Shotgun Recoil

If you have a 7 pound or so gas-operated autoloading shotgun, you'll need to be somewhere in the neighborhood of a 9 pound O/U to get down to the same level of recoil as that 7 pound arena gas-operated shotgun. Unsurprisingly, the 9 pound O/U is a popular platform as a dedicated clays gun, even though heavy payload shells are not used.

We know this, not by conjecture, myth, superstition, or intoxicated marketing attempts, we know this by independent tests outside of the firearms industry. Actual recoil force in pounds has been redundantly measured by load cells.

Matthew J. Hall has documented his testing results. “Two shotguns were used during the development and testing of the recoil measurement system. One was a 12 gauge Remington Model 1100 semi-automatic having a hard plastic buttplate. The other was a 12 gauge Perazzi Mirage/MX8 over/under (O/U) type with a thin compliant rubber recoil pad on its butt...

The semi-auto gun was convenient for development work because it could be reloaded without having to remove it from the apparatus. The Perazzi O/U was of interest because it is, perhaps, the most commonly used shotgun among Olympic competitors. The O/U was configured for International skeet with a 70 cm (27.6 in) long barrel having standard factory machined vertical slot ports at the muzzle. The semi-auto gun had an unloaded mass of 3.54 kg (7.79 lb) and the O/U a mass of 3.57 kg (7.85 lb).

Subsequent testing entailed plugging the gas vents of the 1100, thereby measuring recoil force with the 1100's gas system deactivated. The bolt movement and gas venting in the gas operated semi-automatic gun tested reduced peak recoil force by between 20% and 25% and lengthened the duration of the recoil event . . . ”

It is a precisely measured fact that gas-operated shotguns reduce recoil force. As far as the often used, over-used, and sloppy term “felt recoil,” than can of course be anything and everything someone feels it is. It is something akin to no matter how hot or how cold a room gets, it is still room temperature.

That said, it hardly invalidates other action types, whether long gun or handgun. We just use reasonable load intensity in concert with reasonable gun weights. Nor are all gas actions created equal. Historically, the Browning Active Valve shotguns have been among the softest-shooting, with the Beretta gas guns on the harsher side of the spectrum, and right now the 12 gauge only Remington V3 is the softest-shooting shotgun on the market in the 7 – 7-1/4 lb. unloaded weight bracket.

Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.



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