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Recoil & Ocular Issues

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Mr. Mosin, Nov 1, 2020.

  1. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    I have been loathe to post along these lines, but I hope to find better answers from the firearms community, and such is a necessity to receive a proper answer.

    I suffer from the long term effects of Retinopathy of Prematurity (google it), including poor sight at all ranges, gradual retinal degeneration of my peripheral vision, and the looming threat of an inevitable retinal detachment. I have heard tell of particularly vicious recoiling firearms leading to retinal detachment in individuals with issues similar to mine, and sought answers here.

    I've no desire for high recoiling long guns, but I do enjoy handguns. I've shot everything in a revolver up to full house .44 Magnum and snub .454 Casull; and every automatic service cartridge except .357 Sig and 10mm. I also run my 870 in 12ga readily with no noticeable issue except with repetitive rounds of buckshot (think, 50 run right after the other) inducing a headache, and I run my .243 Win. bolt gun readily with no discernable ill effects.

    Back to handguns, I have not found the recoil in any of these revolvers to be objectionable with a cylinder or two; but I have not had the chance to actually sit down and run 50/100/150 rounds through a given handgun (all my buddies), so I do not know how recoil will affect me in the "long run".

    Anyways, to make a long question short... how much recoil is too much recoil ? Would I be best advised to stick with something along the lines of a full sized .38 Spl and .22LR and a light recoiling rifle/shotgun ?

    Thank y'all in advance.
     
  2. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    I'm a person at some risk from retinal detachment, which my eye doctor and I are keeping close tabs on, and I brought up this very question to her. Her opinion was that rifle recoil wasn't a serious risk factor. Though, of course, I don't think she's shot a large caliber milsurp rifle. Of course, your situation may be totally different because detachment may result from many conditions, and only your eye doctor can give you informed advice specific to you. I think asking us here how much recoil is too much recoil may be seeking advice from persons who aren't qualified to answer that. Maybe if you could demonstrate to your eye doctor how much recoil you experience? In any case I don't think, and this is my uninformed opinion, that handgun recoil should not be of too much concern because most of it is absorbed by your upper body and very little makes its way up above the neck. Best wishes, good luck and good health.
     
  3. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    I had a detached retina about 6 years ago. I don't recommend it. That said, I don't think handgun recoil would bother it (I've shot several thousand 44 Mag rounds). I've shot H&Hhunter's 470 Nitro Express double rifle. I don't recommend that.

    Mine came on after riding my Harley about 90 miles home from Cripple Creek on a Sunday. No incidents, but Monday morning I had a blind spot in my left eye. It stayed until Friday, when I finally went to the ophthalmologist. He said "Bed rest this weekend, and show up Monday at 7:30 in Colorado Springs for surgery".

    The surgery was painless, but as I said, I don't recommend it. Heavy handgun recoil, probably not much of a problem, heavy rifle recoil, I probably wouldn't do it. Consult your ophthalmologist, though, above all. Don't trust my advice
     
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  4. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Just wanted to add something I thought of later: IF you're noticing some particular kind of visual disturbance that often coincides with your shooting, then you should describe that to your doctor.
     
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  5. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    I hope someone can give the answer he is looking for. He has asked me several times in the emails we exchange and I have told him several times I cannot see any way handgun recoil or muzzle blast would have any effect on his eyes. A hard recoiling rifle? Sure. But not a handgun. Maybe if you put it against your head and pop it off but other than that I can't see the danger.

    And consult an ophthalmologist was the advice I have already given him.
     
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  6. SHOOT1SAM

    SHOOT1SAM Member

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    I am an ocularist; I fit and fabricate artificial eyes. I am also myopic (nearsighted) and I have experienced retinal tears (not to be confused with retinal detachments...but close enough!). I am also a lifelong shooter.

    There are eye doctors, and there are eye doctors. With absolutely NO disrespect to optometrists in the shooting community, this is a question best answered by an ophthalmologist, and more particularly, by a retinal specialist. My 35+ years in the ancillary field of ophthalmology leads me to presume that the ‘eye doctor’ who thought “rifle recoil wasn’t a serious factor” is an optometrist with no serious study of retinal issues nor any experience in shooting, and while I do NOT have any medical degree, I could not disagree with her more.

    I have been advised by retinal specialists who I work with and who have personally treated me, to not be shooting heavy recoiling rifles or shotguns anymore (as well as avoiding roller coasters, weight lifting which results in severe straining, etc.).

    I have also been advised that handguns are NOT an issue as the recoil impulse is in the hands/arms rising up, not the rearward thrust of the rifle or shotgun jostling the head.

    My favorite rifles are all gone: .358 NM, .300 Wtby, .338 WM, .356 Win., as well as my 12 gauges. I now shoot 6.5 Jap & Grendel, .260 Rem. & 28 gauge.

    So take this for what it is: NOT medical advice, just the experience of a fellow shooter with retinal issues who has seen it all when it comes to someone losing an eye.

    Sam
     
  7. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    Excellent post Sam and I hope it helps the OP. He has told me what handguns he wants the most and I don't think any have enough recoil to ever be an issue. And your answer is far better than about any other answer he could hope to get on a gun forum.:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
     
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  8. Whizzbang

    Whizzbang Member

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    My first year hunting moose I met a guy randomly and we spoke for a while. I was new to hunting moose and he was giving me advice and just generally doing what hunters do. Somewhere along the line I inquired about his rifle which was a century arms C308. He went on to tell me that he had lost his sight in his left eye to a work related accident. Having concern for his remaining eye sight he inquired about recoil and a detached retina. This was six years ago so don’t trust your eyes to my memory :) but the reason for the C308 was reduced recoil. The only concern the doctor had was for long guns because of the direct force applied to the head via the cheek weld. I also remember him saying that his doctor said it would not be progressive. One shot that the recoil was to sharp would do it and to avoid heavy recoiling guns immediately. As in that part of your life is over type of conversation. Anyway I hope all that makes since and you get it figured out.
     
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  9. Mr. Zorg

    Mr. Zorg Member

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    Google up on trapshooters and retinal issues if you want to honestly see a link between recoil and retinal issues.

    I had a non-shooting related partial retinal tear two years ago now, that had complications. I was receiving monthly injection directly into my left eyeball for over a year that went to every other month, now every third month. The issues from the complications still aren't 100% resolved and a side effect of the injected medication is it's accelerated cataract problems in that eye so I need cataract surgery performed in that eye soon. Fortunately all this occurred in my weaker eye, if it had occurred in my stronger eye I would have had, and would still have, a significant decrease in my ability to live independently.

    I've chosen to limit my rifle use at below 30-06 Springfield recoil levels, and I've been really enjoying what my 25-06 Remington rifle has achieved in my hands. I haven't fired a shotgun since then and have decided to limit myself to standard load 20 Gauge maximum for the foreseeable future. I don't have any sort of widespread peer reviewed research for these choices, I decided to just draw the line somewhere for myself. The opthamologist who's been treating me finds my choices reasonable but also doesn't have any study to point to for such guidelines.

    Handguns haven't entered a realm of reduced use by me and no such discussions with my ophthalmologist as they don't transmit sudden force to my shoulders. If there are guidelines out there somewhere about handgun use linked to any such eye injuries I haven't run across it but I also haven't specifically searched for it. That doesn't mean it absolutely doesn't exist somewhere.

    Spending a few $$$ to review such questions with an ophthalmologist IMO would be money well spent by anyone having concerns about such issues . But IME finding hard statistical mathematical analysis of known events hasn't yielded results, much less hard statistical mathematical probability modeling for forecasting such events with long guns at least.

    YMMV of course
     
  10. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    Thank y'allfor your help.
     
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  11. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    I doubt shooting a handgun, even a 454 Casull or bigger, would be something causing a retinal detachment. I also doubt shooting most rifles and shotguns offhand would cause a problem. That said, I had a 460 Weatherby Magnum that I liked and would use to target shoot off the bench. I decided wisdom was the better part of valor and divested myself it because I didn't need that many elephant guns and I thought the risk of a retinal detachment was real. I have no real fear of shooting a 300 Winchester Magnum or even a 378 Weatherby off the bench. I've never shot a shotgun with any thing bigger than 3 inch 12 gauge shells and I don't consider the recoil of those all that bad.

    They're your eyes though. The advice to consult an ophthalmologist about it is good.
     
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  12. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    A gun like this may be cause for concern.

     
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  13. mlankton

    mlankton Member

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    rifle recoil probably not a cause for concern til you get to .375 and better
    Chuck Hawks has a rifle recoil table if that's helpful
     
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  14. DoubleMag

    DoubleMag Member

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    Been there // did that. I am on several prescriptions for my olde eyeballs , daily. Plus OTC (over the counter) rewet drops. Went through some fairly serious problem about 15 yrs ago.

    That said...

    2 things, 1)EVERYONE at, around, or over 40 needs to have a FULL DILATED examination by an OPHTHALMOLOGIST, and then yearly thereafter as determined by said Doctor. Probably will be told, every two years. And 2) at about that breaking point in age, 40, should use daily but MOST DEFINITELY AT BED TIME, an OTC re-wetting drop. That's the breaking point for your eyes to stop producing as many tear drops...


    OK recoil handguns? I would not worry about it at all. I HAVE shot the venerable 454 cas' wouldn't do it again ''just because.'' ANY popular cartridge, 9mm, 357, 40, 45acp etc. ALTHOUGH, I would advise a 2 hand grip as often as practical, bend at the elbows slightly. If there COULD BE any chances of recoil transitioning into your eye balle, it would be helped going down both arms instead of just your strong arm, and shock absorber effect (a little) of the elbows suggestion. Rifles? Your 243 is a KNOWN soft shooting high power cartridge. I wouldn't be concerned to add it in a semi-auto platform either i.e. AR-10 / 243 (drool:cool:) .
    Your shotgun gauge and action is what I would be most concerned about. Last time I shot that much buckshot I was getting paid to do so (annual qualification). Wouldn't do it ''just because '' though.

    Me? I would switch, at a minimum, to semi-auto. And I would stick to the Remington 1187 style, because, it's a tad bit heavier which helps in recoil mediation, and, same / similar stock configuration . You will have zero to little changes in point.

    But if you want the BEST option IMHO, I would do 20 gauge, same semi action, same manufacture, same rationale.

    And... <drum roll> the grande finally... I would suggest goggles when you shoot vs. regular safety glasses. Prescription? Would suggest script. goggles, give them a look (hehe)!!


    THAT'S ENUFF:thumbup: ! ! ! !
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2020
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  15. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    I think it's a mistake to presume only an ophthamologist can give a patient good advice on whether a certain amount of recoil is too much recoil for risk of retinal tear or detachment. It all depends on the skill, knowledge and experience of the doctor, regardless of credentials. I purposely used the term "eye doctor" to avoid making that distinction. Optometrists and ophthamologists are both trained and credentialed to diagnose the same eye pathologies using the same testing methods. However, only an ophthamologist can treat the more serious pathologies. That's where the distinction lies, and an optometrist will refer when necessary.

    My former eye doctor was a very skilled and knowledgeable optometrist who I switched to from an ophthamologist because the latter was a bumbling fool and the optometrist was highly recommended by a person I respected for making such a judgment, and I found her to outshine the ophthamologist in every way, shape and form with respect to eye care. Her examination methods were more meticulous and complete than the ophthamologist's, and I had more confidence in her evaluation of the results than I had of his.

    So, I think to give confidence to an opinion from any "eye doctor" the patient needs to do some digging into that doctor's knowledge and experience datasets to determine whether they have the ability to understand the rather specific and esoteric circumstances affecting the shooter patient's eyesight and give the proper advice the shooter patient requires. And then give the result of that investigation priority over the doctor's credentials.

    My main caveat to the distinction between eye doctors would be to avoid those optometrists who work for chain optical shops. Their main purpose in those practices is to do refractions for eye prescriptions for glasses to be purchased from the shop. Their eye health exams are perfunctory. In their practices it's unlikely they've aquired the necessary experience with various eye pathologies with respect to the special circumstances discussed in this thread.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2020
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  16. entropy

    entropy Member

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    In some cases that's true. But it is on a case by case basis. The OD I work with is semi-retired, only works two days a week, and has a lot of experience, including teaching at an optometry school. He also is a shooter, and very knowledgeable about the effects of recoil, and the signs of retinal detachment. There are some chain stores that do only do refractions, or at least the advertised price is refraction only. It's best to ask questions when making an appointment.
    The main problem I've seen with opthalmologists is in large practices where there are several MD's, and lots of OD's and techs doing the majority of the work. The MD quickly reviews the file, signs it , and off you go. 90 % of the mistakes I find in Rx's are from this type of office.
    As in any other medical situation, it's best to do your research and pick a well-qualified individual.
     
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  17. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    So.... a lever action in .45-70 Gov't is outta the question ?
     
  18. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Perfectly OK when shooting from the hip. :D
     
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  19. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Probably not with original black powder power level loads. Not with modern loads.

    I don't have any issues that would prevent me from shooting heavy recoiling rifles and shotguns. But I've found that there are plenty of options out there with recoil around 12-15 ft lbs that I don't feel the least bit handicapped using. I sold my magnum rifles that generated around 30 ft lbs recoil years ago and haven't hunted with 30-06 which only has around 19-20 ft lbs recoil in years.

    I've even dropped down to a 20 ga for turkey hunting and don't feel handicapped.
     
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  20. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    Is there a simplified recoil ft. lbs. formula ?
     
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  21. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    That is a really excellent question and if there's an answer would generate some data that a doctor could work with.
     
  22. Mr. Zorg

    Mr. Zorg Member

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    Here's one but it requires knowing the powder weight which isn't particularly useful for non-reloaders shooting factory ammunition. Of course this table can be used simply looking up load data for a cartridge and selecting values. This formula must use some generalized fixed value chosen as typical or perhaps average for the powder energy content per unit mass.

    http://www.shooterscalculator.com/recoil-calculator.php

    I don't particularly need three digit calculations for one load vs another WRT recoil for my purposes especially for loads in the same cartridge. So instead of choosing some specific value and trying to see what powder quantity defines a limit, I simply used generalized recoil tables and again, my choice was and still is subjective on my part. Here's one for general rifle cartridges but it's far from all-inclusive. As @jmr40 stated, there is no shortage of cartridges proven effective for general game hunting in North America with general recoil levels of 13 - 15 ft-lbs. There's factory ammunition available for a number of cartridges loaded to produce reduced recoil vs standard lads for non-reloaders in additiontothespectrum of cartridgeload choices available to reloaders. Recoil energy transmitted through the long gun can be externally moderated by something like a muzzle brake with of course other effects such as sound level at the shooter's position and surroundings. Personally I think recoil velocity is also an important consideration, and is something that can be externally moderated with external means such as presence or absence of a recoil pad to start with and recoil pad design for another.

    https://www.chuckhawks.com/recoil_table.htm

    Since you mentioned 12 Gauge shotgun, here's one that adds those again specific loads have different values with that variability actually taken into account WRT shotgun loads.

    https://www.chuckhawks.com/compared_rifle_shotgun_recoil.html

    When I did a number of Internet searches regarding firearm use and ocular issues, competitive trap shooters caught my attention in addition to users of rifle cartridges with higher recoil levels than historical general purpose cartridges used by military forces. Although my partial retinal tear event with complications has no link to my firearms use, I simply decided to read up on such matters and have chosen to take steps to reduce external factors that could significantly contribute to another such event especially in my stronger eye. My eyes are the same age so the fact that my event occurred in my weak eye and not my stronger eye is best explained by random chance.
     
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  23. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Thanks!! Bookmarked!!
     
  24. DoubleMag

    DoubleMag Member

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    SURE ! ! GO RIGHT AHEAD, PROCEED. Let us know if anything happens, 2dn, 3rd 4th shot. 7th, 12th. Or even the....oops:what:

    Yes. I don't remember the exact formula but it goes something like this;

    One Shot too many (X) existing eye problem (+)constant aging (note: aging process continuing , daily)= medical intervention OF UNCERTAIN OUTCOME. But EVENTUALLY....not good.


    There's always the white cane/red tip. And, you get a BONUS tax deduction as handicapped whooHoo!!

    You've already experienced problems after shooting 12 ga 870 , ADMITTED outside edge vision is affected, confirmed by diagnosis, and you want to query about 45-70? Really? Seriously?


    I'm starting to think the real problem is bubbling to the top...
     
  25. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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