Shotgun Hunting


Shotgun Movement, Shot Recovery, Recoil

By now, most are aware who makes the most reliable, fastest-cycling, softest-shooting autoloading shotgun in the World. Most everyone makes “that” model. Benelli shotguns, made by Beretta Group, are better than Berettas, and Berettas are of course better than Benellis as well. Browning, Beretta, Benelli, Remington (and others) all compare their shotguns to competing brands. The winner is always the company that is doing the comparison and publishes it in their marketing materials. It is hard to miss.

Some of the oldest ideas, such as the the Cycolac Hydro-Coil stock, the stock invented by Ralph O. Hoge, have been re-released in cheaper versions, renamed the “Kick-Off.” The patented Hydro-Coil was featured in Sports Illustrated (Sept. 9, 1963), claimed to reduce recoil by as much as 85%, and became a standard option available from Olin-Winchester. If someone is actually telling the truth, well, please see and let me know who it is.

Nevertheless there are differences. The so-called inertia guns (Bruno Civolani action) require no gas action cleaning. While it sure doesn't take long to clean a gas-operated autoloader, some have a distinct aversion to it. The action type is going to be left as a personal decision, just as always.

Nevertheless, there are important considerations to how a shotgun affects you, even if you don't think that recoil bothers you. To the extent that a shotgun moves you, causes you to blink, etc., affects your shot recovery time. That really is important, for that second target, second pheasant, or third dove. The faster you can get on that second or third bird, the better. It can easily make the difference between another bird in the bag and one that is out of range.

We all tend to want what we can't have. There is market for the six pound shotgun, 4 inch chamber, with no recoil. Reality tends to hold us back. Even now, the “shotgun magnumitis” is in full swing, for the first thing we obsess about with our super ultra supreme deluxe 12 gauge elite magnums is if they can function with our 28 gauge payload reloads.

Most twelve gauge autoloading shotguns today do just fine with 1200 fps, 1 oz. target loads: the classic 16 light game load. Though we can throw one ounce of lead out of 28 gauge, 20 gauge, 16 gauge, and 12 gauge guns for various and sundry (if inexplicable) reasons we seem to like to do it with 12 gauges.


This one minute video attempts to show the differences in muzzle flip, gun movement, and effect on the shooter (me) with 1180 fps, 1 oz., Federal Top Gun target loads between three guns. As the camera is mounted to my head, it gives a rough idea of what momentary movement each gun imparts. The three guns are a 6.5 lb. Browning A5 inertia gun, a 7 lb. Girsan MC 312 inertia gun, and a 6.5 lb. Weatherby gas-operated SA-08.

All have very good recoil pads, the Browning A5 having the best in my opinion. Yet, the Browning is easily the harshest shooting gun of the three. While all of these shotguns are reasonably comfortable to shoot with this shell, there is a significant difference in shot recovery time. The gas-operated SA-08 is the softest-shooting shotgun of the trio . . . easily, and the fastest to get on that second bird.


Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.



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