconds to get off a shot at the bull of a lifetime, you will revert to whatever muscle memory and technique you have made natural - regardless of the firearm in your hand.
 

Adrian

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For me, the shooter was a little too upright for such a heavy recoil although in a non dangerous target shoot perhaps the way his body rocked with the recoil is a way of managing it.
That said, you should practice for situations in the bush to gain muscle memory.

 

jacques smith

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Adrian. Thanks for video. I’m giggling— I agree with red leg on spooner posture. I personally would be leaning in more. I guide goose hunters on spring migration and it’s a whole different deal coming up out of a canvas coffin Regarding LOP questions— quick check is rest the recoil pad on your bicep with your arm 90 degrees from vertical— check trigger figure relationship. Hope this helps. Any competent gunsmith can get exact measurement. It part of FIT
Cheers
 

colorado

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I don't lean in too much. I shoot my 500 Jeffery like I shoot my 270 or a shotgun. No changes needed for me except a somewhat firmer grip on the forearm. Don't fight it, just causes you to absorb more recoil. Offhand is easy, bench is hard because your body is more forward and really doesn't have much give at the bench. Whatever works for you :)
 

Eric Anderson

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Isnt that how everyone should hold every gun irrespective of calibre?

I didn't realise holding a gun was a skill, must be some interesting people out there!
The way I was taught to shoot an M-16 in the Marine Corps worked very well shooting iron sights out to 500 yards with no rest. Not pleasant to even shoot a 30-06 like that.
What works for me is to shoot a big bore like a 12 gauge with heavy hunting loads.
Pull it in tight with the entire but in your shoulder pocket, shoulders and feet square to your target, and ride the recoil back, do not fight it.
 

Eric Anderson

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Taking a wingshooting instructional class that uses the Churchill Method or the Instinctive Method is invaluable for managing the recoil of any rifle or shotgun. Foot placement and proper ready position are really important. The goofy "rifleman" stance with left foot pointing towards the target and right foot perpendicular to the target is not super comfortable nor smart. (with weight primarily on the back foot) A wingshooter's stance with shoulders thrust forward, right elbow up, weight on balls of the feet, creates a proper shoulder pocket for good fit of the butt to the body and allows the body to absorb the recoil while it pushes you back on your heels.

Orvis guide to wingshooting or Churchill's book are useful instructions for this topic.
The rifleman stance is designed for assault rifles. It works very well for what it was designed for, but wil kick your behind if used outside its intended purpose.
 

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Brickburn’s video was the best instructional video I’ve seen....it proves that even strong arms from riding camels all day will not protect against heavy recoil unless one uses proper technique...FWB
 

ChrisG

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Interesting. Spomer has a lot of rounds down range, and I won't question what works for him. However, from my experience, he is sitting too far back on his "weak" or right leg. And the photo might look different if I could see his posture full length. I am quite a bit more forward on my forward leg - regardless of caliber. I am right handed and the left shoulder ends up in an almost vertical line to the left ankle. As Rookhawk observes, that is classic British shotgun technique, and it works extremely well for a rifle as well. With the front leg as a pivot point, one has maximum flexibility for the shot and lots of room to recover from recoil.

If you really want to see folks punished by recoil, watch a goose hunter trying to handle 3.5 inch 12 bore loads. Laying out in a pop-up blind and trying to shoot them sitting make grown men whimper. And trying to shoot them off the back leg in a regular blind will sit you down again.

Finally, whatever position one uses, use it for everything - one reason English double gun technique is so helpful - everything is handled the same way. From stance and shooting position, I handle everything from a scoped .22, to my 12 bore Cashmore, to a .404 essentially the same way. When the manure hits the fan in the tall grass, or you have that 2 seconds to get off a shot at the bull of a lifetime, you will revert to whatever muscle memory and technique you have made natural - regardless of the firearm in your hand.

This is the full video. It's his review of the new rigby .416 big game:
 

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