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Thread: Recoil Question.

  1. #1

    Recoil Question.

    I was just wondering what peoples thoughts or perceptions are on different recoiling calibres. Am I right in thinking there are different types of recoil, velocity type and felt recoil? I have .243, 6.5 x 55 and .308. They are all barrels so can test recoil or compare quite well as the gun stock/ weight remains constant. Admittedly there are different weights or grains for each calibre, but there are obviously differences between each. I actually find the .243 to appear quite "sharp" to me (90 grs, 20 inch barrel) as opposed to the 6.5 and 308 more of a felt recoil to the shoulder. (all very slight differences though). Maybe I'm "feeling" the velocity of the .243 more in a certain way? I was just wondering if people are more tolerant of a certain type of recoil?, or feel certain calibres differently? or whether someone has found their perfect calibre/ bullet weight combination.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Yup you are not alone there. The chuck Hawks article is very good. High pressure high velocity cartridges always have a sharp recoil, whereas low pressure lower velocity have more of a shove. Given the same bullet weight going at the same velocity, the larger calibre will need less pressure ( larger surface area) to get the same velocity and will thus a corresponding less jab by recoil.

    Powder makes a big difference as well. A fast powder gives a rapid rise in pressure, whereas a slow powder will give long slow push and hence the softer recoil.

    Personally i I don't mind a steady shove, but a snappy recoil is very uncomfortable. In order of importance perceived recoil is a function of:

    1) scope and scope mounting - if it's not mounted correctly for you then you have to put yourself in an uncomfortable position. If the scope is too far back and whacks you it hurts, even being scoped by a 243 hurts.

    2) stock length and height of comb. A longer, rather than shooter stock is more comfortable. A straight, or slightly forward sloping comb is comfortable. Lots of drop really kicks up.

    3) balance and gunweight

    4) shooting position - you can control a lot of the recoil with your shooting position. A firm grip stops the rifle jumping about.

    5) target - you will always feel recoil on the range, not when shooting a deer.

    6) your shooting session - don't shoot a heavy recoiling rifle lots or last. Finish off with a 22 rimfire to get your muscle forgetting recoil.

    7) hearing protection - noisier = more perceived recoil.

    8) last but not least is the cartridge and calibre.

    In the OP - I suspect you can tell a bit on the range, but in the field could be hard.
    Last edited by Heym SR20; 14-10-2015 at 23:04.

  4. #4
    9) Shooting from a bench, especially in an unnatural position, will make felt recoil worse. Try shooting from field positions: offhand, off sticks, sitting, kneeling, and prone. Being able to roll with heavy kicking rifles is essential. Trying to "muscle" them will just make you soak up the punch.

    10) Shooting through a scope can make recoil seem worse, just as blast can. It is only natural to recoil from something coming at your eye. Try shooting iron sights, especially when moving up in power, like from .243 to .308, or 7x57 to 7mm Rem Mag, until you don't think about recoil. I think a lot of us who grew up shooting iron sights are less attuned to recoil.

  5. #5
    I'd agree with the two previous posts, I used to have an issue with snatching the trigger and moving my head away every time I fired. I'll admit this was probably started by once upon a time having my scope to close to me and during winter wearing a thick coat the but of the gun slipped under my shoulder and smacked me in the face!! I think to a certain degree I was waiting for that loud bang too which would make me jump.

    Now however, I've got over my flinching, I wear ear plugs with unmoderated guns and slowly all of my rifles are being fitted with moderators to reduce felt recoil.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Boarboy View Post
    I was just wondering what peoples thoughts or perceptions are on different recoiling calibres. Am I right in thinking there are different types of recoil, velocity type and felt recoil? .
    technically speaking there is only one type of recoil.

    it is just physics in motion
    a linear force between a smaller/lighter and a larger/heavier one.

    The aspects of relevance are the mass of the two objects (bullet and rifle) and the force applied
    The 2nd and 3rd are more significant

    increase the weight - less felt recoil
    change the force - change the recoil

    faster, snappier powders in small for size (over bore) cartridges feel worse to me (.243 shooting N140/varget for instance)
    than larger cartridges shooting slower powder (.300wm shooting N165 or H1000 for instance. examples I have felt)

    But...IMO the primary aspect of you actually feeling the recoil is gun fit and technique.
    if you don't load the stock with your shoulder and leave a gap for the rifle to create momentum you will feel it much more
    if it doesn't fit your cheek (scope height) or arm length, if it has a hogs back stock and you are shooting prone, if the eye relief is too short.

    I quite like a bit of recoil, its not meant to hurt though...it does help being 6'4" and the fat end of 200lbs though!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by bewsher500 View Post
    technically speaking there is only one type of recoil.

    it is just physics in motion
    a linear force between a smaller/lighter and a larger/heavier one.

    The aspects of relevance are the mass of the two objects (bullet and rifle) and the force applied
    The 2nd and 3rd are more significant

    increase the weight - less felt recoil
    change the force - change the recoil

    faster, snappier powders in small for size (over bore) cartridges feel worse to me (.243 shooting N140/varget for instance)
    than larger cartridges shooting slower powder (.300wm shooting N165 or H1000 for instance. examples I have felt)

    But...IMO the primary aspect of you actually feeling the recoil is gun fit and technique.
    if you don't load the stock with your shoulder and leave a gap for the rifle to create momentum you will feel it much more
    if it doesn't fit your cheek (scope height) or arm length, if it has a hogs back stock and you are shooting prone, if the eye relief is too short.

    I quite like a bit of recoil, its not meant to hurt though...it does help being 6'4" and the fat end of 200lbs though!
    I think that's the most significant bit. I've read a lot of opinion based on different rifles which can be pretty meaningless unless the weight of the rifle and the fit or the rifle are known or comparable.

    Recoil can be simply described by Newton's 3rd law (for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction) meaning there's a pair of forces acting in opposition to one another. For felt recoil, it's a combination of the force of the accelerating bullet, the axis of recoil and mass of the rifle.

    The more the axis of recoil is out of line with the physical axis of the rifle, and the lighter the rifle, the more felt recoil and "jump" of for end is experienced. Faster burning powders will have a force peaking earlier than slower burning powders. If you take a .243 and a .308 and compare say equal weight bullets loaded for the same MV, then you would be forgiven for thinking that the felt differences in recoil should be very slight. However, differences will exist where the rifles themselves are different in mass and geometry, plus the peak recoil may be felt (earlier) for longer with the faster burning powder depending on how long the peak pressures exist within the barrel. Perhaps they exist for longer with smaller bullets using higher charges of faster burning powder? Haven't looked into that yet.

    Barrel mass and harmonics also affect felt recoil for obvious reasons. The point of balance of the rifle will also have an affect. I've always experienced less recoil with stocks that are relatively straight, without much drop or cast because the forces acting on the rifle and user are more axial to the force created by the accelerating bullet, plus I like a rifle to be at least 7.5lbs all up.

  8. #8
    Rifle fit, weight and barrel length have an enormous effect.

    The first .308 I actually owned was a Steyr-Mannlicher L. Light rifle, short barrel, short and sloping (germanic) butt. It belted the hell out of me - I hated shooting it and developed a terrible flinch. After a range session of 30 odd rounds, I had clear bruising, similar to what you get from a day of clays with a 12 bore.

    I got rid of it fairly quickly, and replaced it with a Heym. Much heavier rifle, long barrel, straight butt. Utterly different experience - an absolute pleasure to shoot. Percieved recoil anout the same as my .243 (which is a lighter rifle). And this was using the exact same 150gr rounds as with the Mannlicher.

    So when I went to get a .270, I deliberatly looked for a heavy rifle with a long barrel and a straight stock. Got a Sako Finnbear, and again - it is pleasure to shoot. Yes, there is a noticable thump, but it isn't painful of uncontollable, and I seldom loose the sight picture.

    I did also learn to shoot them properly - rather than the crossed arm hold like you see the snipers using in the movies, I hold onto the fore-end, as if you were shooting off just elbows without the bipod. That definitely makes a big difference.

  9. #9
    As a bit of an aside, most people have seen the videos of the guys shooting the .577 TRex, 99% of them end up on the floor or in some sort of disarray, then the chap who I think built it or developed the cartridge has a go and just rolls with the recoil.

  10. #10
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    Gun fit is by far the most important bit for me followed by an appropriate weight for the rifle.

    I got my 45-120 fitted to me (as best as possible without a new stock) and the felt recoil is much less even with a 500gr at 2000fps. I still wouldn't want to spend a day shooting them but shooting them isn't uncomfortable.
    Any Questions Feel Free to PM me

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