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.30-06 v .308: which has greater felt recoil

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by AStone, Jan 25, 2006.

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  1. AStone

    AStone Member

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    Evening all.

    I've been exploring this issue on THR for several weeks now,
    so if you're bored with it, please just pass on by.
    {Nothing to see here...}

    From at least three threads on THR,
    I've gained the impression that .308 Win
    has less felt recoil than .30-06.

    Thus, I've been considering buying my first centerfire rifle
    in 20 years as a .308, or even a 7mm08.

    {Because I'm NOT a recoil junky.
    I HATE recoil, which makes me flinch,
    destroying those 1" groups @ 100 m.}

    Yet today, while picking up my CZ 452 from my gun shop,
    I engaged in a discussion about that .308 v .30-06 recoil issue
    with an (ostensibly) knowledgeable riflemman, also a reloader,
    who argues that .30-06 produces LESS felt recoil than does the .308.

    The reason, he claims, has something to do with the way the powder burns,
    such that the .308 hits all at once, whereas the .30-06 is more prolonged,
    stretching the felt recoil out over a longer time, allowing one's body
    to adjust, to move with the recoil.

    As one who is looking to purchase the ideal do-everything rifle, I like the fact that the .30-06 has a MUCH greater range of bullet weights than .308 (and a FAR, FAR, GREATER range than the 7mm08).

    But - just to be clear - I'm NOT a recoil junky, and am willing to sacrifice bullet weight range for less recoil.

    Advice welcomed and encouraged, especially that based in experience.

    Thanks,

    Nem
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2006
  2. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    The 30-06 is going to have more recoil- more mass of hot gasses coming out the front and a faster projectile. On the other hand a long action 30-06 may weigh a pound more than a short action .308. There isn't enough difference for me to really tell. The 30-06 does have more muzzle blast in my experience however.
     
  3. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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    Bullet wgt, Gun wgt, stock shape, velocity of the load, there are a few variables that will affect the felt recoil, one can`t state that either will "kick" more without listing specifics. All else being equal though, the 308 will recoil less. The velocity is lower for a given bullet wgt.

    You can figure recoil for any gun/cartridge combo useing the formula at this site..........http://stevespages.com/recoil.html
     
  4. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    With the same bullet weights I'd be surprised if you felt much difference in recoil. The weight of the rifle and quality of the recoil pad will make much more difference in felt recoil.

    If you're looking for the all purpose cartridge, the venerable .06 is hard to beat. I put a Limbsaver pad on a M70 '06 and started my oldest son on it at 13 - he had no complaints whatsoever.
     
  5. odysseus

    odysseus Member

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    Same amount of kick to me, however it's more the rifle there than the round between these two.
     
  6. AStone

    AStone Member

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    Excellent, even exciting,
    ideas & feedback.

    Thanks.

    Keep it comin', please.

    ;)

    Nem
     
  7. AStone

    AStone Member

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    Any opinions about which rifle are also quite welcome.

    My eyes are on Tikka T3, Savage 16HFSS & Rem 700 XCR.

    Nem
     
  8. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Recoil has so many factors involved that it's almost impossible to tell the difference between two almost-identical calibers like .308 and .30-'06 from the cartridge alone. Consider:

    1. Bullet weight. A heavier bullet will generally produce more felt recoil than a lighter bullet, given a similar-weight rifle.

    2. Propellant charge. A larger propellant charge will generally produce more felt recoil than a smaller charge, given the same bullet weight.

    3. Propellant burn rate. A fast-burning propellant (suitable for shorter barrels) will burn very quickly, producing a rapid recoil impulse. A slower-burning propellant (suitable for longer barrels) will produce a more gradual recoil impulse, spread out over a few microseconds instead of coming "all at once".

    4. Rifle weight. Generally, the heavier the weapon, the lower the felt recoil, for a given cartridge. The distribution of the weight also has an effect: a muzzle-heavy rifle will kick "up" less and "back" more, whereas a stock-heavy rifle will kick "up" more and "back" less. Ideally, weight distribution should be centered around the receiver and magazine area for best recoil control and all-around "handleability".

    5. Stock design. A stock that fits you well (i.e. doesn't bump your cheekbone upon firing, fits your shoulder well, is suitable for your shooting position, etc.) will generally feel much more comfortable in recoil than one that doesn't fit you well. A classic example is the 1903 Springfield compared to the 1917 Enfield. Both fire the same cartridge, but the Springfield is generally considered to be much more uncomfortable to shoot than the Enfield, due to its inferior stock design. The location of the sights also has an effect: if you have to scrunch down against the stock to get a good sight picture, recoil will affect you more. If the line of sight falls naturally in your eye plane when you have a good hold and shooting stance, you'll be much less bothered by recoil.

    6. Recoil-reducing equipment on the rifle.
    A decent recoil pad (e.g. Kick-Eez, Limbsaver, Pachmayr Decelerator, etc.) will take out up to 50% of felt recoil, whereas an older-type pad might only relieve 10%-20%, and a solid butt-plate won't help at all. A muzzle brake or compensator can take out a lot of upward recoil, pushing the rifle straight back into the shoulder instead of back and upward - this makes the "feel" of the recoil rather different, and often more comfortable (although also often louder!). Cheek-pieces and recoil-absorbing substances such as Pachmayr's Pac-Skin can also be applied to the comb of the stock, thus making it "softer" against the cheek under recoil. Weights can be added, fore or aft, to help adjust the felt recoil (shotgunners routinely do this).

    7. Experience of the shooter. An experienced shooter will fit the gun to himself rather better than will a beginner, so that his hold and stance soak up much more recoil than a beginner will be able to achieve.

    8. Climatic/environmental factors.
    A shooter in a cold climate will be wearing several layers of clothing. These will help to absorb recoil. A shooter in a hot climate might be wearing only a T-shirt, which will do little to help with recoil.

    Just a few things to keep in mind. Sorry to complicate your question, but these factors will affect felt recoil far more than any actual difference between .308 and .30-'06! :D
     
  9. AStone

    AStone Member

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    P'man,

    Your essay clarifies rather than complicates by several orders of magnitude.

    Great response. A+. Muchas gracias. ;)

    Nem
     
  10. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Nem, the factors I mentioned can make a hard-kicking cartridge much more manageable - so much so that a real stomper can have perceived recoil no worse than a relatively mild cartridge.

    To give you an example: back in South Africa, I had a Musgrave rifle in .375 H&H Magnum. This is a "medium" rifle by African standards (a "heavy" would typically begin at .400 caliber and go up from there, all the way to the "super-heavies" such as the .600 and .700 Nitro Express rounds). The .375 has about two to two-and-a-half times the recoil momentum of a typical .308 in similar-weight rifles - the bullet weight is twice as heavy, the charge is much greater, etc. However, my Musgrave was set up by people who knew how to tame recoil. There were no modern pads such as Kick-Eez, Limbsaver or Decelerator available when it was built back in the 1970's, but the designers used a heavy barrel and heavy wood to give the rifle a weight of between 10 and 11 pounds when loaded, and a bit more when fitted with a telescopic sight. This is 3-5 pounds heavier than a typical American hunting rifle, or in percentage terms, about a 50% weight increase. They also designed the stock to fit very well indeed, so that the recoil was directed back into the shoulder, and put on it the best recoil pad available to them, which soaked up perhaps 20% of the kick. I found that if I fitted the rifle to myself properly when taking up a shooting position, I could control it just fine for accurate, rapid shots at game such as buffalo. I'd estimate its recoil to be no worse than a typical US .338-'06 cartridge, in a typical American hunting rifle, and certainly no major problem to control. However, that same rifle, fired by those who'd never been trained to adopt a proper shooting position, and who were used to military semi-auto's in .308, seemed to them to have a very heavy recoil - uncomfortably so.

    If I had that rifle today, I'd put on a Kick-Eez pad for even better recoil reduction, and I'd expect it to kick not much worse than a full-house .30-'06 in a typical American lightweight hunting rifle. However, if you took the .375 H&H and chambered it in a typical 7-8 pound US rifle, it would kick like a mule, even with a Kick-Eez pad, because of not having the weight in the gun to absorb some of the recoil.
     
  11. AStone

    AStone Member

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    P'man, thanks for the continued advice. Much appreciated.

    Since the discussion last afternoon with the sales guy at my gun shop,
    I've been thinking a lot about this point of recoil being directed into one's shoulder.

    His recommendation: let the barrel intersect the plane of the butt plate at a perpendicular angle. 90*.

    So, I've been looking at images tonight.

    I've compared the Savage 116FHSS v Rem 700 XCR.

    The latter has a more perpendicular angle to the barrel.
    The Savage butt plate/barrel angle is more acute.

    IYO, which one would soak up the recoil best?

    (Note: these are just two rifles that have my attention,
    that I have studied a bit, and handled, if not yet shot.
    Examples involving others are welcomed.)

    Thanks. Getting closer to a decision...

    Nem
     
  12. Waffen

    Waffen Member

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    If the XCR has the new "R3" recoil pad, I would say it would do best. The "R3" is nothing but a rebranded limbsaver recoil pad (the best IMO). The XCR is also close to 1lbs heavier.

    Honestly though, when compairing both these rifles I would doubt you would even begin to notice the difference between recoil. The 30-06 practically becomes a childs toy after a while. I own an SPS chambered in 30-06 and it's quite managable.

    IMO if all things are considered equal in terms of the rifle, if you feel beat up by a 30-06, your going to feel beat up by a .308.

    Preacherman has offered you some exellent advice, as he normally does, however in this situation, I would go with the XCR in 30-06, replace the trigger, and grab a scope that you like, and go shoot!
     
  13. AStone

    AStone Member

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    Waffen, good points all.

    Any advice about how to 'replace the trigger' will be helpful.

    I.e., if I take it to a gunsmith, what kind of trigger replacement would you recommend?

    Or do you recommend a particular national or regional smith to do that replacement?

    Thanks,

    Nem

    PS: I'm thinking the scope for this rifle will be something near a Leupold VX-L.
     
  14. Waffen

    Waffen Member

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    bah, no gunsmith needed to replace a trigger on a Remington 700. It's VERY easy.

    All you do is remove the bolt, stock, and floor plate (2 screws total) Then take a rubber mallet, and a punch and knock out the 2 pins retaining the trigger assembly. You will also need to remember how the bolt release mechenism goes back together, if you don't just post on here and somone should be able to easily help you. It's very easy. My first time it took me about an hour because I couldn't figure out how to reattach the bolt release spring and after consulting my girlfriend for help it was easy as pie. I installed 2 rem 700 triggers in 45 minutes from start to finish the other day. It's very very easy.

    Then, just throw in the new trigger and your good to go!

    http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=172312

    http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=563419

    http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=345733

    Obviously you buy the trigger based on the release weight, but I just posted these to give you an idea. I like my triggers in the 1.0-1.5 area. I'm up for hte night shift so ask away!
     
  15. Waffen

    Waffen Member

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    As for the VX-L scope, I am sure it's a very nice scope, however you might be able to get more bang for your buck with another type. Leupold makes VERY nice scopes. I have a VX-III and a Vari-X III both in 6.5-20x40 and they are top noctch scopes.

    I honestly think that burris offers and equal quality scope for much less. I would consider the Burris Signature Select line of scopes to be equal to the VX-III, but thats just me. Everyone has an opinon when it comes to scopes. Most will say Leupold because everyone drops the name like it was a hot coal. I don't think many have compaired models side by side in the field.

    It's certianly up to you however! It sounds like you are willing to spend the money to make a really nice rifle which is refreshing to see.
     
  16. BigFatKen

    BigFatKen Member

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    ejecta mass

    I am humbled by the quality of the info given. What are you going to do with the rifle? If the answer is "sometimes I will shoot cheap surplus ammo", then you must pick a military caliber. However, if the answer is elk, deer, or smaller, but never anything like moose or dangerous bears, then you are using a bigger rifle than you need. If you are going to shoot not more than 150 gr bullets you can use the .270 which the Savage is chambered in. If you choose another brand, you can pick the 7mm/08. You can then use the lower recoiling 130 gr bullets.

    However, no one mensioned the "ejecta" which is what comes out of the barrel. It is so small it is not used in the equation referenced above. The 150 gr bullet, leaves at one speed. The gunpowder gas mass leaves at various speeds, but most are higher than bullet speed. Velocity is squared in this equation. If the .30-06 needs 55 gr powder and the .308 only needs 50 gr because of more efficent case size, the recoil of the extra 5 grains of powder will be 5 more squared. Lets say the .30-06 has a 22" barrel and the .308 has a 24" barrel. Both rifles will get very similiar velocities. I am going to use 2800 fps. Some gas does not leave and some leaves at full burn rate speed, It averages ~4000 fps.

    The equation is this:
    the .30-06 150x2800^2 + 55x4000^2/
    the .308 150x2800^2 + 50x4000^2= and the answer is the .30-06 has 3.7% more recoil
    However, the .30-06 usually gets more speed as you would choose the same barrel length.. So, a direct proportion can not be done. This would work exactly if both cartriges got exactly the same velocity.


    If cost is a factor, I would get a Savage .270 with the Acc-u-trigger. It is a great trigger and rifle for the $349 with scope at Wal-Mart. At that price, it is a cheap scope.

    Personaly, I shoot through both sides of a 145 pound deer at 200 yards with 120 gr .25-06. It is very mild kicking. If you are going to hunt elk, you may want to go to 150 gr. You can do that with the 7mm/08 If you really need the 220 gr bullets availble in .30-06, you need more gun.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2006
  17. Waffen

    Waffen Member

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    http://home.austin.rr.com/mikesguns/10-21-05 Deer.jpg

    165gr Hornady Interlock SP
    56gr IMR 4350
    Fed 215M
    Winchester Brass
    3.33 OAL

    Deer was taken at 125 yards, after the dust cloud cleared all I could see was hoves in the same spot I was aming. 30-06 puts them down hard.
     
  18. BigFatKen

    BigFatKen Member

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    bone break sound?

    I had an interesting thing happen with my .25-06 with 120 gr Rem pointed bt bullet. I hit 110 lb deer standing 90 degree broadsides at 170 yd in right shoulder. The exit wound was 1"x4" with tapered ends. Another hunter, about 130 yards further and to the left some behind a rock outcroping, heard the sounds. There was a "crack" and a small part of a second later, the rifle report. The deer was in a muddy field so we did not find the bullet, but it is unlikely the bullet went through a deer's bones, bounced off a muddy field, passed through 130 yards of woods without hitting a tree and passed overhead at supersonic speed.

    We believe the "crack" was the sound of the shoulders breaking as evidenced by the big piece of bone that must have helped make the exit wound. You do not need 165 gr bullet for average deer.

    For the very recoil untolerant, I recommend a lighter bullet and wait for side shots. If you are going to be presented with a lot of rear shots as in woods hunting, then you need the heavy bullets.
     
  19. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    I'm skeptical of the claim that the slower recoil impulse gives the body time to adjust anything.

    We're talking milliseconds here.

    A lot of people don't realize that we perpetualy live "behind the curve", and that what's happened in the real world is over by the time we percieve it.

    Our sense communicate to our brains via nerves, and nerves conduct information via electro chemical means, which has a definite, measurable velocity, which is surprisingly slow.

    I did the math on it one time. Assuming average nerve conduction velocities, (and also assuming I didn't mess the math up) @ 60 mph, you're already (IIRC) 11 feet beyond the chunk of road you're looking at under your front bumper.

    Of course, our brain/mind does a fantastic job of patching it all together so it makes coherent sense to us.
     
  20. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    I'm not. I shoot a lot of black powder cartridges. Even when loaded with the same projectile weight and to the same velocity, there is a noticeable difference in the feel when compared to black powder. I'm told (and believe) that it has to do with the shape of the curve, i.e., that the slower burning black powder produces more of a shove than a kick. You can easily measure the effect with the right equipment, but it seems to me that it is also easily felt in the shoulder.

    That said(tm), I do not believe that your average individual will notice any real different in recoil between the .30-'06 and .308 Winchester cartridges, assuming they are fired from identical rifles and the cartridges are loaded with bullets of the same mass and driven at the same velocities. The theoretical difference in recoil impulse caused by the different charge weights is so small as to be insignificant. I am willing to bet that anyone who claims to have felt a significant difference in the recoil of the two cartridges was feeling the impacts of different loads (projectile mass or velocity) or different rifles, or both.
     
  21. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    The .308 even in a lightweight rifle like my Remington M7 is easy on the shoulder to me. I can't see why anyone would worry much about the recoil. I'm quite recoil tolerant, been putting up with big shotguns for many, many years hunting geese and ducks and have shot big magnum rifles up to and including .375 H&H, so maybe it's just my perception, but my M7 is quite easy on my shoulder. Heck, guys fire .308s and .30-06s in TC Encores, HANDguns!

    If you worry much about it, you can get a Savage (or used to could, haven't looked at the Savage catalog lately) with a recoil compensator. Also, there's that Browning with the same. I know the recoil compensators I've used, one on an old Egyptian Hakim in 8x57 and one on a TC contender .30-30 hunter barrel, work VERY well. You can get on installed on about any rifle, place in Sequin, Texas used to make 'em and it was all the rage with the belted magnum wussies that bought a .300 Win Mag and found out they couldn't handle it, ROFLMAO! Why they wanted such a cannon for whitetail deer in TEXAS is another debate. :rolleyes: But, I've known guys that had that compensator installed and it works. I cannot for the life of me remember what that thing is called or the company that installed it. But, they were all the rage 15 or 20 years ago.

    Only thing I've found about recoil compensators, especially in magnum rifles, is it sure puts a train on an unprotected ear in the woods.:eek: I hunt with muffs on my head when I hunt with the Contender. At least a rifle gets that thing pretty far out in front of you.
     
  22. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    If you worry about penetration with a .25, try the Hornady 117 grain Interlock. I used it one year and found it had too much penetration for whitetail. I was handloading it to 3050 fps from a .257 Roberts, shot completely through a decent 8 point from butt to neck! I shot a 7 point with it quartering angle, in the shoulder and out at the diaphragm and it didn't expand. So, I went to a 100 grain Sierra Game King because my shots ideally are broadside. That deer I shot through lengthwise turned to walk away JUST as I was breaking the trigger. LOL! He folded like a sack of turnips, though.

    Penetration is all in the bullet. If I did much with my .257 anymore, I'd experiment with Barnes X bullets, penetration AND expansion. They work great on big hogs in .308, the 140 grainer, and still expand even on Coyotes. They're amazing. They're a bit expensive, but well worth the cost. My .308 shoots them only 1/2 inch lower than my 150 grain Nosler Ballistic tip load at 100 yards, so I use the same sight in and have both drop tables taped to my scope so I can sit in the stand and memorize the one I'm using any given morning. :D Or, I can quick reference it in the field when I'm spot and stalking.

    BTW, I've heard the sound of bones breaking before, too. I shot a doe out in west Texas some years ago with my .257, bullet went in the left shoulder, bounced up and it the spine and shattered a vertebrae, and deflected down, busted a rib, and stopped under the off side skin. That was a 100 Grain Sierra Game King BTSP. I think when it hit the vertebrae is when I heard the "crack" sound. It was distinctively NOT the sound of the bullet and came back to me after the shot from the deer which was about 250 yards away.
     
  23. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    Father Knows Best:

    I think you misunderstand me.

    I'm NOT claiming that you can't PERCIEVE the difference. For example, the slow impulse of a .45 is distinctly different from the fast impulse of .40 cal.

    What I am saying is that you won't be able to "adjust" anything in the time between hammerfall and bullet exit.


    Just because you can percieve a difference doesn't necessarilly mean you can do anything meaningful with the information.


    "Adjusting" requires a feedback loop that cannot possibly be completed before the bullet exits the muzzle, and once that happens, nothing you do will have any impact on its flight.
     
  24. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    Aaaahhhh. Got it. We are in agreement.

    The .40S&W vs. .45 ACP comparison is a good one. I hate the .40 S&W. It has a sharp "kick" that bothers me in ways my .45's do not.
     
  25. Roudy

    Roudy Member

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    Reducing Felt Recoil

    One thing you can do to reduce felt recoil without spending a penny is to pull the rifle tightly into your shoulder. If the rifle doesn't contact your shoulder or contacts it lightly then the rifle builds up velocity before it contacts something solid in your shoulder. If you hole the rifle tightly in your shoulder you get a heavy push rather than a viscious slap.

    To test this theory have a friend hold their fist a inch or two from your shoulder then punch you in the shoulder. Conversly have your friend put their fist tightly into your shoulder then punch. You will find a big difference.
     
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