Thursday, January 22, 2009

On Recoil Mitigation.

I had myself an apostrophe epiphany vis-a-vis shoulder arms and recoil today.

My usual technique both on the bench and off was to hunch over the rifle for maximum control. The buttstock was resting slightly below the collarbone, and the rest of the shoulder rolled over. The good news was that the muzzle didn't go anywhere. The bad news was that all 14.7 ft-lbs of recoil were deposited directly into the collarbone and surrounding muscles. I am about as far from ripped as it is possible to be, so the net result was my shoulder transmuting to one gigantic bruise after about 40 rounds.

The RO at the saturday night steel shoot talked once about a gentleman at the range shooting a Browning BAR in .300 WinMag, using the same technique, and similarly getting the crap kicked out of him. The RO was shooting a rifle in the same power class, but half the weight, and with no fatigue or bruising. The difference was that the RO used a much looser grip on the gun, and let it pivot up at the shoulder.

Remembering this anecdote, I loaded up the M38 and had another go at it. The recoil pad was centered on the collarbone. When I touched the gun off, I let the muzzle lift 15 or 20 degrees up. A goodly portion of the recoil energy seemed to be used to lift 8 pounds of rifle, and the recoil force at the shoulder was negligible; no lasting pain of any sort. Since it's a bolt-action, follow-up is mechanically limited, so I'm not terribly concerned with control per se.

So this is how a recoil junkie is born...

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