Head to Head: Low recoil hunting rifle


December 15, 2010, 09:19 PM
I have been wanting to do this for quite some time now, so I invested a few hours to create a fair scientific comparison of the best low recoil hunting rifles and compare them head to head. I did NOT include bullets that will not stabalize in standard factory twist rates, bullets that are not intended for big game hunting, or load data off of unknown websites. So this is about as fair as a head to head can be.
All loads are under 14lbs of recoil in an 8lbs rifles, a good max point for a beginer small framed shooter and a great comfort zone for an experenced shooter. The 7mm-08, 25-06, and the 6.5x55 are all able to make more power then listed here with full power loads but they are above the 14lbs limit.
All load information comes from Nosler or Lymans and the highest BC bullets for each caliber/weight were chosen (assuming they would stabalize in factory twist). Two popular weight of each caliber are compared to show their strong suits.
Effective range is where the bullet is still making 1800fps to allow bullet expansion and 1000 ft lbs of kennetic energy, the recomended minimum for an ethical kill. Effective range is rounded to 25 yards.
MPBR is the maximum point blank range where your bullet will not go above or below 3" with an ideal zero.
OGW is the optimal game weight. This is a formula to determine what sized game anamals you should be hunting with any given bullet. No it is not perfect but it will give you a good idea. I made the cut off 300 yards as that is likely to be as far as most hunters will shoot.

Caliber weight speed recoil Effective range MPBR OGW@300yd Bullet BC
22-250 60gr @3612fps 6.6lbs 175 yards 319yards 70 lbs Partition .228BC
22-250 53gr @3897fps 6.1lbs 175 yards 331yards 61 lbs Barnes TSX .204BC
.243-100gr @3144fps 10.8lbs 475 yards 307yards 234 lbs Serria Game king .430BC
.243 -- 85gr @3308fps 9.7lbs 425 yards 319yards 191 lbs Speer SPBT .404BC
.257R 115gr @2827fps 10.1lbs 475 yards 281yards 236 lbs Burger hunting .479BC
.257R 100gr @3120fps 9.3lbs 425 yards 301yards 213 lbs Nosler Ballistic tip .396BC
.25-06 115gr @3095fps 13.6lbs 600 yards 306yards 317 lbs Burger hunting .479BC
.25-06 100gr @3352fps 13.0lbs 525 yards 322yards 271 lbs Nosler Ballistic tip .396BC
260rem 120gr @3049fps 13.8lbs 575 yards 300yards 319 lbs Nosler ballistic tip .458BC
260rem 130gr @2864fps 13.7lbs 675 yards 289yards 350 lbs Swift Scirocco 2 .571BC
6.5x55 140gr @2762fps 13.8lbs 700 yards 280yards 370 lbs Burger hunting .595BC
6.5x55 120gr @3000fps 13.3lbs 575 yards 296yards 303 lbs Nosler Ballistic tip .458BC
7-08 140gr @2862fps 13.9lbs 625 yards 285yards 368 lbs Burger hunting .486BC
7-08 120gr @3139fps 13.7lbs 575 yards 305yards 326 lbs Nosler ballistic tip .417BC
30-30 170gr @2192fps 11.0lbs 125 yards* 206yards 113 lbs Nosler Partition .252BC
30-30 150gr @2426fps 11.7lbs 150 yards* 214yards 75 lbs Hornady Interlock RNSP.186BC

*30-30 bullets are designed to expand below the standard 1800fps of spritzer rifle bullets. Real world effective range is about 200 yards max.

Sorry all of this did not line up perfectly like it did on microsoft word :(
I was doing this reserch anyway so I figured I would share with my rifle community :) Very good stuff, I did not think the .243 would do that well and the 6.5x55 just blew me away, I have loved it for years but I never thought it could pack ethical deer killing power to 700 YARDS!! If I missed anything would yall please let me know. Thanx

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December 15, 2010, 09:29 PM
I heart the 30-30. :p

December 15, 2010, 09:38 PM
thanks for posting Kachok. nice work.

December 15, 2010, 09:39 PM

Part of the low speed expanding nature of the 30-30 (and other tube fed rounds) is the flat nose, or meplat, which gives that characteristic "thwack" when the round hits and starts the expansion with any reasonable residual speed. It takes away from flight performance, but aids in terminal performance. Reasonable trade off for a light weight rifle and low recoil, if under 150 yds :)

December 15, 2010, 09:45 PM
Yeah the OGW formula does not take into account the caliber of the bullet which does make a noticable difference IMHO the 30-30 is more effective then it's numbers imply, that is why I added it to the list and made the special note about it's expansion at lower speeds. The 30-30 has the aditional advantage of minimal deflection in thick brush making it an ideal round in close range adverse conditions. The 6.5x55 has an amazing advantage in open feild situations with it's remarkable BC and SD it is suitable for much larger game then the other low recoil calibers.
I tried to keep the numbers as real world as possable. There are several bullets in some of the calibers listed that also have very good BCs but will not stabalize in factory barrels like the Burger VLD hunting 108gr .243, it requires a 1:9 twist that no major manufacturer makes, otherwise the .243 could hang in there with the 260 and 6.5x55 in long range ballistics.

December 15, 2010, 09:48 PM
It takes away from flight performance, but aids in terminal performance. Reasonable trade off for a light weight rifle and low recoil, if under 150 yds

The real beauty of the Model 94 or 336 is not necessarily the actual weight of the rifle, but its thin profile and balance point. My 336's carry 10X better than any of my bolt actions. The low recoil is an added bonus. :D

December 15, 2010, 10:05 PM
I thought about adding the .308 to the list but with any decent BC bullet it could not make the speed to hang in there with the other low recoil choices. By time you push a 168gr bullet to 260 speeds it it making 16.5lbs+ of recoil. While that is not bad at all it would defeat the purpose of a low recoil comparison.

December 15, 2010, 10:20 PM
150 is the typical hunting choice for me in .308....I think 150 would compare favorably.

December 15, 2010, 10:25 PM
150s lack the BC to compare. The best 150 I could find were around .420 and still could not push the speeds it would need to compete with the 140gr 7-08 and 6.5x55, but give me a minunite and I will post those numbers for you too.

December 15, 2010, 10:31 PM
If you slow a 150gr 308 down to 2600 fps with 41gr of IMR 3031 you will be under 14lbs of recoil, your max effective range is 400 yards and your MPBR is 257 yards. OGW@300 yards is 277lbs. Like I said kind of poor numbers when you compare with slighlty smaller calibers, though they are alot better then the 22-250 that was a major let down.

December 15, 2010, 11:36 PM
Like I have said before, the 7mm.08 is what the .308 WANTED to be but just didn't quite get there.

Nice write up Kachok. Very informative. Thank you for taking the time to do that.

December 16, 2010, 12:25 AM
I have devised a scoreing system of sorts. Giving points based on the percentage of each others stats. Say the 25-06 has 92% of the 22-250s MPBR so it gets 92 points for that......so on so forth.
-------------------22-250 243 257 25-06 260 6.5x55 7mm-08
MPBR 331 yards----100 93 84 92 87 85 86
max range 700 yards-25 68 68 86 96 100 89
OGW 370lbs----------19 63 64 86 86 100 99
Total 144 224 216 264 269 285 274

The very old 6.5x55 shows why it has survived 119 years of new cartrages that have come and gone. The key reason why is the VERY high BC of long 6.5mm bullets. If the 25-06 or 243 had a 1:8 twist with .280SD BTHPs this would be a much closer contest no doubt.

December 16, 2010, 12:31 AM
Kachok, You did a very good job on here young man! Thanks for taking the time not only to type it out like you did, but also to share it with all of us! No coal in your stocking this year !!:eek:

December 16, 2010, 12:36 AM
Only thing about the swede Kachok is the unavailability of factory ammo. You HAVE to be a reloader to get the real joy from the venerable old round.

December 16, 2010, 12:47 AM
Well yes and no. MOST factory ammo is loaded to 94 Mauser pressure which is much less then a modern rifle will handle. Norma makes several loads that are closer to full pressure, although you are not likley to find those at your local wal-mart LOL. I handload so that is not an issue for me at all. All of the loads listed here are handloads that are above factory spec, but still under maximum pressure. You can get 2800 fps out of a 140gr 6.5x55, 3000 fps out of a 140gr 7mm-08, and a whopping 3170fps out of a 115gr 25-06, but those are max loads that would put us well over the 14lbs recoil limit of this experement. That said there is no discomfort for me personaly shooting max pressure 6.5x55s all day long even in my featherweight Tikka. My WSM with hotloads is a bit much though :what:

December 16, 2010, 12:55 AM
I load my 7mm.08 just under max and get right at 2950fps with 139gr Hornady SST's out of a 26 inch barrel. I have to admit, the 7mm.08 is my all time favorite white tail cartridge. Light on the shoulder, absolutely deadly out to 400 yards, and never had a deer not end up on my skinning pole from it. I do have to be a bit particular with bullet selection with it though. Close range I had an SST blow all to hell on the shoulder (was 15 yards) but I switched to the Interlocs so I shouldn't have that problem now. Still killed the deer but man was that a mess.

December 16, 2010, 01:07 AM
Think SSTs are bad my 6.5x55 with 120 ballistic tips @3010fps will blow the whole front half of the deer apart! I have had to throw away both front shoulders from a quarting shot on a 140lbs doe. I won't be doing that again. I have some 140gr interlocks loaded up that I am dying to try out. They group really good too well under an inch at 100 yards every time even with a hot barrel. If I would not have found my 6.5x55 I was going to buy a 7mm-08, heck I still might buy one just to have two perfect deer rifles :) I used to own nothing but magnums but I figured out a while back that 4,000 ft/lbs of energy was just not needed on deer sized game. I have yet to track anything shot with my 6.5.

December 16, 2010, 07:44 AM
Sorry all of this did not line up perfectly like it did on microsoft word

Word-insert tables (pick column & row) as required. But then when you paste to the forum it may not work.:what::uhoh:;)

December 16, 2010, 08:55 AM
Yeah that was the problem, everything was all lined up and pretty but when I pasted it here is was all out of wack :(
Does anyone else have a favorite low recoil caliber that they would like to see thrown in the mix? I can do popular wildcats as well seeing as one of my reloading manuals usualy has them.

December 16, 2010, 09:05 AM
All the alternative AR calibers could be interesting. Just finding which isn't is something to know.

5.56, 6, 6.5, 6.8, .300 BLK, and about a dozen more wildcats. Intermediate assault rifle calibers are all about low recoil.

Quite surprised to see any .30-30, but mine has a steel buttplate. A lot of recoil is perception.

December 16, 2010, 09:25 AM
I don't know all the loading details but I bought a box of 6.5X55 ammo from Stars & Stripes Ammunition that's 130gr Barnes TSX @ 2952fps.

December 16, 2010, 09:51 AM
nice work, thanks for the hard work... I've loved the .243 for years now, great ballistics, almost settled for a 22-250 but wanted the option of killing Bambi's mom.

December 16, 2010, 09:54 AM
Yeah in full power loads the 6.5x55 will hang in there with the 270 for speed, and improve BC alot. Since this thread has genarated so much intrest I am going to spend some time creating another comparison including an AR round (probably the 6.8SPC) An AK round, a couple of obsolete rounds, and possably a wildcat or two. Any requests will be included.

December 16, 2010, 09:54 AM
I also like lower recoiling guns. I learned while competitive trap shooting that recoil fatigue will cost you targets. A little heavier gun and a little less powder/lead will payoff in the pocketbook and in the number of targets crushed.
I sold off my 7 mag. several years ago....I simply didn't need that much energy and recoil to shoot deer. Now, I like the 100-115 grain bullets in 25-06 for deer hunting. They are fast, flat, accurate and fun to shoot. I'm sure the other loads and calibers you listed are also enjoyable shooters.
Thanks for posting your numbers and analysis! I've often wondered about those same things.

December 16, 2010, 10:57 AM
Nice work Kachok! I am a data nerd:cool:.

For the AR calibers, I have seen something similar compiled before but it did not factor recoil. I am looking forward to what you come up with. Are you going to list 6.8 SPC info based off both SAAMI and SPCII chambers, or just one or the other?

December 16, 2010, 11:08 AM
Just thought of something Kachok, It may be a bit difficult calculating recoil with AR platforms. Given the different gas settings and piston vs. direct impingement along with all the other variables.

December 16, 2010, 11:17 AM
Thanks for the great info, sir. It gives me even greater confidence in my 6.5x55 and 7mm-08 rifles. Those 6.5 stats are simply AMAZING. I don't reload, so I bought a bunch of high-dollar Norma ammo and I'm glad I did. It at least approaches the performance of handloaded stuff.

December 16, 2010, 11:32 AM
OK, so I'm not a handloader, but would like to explore the world of 6.5mm. It seems that in the US, that means 260 (264?). Seeing as that is close to the venerable 270 - do you think that the performance of the 270 and the favoritism it gets is because it is the stand-in for the 6.5 over here?

And how close is the 257Roberts to the performance of the 6.5mm?

December 16, 2010, 11:39 AM
I will have to get 6.8 SPC info where ever I can seeing as no major manufacture has it listed in their manual yet, or non of mine anyway. The recoil of the 6.8 SPC will not approach the 14lbs limit of this exercise so bolt vs gas piston will not be an issue at all, the calculators I use to not have a variable for gas piston because that involves a whole new set of variables. There are several good 110gr 270 cal bullets that work well with the 6.8 so I should be able to at leased get a solid projection of external ballistics and terminal ballistics. By popular demand I will be including the 6.5 Grendal, 6mm REM, 250 Savage, 7.62x39, and 240 WBY. My off the cuff projections are that the 240Wby and 6mm Rem are going to be very compeditive across the board. 6.8SPC and 7.62x39 should make a hell of an impact on close shots but I doubt either will be in the running for the #1 all around low recoil rifle, more of a special purpose hunting rifle.

December 16, 2010, 11:47 AM
The 6.5 has better performance, ballistic-wise, over longer distance than the 257Roberts, but the 257 is a great caliber in its own right.

I was originally wanting a 260Rem really badly, and am left-handed, so started looking for one. Ironically, though it is an American cartridge, there were very few rifles available, and none in left-hand versions, and factory ammo for the 6.5 was much more plentiful, though expensive, than for the 260. Consequently, I went with the Swede in a Blaser. Don't regret it one bit. Some will disagree, I am sure, but I don't see that the 260 does anything the 6.5 can't do.

December 16, 2010, 11:49 AM
BrocLuno, the 6.5 is a hand loaders dream because of all the various bullet weights and VERY high ballistic coefficient in the long slim bullets. As I said earlier, availability (at least here in the US) of factory ammunition is so very limited which to me is why it is only a popular cartridge among us hand loaders. As Kachok said earlier, there are some factory rounds out there that do come close to our loadings such as the Norma round. But there are just so many other popular cartridges for hunting that ammunition is readily available at most all local stores such as the 7mm.08 (VERY close to the 6.5 in performance with a bit more punch) the 30/30 and the .243 (all lower recoiling rounds). Most all your target shooters reload or have their ammo reloaded for them.

December 16, 2010, 11:54 AM
The biggest difference between the 270 and 260 (actualy .277" and .264") is the rifling twist, the standard 1:7.5-1:8 twist on the old Sweed will stabalize very long heavy high penatration bullets that the standard 270 could never use. The 270 with twist rates from 1:12-1:10 specalizes in it's shorter 130-140gr bullets at higher speed. Both are top notch rifles, both have killed every species of game anamal on the planet, but only one of them makes this list. I own both but the 6.5x55 goes hunting with me 90+% of the time.

December 16, 2010, 12:15 PM
Kachok, you are right on. I have a bunch of rifles in assorted calibers, but the Swede is as close to a do-it-all round for most hunting as there is. In my opinion, of course. Modest recoil, accurate, hard-hitting, and incredible penetration.

December 16, 2010, 12:31 PM
I have never had a bullet fail to get full penatration on deer or feral hogs, and I have never had to track any of them, there really is somthing magic about those high SD bullets at moderate speeds.

December 16, 2010, 01:15 PM
Nice work.

It confirms what I've always believed - 7mm-08, 6.5x55 and .260 Rem is where it's at!

December 16, 2010, 01:16 PM
I know. Not to gush, but I have always thought it mind boggling the way that round works, and I am truly mystified and curious to know how they, the Swedes, or whomever developed that round, figured it out. Was it just dumb luck, or did they know something about ballistics all those years ago that no one else did. I actually read somewhere that it is no longer the most popular round in Sweden/Scandinavia, that the 30-06 and 270 are more popular, the 6.5 being number three. But still...

Grey Morel
December 16, 2010, 01:21 PM
I have always though of the 257 'Bob' as the Swedes American cousin. They are quite similar, and either would make an excellent choice for a low-recoil general purpose hunting rifle.

December 16, 2010, 01:21 PM
30 years ago I was loading a Speer 130 gr. SP designed for the .30-30 in my Remington M788/.308 for a low-recoil hunting round. Powder was IMR3031. It was SUPER accurate.

December 16, 2010, 01:24 PM
OK chapter2 of the ultamate sissy kicker showdown. Here are our contestants
Caliber-----Weight-speed--recoil--Max range--MPBR----OGW---Bullet
6.8SPC----110gr @2724fps 7.6lbs 225 yards 253yards 111 lbs Nosler Accubond .370BC
6mmRem---100gr @3261fps 12.0lbs 525 yards 317yards 264 lbs Serria Gameking .430BC
250Savage 110gr @2809fps 9.7lbs 375 yards 276yards 192 lbs Nosler Accubond .418BC
7.62x39----150gr @2150fps 8.3lbs 200 yards 215yards 144 lbs Speer Hot-core .411BC
6.5 Grendal 120gr @2499fps 7.8lbs 300 yards 250yards 166 lbs Nosler Ballistic tip .458BC
240 wby----100gr @3352fps 13.5lbs 575 yards 325yards 288 lbs Speer SPBT .430BC

The loads for the 6.5 Grendal, 6.8SPC and 7.62x39 were all shot through a semi auto so their speeds would ba aprox 100fps faster in a bolt action. For a realistic figure of their recoil subtract aprox 20% recoil for your average semi-auto action.
The modern AR/AK rounds did pretty good I was supprised that the 6.8SPC could hold 1800fps/1000ft lbs to 225 yards that makes it a lagit hunting caliber in my book. The 6.5 Grendal did pretty good too, had it been proofed in a 24" bolt gun it would probably hang in there with the old school 250 Savage. As we probably all already knew the SPC was more powerful at 100 yards and the Grendal stomped it at 300 yards
As expected the 6mm Rem and 240 Wby OWNED everything in this round although the 240 pushes the limit of our recoil cap and would probably be the least enjoyable to shoot. WAY OVERBORE=VERY LOUD! :what:

December 16, 2010, 02:02 PM
Sissy kicker. I like that.

December 16, 2010, 05:17 PM
LOL I have been calling them sissy kickers for years, I think my next chapter will detail the calibers that do NOT make the 14lbs and under club. Just so all the good folks at home have a head to head comparison not only of the low recoil calibers but the conventional and trendy calibers that are over our 14lbs limit. So we can see what we are getting for all that extra recoil/muzzleblast. I am going to go out on a limb and say there will be a few shockers on that list.

December 16, 2010, 05:24 PM
My Wtby. awaits you. :neener:

December 16, 2010, 05:30 PM
LOL which Wby mag do you have? Low recoil was just not in their design scheme I don't think. Even with a tiny 6mm bore the 240 hardly made the list.

December 16, 2010, 06:27 PM
Want to REALLY muddle your brain Kachok, load my Ruger #1 450NE into your little doohickey and see what it spits out to you!

December 16, 2010, 06:40 PM
I don't have any load data for any nitro express, if you could PM me your exact load I could give very detailed information, otherwise I could look up some unverified loads and give you the whole rundown that way.

December 16, 2010, 07:31 PM
OK numbers are in for the 450 NE with 106gr of powder pushing a 500gr bullet the recoil numbers are astonighing so you might want to sit down LOL
caliber--weight-speed--Recoil---Max range--MPBR----OGW@300--Bullet
450 NE 500gr @2250fps 104.3lbs 175 yards* 215 yards 1273lbs! Horandy RNSP .287BC
While 104 lbs of recoil sounds shoulder breaking this is a slower kind of recoil then what you would experence on a large high speed caliber, while it is still far from pleasent to shoot it won't send you to the ER either. 1273lbs OGW at 300 yards WOW that is a monster chunk of lead no doubt, the 450 Nitro Express was intended as an African big game hunting rifle, and was a common caliber in British safari rifles.

December 16, 2010, 07:50 PM
Yes it is more of a "push" than a ...What the hell am I saying it is like a dang mule kicking me in the shoulder on the bench. Surprisingly it is not TOO awful bad off hand though. After 5 rounds on the bench I was starting to see stars.

I think when I get my new book in, it has some black powder loads for it as well. I will DEFINITELY be loading it down for goofing around and may actually load it down to just over 45/70 for hog hunting. It is a hoot to shoot no doubt!

Dr T
December 16, 2010, 08:22 PM
Your list iteration reminds me that I really should get a 250 Savage the next time Ruger chambers it in the M77.

Nice table.

December 16, 2010, 08:47 PM
For those of you wanting to keep track of the top compedators
-------------------22-250--243--257R-25-06--260-6.5x55-7-08-6mmRem-240 Wby
MPBR 331 yards--------100---93---84----92----87---85----86---96-----98
max range 700 yards----25---68---68----86----96--100----89---75-----82
OGW 370lbs-------------19---63---64----86----86--100----99---71-----77
The 22-250 was only left in the running because it does hold the best MPBR. I will invent a fair formula to adjust for their actual recoil and we will crown the KING of the sissy kickers.

December 16, 2010, 09:24 PM
I'm curious about why there's no Rem .223 in that list. I'd think it would be a good candidate for a low recoil round.

I'm not a hunter (yet) but I've settled on two rifle calibers for my own long gun shooting. .30-30 (LOVE my lever guns:D) and 7mm-08. So it was interesting to see the comparative numbers in your data. I have to say that the numbers for those two rounds definetly jive with the findings of my own educated shoulder.

I picked the 7-08 as a round to try shooting some metallic silhouette matchs. I picked it based on the recomendation of a hunter that uses it because it's not a round that beats up a fellow's shoulder but it has the ability to reach out and be effective on a decently wide variety of game.

December 16, 2010, 09:30 PM
I did not include the 223 because none of the 22cals did well at all, their poor BC and super light bullets keep them from getting good OGW numbers. That said the 223 is my favorite 300 yard varmint round, but for big game hunting the 6mm and up are just so much more effective.

December 16, 2010, 10:14 PM
On the recoil calculator I use there is a seperate recoil figure that adjusts for high speed bullets, in my experence very high speed calibers have a higher felt recoil then their regular calculated number implies. My 7mm rem mag pushing 140gr bullets at 3300 fps had a higher felt recoil then my 12 guage 3" magnum foster slugs IMHO. Does any one else have a similar experence or am I just crazy? If so I will adjust the recoil figures to line up with these other set of figures. I hope to finnish all my calculations and have a crowned king of the sissy kickers sometime real soon but I need some imput on this recoil issue.

December 16, 2010, 10:22 PM
The "impulse wave" from the rifle is a much higher frequency and much faster pressure curve than the slugs. Makes FELT recoil sting you more. Basically imagine it like this, I PUSH your shoulder with 25 pounds of force verses I snap a punch with equal power into your shoulder. Which do you think you will PERCEIVE hit harder? I am pretty sure there is a calculation in those things for the impulse wave but my Physics is rusty to say the least.

December 16, 2010, 11:53 PM
Kachok, in answer to your question I have the .300 Wtby.. Although most people seem to disagree, I never thought the recoil was that objectionable. After forty rounds benchrest I will admit my shoulder was somewhat sore, but while I was shooting it didn't seem to bother me that much. When hunting and shooting offhand it was hardly noticeable. One way or the other it's a sweet caliber and it always did the job hunting elk, moose and brown bear.

December 17, 2010, 12:10 AM
Oh don't get me wrong as an experenced shooter I can handle several boxes of 3" magnum slugs freehand shooting, that is aprox 36lbs of recoil according to conventional ballistics calculators, equivilent to a 375 H&H. That said I enjoy a light recoil rifle so much more, my 270s and 6.5x55 are a pleasure to shoot in any position where as doing load development on a 7mm rem mag with warm loads prone or on a bench can be painful and it starts effecting my shooting after 20 rounds or so. There is a huge difference between bench/prone shooting and shooting in a standing/kneeling position. The movement of the upper body absorbs most of the recoil when it is allowed to move. Shooting prone allows no such movement. Back to my original question, do high speed rounds effect your shoulder differently then low speed heavier bullets? I think so and the creater of the recoil calculator that I use thinks so as well. The recoil impulse factor could very well make all the difference when crowning our king of the sissy kickers if it puts the 25-06 and 240 Wby into a whole different class of recoil then the 7mm-08 and the 6.5x55.

December 17, 2010, 11:41 AM
OK yall time to wrap up the sissy kicker shoot off. But 1st let me make a revision the load I used for the .257 Roberts was not a +P that all modern rifles are chamberd for. I did manage to find a verified +P load and while it is not quite as hot as the Horandy Superperfamance +P it should give you a good idea. The new speed is 115gr Burger Hunting VLD 2940fps the MPBR is 291 yards, the recoil is 12.2lbs and the OGW @300 is 268lbs.
All recoil numbers were adjusted for recoil impulse. This revision put some of the calibers well over the 14lbs limit but we will keep them going despite the revision. . A far ranking system should deduct 10 points for every 1lbs over 10 lbs of recoil and add 10 points for every 1lbs under 10 lbs, after all we are talking about sissy kickers.

-------------------22-250--243--257R-25-06--260-6.5x55-7-08-6mmRem-240 Wby
MPBR 331 yards--------100---93---88----92----87---85----86---96-----98
max range 700 yards----25---68---75----86----96--100----89---75-----82
OGW 370lbs-------------19---63---72----86----86--100----99---71-----77
Adjusted recoil lbs ------8.9-12.3--12.2--16.0--14.3-13.8--14.5--14.2--16.5
Recoil points-N/P------P11--N23--N22--N60---N43--N38----N45--N42---N65
Final score------------155--201--213---204--226---247---229--200---192

The KING of the sissy kickers is the 6.5x55 :eek:

What this all comes down to is effecency. The old Mauser round has the best aerodynamic effecency by a fair margin and has exellent combustion effecency, It takes only 43gr of IMR 4350 powder to extract that level of performance from the old gal, less then the 243, less then 260 Rem, and less then the 6mm Rem loads listed here. The 140gr bullet seemes to be the best compromise of speed and mass, the 1800fps min for bullet opening and 1000ft/lbs for ethical killing energy line up just right making this a very well ballenced cartrage. Makes you think them darn Sweeds might have known what they were doing 120 years ago :) It's performance was so impressive that even with plain jane flat base 140gr soft points it still holds a score or 213!

Dr T
December 17, 2010, 11:54 AM
Very interesting. I would have thought that the 260 would have been much closer to the 6.5x55 than your numbers suggest. It sort of makes me wonder about how a 6.5x57 would do.

December 17, 2010, 12:10 PM
The 260 would have been much closer if I had used 140gr bullets for the test, but there were a couple of issues with that. There seemes to be some debate on what rifling twist a 260 should have, I have seen 1:8 that will stabalize 140s and 1:10 that will NOT! The 260 was designed for improved performance with 120-130gr spritzer bullets, the performance with 140s tend to lean the way of the 6.5x55 due to it's slightly larger case. Besides there was not a 260 rem load that would push that kind of speed with that small of a powder charge so even if I did score the 260 with the 140s the 6.5x55 would still have it's crown.

December 17, 2010, 12:14 PM
Kachok, you can wrap

your table data
in 'code' tags
to preserve formatting

This will force the forum to display those sections in a fixed-width font.

December 17, 2010, 12:31 PM
Just to be fair to the 260 rem fans out there I am posting the numbers for a 260 rem with a barrel that will stabalize VLD 140s.
140gr @2725 fps MPBR 277yards recoil 13.7lbs OGW@300yards 354lbs Max range 675 yards. With 43.5gr of N560 powder.

84 points+96points+96points-37 for recoil adjustment= 239 points a solid second place.

Now mind you the 260 and 6.5x55 are both capable of 2800fps+speeds with 140gr bullets, which can push the performance envalope further I don't know I only load one of them. But either way those loads are beyond our 14lbs limit here, a properly loaded 260rem 1:8 twist should run neck and neck with the 6.5x55 assuming both are using 140s.

Float Pilot
December 17, 2010, 02:21 PM
The larger case capacity and longer throats used in the 6.5x55mm rifles seem to reduce the actual felt recoil impulse. Maybe the initial acceleration is slower. It was designed in the early 1890s. I have always liked the 6.5x55 Swede over the 260 since it allows longer COL without shoving the bullet back into the powder and the neck is long enough to give proper bullet support.

The same seems to go for the 7x57mm Mauser and it's little sister the 257 Roberts. The 7x57mm Mauser was extremely popular in my area of Alaska back in the 50s, 60s and early 70s. They were inexpensive and they were perfect for people of slighter stature to shoot. Plus the 7x57mm did a bang-up job on moose, black bear, caribou, and occasionally brown bear. (Griz to non-old time Alaskans.)

My first center-fire rifle was a $30, M-98 DWM made, cavalry carbine (Brazilian contract) in 7x57mm. I have harvested every game critter in Alaska with that rifle except Bison. Over the last 45 years it has been modified and improved a few times.

December 17, 2010, 02:26 PM
One more revision to make. The 140gr 6.5mm VLD Hunting has a BC of .612!:what: The .595BC number I had was a misprint on Midway's website. So add another 3-5 points to the 6.5x55s/260s already impressive lead.

December 17, 2010, 02:32 PM
Thanks for the hard work and excellent and very helpful information, Kachok.

I'm also glad to see my Swede is in first place, and if I read your chart correctly, my 7mm-08 comes in second.

On a side note, my 7-08 has the much-maligned 1:11.5 twist, but it seems to shoot just fine.

I would still like to know how the Swedes did it so well.

Thanks, again

Sissy Kickers rule!

December 17, 2010, 02:53 PM
I will be including full power loadings of the 6.5x55, 260 rem, 25-06, and 7mm-08 in my next thread addressing the harder kicking "Practical Big Game Hunting Rifles". This will cover rifles from 15lbs of recoil to 25lbs of recoil in 8lbs setups. The 7-08 was not on a level playing feild in this exercise because the recoil limit reduced it's bullet weights and speeds below their optamum level. When you can make a 7mm-08 push 150gr+ high BC bullets to respectable speeds it will really come into it's own and might just show up the 6.5mms.
BTW if anyone thinks my structure or scoring system is unfairly in any way, or if there is some other major factor that I should include in the next Head To Head, please tell me what's on your mind. I am trying to make this as objective and scientific as possable.

December 17, 2010, 03:22 PM
We're all thinking it, but I'm gonna say it. Please, in the line of other requests made in this thread, make the opposite thread: head to head - heavy recoil hunting rifles

I'm not saying you gotta duke it out with the 4-something weee-bee mag, but at least the 375hh? :evil:

December 17, 2010, 03:28 PM
I am trying to do this in order of game appropriate rifles, the sissy kickers are suitable for any deer-goat, the Practical Big Game rifles are suitable for Elk-Moose, and the Heavy Hitters will be for the biggest and baddest on the planet. It is kind of hard to compare the 270 to the 375 H&H magnum IMHO

December 17, 2010, 10:55 PM
Almost done with my intial post for the next thread, I am still trying to find a fair formula to score them, the method I used here will probably not be suitable for that varity of calibers. They range everywhere from 15-30lbs of recoil. 260 rem all the way to 35 Whelen :)

December 17, 2010, 11:31 PM
Then you get into the Could someone please tell me why I bought this damn mule kicking thing category :evil:

December 17, 2010, 11:38 PM
Yes the shoulder buster class is next, don't worry I will give you a breakdown of shoulder breakers in vivid painful detail LOL Hot load 460 Wby mag :what:

December 18, 2010, 09:06 PM
Like I have said before, the 7mm.08 is what the .308 WANTED to be but just didn't quite get there.As have I...if the .308Win. was designed to replicate the venerable .30-06Spd, they got something wrong. OTOH the 7mm-08Rem. is like a miniature '06, a marvelous cartridge that is about as good as they come for deer and such.

Good job on the list, Kachok. My favorites (for this class of cartridge) are all in the top 3. That said, I have come to prefer the .260Rem. a bit more than the 6.5x55mmSwede because it is short action and components. I don't consider the 6mm bores to be an ideal deer caliber, and anything smaller is dismal at best. Quarter bores do pretty well, but afford no significant performance advantage (over the 6 or 6.5mms) and have a poor bullet selection. The .30-30Win. is a fantastic cartridge, and are available in some of the handiest rifles of any kind, but many folks want more range (arguably most don't need nor use it, but that is another story).


December 19, 2010, 08:06 AM
Kachok, thanks again.

December 19, 2010, 10:23 AM
WOW :what: My favorite low recoil didn't fair so well in your test :o .........

Oh well it don't matter to me I still love my 25-06 ;) She is a flat shootin 117gr Hammer of Thor on whitetails:D

December 19, 2010, 10:38 AM
Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with a 25-06. It holds a respectable level of killing energy to long ranges and shoots very flat, the reson it did not rank very high is because it lost a bunch of points in the recoil department, if the recoil of the 25-06 does not bother you at all forget that deduction and it's score is darn close to the top compedators. That is the way this ranking system works, If you were only shooting 80lbs FL deer within 50 yards, and you had a glass shoulder the 6.8SPC would be the clear winner :) The ranks are "all around" scores not The Word of God or anything LOL

December 19, 2010, 11:16 AM
Now worries Kachok ;)

Truth be known I've killed way more deer with the 30-30 in a Marlin lever gun. It was the only game sized cartridge I had until after college, and I liked lever guns so much that it , and a 22lr were about all I had in my hands through my 20's. :o

I'm not really recoil shy. I'm really interested to see how my 7mm Remmy Maggy fairs in your next test.

Thank again for all your work on these charts.........Tentwing

December 19, 2010, 11:58 AM
The next test is already posted, unfortunatly it does not seem to be getting the attention this one has. 7mm Rem mag is beating out the other super flat shooting guns, including my 270 WSM :( Well that is a comparison for Elk sized game, the WSM shoots just as flat for deer purposes. The top score thus far belongs to the plain old 308!! It just has such great internal and external ballistics properties. The good old 30-06 is only 1 point behind it and the 280 Rem is 1 point behind that. Oh course that is not a final score yet, the Big 7 or 06 could still catch it.

December 19, 2010, 04:52 PM
The "impulse wave" from the rifle is a much higher frequency and much faster pressure curve than the slugs. Makes FELT recoil sting you more. Basically imagine it like this, I PUSH your shoulder with 25 pounds of force verses I snap a punch with equal power into your shoulder. Which do you think you will PERCEIVE hit harder? I am pretty sure there is a calculation in those things for the impulse wave but my Physics is rusty to say the least.

My recoil calculator has two figures, Recoil Velocity and Recoil Energy. A 30-06 loaded with a 180 Partition has more total Recoil Energy than one loaded with a 150 TTSX but the faster load has comparatively more Recoil Velocity so the felt recoil has more snap to it.

That 7 3/4 lb rifle loaded with the 130 TTSX to just over 3000 fps recoils under 14 lb. The 125 Ballistic Tip at 2800 is even less.

Don't have the lightweight 260 yet so I make do by loading the 30s down. It works fine so I don't really need the 260. Just gotta have one.

December 19, 2010, 06:46 PM
I would just like to point something out about this little sissy kicker club, if you notice the top compedators all carry 300+lbs Optimal Game Weight out to 300 yards. despite the fact these are low recoil rounds they are deadly and suitable for any whitetail deer to ever walk this earth, so if you deer hunt with your sissy kicker (like me) don't let the 300 mag guys smack talk you. Know you game, your gun, and your bullet, and everything else will fall into place.

December 19, 2010, 08:01 PM
The best situation IMO is knowing your sissy kickers AND your ass kickers.

December 19, 2010, 10:26 PM
Sissy kicker and A$$ kickers I like that. I want to get a 300 Win mag so I have both. My 270 WSM is great for long range deer hunting but it would be nice to have a long range elk cannon. The 300 Win has taken 1st place in the "Practical Big Game Rifle" comparison. It's energy mass/energy/momentum at 300 yards combined with it's flat trajectory gave it a leg up on the .308win.
The 280 Rem and it's AI veriant did EXELLENT in the comparison as well, especialy since they have such low recoil.

December 19, 2010, 11:03 PM
Some calibers can do both and the 270 WSM is one of them. With the right powder it can do 6.8 SPC velocity with the same bullets and only recoil a lb or two more. Load 130s to just under 270 Win velocity and it will recoil under 14 lb easily.

I finally got my 6 3/4 lb scoped and slung 300 WSM going. Since buying it I'd been worried about the recoil and at times I wished that I'd gone 270 WSM instead. I got some Blue Dot and 5744 powder to load it down to 30-30 through -06 velocities and recoil. I even bought a Vais muzzle brake for it. Then last week I got the scope mounted (took me forever to get the oddball Talley mounts) so I sighted in in with factory ammo on the Lead-Sled and then shot off the remainder of the box freehand. Eight 150s at 3300 fps, the recoil calculator said 28 lb. No problem, no soreness, no hint of a bruise. The Decelerator pad helped I'm sure. I might not even mount that Vais brake now and I probably won't use the Blue Dot, 308 velocity on the small end will be fine and the 5744 powder will get me there easily.

5744 full pressure load data: http://www.homegunsmith.com/cgi-bin/ib3/iB_html/uploads/post-71-26082-2001_comp_guide_combined_file.pdf go 1/3 down. It doesn't have the 270 WSM but the 7mm Rem Mag is pretty close.

Point #1 is that large capacity cartridges can mimic the recoil and performance of smaller ones if carefully loaded down with the right powder and bullets. Sometimes equaling that performance with less powder than the smaller cartridge would use.

#2 Even when loaded full bore for big game we have real good recoil pads and brakes to tame that recoil.

I still need that 260 though. With it I can match the trajectory of the WSM for practice. That's my story and nobody else here reads this forum.:)

December 19, 2010, 11:43 PM
Nothing wrong with using reduced loads as long as you maintain 1800-2000 fps at your point of impact. The 30 cals are not the best in the under 14lbs class, but they are totaly capable of cleanly taking deer sized game, please check out the 308 load that I added. I had to slow it down to 2600fps to keep the recoil down. 6.5mms are vastly superior in this class, flatter shooting, extended range, and harder hitting.

December 20, 2010, 12:38 AM
Agreed about the 30s although my Barnes book says that a 308 with 45 gr RL 10 and the 130 TTSX gives 3143. That's under 14# and I'm thinking that my WSM can do the same with similar amounts of 5744. We'll see pretty soon anyway.

I went 300 WSM instead of the 270 WSM because of the big Roosy elk around here.

Did you see the 7mm RM on that 5744 link? It shares the same capacity as your 270 WSM at 82 grains. 47 gr 5744 gives 3127 with 120 gr bullets. That's under 14 lb. I only know of two 120 gr 270 bullets but they're brand new so you can substitute the 110 TTSX or Accubond. That's a low recoil 270 that will reach out there and still can be loaded with 150 Partitions when the time comes.

I not saying that a fella needs to have one rifle to do it all(not me:D) but he could if he absolutely had to.

December 20, 2010, 01:23 AM
What recoil calculator are you using?:scrutiny: That 308 load I have at 17lbs adjusted for impulse and even if you don't buy into the recoil impulse that is still 15.2lbs with an 8lbs rifle. Not a hard kicker but certainly over 14lbs no matter how you look at it. Your WSM might need a smig more powder to duplacate the 308 load because of the larger case.

December 20, 2010, 01:35 AM
Math is great, numbers are wonderful but a LOT of people swear and I mean SWEAR that the .30-30 is a hard kicking cartridge. This is porbably due to the ergonomics of the lever gun.

The recoil 'dynamics' for lack of a better word of a bolt gun vs. a lever action rifle (even of the same weight) just don't feel equal for a LOT of people.

Something to consider when shopping for the recoil sensitive.

December 20, 2010, 01:42 AM
The problem the 30-30 has is that so many of the good lever guns are light and have no real recoil pad so they feel harder then they actualy kick. A 6.5x55 or 243 in an 8lbs setup with a pad has the kick of a BB gun.

December 20, 2010, 01:45 AM
I'm in complete agreement there, just saying math in this case does not tell the whole story.

I'd use your chart as a starting point for shopping for a rifle, and try to get my prospective hunter/shooter to try a variety of calibers/rifles from among those.

December 20, 2010, 02:17 AM
Yep, that's partly why I told the story of the dreaded beast that turned out to be shootable after all. For me anyway. I was high fiving myself all the way home that day.

I use the recoil calculator on my Load From a Disk software. It really showed me how lighter bullets and faster powders help.

December 20, 2010, 01:36 PM
Yeah there are several aspects of recoil that you cannot just throw into a calculator, but there are genral guidelines that will give you a firm grasp on it. I am still amazed that the 7mm-08s 6.5X55s could hold such high downrange killing power, 368lbs, and 370lbs respectivly at 300 yards according to the OGW formula (a conservitive formula) that is more then any whitetail you are ever going to run across!

December 20, 2010, 07:48 PM
Us High-Power silhouette shooters have to knock down a silhouette made of 1/2 inch steel the size of a ram at 500 yards, shooting offhand.
The most popular calibers are 260 Remington, 7-08, 6.5x55, and, lately, 6.5x47 Lapua.
Every now and then these calibers will lose a ram, and the 7-08 will lose fewer than the others. A .243 just won't work on rams.
A match is 40 record shots, plus and other 10 or 15 sighters, so recoil is a big factor shooting that much in a morning. Each 5-shot string is taken in 2 1/2 minutes.

With regard to the 30/30, we also shoot lever action and iron sights at reduced ranges - 200 yards for the ram. I don't get beat up as bad with 40 shots for my 30/30 than 40 shots with my 6.5x55.

Added edit:

My 30/30 is the Marlin 336 CB with a 24 inch octagonal barrel. It weighs at least 8 1/2 pounds and is very muzzle-heavy. The 336 is significantly heavier than a Winchester 94 to begin with. Also, the 30/30 uses 150 grain cast bullets at about 1400 fps. It doesn't take as much to push over the rams at 200 yards.

December 20, 2010, 07:58 PM
Only somebody from NJ would say a .30-30 recoils less than a 6.5X55 SE. Maybe someone from MA & CT as well.

December 20, 2010, 07:58 PM
One thing that the calculators can't factor in to recoil is BALANCE of a rifle. A well balanced rifle will have a LOT less felt recoil. Add to that a good recoil pad, weight, powder speed, weight of projectile, length of barrel (yep makes a HUGE difference), muzzle brake, type of action, man thats making my head hurt!

December 20, 2010, 08:08 PM
The most popular calibers are 260 Remington, 7-08, 6.5x55, and, lately, 6.5x47 Lapua.

I understand that the 120 Ballistic Tip is used often by those 7mm-08 shooters? Good bullet for game too. A relatively high BC and the low weight helps keep recoil down.

December 20, 2010, 08:30 PM
a 120gr BT has a BC of .417, while this will shoot flat it is not ideal for larger deer at longer range like the 140gr is. You can push 3200+ fps out of a 7mm-08 with those light bullets, but you will be well over the recoil limit. That said 3260fps with a 120 shoots flatter then a max load 130gr 270win and kicks less :) OGW @300 is 371lbs and 16.9 lbs of recoil.

Redneck with a 40
December 20, 2010, 08:31 PM
7mm-08 all the way, If I were looking for a deer rifle, that's what I'd buy. I'd take a 7-08 over a 270 Win without blinking. The B.C of .284 match bullets is phenomenal.

December 20, 2010, 08:42 PM
Check out Burgers VLD hunting bullets. The 180gr is a record setting .659BC!!!! There simple is no hunting bullet out there that touches that, trust me I have looked. Sadly you need a 1:9 twist to stabalize it and the 7mm Mauser is the only one I know of with that kind of factory twist.

December 20, 2010, 09:00 PM
Check out Burgers VLD hunting bullets. The 180gr is a record setting .659BC!!!! There simple is no hunting bullet out there that touches that, trust me I have looked. Sadly you need a 1:9 twist to stabalize it and the 7mm Mauser is the only one I know of with that kind of factory twist

Good thing I RARELY use factory barrels :D

December 20, 2010, 09:17 PM
I think I have just about determined that the T/C Icon in 6.5mmCreedmoor will be my next whitetail rifle. I still don't like the billboard on the side of the receiver, but I think I can make do...there are just too many good features in that rifle to ignore.


December 20, 2010, 09:21 PM
I want a Heavy 29" barrel 280AI to replace my 270 WSM as my long ranged gun. While the WSM is GREAT for flat trajectory on deer, it simply cannot carry the kind of downrange impact/KE that a 280 AI can for larger game. I might do a buildup on a savage action once I get back to work.

December 20, 2010, 09:26 PM
I'm with ya' Kachok, a .280Rem. in any form is a great chambering, extremely versatile and one of my overall favorites. I sold my .270WSM (don't regret it one bit either) and bought a .300WM for target use and a .30-06Spd for game. I think the '06 will become a .35Whelen after I purchase a new .280Rem. in a Remington 7600 pump rifle...at least that's the plan this week (I don't really need to, because there is nothing that walks the earth that can walk away from a well placed shot from my '06 or if need be the .375H&H, but I like to have a rifle tuned in just right for the game I am seeking).


December 20, 2010, 09:30 PM
My Grandfather owned over 300 firearms at the time of his death. Of all of them his 700 CDL in 280 was his all time favorite. The AI adds aprox 100 fps in most bullet weights, darn near matching the 7mm Rem Mag burning about 10gr less powder.

December 20, 2010, 09:34 PM
There is a good reason that the .280Rem. is the most popular custom chambering (arguably that is because Remington abandons all their good cartridges), it matches the terminal performance of the '06 with a little better external ballistics. Near perfect case capacity/caliber ratio IMO.


December 20, 2010, 09:36 PM
Check out it's score in my other Head to Head. Both the original and AI scored Exellent.

December 20, 2010, 09:50 PM
Yep, been there, done that.


December 20, 2010, 10:26 PM
My dad tried to tell me when I was 15 and getting my 1st deer rifle to get the .280. We didn't reload and couldn't find any ammo that wasn't mail order (yes, mail or phone), but I now regret not listening. Stubborn me wanted the .270 and it would have been a great excuse to get the press too. :rolleyes:

December 20, 2010, 11:23 PM
For years I never understood how the 280 could be better then the legendary 270, there was no significant difference in case volume or cross section, but later I understood that the tighter standard twist, and greater selection of heavier bullets really makes a huge difference, I did not realize how big that difference was until I did this comparison. If all you are doing is poping 150lbs whitetail within 250yards you would never know the difference between them (neither would the deer), but throw in longer shots or bigger game and the advantage of the 7mm bore and 1:9.5 twist really become evedinet.

December 21, 2010, 03:06 PM
Maybe I am a bigger sissy in my old age, but I don't consider a .280 to be "low recoil" with factory ammunition as a deer/hog cartridge. It might be because my .280 is a Remington 700 Mountain Rifle, which is very light, but I might as well be shooting a 30/06 as a .280. My hunting buddy has a twin to my Mountain Rifle in 30/06 and I can't tell the difference between 140 grain Power Points in mine and 150 grain Power Points in his.
The .280 is a great cartridge and is a "low recoil" elk gun but I think you can get away with less recoil in a deer cartrdige with a 6.5x55 or .257 Roberts.

December 21, 2010, 05:02 PM
Yeah I called it low recoil in the context of an elk rifle, less then my 270 WSM and MUCH less then my 7mm Rem Mag. Not low enough to really be included in the low recoil rifle comparison. I still perfer my 6.5x55 over everything for large deer sized game. Drops them very dead very quick I don't care what the TKO factor guys say :)

December 21, 2010, 07:47 PM
That's because firearms 'formulas' are developed exclusively by fudds with chipped shoulders, and not by mathematicians.

December 31, 2010, 06:59 PM
Kachok, thanks for the Data. I've become a 6.5x55 fan for deer and hogs over the past year. My 270, 30-06, 7mm-08's are primarily safe queens now. The Swede, particularly in the Tikka T3 is a lot of fun to shoot and hunt with.

December 31, 2010, 08:41 PM
So, OK, what's the heaviest and longest 6.5mm that will work well through a Carcano with gain rifling and/or through an Arisaka - anyone know?

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