Wanna hit at distance but don't want the RECOIL


March 25, 2003, 11:21 PM
Two quick quick questions:

1)The ONLY rifle calibre I have shot is 55gr 5.56mm NATO FMJ. I wish to do long range shooting out to 600 yards with a scope but do not want to spend much time getting used to STIFF recoil. Can anyone recommend me a rifle and ammo combo that can place accurate fire to 600 yards and bring down a large animal with ONE shot?

2)How much recoil does the .44 magnum generate out of a lever action carbine with 16" barrel? How does it compare to firing 5.56mm out of an M-16A1 with 20" barrel? If I have never shot such a lever gun before, how much time/ammo would I need to adapt myself to it?

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March 25, 2003, 11:53 PM
Don't think you have much choice, other than the 7.62 NATO with the limitations you have set...

And if recoil is the big thing, then you are probably forced to take a very hard look at an AR-10...



March 26, 2003, 12:07 AM
I agree, you'll need a .308, but why a semi? A bolt would do much better for that.

March 26, 2003, 12:16 AM
An FAL has adjustable gas. You can turn'r down to the recoil of a mouse if you don't mind the FTE you'd get out of it. Or flip the FAL (or an M1A's) plug over to grenade launching, and you'll have virtually no recoil.

Although, if you want no recoil, but effectiveness past 500yd, you don't "wanna snipe". It's one or the other, not both.

We have enough hurdles to jump as gun owners, let's not give an anti some food. There are more subtle 'coded' ways of asking that, without literally saying it, and we all know what you mean.;)

March 26, 2003, 12:23 AM
Not exactly sure what to make of the "bad statement" (edit by Steve) but here's the info re: recoil:

Barrel lenght isn't going to have much to do with recoil other than adding weight.

According to Chuck Hawks:

A 55 Gr 5.56 @ 3200 fps in a 7 lb rifle has about 4 ft/lbs of recoil

A 240 Gr 44 Magnum @ 1760 fps in a 7.5 lb rifle has about 11.2 ft/lbs of recoil

Other notables:

A 165 Gr 308 @ 2700 fps in a 7.5 rifle has about 17.9 ft/lbs recoil

You put that same load through a rifle that weighs 11.5 lbs with scope and the recoil is down to 10.5 ft/lbs. And this is a bolt action. If you're wanting something like a M1A, I haven't heard many folks complain about the recoil of a scoped M1A.

If you're looking at 600 yard competition, the 260 or even 6.5x55 might be the of the better choices, esp for recoil sensitive types. If handloading, the excellent 139 Gr Lapua Scenar @ 2,580 fps loaded with 40 Gr of N550 should get you excellent results out to 800 yards and recoil in the neighborhood of 7.2 ft/lbs in the same 11.5 lb rifle with scope or 9.8 ft/lbs in a 8.5 lb rifle with scope. This is achievable with a 6.5x55 and should be quite easy with the 260.

CZ, Tikka and Howa all offer bolt rifles configured as such. If you're determined on a semi auto for firepower sake, you'll probably be limited to the 7.62x51 unless you are willing to take an untactical route with something like a BAR in 243.

March 26, 2003, 01:26 AM
Or flip the FAL...plug over to grenade launching, and you'll have virtually no recoil.

But...that completely removes the gas system, and it's recoil absorbing qualities, from the gas path, essentially turning the recoil impulse into that of a bolt gun...?


March 26, 2003, 01:29 AM
I'm going to suggest the .243

It has better ballistics than the .223 but not quite the kick of the .308

March 26, 2003, 01:58 AM
Wanna snipe but don't want the RECOIL

Try hunting them with a 28 gauge. :p :D ;)

March 26, 2003, 04:10 AM
Try one of those slip on recoil pads they sell at Wal-Mart.

A while ago one of my friends felt the need to buy a Winchester Model 70 in .270 caliber, the recoil on that beast was pretty nasty (mainly due to the fact that none of us had any knowledge of how to shoot a rifle and would hold it any old way that would let us peer into the scope) after a few range sessions that resulted in sore shoulders we took a trip to the shooting section of Wal-Mart and came across these slip on recoil pads they even had one that matched the black plastic the stock was made of. It was immediately purchased by the rifles owner and installed. The next range session the .270 was very comfortable and it became enjoyable to shoot.

March 26, 2003, 04:33 AM
I'd nix the idea of shooting at any large animal at 600 yards. That's about twice as far as most anyone should be shooting at an animal. The chance of wounding is too great.

To paraphrase Boston T. Party, you've got to be able to take in order to give. If you want a cartridge that will reach out to 600 yards accurately, it's going to have some recoil, at least until someone can figure out a way around the laws of physics.

March 26, 2003, 06:07 AM
Na boing, it completely opens the gas system so that only the fire from the tracer ignites the rocket.

Try it with your frankenFAL. It's a good thing to know.

March 26, 2003, 06:09 AM
The recoil of a 308, in both bolt and semi, is easily handled in a tee shirt. Your shooting position can cause felt recoil to seem harder. I dislike shooting from a bench for this reason. Besides being uncomfortable and impractical, it seems to make felt recoil a lot heaver. Fired prone from a mat, its no problem, and fired from sitting or offhand and you can shoot all day long.
I had a 16" Winchester Trapper in 44 mag. Using factory loads or the equivilent, the little rifle has a pretty good whack to it. Its defineitly not a 223 out of an AR. You would notice the difference right away, the 223 is like shooting a 22. If you use 44 special loads with lead bullets, its a pussy cat. A lot more fun to shoot. Even with hotter factory loads, these rifles are still a short range gun. 100 yards would be a long shot for them.

March 26, 2003, 07:55 AM
An AR-10 in .260 Remington? Flat-shooting, light recoil, familiar weapon system... ;)

March 26, 2003, 09:32 AM
If you don't want the kick but can stand the noise, get a good muzzle break. Combine the break with a heavy gun and felt rcoil will be greatly reduced. I have a KDF break on my Sako cambered in 300 UM and it is no worse than shooting a 308. This gun shoots very well at 500 yards, I have not tried it at longer distances because of no long distance ranges in my area but I'm sure it will shoot well beyond that accurately.
A good muzzle break on a heavy barreled .308 should have a very light felt recoil.

March 26, 2003, 09:58 AM
Whenever you mention no or low recoil, powerful, flat-hitting and accurate bullet placement, the Swedish Mauser round, the 6.5x55 mm is what immediately comes to mind. It is absolutelly devastating on deer and should be good for shots out to 400 yds if you think you're that good of a shot (I'm not). This is an absolutely addicting round once you shoot it.

Note however that most hunters probably would not recommend shooting any animal past about 400 yds. because the ability to ensure a clean kill is greatly reduced, both bullet placement and loss of power.

As far as shooting pistol caliber carbines, I have a 20" lever gun in .357. It has literally no kick and very little noise (much less than my 6" revolver). These things are fun to shoot. But these type guns are normally looked at as 100-125 yd. maximum killing range guns. I contemplated deer hunting with it, but decided against it, simply due to reduced ability to ensure a clean kill at 100 yds with it versus using my sporterized Swedish Mauser with its "heat-seeking" bullets!

Steve Smith
March 26, 2003, 10:17 AM
I HAVE EDITED MANY OF YOUR POSTS THAT REFERENCED KANNONFYRE'S ORIGINAL QUESTION. I am glad to see that you all too the High Road but repeating what he said wasn't a help. No biggie, the mess is cleaned up.

Kannonfyre, check your email.

March 26, 2003, 10:29 AM
Since you have only shot an AR-15, you are kinda spoiled. The 223 has no recoil, so no matter what you move up to, you will notice the difference.

A heavybarreled 308 bolt action will still be pretty easy on the shoulder. For comparison, I shot my 308 jungle carbine yesterday, and the recoil out of it isn't really that bad, despite the narrow steel buttplate. As I recall, the Savage 10FP that I had was a pussycat.
Or better yet, get a gun that you know will kick, and just get used to it.
After years of shooting, it takes some pretty wicked recoil to get my attention.

For long range work, a 44 mag is more than less useless.
Stick with a real rifle cartridge.

March 26, 2003, 12:47 PM
...it completely opens the gas system so that only the fire from the tracer ignites the rocket.

Opens up the gas system to where? There are only two ways for gas to escape the bore: Up the gas port and out the muzzle. Removing the gas plug in my rifle I can trace the gas path through the plug, and in the grenade position, the gas port is closed off. All gas escapes via the muzzle.

Maybe this conversation belongs in another thread...

Steve Smith
March 26, 2003, 12:55 PM
"Flipping" the gas plug will only make it recoil as hard as possible. It will recoil as hard as a bolt gun then.

March 26, 2003, 01:10 PM
(As hard as a 10 lb bolt gun recoils!)

I think you're exagerating the 600 yd game shot. Maybe Steve Smith could do it, I could not. In that light (300 to 400 yds is more realistic) a .308 would suffice. Or maybe even a 7Mag. 7mag is a pussycat to shoot, albeit loud. I'm not up on the ballistics of a 7Mag at 3 to 400 yds, but think that it'd be ok for large game.

Don't confuse loud with recoil.

March 26, 2003, 01:11 PM
We have dicussions like this daily in Shotguns. :)

With proper shooting position, .308 is a real pussy cat in the recoil department. I've done several hundred .308 in an afternoon with no problem.

March 26, 2003, 01:22 PM

Animals at long range: Don't do it. Regardless of accuracy there are too many variables such as wind, animal movement (the bullet takes time to travel) etc. 300 yards is more than far enough for game shooting.

Long range with managable recoil: I agree with those suggesting 6.5 - 7mm calibers. For target shooting get a relatively heavy rifle to keep the felt recoil down. 6.5 Swede, 7mm Mauser and .280 remington can all be very accurate in a good rifle. If you have a milspec rifle "accurized" you would already have the heavy rifle part built in. For long distance you will (in my opinion) want to avoid light for caliber bullets as they start out fast but slow down quickly. Thus the desire for a heavy rifle.

Pistol caliber lever actions: Get one with a nice peep sight and give it a try. I find the lever action rifle to be the most natural action but YMMV. A good LA can be quite accurate but they are not usually used for long in the pistol calibers.

Steve Smith
March 26, 2003, 01:24 PM
I think a .308 would be fine, but....

The thing about all this is that the real bottom line isn't the caliber, or the equipment, or even the target. Its the shooter. Beyond that, ethics play a big part. Knowing that I can hold about a 10" group on a target with open sights at 600 is is fine, and maybe I could hold 6-7" with a scope at that distance. That's one thing. Taking a shot at an animal at that distance is another story and I don't think I'd do it. The possibility of misjudging the wind or accidentally moving the rifle is too great. I can take a "miss" on the line...it will have me in a bad mood for the whole match, but I can take it. I would not want to have a bad hit on an animal though. Now if this were a target that could shoot back, and I were 600 yards away and being a civilian, I'd just find my way out of trouble. 600 yards is hardly self-defense, and at that distance I doubt the other fellow knows I'm there so I might as well leave. Besides, make a bad shot on that target and you might have all hell rain down on you.

March 26, 2003, 02:27 PM
You've been firing a mouse gun with practically no recoil in the AR-15 (or whatever). Any caliber capable of one-shot kills at 600 yards would have to develop quite a bit of energy so I don't think there is any way to avoid recoil entirely. Recoil can be reduced to some extent by using a ported barrel or using a recoil absorber (a mercury-filled tube in the stock). Semiauto rifles typically reduce the felt recoil but I don't know of many semiautos in 600 yard calibers.

March 26, 2003, 02:55 PM
Suck it up, get a 308 in a m1a/m14. I have put 5-600 rds downrange in a few hours with no ill effects due to recoil.
If you are that sensitive to recoil, 600 yds is beyond your capability with any cartridge that can go the distance you require.

Good to 800 yds if you are up to it.

Forget shooting game at that distance with anything.

March 26, 2003, 02:58 PM
Proper positioning is essential for any shooting. If you stick with tiny calibers you are just using that as a crutch to avoid learning proper positioning. I avoided it for years. Now I can shoot a .270/.308/.30-06 for about 150-200 shots with no problem (from a lightweight bolt action).

I've found that the vast majority of the shooters that I know have horrible positioning which leads to much greater felt recoil.

A few people have taken my recoil advice and have had good results when they tried out my positioning method.

March 26, 2003, 04:33 PM
Daniel: could you describe your positioning method for us? Thanks.

Steve Smith
March 26, 2003, 04:37 PM
I agree, Daniel, recoil management is in the position.

Prof, I'd describe it but I'd type for an hour and I still wouldn't convey anything. Its something that has to be shown and felt, I think.

March 26, 2003, 05:17 PM
For the recoil control I just started a new thread here:


March 26, 2003, 05:52 PM
Steve, boing, PM's sent.

March 26, 2003, 06:30 PM
Lets see...

You want easy recoil out of a scoped rifle, capable of bringing down a large animal at 600 yards with one shot.

Is this dropping the large animal on the spot, or can the animal run away for a few hundred yards? To drop an animal, you need to deliver energy to the vitals. A big fat deer is not the same as a big fat boar. You need both bullet weight as well as bullet energy.

So, its got to be 7.62NATO/308Win for a minimum. Maybe even a 300WinMag. For recoil, how about putting a good muzzle break on the rifle? That will definitely cut down on recoil, at the expense of muzzle blast and noise. I've read claims of muzzle breaks that would tame a 300WinMag down to 243Win levels.

As for 44Mag out of a lever action compared to 5.56Nato out of a M16, the 44Mag definitely kicks more, since you don't have the gas system helping, and most lever actions are not ported either.

Why not just try them out? Its more fun that way.

March 26, 2003, 07:46 PM
Maybe you should just pony up the $100 or so for a Mosin-Nagant 91/30 or an M-48 Mauser and start shooting it.
My MN's are cheap to buy and ammo is also cheap, so I can shoot alot with them. They have a little recoil, but not too much. And they are more than accurate enough for my purposes.
They aren't accurate enough for 600 yard one shot kills on field mice, but neither am I, and I have been shooting centerfires since I was a kid.
It will take you awhile to get good enough to do what you want to do.
An old Mil-surp rifle is a good place to start.

March 26, 2003, 09:20 PM
Can anyone recommend me a rifle and ammo combo that can place accurate fire to 600 yards and bring down a large animal with ONE shot?

I didn't even notice that when I first read the thread...

Honestly, get that idea out of your head right now. Like others have said, if you're not confident enough to shoot a .30-06 class cartridge, you're definitely not going to be able to bag an animal cleanly at long range. I have confidence on game out to about 300, out to 350 if the conditions are excellent. I've only known a handful of people who can take shots on game past 500 yards. Most of them have been shooting magnum class rifles for decades, have specialized equipment, and are meticulous handloaders.

March 27, 2003, 05:00 PM
Lets see...

one shot kill at a large animal...
at 600 yards...
low recoil comparable to a 223Rem...

Reminds me of that 'triangle' of Quality, Cost, Time. You can have 2 out of 3.

One shot kill at a large animal, with low recoil... I think a 223Rem at point blank range would do it.
One shot kill at a large animal at 600 yards... I think a 300WinMag ought to do it.

600 yards and low recoil ... I think a 223Rem with at least 3 magazine changes with the large animal chained to a tree stump ought to kill it.

March 27, 2003, 08:02 PM
...... .243 round and a good bolt action rifle + quality scope. I once read somewhere that good match ammo for .243 has not been produced for lack of demand. I hope this is not true but can you guys give me a couple of recommendations for good long range .243 ammo and a good .243 bolt action rifle? The rifle budget is under $850.

March 27, 2003, 09:11 PM
Does the $850 you've allotted include the scope, rings, and mount -- or just the rifle itself?


March 27, 2003, 09:27 PM
Dear Kaylee,

The $850 is just for the rifle. Ammo expenditure is also not an issue, I want the BEST .243 ammo out there for long range wild predator deterrence. Hopefully, the gun has a magazine capacity exceeding 5 rounds.

As for the scope, my budget is $250.

March 28, 2003, 03:35 AM
Some, myself included, might suggest a slightly lower rifle budget and a slightly higher optics budget.

My heavy 243 is a Winchester Coyote. It is one of the two rifles I shoot the most. In this picture, it has a Swarovski 6x42 scope but it now wears a Zeiss VM series scope 2.5-10x50. You probably don't have to get that high end of a scope but I think a rifle in the $550-$650 range would be very suitable and that would allow another $250-$350 for a better scope. Unless you happen across a used Sako for $850 or less that you like, then I'd probably go with that.

I like Rugers and Winchesters so that is what I would recommend. Winchester's Coyote model and Ruger's VT series rifles have laminated wood scopes while many prefer a synthetic stock. Ruger offers their 700VS in 243 and I wouldn't recommend against it, just as I said, I prefer Rugers and Winchesters. Any of these should run you $600-$650 or there abouts brand new. If you're not inclined to tinker with such things, you'll probably want to have a trigger job done to the rifle and this can run anywhere from $35 to $80 and would be money well spent esp when you get to shooting at longer ranges. The two things that might increase accuracy would be to have the barrel crowned and have the barrel set back some distance. You won't know until you see how the gun shoots and which loads are best in your particular rifle. Having said that, most guns these days are very accurate - more than likely more accurate than you will be for some time. no offense. :p

For scopes, I'm a bit fan of the Weaver Grand Slams but the Nikon Monarch and Leupold VariX II or III are viable certainly options. I would probably suggest that you won't need as much magnification as you might be inclined to want. I almost always use 6x setting on my variables and I've seen some guys do some might fancy shooting with 6x and 10x scopes. You don't need a 24x capable scope for shooting at 600 yards and your money would probably be better spent on a higher quality but lower magnification scope. A 3-10, 3-12, 4.5-14 or so should do you just fine for a long long time. SWFA (http://www.swfa.com) has a used optics list that can be seen here (http://samplelist.com/default.asp?prod_type=1) that usually offers some very good deals and some great deals from time to time but you have to watch closely as the good deals go pretty quickly.

Good luck and certainly ask more questions.


Double Naught Spy
March 28, 2003, 08:51 AM
The nature of this thread reminds me of the newer CCW people who are looking for the least expensive, most reliable, largest caliber, least recoil, featherweight type gun that can be shot accurately under any circumstances out to 50 yards or so and don't require practice to master.

Kannonfyre, at least your request isn't totally unrealistic and you might have some options to meet your needs.

Art Eatman
March 28, 2003, 09:01 AM
Seems to me that if you're not humpin' through the boonies with a bunch of stuff, anything under nine pounds or so just ain't that big a deal. And few rifles which fit the shooter are much of a recoil problem at nine pounds (omitting the "really biggies"). My wife's purse is over nine pounds, and she can log several miles in any mall in North America!

600 yards? For one who isn't handloading, I'd suggest a .300 Win Mag or equivalent (WSMs, for instance) and a rifle with a KickEez pad to soften the punch to one's shoulder. I'd definitely go for a 26" tube.

I note that when comparing the depth and diameter of gouges on my 500-yard steel plate, a 180-grain bullet is noticeably better than 165- or 150-grain stuff.


March 28, 2003, 09:51 AM
Ever heard of 25-06?:D

March 28, 2003, 12:37 PM
The .243 is a great caliber but based on your initial post, I would think that the 7mm-08 would be a better choice.
The recoil energy for the .243 ( in an average rifle) is about 10 ft. lbs.
The 7mm-08 is about 12 ft. lbs.
By comparison, the .308 is about 18 ft. lbs.
So the 7mm-08 is much closer to the .243 in that respect, yet it will be considerably more effective on larger game at greater distances. If you go with a slightly heavier rifle, the recoil becomes even less of a factor.
This chart will give you a good idea of the real world potential for the various cartridges.


In fact, I'd recommend reading through the various articles on this sight before making your final decision.

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