This may sound obvious....


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kannonfyre
September 21, 2006, 09:47 PM
.....but shotguns ROCK!!!! :D

Fired a shotgun for the 1st time yesterday and it was a blast. My base comments after firing 75 12ga fiocchi 24gr #7 1/2 birdshot 2 3/4" shotshells are:

1) More than expected recoil. Am used to shooting M-16s as an army reservist so I felt that recoil was stiffer than I am used to.
2) People look down on birdshot but the perceived power of the load straight out of the barrel is certainly more than any pistol I have shot!
3) Tried patterning at 10, 15, 20 and 25 meters. If used in a home defense capacity, the remington 11-87 that I rented could surely place a fair amounty of birdshot into the invader's COM.
4) Shot a 90 page hardcover high school yearbook at 8 meters. The birdshot penetrated the thick front harcover and shot through about 84 pages. I thought that the penetration would be lesser.

Anyhow, I'd like to ask:

i) Is the recoil for pump actions heavier or the same as semi-autos?
ii) Are there any padded vests or devices that I can buy to lessen felt recoil?
iii) How much increase in recoil can I expect for a 12ga 2 3/4" #4 birdshot 32g load shotshell?
iv) What is the usual shotshell count that you guys can stand before your shoulder complains?

Thanks in advance from a new shotgunner.

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The Deer Hunter
September 21, 2006, 10:03 PM
Semi's have a significantly reduced recoil compared to pumps or breaks.

You can get what the guys at the range know as a "fag pad", its basically a pad that is strapped on and ads a bunch of padding on your shoulder.

Why are you talking in grains? (is it grains or do you mean grams?)
SHot is measures in ounces and powder is measures in grains and sometimes drams. So which are you talking about, shot or powder?

My shoulder doesnt really ever complain after shooting (or while) birdshot.

DouglasW
September 21, 2006, 10:24 PM
I got my first shotgun just a couple of years ago, and never looked back. Next time out, you should try shooting clays (trap, skeet, hand loader, etc.). I've found clays to be way more fun than static paper targets.

Deerhunter hit on some of the major points...and others will hopefully chime in with their experienced opinions, but for number iv, I'd add that proper shotgun fit will go a long way towards ensuring long-term comfort.

Speaking of which, there are a ton of worthwhile threads in the \shotgun archives here on THR -- about fit, recommended home-defense loads (I think the majority opinion would recommend #4 or larger buckshot), unless you have unusual constraints) and a host of other topics. I'd encourage you to browse through them. They are a goldmine of good information.

Welcome to the wonderful world of shotguns.

Dave McCracken
September 21, 2006, 10:57 PM
Mine the Archives, there's a trove of info on all things Shotgun.....

nitesite
September 21, 2006, 11:22 PM
Perceived recoil is always less when you are focused on a target that isn't stationary (unlike paper targets or high school yearbooks when you have more time to worry). When I have only a short time to shoulder a shotgun, swing and fire I find that I barely notice any recoil.

Also, proper stance helps a lot. But being quick to bring the gun up and fire does make a big difference. The longer you wait, the more you notice the kick.

Glockfan.45
September 21, 2006, 11:31 PM
Recoil from a 2 3/4" load :rolleyes: , try a 3 1/2" magnum sometime than tell me about recoil. I am 6'6" 220lbs and the first time I shot a magnum load in my new 870 it almost knocked me on my :cuss: . You can buy sweaters, or vests from Cabelas, or Bass Pro shops with padding in the shoulder if you like.

Fred Fuller
September 22, 2006, 12:40 AM
...shotguns ROCK!!!!
=============

Yeah, they do 8^).

i) Is the recoil for pump actions heavier or the same as semi-autos?
Gas operated semis bump you a little less than pumps, with some recoil operated semis you seem to get bumped a little harder than with a pump. Weight of the gun has an effect on recoil, heavier guns kick less, all else being the same.

ii) Are there any padded vests or devices that I can buy to lessen felt recoil?
Yes. But proper fit of the gun is a primary consideration. Learning proper form and gun mount is second most important. A premium recoil pad (LimbSaver, KickEez, R3 etc) on a properly fitted stock will do a lot when used with proper form to reduce felt recoil.

iii) How much increase in recoil can I expect for a 12ga 2 3/4" #4 birdshot 32g load shotshell?
The heavier the payload and the faster it gets moved out, the more it will kick- again, all other things being equal. Recoil is largely a subjective thing, it is hard to quantify and compare save by experiencing it. And often recoil is not something people can really be objective about, it seems.

iv) What is the usual shotshell count that you guys can stand before your shoulder complains?
This past summer I shot more than 300 rounds of birdshot, buckshot and slugs in three days in a shotgun class- most I have shot in that short a time for many years. Attire was a tee shirt and sporting clays vest with a thin pad on the right shoulder. No pain and no problems. Gun was a 12 ga. Remington 870 pump with a KickEez pad.

Keep shooting, use light loads while you're learning, get someone who knows the deal to help you with gun fit, form and gun mount. And keep on having fun... safely.

lpl/nc

ReadyontheRight
September 22, 2006, 12:52 AM
As a member of my high skrool yearbook staff, I'm kind of curious what you had against that yearbook :)

Shotguns DO rock. I've been away from THR for most of the summer, but I HAVE been doing a lot of trap shooting*. ;) With my cherished, $180, 30" bbl. 2.75", full choke, 1950's, corncob forend, plastic buttstock, Remington 870 Wingmaster.

A simple Browning shooting vest with the gel shoulder inserts works pretty well for me. A 100-round catch-up session made me feel it the next day, but nothing major.

Trap shooting! What a great time! And no need to spend time in the target pits!!!

(*Unfortunately, all of my shooting hats are still pristine.)

MTMilitiaman
September 22, 2006, 01:36 AM
Shotguns are fun, but I am at the point in my life where I think they are kind of over rated for most things. People always boast at their versitility, but I really don't find them that versitile compared to a good rifle. For what they do--close to medium range firepower against soft targets--they are good, but I am more of a rifleman myself.

You have me wondering though. I am 6'5" ( 6'4 1/2" according to my MEPS physical) and about 200 pounds, so I am built tall and skinny. I have bony joints which kinda sucks with magnum rifles, but my shoulders can take 300 rounds of 2 3/4 in birdshot in and afternoon from my 870 Wingmaster and not be too much the worse for wear--just a big red spot on them. I've shot hundreds of rounds shirtless with a box of shells in each cargo pocket of my BDUs stuffing rounds in the tube as fast as I can until my shotgun is so hot the wood forend is uncomfortably warm and survived it without feeling it then or the next day. Go figure. I guess it is just something you have to get used to. I've been shooting shotguns for about half of my life and have thousands, if not tens of thousands, of rounds through them.

Birdshot works good for birds and for small game within 20 or so yards, depending on your choke, but I've seen too many ground squirrels at 25 yards take centered patterns of 7 1/2 shot through a turkey choke and still squirm down their holes to trust it against anything bigger than a rabbit--at any range. I saw geletin results of birdshot at 3 meters from an IMP CYL bore and the deepest pellet penetrated less than 6 inches. Not good enough for me.

Here's a pic of 2 3/4" #4 birdshot in callibrated gellitin from 3 meters with an improved cylinder bore shotgun:

http://www.tacticalshotgun.ca/content_nonsub/gelatin_testing/bird_4_rem_heavy_dove/bird_4_heavy_dove_rem_a.jpg

The testers come to the following conclussion:

Small sized birdshot such as this #4 heavy dove load is a poor choice for deployment with a tactical shotgun. Wounds inflicted from birdshot tend to be gruesome yet shallow as they lack the penetration required to reach vital cardiovascular or central nervous system structures.
http://www.tacticalshotgun.ca/content_nonsub/gelatin_testing/bird_4_rem_heavy_dove/gelatin_shot_4.html

For comparrison, #4 buckshot, from the same site:

http://www.tacticalshotgun.ca/content_nonsub/gelatin_testing/buck_4_fed/buck_4_b.jpg

Which would you rather trust your life to? Remember, this is from only 10 feet.

If you decide to get a shotgun for home defense, my advice is to stoke it with buckshot--#4 buck or larger. This is what the shotgun earned its reputation with. Secondly, keep the damn thing loaded. You cocking your shotgun for dramatic effect looks just as ridiclous as when some moron on a movie does it. My $.02.

hqmhqm
September 22, 2006, 11:28 AM
I got the Knoxx recoil reducing stock for my 870 and it really makes a huge difference for shooting slugs or heavy buckshot. I am not sure if there is a noticable difference for trap target loads though. Some people looked at it funny and said that the spring travel might make it harder to be accurate for trap, but it seems to work pretty well for me, and there is no soreness after shooting a couple of hundred target loads. But for slugs the difference is night and day.

BozemanMT
September 22, 2006, 07:59 PM
Welcome to the addiction.

i) Is the recoil for pump actions heavier or the same as semi-autos?
The recoil is exactly the same, however perceived recoil is usually less in a semi-auto.


ii) Are there any padded vests or devices that I can buy to lessen felt recoil?

Yes, but you shouldn't need to, if your stance is correct. If you slip, it hurts, if not, ti's great.


iv) What is the usual shotshell count that you guys can stand before your shoulder complains?

I've shot as many as 385 rounds in about 6 hours. (all clay targets, all 1oz or 1and 1/8 oz loads out of a SxS. My wife was right next to me on her O/U.
WE ran out of ammo, it was only 1pm.
It was a lot of shooting.
It's all about stance and position, read the 101 threads tacked up top

don't forget to smile.

Steve C
September 22, 2006, 11:21 PM
If you pull the butt of the stock up tight against your shoulder and your head down with your cheak against the stock the recoil becomes a push rather than a punch. You want the gun and your body to move as a single unit under recoil. Give the gun any chance to move before contact against you and it will hit you harder. Don't ever try holding the shotgun away from your shoulder when shooting because it really will whack you hard, that's how my cousin broke his collar bone when he was a teenager.

The lighter a shotgun is, the harder its going to recoil. An old article in the American Rifleman on recoil calculated that a 3" magnum 12ga from a Ithica Featherweight had more recoil than a .460 Weatherby Magnum, and the .460 will set a 200lb man back a couple steps when shooting it.

I own an Ithica Featherweight in 12 ga and 1-1/8oz 2-3/4" trap and game loads beat me hard when hunting in a T-shirt until I had a recoil pad installed on it. I can shoot a Rem 3200 O/U or 870 Trap gun all day with nary a complaint from my shoulder but they're heavy guns made for long shooting sessions. Don't ever notice the recoil from my old Win. Model 12 field gun or even the Ithica now it has the recoil pad. A little bit of padding found on the shoulder of the game vest or a medium to heavy jacket removes the discomfort of recoil as long as the gun is held correctly.

The difference in recoil for a 24 gram (7/8 oz) load verses a 32 gram (1-1/8 oz) by calculation should be 32/24 or 1.333 times heavier from the same gun. Both these loads are relatively light shotgun loads and as mentioned earlier holding the gun tight and properly makes the recoil a non issue.

kannonfyre
September 23, 2006, 04:48 AM
As shotshells aren't the same as rifle/pistol cartridges, how exactly can shotshell ballistics be described?

For instance, how does the knock-down power of a 12ga 18" barrel shotgun firing 7/8oz #7 1/2 birdshot out of a 2 3/4" shell at 1300 ft/s muzzle velocity compare to your average .357 magnum 158gr load fired out of a 6" barreled revolver? Lets assume the target is enaged at 18 yards.

How much of a difference does it make whether the target is hit by one relatively large projectile or by many much smaller projectiles which may not hit simultaneously?

MTMilitiaman
September 23, 2006, 08:30 AM
I won't claim to be an expert in terminal ballistics, but I have seen enough stuff shot, and shot enough stuff myself, to know something that many people apparently forget all too easy--energy and all that numbers stuff is cool, but you have to put it in the right place, and yes, by the way, penetration is a good thing. A large shallow wound might be messy and painful, but I personally wouldn't rely on it to stop a determined attacker.

Each little projectile from a shotgun has its own mass and velocity, and thus its own energy. Combined, this can be substantial. But nevertheless, especially with birdshot, each projectile is a) a round projectile, which was essentially demonstrated to be obsolete in the American Civil War and b) of very little mass, and relatively little velocity. Being round means it loses velocity faster and has less sectional density than a bullet, and being of low mass and velocity means that it has low momentum. All of this means that the individual projectiles have relatively little penetration. And energy, diameter, and numbers in general do very little good if a projectile can't make it deep enough to destroy vital organs.

As mentioned above, I've shot a lot of small game with a shotgun, and seen a lot more shot. We are literally talking truck loads here. At 50 feet or more, it is not uncommon to see 7 1/2 pellets from a 26 inch barreled Wingmaster with a turkey choke fail to penetrate a 2 pound ground squirrel. I've seen enough of these animals flop over and manage to squirm down their holes to die at ranges I have in my house to trust birdshot on anything that poses a serious risk to my health.

Even with buckshot, the individual pellets aren't that impressive. A single pellet of 00 buck is, IIRC, about .33 caliber and 50-some odd grains. Traveling at about 1300 fps this would be ballistics somewhere in the ballpark of a .32 caliber pocket pistol. But it does offer much better penetration than birdshot, about 16 inches in geletin, which means it will make it to and through vital organs from any shot presentation. Despite all the hype about over penetration, I personally think this is a good thing. And when you put 8 to 12 of them in the same general area all at once, I think we are getting somewhere.

For comparrison, I just looked it up, and a single 7 1/2 birdshot pellet is .095 caliber and weighs about 1 1/4 gr, which if you do the math...let's see...carry the one...I believe that would come out around 4.5 to 5 foot pounds per pellet.

Steve C
September 23, 2006, 02:52 PM
A shotgun slug is the only real shotgun projectile that can be compared to a typical bullet from a rifle or pistol.

For example a 1oz (437.5gr) slug from a 2-3/4" Super X shell has a muzzle velocity of 1,600 fps according to Winchester and an energy of 2,488 fpe. As a slug doesn't have a very good ballistic coefficient, by 50 yds the velocity has dropped to 1,161 fps and the energy to 1,310 FPE. Now a 30-30 with a 170gr (.389 oz) bullet has a velocity of 2,200 fps with 1,827 fpe at the muzzle and is still traveling at 1,879 fps at 100yds with 1,332 fpe. The slugs going to put a .7" or about .70 cal diameter hole in what it hits. Rifle and pistol bullets rely on expansion to increase their wound diameter.

Shot on the other hand, be it buck or bird kills by inflicting multiple hits and wounds. While a pistol or rifle round puts one hole in the target per shot and unless a CNS hit is made or a bone is broken or the bullet fragments, there's only that one hole for enough blood to leak out to stop or kill the target. Now a 7/8" oz load of #7-1/2 has 306 pellets so there's a potential of 306 holes in the target if its close enough. That's 306 holes potentially leaking blood, severing nerves etc. This is why shotguns are so lethal, esp. at close range even with fairly small shot. The odds of puncturing a vital is much greater with a shotgun simply due to the number of holes made and the spread of the shot.

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