The recoil, what a torment! Especially for first-timers in the world of clay pigeon shooting, who could return home from the field with a battered or otherwise fatigued shoulder.
In fact, during the recoil, a force contrary to the shot is produced, putting the shooter’s physicality to the test. If not prepared for the impact, they will find themselves exhausted after a long shooting session.
For example, those who carry a lighter shotgun will surely have heard of doctors who deter them from excessive practice if they have problems with their eyes since several repercussions could even cause retinal detachments.
The force that meets the shoulder, spreading throughout the body, can only make some pathologies worse. Therefore, we must be cautious.
It must also be said that every shooter undergoes this abrupt withdrawal of the shotgun differently. Some shooters complain of pain, and others do not feel the slightest annoyance. It is a subjective feeling that everyone perceives in their own way.
It should also be added that this perception, more or less negative, is conditioned by the build of each shooter. At least in part.
However, a great deal is due to technique and technology. If the impact cannot be avoided 100%, what we can do is dissipate the energy and “decrease” the shotgun recoil.
This process is essentially due to the pressure of the combustion gases, which create an internal force in the barrel. The energy generated, in addition to pushing the projectile along the barrel, generates a force contrary to the trajectory of the projectile, moving back towards the shooter.
The first things to do (and not do) with the shotgun
If you have never had to deal with the force of the recoil, your first experiences can be quite “scary”. Novice shooters should not shoulder their rifles without adequate preparation. The risk is quitting once they have experienced the strong impact of the shotgun on their jaw or shoulder. As a result, they lose interest in shooting.
Certainly, there is no way around the causes of this movement. One can only try to ease the complications.
Here’s what you always need to remember:
The shotgun must fit the body perfectly
Otherwise, it is better not to pull the trigger. If the physiognomy allows a firm grip, being one with the shotgun will greatly soften the recoil action.
A good stock will ensure a truly ergonomic horizontal or vertical adaptation. However, our Futur-K6AM can do much more. Arranged for six adjustable parts for infinite shooting positions, it can “model itself” perfectly to the shooter’s body.
The shotgun must be kept firmly in place
Some think that by keeping the gun away from the body, we can save ourselves from the blow. It’s a grave mistake! Without a solid grip, the shotgun will be uncontrollable and will strongly hit the body, hurting badly.
If you are a beginner, it is important to make sure you have received all the instructions
Safety is the most important aspect. The shotgun must be handled according to precise rules, whether it is loaded or not.
No less important, especially on the platform, is the correctness of the movements that need to be done: from loading to shouldering, to firing the gun and reloading it.
What are the laws of physics that explain the force of the recoil
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” It is the third principle of dynamics formulated by Isaac Newton. A law that perfectly explains the process that takes place when we fire.
Pressing the trigger, we trigger the forward physical thrust of the bullet mass trigger, which leads by reaction to a backward thrust of the shotgun.
Not only. To start the motion that will be used by the projectile to leave the muzzle of the barrel, gases will be released, which, when expelled, determine a propulsion effect that propagates to the entire shotgun.
The recoil can be damped in semi-automatic or automatic shotguns. In fact, the mechanisms of the reloading action tend to absorb part of this energy. An over and under shotgun instead amplifies the “reaction” on our body even more abruptly.
Then there is another factor that must be considered: the surge, the phenomenon with which the shotgun acquires a movement of rotation when the bullet exits from the barrel.
Why does the muzzle jump take place?
It depends on the relationship between the centre of gravity and the barrel. The latter, for construction purposes, is placed above the centre of gravity of the shotgun. Therefore, when the projectile is released, the muzzle of the shotgun will tend to move upwards.
The muzzle jump could also be subjected to a translation if we used a side by side shotgun.
Therefore, we can say that two movements cause the shotgun recoil, and they will move the barrel backwards (towards us) and upwards. Reducing shotgun recoil will then be our first objective.
The equation related to shotgun recoil
To understand how the recoil works, let’s analyse the equation of the moment: M1V1 = M2V2.
- M1: expelled mass, the mass of the projectile plus the outgoing gases
- V1: expulsion speed (speed generated by the cartridge)
- M2: mass of the shotgun
- V2: speed of the shotgun, the speed of the recoil on the shoulder.
The recoil will be expressed as kinetic energy that must be dissipated. To have less recoil, there must be a lower value of kinetic energy (defined Ke). Here is how to do it and where to act.
Let’s go back to the equation of the moment.
Interfering with the values, the solutions will be different:
- Increase M2: by increasing the weight of the shotgun, the recoil will be lower. A heavier shotgun will certainly allow for greater hold and, consequently, less impact against the body, thus guaranteeing the possibility of prolonged shooting sessions. This is one of the reasons why the shotgun for clay pigeon shooting is less light than a hunting shotgun.
- Reduce M1: decrease the weight of the cartridges.
- Reduce V1: use slower cartridges.
How to reduce shotgun recoil: practical advice
In this section, we will explain in detail how to reduce shotgun recoil.
Increase the weight of the shotgun
As we have already mentioned, the heavier the shotgun, the more it will be able to absorb the recoil better. To do this, it is useful to modify some pieces by inserting leaded material, elements that will greatly optimise the balance of the shotgun.
Review the forcing cone
It is located at the beginning of the barrel. The shorter its angle, the more the recoil action will be. It is possible to ask a trusted gunsmith to extend this cone and relieve it, for an easy firing position.
Install a muzzle brake
It is a device capable of conveying the gas that comes out of the muzzle after the blow and able to push the shotgun forward, reducing the recoil.
Muzzle brakes and compensators even manage to use the same gases as a brake. These constitute another possible characteristic.
Insert a rubber pad
The shock-absorbing pads must be positioned on the heel of the stock to equip it with an additional absorption layer. The anti-recoil pads are simple to use but are often not enough to reduce the recoil of the shotgun against the shoulder.
Our solution was instead to create the Futur-K6AM, which greatly limits the vibrations and recoil thanks to all those specific components that will be listed in more detail to follow.
Change shooting cartridges
Important, besides the weight, is the speed of the ammunition. Affecting this value will certainly alleviate the recoil action, even if this change could have repercussions on the quality of the result.
As happens in shooting, more tests are needed with different products to understand the most comfortable configuration.
The speed is generally written on the cartridge box. Therefore, before buying, always check this to make the best choice.
It does not always depend on the gauge
It is not always true that a larger calibre recoils less than a minor one. The greater the weight of the shotgun, the lower its recoil. So, it’s not the caliber that makes the difference but the ratio between the mass of the shotgun and the speed/weight of the cartridges.
Customise the shotgun
In the presence of a “standard” shotgun, little can be done to diminish the impact on the body. Instead, to decrease the shotgun recoil, you can play with many factors. Surely those related to the stock are the most useful because this part is the link between the shooter and their shotgun.
Protect your hearing and more
Wearing earmuffs to dampen the noise for your eardrums will favour a lower perception of the recoil.
In addition to earmuffs, you can also wear shooting vests that have special padding on the shoulder.
It is also a question of physicality
As has just been explained, there are several ways to dissipate the energy, all solutions that can guarantee a “brake” to the force of the recoil. However, there is one characteristic for which very little can be done: the shooter’s physicality.
A well-planted person, who holds the shotgun firmly, will create more muscle mass. High thicknesses of the fabric will serve as a cushioning pad, as a supplement.
This is why competitive shooters take great care of their physical form, with gym sessions and dedicated training sessions.
A “natural” remedy for recoil: learn the technique
So far we have presented some practical tips on how to reduce shotgun recoil by adding components or changing some parameters.
Knowing how to use the technique to your advantage, holding the shotgun correctly, will be further valid support. First, the shotgun must be grasped with the torso completely vertical.
Many make the mistake of preparing themselves for the blow with their back already curved. This is a mistake because then it will not be possible to fix the shotgun correctly to the body.
The closing action should instead be done in an upright position, while placing the shotgun on the shoulder, between the humerus and the clavicle. In this way, you will get a perfect angle, perpendicular to the shape of the shoulder itself and with the barrel facing upwards.
It will be easier to bring your face to the nosepiece and, above all, the weights will be unloaded well.
Only now the shooter will have to lean slightly with his upper back. Loading to this extent will counteract the recoil, ensuring a smooth and well-composed action.
To do this, it is also necessary to act with the tips of the feet. Placing your feet slightly forward will serve as a lever to cushion the shot.
Reduce shotgun recoil: the innovative solutions of our stock
With the help of our twenty-year experience in precision mechanics, we have created a stock able to guarantee maximum comfort. Futur-K6AM has been designed with as many as six adjustable parts for infinite shooting positions, so that the shotgun can be adjusted to suit any shooter’s physiognomy.
The Futur-K6AM has several solutions to reduce the phenomenon of recoil significantly:
- Interchangeable shock absorber patented both in Italy and abroad, also equipped with three levels of shock absorption, placed in the patented shock absorber cartridge.
The technology used facilitates the action of the shot, greatly reducing fatigue through the absorption of recoil and generated vibrations.
The more the shock absorber is elastic, the more it will combine with a powerful cartridge, with greater recoil.
- It dampens specific vibrations, squeezed between the wood plate and the body of the gun, which significantly limits the vibrations.
- On request, nose pad with rubber insert
- On request, cushion under the nosepiece
- Soft buttstock
The system used, verified by careful studies, analysis and necessary tests, guarantees a reduction of the vibrations transmitted to the user’s hand-arm system by 25%. It’s all certified.
In summary: slightly heavy shotgun, less speed or weight of the ammunition, shooting technique, some extra support or a powerful kick.
They are all strategies that will allow you to enter the platform calmly and face a long shooting session without excessively tiring. Ready to aim and pull the trigger, removing the fear of returning home in pain and full of “ailments”.