Recoil Control, the HCWDITOT method


March 26, 2003, 05:15 PM
First off, this isn't my method or anything since its mostly a collection of the obvious. If you like, you can call it the "Holy cow why didn't I think of that" (or HCWDITOT for you military guys ;)) recoil control method. Steve brings up a good point about how difficult it is convey recoil control in mere words, but hopefully I can help out a little bit. I described this before and one TFLer PMed me stating that just one detail I mentioned helped them out immensely. So I hope you can pick something up here:

Holding the Rifle - The best way to put this is to think of how you would shake a person's hand: firmly. Your grip on the rifle should be as firm as you would use to shake another's hand. Also, your muscular tension should be similar. That is to say, when the other person's hand goes up and down, your hand follows suit automatically (while still retaining firmness). So when the rifle travels with recoil, move very naturally with it, not against it, and not amplifying it (while still retaining a firm grip). Also, be sure to keep your thumb on the right side of the stock. As for your cheek weld, try to keep it firm yet fluid. If you resist the rifle it's gonna hurt, if you amplify the recoil, it's gonna hurt.

Position of the Rifle - The most important thing here is the position of the butt since that is the contact point of the recoil. One of the better techniques I've seen is as follows: Take a standing position and face forward. Hold the rifle pointing directly up to the sky with just your strong hand. Take the top of the butt and place it just a hair under your collarbone. Let the weight of the rifle set it firmly into that tiny pocket there (rifle is still pointing straight up). Then rotate the rifle downward and left into a standing-type position, rotate your head left and place your cheek on the stock, make sure you keep your strong hand elbow up. Allow the rifle to settle into your off hand. Grasp accordingly. The most important part is top of the butt under the collarbone. A little disclaimer though: You have to be careful to not allow the butt to be so low in your shoulder such that it will go under your armpit during recoil, then you'll have to start trading your bolt actions to get leftys ;) Once you find your "sweet spot" this way, you can just shoulder your rifle normally. After a few thousand times it will come naturally with no problem.

Body Positioning - Some positions hurt you more than others, for the obvious reason that some are more stable. For example: shooting a heavy recoiling gun in rollover prone...ouch! But just remember to be fluid and to allow your body to move with the rifle naturally. If you want to know how your body should be, take a stance with your feet about 2' apart. Then have some one push your upper body around. Be as firm as it takes so that you don't fall over, but not so firm that you are leaning into their push in the slightest bit. Don't forget to only contact hard surface to soft surface if at all possible.

Mentality - The gun won't hurt you if you position correctly. Believe in that. I always hear that people have to ignore recoil. I would disagree and say that you have to learn a proper position (which cuts down recoil dramatically), then you can forget about it...since its not there with most weapons. Only the calibers greater than .40 will give you any sort of thump after you learn to position correctly.

Try all this and see if it doesn't help you out with shooting. If it helps out, report it on this thread. If it doesn't and there is something that didn't quite work out, still report it on this thread. Thanks all and good luck!

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March 26, 2003, 05:29 PM
Thank you, Daniel!

March 26, 2003, 05:49 PM
Very well worded... now I'll hardly notice the recoil from my friends 6 lb 300 Win Mag. :p

March 26, 2003, 06:12 PM
Also, try to hold your neck steady and let your head go back with your shoulder.

The way I see it is bring the gun up to your face, not the reverse. When it fires your body should maintain the same attitude, let the gun do what it wants. If your shoulder goes back, so should your head. I got that insight from firing lots of big bores, black powder, and shotguns with slugs from the bench.

I'm also a big believer in guns that fit you personally. They make recoil a lot more tolerable when they fit.

March 27, 2003, 04:07 PM
Prof, no problem! Just let us know how it works out for you.

cratz2, does your friend wear an eyepatch by any chance? ;)

BigG, that is another good point!

December 9, 2003, 10:00 PM
Gotta love the search function on this site - this thread was exactly what I was looking for. But I do have a couple more questions.

My newbie self hasn't shot a rifle beyond a M-N in 25 years. Santa (compliments of the "for sale" forum at this site) has indulged me with something I cannot see a practical use for - a Ruger No. 1 Tropical in .416 Rigby, complete with a box of Federal Safari solids. I'm taking this bad boy for a walk at the range this week. I'm guessing "offhand" is a good move - no attempt at shooting from the bench for a while.

But I've noticed my "natural" stance with a rifle is strong (right) foot considerably back from left foot, rifle on right shoulder which is well back from left (sort of like the rifle has already recoiled and returned to level). Is this all wrong / should I be trying to stay "square" with the target similar to a handgun stance?

How does one keep one's thumb on the right side of the stock? A right hander gripping a pistol grip (sorta) stock will have the thumb on the left. (?)

Search functions being what they are, I couldn't help but notice that cratz2's buddy's 6lb .300 Win Mag gets mentioned as far back as TFL - must've made a real impression :what:

Any help appreciated.
(I love totally impractical stuff).

December 10, 2003, 01:26 PM
How does one keep one's thumb on the right side of the stock? You don't have to. That advice is an old throwback to guys trying to fire 1903 Springfields from the prone. The short stock caused them to whack themselves with the thumb. Most modern rifles have a longer length stock than the dinky Springfield 03. Guys who advise that on a modern sporting gun are living in the past.

Yep, that "archer's stance" you are describing sounds like it would be better changed to one more square to the target. Remember to keep your neck solid and let your head go back with your shoulder when the rifle recoils.

December 10, 2003, 01:50 PM
I hit myself below the nose with my thumb when i fire the Enfield prone. Not enough to hurt, but enough to notice.

December 10, 2003, 02:50 PM
I just let the thumb rest on the right side of the stock. It rests gently on top of my trigger finger or just above the trigger finger. The reason I do it has to do with not only not hitting my nose but also to do with the fact that it places my thumb closer to the bolt and the safety of most rifles. Bolt and safety manipulation is much faster with the thumb on the right IMO. I'm glad some people have benefited from this thread!

December 11, 2003, 02:08 PM
Update - just got back from the range. It wasn't at all bad. It might be my imagination, but the .416 Rigby seemed to be more of a "push" than a "kick" - rather like how .45ACP's are compared to .40S&W's.

These things are just too much fun.

December 12, 2003, 07:16 AM
is the best advice i've ever heard on the subject,,,


i used to have to hold my thumb on the right side of the kid's youth size 870,,,it would crack me on the cheekbone if i didn't

similarly,,,old timers (WWI) would keep their thumb on the bolt knob when firing (you know,,,if it's a bolt action) and this provided them with a faster cycle rate,,, FYI


December 12, 2003, 12:13 PM
Several years back I developed a flinch as a result of a Savage 30-06 who put out a real good thump. It developed to the point that I wasn't even realizing I was doing it. Some guns, when shot from awkward positions are just gonna hurt, so like Daniel said, don't fight it. Good advice. If you flinch or jerk while shooting a high recoil gun, put out a concious effort to hold steady until well after the shot. If you're trying to sight one in, you'll do more harm than good by flinching. That just makes you have to shoot it more and more. Hold steady and squeeze to the point it scares you when the gun goes off. Thanks Daniel.

December 12, 2003, 12:27 PM
Savage 30-06 Heh heh! You made a funny!

Seriously, the way a gun fits (or don't) has a lot to do with the recoil. Theose older guns with the skinny high comb whack your cheekbone half off. An old Winchester or muzzle loader that combines that featurre with the hooked buttplate will make a brass monkey flinch.

December 12, 2003, 08:47 PM
You're welcome Newt! I figured that out when I fired about 25 low-base target loads in rollover prone with my Benelli. Even though I can normally take a high volume of this round in most positions, in rollover prone 25 was enough!

December 12, 2003, 09:46 PM
Well, one more time to the indoor range - one shot 10" off vertically at 25 yds :o

Second shot "split the X" (open sights and my old eyes make that into something of an accomplishment - or blind luck). Not so much a flinching prob as not knowing how those Ruger open sights work.

The buddy I took from work missed a TX blue silhouette twice from 25 yds. Apprehension and a flinch can work some serious bad mojo. There was, thankfully, no chance of flinching off the backstop totally. That would have cost me, at a minimum, my membership - and I like this range. There's not an overabundance of indoor ranges allowing .416 Rigby's.

My thanks to you, Mr. Flory. Nice thread. I hope somebody else discovers it 6 months from now and bumps it again. Thanks also to BigG for valuable input.

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