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Weird questeion about Heavy Recoil - need advise...

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by TK73, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. TK73

    TK73 Well-Known Member

    Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

    I am deeply interested in dangerous game rifles and calibers starting with .375 H&H and up. I really, really want a rifle capable of handling dangerous game. Until now, I haven't shoot anything more demanding than a .30-06 and I unfortunately I don't know my personal threshold of recoil tolerance. Dealing with the moderate .30-06's recoil is hardly a problem.

    I've read mixed very reports about various rifles, stock designs and recoil generated by different calibers, but the more I've read the more confused I've become. For example: Awhile back, one gentlemen here commented on the Win. 70 .375 H&H being much more enjoyable to shoot than a similar gun in .338 Win. Mag.

    Do you have any advise about which heavy DG rifles are actually "shootable"? I am not talking about firing hundreds of rounds per range session, but rather a box or two. I don't intend to hunt dangerous game with it. At the moment, it would like to have an appropriate rifle just for sheer pleasure and to impress my friends. Unfortunately, I don't know any shooters which have any experience in this specific area.

    Thank you all for your response.
  2. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Well-Known Member

    From the bench or prone most of the dangerous game caliber rifles can be punishing but kneeling or standing they're much more pleasant. Invest in a recoil pad for practicing. Midway has a great deal on one right now on Winchester's field pad.

    What ranges will you be shooting at? At shorter ranges the big bore, lower velocity rounds like 458 Win Mag are more of a push than a crack and tend to be more comfortable (at least for me) for similar effectiveness. If you're looking at longer range shooting something like the .338 Laupua or .340 Weatherby might be more appropriate.

    I can take 20 rounds of full power .458 Win Mag as long as they're standing shots with my recoil pad on. From the bench I start getting pretty tender after 10-12. As a base of comparison I have a light weight single shot .30-06 and I can do 20 rounds from the bench with it without getting as sore.

    Hope that helps.
  3. BigG

    BigG Well-Known Member

    That's not my experience. A 500 grain factory load is a stern wallop, takable, yes, but definitely noticeable. You will not fire a box or two at a sitting unless you are a pretty good specimen. IMHO, the 458 WM hits about twice as hard as a 375 H&H factory load, recoilwise. This is according to my calibrated shoulder. I shoot mostly from the bench and have received enough wallops to recognize one when I get it. ;)

    The big thing I have learned in shooting the larger rifles is to keep the neck stiff in regard to your shoulder. That way when the gun drives your shoulder back, your head goes back with it. This avoids whacking your nose with your thumb, scope eye, etc. YMMV
  4. buzz meeks

    buzz meeks Well-Known Member

    I recently discovered the 9.3x62 and suggest you might give it a look. It has a long and illustrious history in Africa and while it's a bit light for stuff like elephant, it will work on anything. Or so I am told. So far I've only killed a doe antelope with mine. Go over to Accurate Reloading and do some reading.

    I know you said you wanted to go larger than .375 but the reason I mentioned the 9.3 (.366 in.) is because you also said you had some reservations about heavy recoil. In my CZ 550 Lux, the 9.3 recoils no worse than a heavy-loaded .30-06 or a .338-06. And best of all it has none of the bark of the medium magnums.

    Just food for thought.
  5. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Well-Known Member

    I'm shooting an unusually light .30-06 and particularly heavy "big guns" so that probably colors my assesment somewhat. YMMV and all that :)
  6. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    The 9.3X62 (and the slightly more potent 9.63 X 63) are very similar to the .35 Brown-Whelen.

    When I got Bigfoot Wallace (a custom '03 in .35 B-W) the former owner had no loading data for it -- he said he stuck to reduced cast loads because when he got it "There were some full charge loads that nearly tore my head off."

    I developed a pretty hot load for this rifle, and while there IS stiff recoil, I find it manageable. Interestingly enough, as I got more familiar with the rifle, I noticed the builder (CW Fitch of Phoenix) had incorporated a lot of anti-recoil quirks, like a backward sloping cheek piece and a thick, soft recoil pad.
  7. buzz meeks

    buzz meeks Well-Known Member

    Vern- I don't know much about the .35 B-W. How much bullet, how fast?

    The reason I even mentioned the 9.3x62 is that when I hear someone mention a dangerous game rifle, I instantly think of Africa. The 9.3 is nice because it is the lightest caliber allowed in some but not all African nations for use on DG.

    Vern's last paragraph was a gem. Anyone thinking about a heavy kicking rifle should put a little effort into finding a good stock. The hogsback stock on my 550 Lux may be an aesthetic abomination to some, but it allows me to handle brisk recoil comfortably.

    For reference, my main hunting load is a 286 grain Nosler at a little over 2400 fps. Near as I can tell, the 9.3x62 goes as heavy as a 320 grain solid at 2300 fps. Don't know that first hand though because Woodleigh solids are just too expensive for me to play with.
  8. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    I'm driving a 225 grain Nosler Partition Jacket (my preferred hunting bullet) at 2800 fps. My load IS pretty stiff. There is no reliable reloading data for the .35 Brown-Whelen, and my reloads are safe in MY rifle, only.
  9. theCZ

    theCZ Well-Known Member

    I've found that standing recoil is much easier to take than sitting. Hell, I can barely handle 300 win mag recoil from a bench, it just ain't fun for me. Also, having a shoulder that has been "broken in" to recoil is really a must.
  10. Dan the Man

    Dan the Man Well-Known Member


    I have shot a number of 'heavy' rifles (off the bench, off-hand, and hunting dangerous game). If you have no problems with the a .30-06, you will find the recoil of a .375 H&H magnum to be 'heavier' but not painful. I have fired a .375 H&H R93 Blaser with no problems at all. It did have a recoil reducer in the stock (not a muzzle brake! I don't like those for hunting). I have a CZ550 in .458 Lott, which is a .375 H&H necked up to take a .458 caliber bullet. The recoil is not painful, but its a bit like having someone back into you with a buick. Lots of shove. I have a bad habit of sneaking up on my scope, and I did get smacked on the forehead while shooting my Lott. For these kinds of rifles, get plenty of eye relief if you put on a scope.

    Probably the most 'painful' of my rifles is my .475 nitro express #2. It actually is a bit less powerful than the Lott (480 grain bullet at 2150 fps vs. 500 grain bullet at 2400 fps), but the design of the stock and its angle to the barrell ensures I get hit on the cheek for every shot. Still, it isn't noticeable when hunting and it is OK for about 10 rounds of practice shooting.

    The other heavy I have shot was a Krieghof .500 nitro express. It behaved about like the other 'heavies': lots of shove but not much pain.

    The rifles that have a reputation for painful recoil are the Weatherby .460 and .378. They generate much higher velocities which in turn generate a much 'sharper' recoil. I haven't shot a rifle in either caliber and really don't plan on it. Even I have my limits ;) .

    I believe any of the commercially available .375 H&H magnums with a good recoil pad will be fine for you. Based on my personal experience, I can suggest the Blaser R93 or the CZ550.

  11. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Well-Known Member

    I recall reading an account from an African professional guide whose client had a .460 Weatherby, and wanted to bag a Cape Buffalo. He duly got the client into a shooting poisition then sat back to watch the fun. After several shots, he wasn't sure who was taking more punishment - the buffalo or the client :)

    Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and Discussion forum
  12. TK73

    TK73 Well-Known Member

    Dear Gentlemen:

    Thanks a lot for your input so far. I shoot mostly at a indoor shooting range at 100 meters. I've already thought about the .375 H&H to be probably the "first sensible step". If other factors like immediate availability of ammunition and components and prices are taken into consideration, there's probably no contest.

    Dear Tony - I've once saw an extensive survey among African professional hunters regarding their client's equipment they want or do not want to see. The various Weatherby calibers (not specified further but for hunting African game they probably start with .300) were the most hated!

    Hardly surprisingly, most PHs want their clients to bring something on the order of a .375 Holland & Holland Magnum for their "heavy" and either a .300 Winchester Magnum or .30-06 Springfield for their "light" rifle.

    Can someone tell me the subjective difference in recoil between a .375 H&H Magnum and .416 Rigby when fired from a Ruger No. 1, Winchester M70 or Ruger M77 Magnum Express rifle?

    Thanks again for your kind help.

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