The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Dave McCracken Memorial Shotgun Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old November 1, 2008, 10:48 PM   #1
Hoss Delgado
Member
 
Join Date: November 1, 2008
Posts: 41
I have some general questions about shotguns.

I'm fairly new to guns, and I've tried to do as much research as possible, but I'm lacking in practical experience. I don't get to go shooting very often.

First, I have a lot of questions regarding recoil. How much is the shot size a factor? I shot some #2 birdshot and some #8 birdshot, and it seemed like the #2 had a lot more recoil. But I got to thinking, and if the shell length and gauge are the same, aren't you ultimately pushing the same amount of projectile? Does barrel length effect recoil? If so, why, and does a longer or shorted barrel give more recoil? How much does the pad on the stock effect recoil? My dad has an old Remington 870 Wingmaster and I've noticed that the pad is much thinner and less cushy than my 870 Express Synthetic. Now, mine is a 20 gauge and his is a 12, however I have a VERY hard time handling the recoil on his gun. Is that the gauge, the pad, or both? Also, if it matters, his barrel is quite a bit longer and his gun is pretty old, where mine is new and has a short barrel.

Second, what guns are available that can switch between pump and semi-auto? I read that the Benelli M3 and the SPAS-12 can do this, but they are apparently no longer produced and are hard to find. Are there any others?

Third, what are the arguments for different types of stocks? Like regular shoulder stock, pistol grip with shoulder stock, pistol grip with no shoulder stock.

I think that's everything. Like I said, I'm still fairly new to guns, so some of this is probably basic questions.
Hoss Delgado is offline  
Old November 2, 2008, 12:47 AM   #2
zippy13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 23, 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,416
Greetings, Hoss Delgado, and welcome.

Quote:
First, I have a lot of questions regarding recoil. How much is the shot size a factor? I shot some #2 birdshot and some #8 birdshot, and it seemed like the #2 had a lot more recoil. But I got to thinking, and if the shell length and gauge are the same, aren't you ultimately pushing the same amount of projectile? Does barrel length effect recoil? If so, why, and does a longer or shorted barrel give more recoil? How much does the pad on the stock effect recoil? My dad has an old Remington 870 Wingmaster and I've noticed that the pad is much thinner and less cushy than my 870 Express Synthetic. Now, mine is a 20 gauge and his is a 12, however I have a VERY hard time handling the recoil on his gun. Is that the gauge, the pad, or both? Also, if it matters, his barrel is quite a bit longer and his gun is pretty old, where mine is new and has a short barrel.
Recoil is the reaction to the mass and velocity of the matter expelled from the barrel. It's the simple physics of equal and opposite forces. What you're experiencing is felt recoil, or kick.
Several things can reduce the felt recoil.
• The heaver the gun the less the kick, and a longer barrel adds weight to a gun.
• If the load of #2 shot is the same weight as the #8, but at a higher velocity, it will kick more.
• Yes, different pads reduce kick differently. The more effective ones are typically thicker.
• A 12 ga kicks more than a 20 ga because it shoots more shot.
These are pretty basic answers, but they give you a starting point.

I'm not very familiar with guns "that can switch between pump and semi-auto"; but, have no fear, some other members will be able to answer your questions.
zippy13 is offline  
Old November 2, 2008, 01:01 AM   #3
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,823
Some of the basics...

Shotguns are the oldest class of guns, smoothbore. And today, our system of names is based on the old system, with one exception. The .410 bore shotgun (the smallest common) uses the actual bore size (.410) in its name. All the other shotguns use the gauge system. This dates from the ancient method of naming the bore size by the number of bore size lead balls that could be cast from one pound of lead. The lower the number, the larger the bore size.

While there are 32 and 28 gauges, they are rare (and expensive). The commonly used guns today are the 20, 16, and 12 gauge. There is also a 10 gauge, but it is not common.

Shotgun shells have a system of their own, one not used by rifles and handgun cartridges. Look at the label (usually on the top of the box) and you will find a series of numbers. Gauge & case length (common is 2 3/4 or 3 inch), and only use shells suited for your shotgun chamber. You can use shorter shells in the 3in chamber, but not the other way around.

The next number is the dram equivalent (dr.eq. or sometimes just dr). This is the approximate power level of the shell. It comes from the old days (like all of it) when shells were loaded with black powder. Drams is an old measure of volume, not weight. Shotgun shells used to be loaded by volume, so many drams of black powder for a certain use. In 12ga, the common numbers are 3, 3 1/4, and 3 3/4 dr eq. Today, this is not a measure of the actual gunpowder inside the shell, but indicates a velocity roughly equivalent to the velocity from an amount of black powder indicated by the dram number.

Mext is the shot charge weight, in ounces. For a 12ga. full weight is 1 1/4 oz. Less than that is a light load, more than that is a heavy load.

Last is the shot size. There is also an old scale for shot size. The higher the number, the smaller the size of the individual pellets. 8 and 7 1/2 are for small birds, 6, & 4 for big birds, 2 for bigger birds like geese. BB shot is the size of BBs, like you shoot from a BB gun. #4 buck is .25cal pellets, 0 buck is about .30 cal, and the classic 00 buck is .32 ir .33 cal pellets. There are different sizes for steel shot, and they use letters.

All shotguns shoot at about the same speed. They shoot at about 1200-1300fps, as this is the fastest you can go and keep decent patterns. Heavy "magnum" loads don't shoot faster, they shoot a heavier shot charge at full speed. Shot size has no bearing on recoil. Shot weight does.

Barrel length (by itself) doesn't affect recoil, except that it adds weight to the gun. Using the same ammo, a gun that weighs more will feel like it recoils less.

Your Dad's 12ga has more recoil than your 20ga, because it is shooting a heavier shot charge at the same speed.Typically 1 1/4 oz vs. 7/8 oz.

Pump/semi auto convertable guns are specialty items, not common. The only advantage I could ever think of was that in a military situation they would give you the "advantage" of redundant operating systems. If your semi auto failed, perhaps the pump action would allow you to keep shooting. I don't know, as I have never used one of these kind of guns myself. One thing I can say, is that they tend to be heavier than regular shotguns.

Stocks are a personal matter, except that a stock that doesn't fit you well will increase the recoil you feel. Pistol grip shotguns are great in the movies, and are handy in tight places, but beyond that they are hard to use accurately, and in 12 ga, there is a lot of recoil in your hands! I have shot a pistol grip shotgun (no shoulder stock) with #4 buck, and let me say you better hang on! And it still hurts your hands!

You didn't ask about chokes, but here is a quick run down. Choke is the constriction built into the shotgun barrel to "squeeze" the shot into a tighter pattern. The old standard was a certain percentage of the pellets inside a 30 inch circle at 40 yards. Full choke is the tightest (highest percent inside the circle), Modified, Improved cylinder, etc. are more "open" chokes (lower percent of pellets inside the circle). Cylinder bore is no choke. Cylinder bore (cyl) is recommended for shooting slugs.

Hope this helps.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old November 2, 2008, 03:23 AM   #4
b.thomas
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 8, 2006
Posts: 326
http://www.shotgunworld.com/amm.html
Good reference on shot/chokes/ammo
b.thomas is offline  
Old November 2, 2008, 09:00 AM   #5
oneounceload
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: N. Central Florida
Posts: 8,518
in most cases, if shooting the same size payload, a 12 will kick LESS than a 20 because it is usually a heavier gun

the 28 is not a rare gauge, but a very popular one among upland bird hunters, skeet shooters and sporting clays shooters, (my personal favorite for dove, quail and 5-stand)

12 gauge target loads can be found in 2-3/4 dram equivalent which runs around 1150fps and are soft shooting to the shoulder

if you want the least recoil to your shoulder, shoot a heavy 12 gauge gun with light loads, 3/4 or 7/8 oz.
oneounceload is offline  
Old November 2, 2008, 11:17 AM   #6
zippy13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 23, 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,416
12, 20, 28-ga and .410-bore

Quote:
44 AM:
While there are 32 and 28 gauges, they are rare (and expensive). The commonly used guns today are the 20, 16, and 12 gauge.
I beg to differ:

Yes, the 32-ga is rare, but not so the 28-ga. It is shot by Clays and Skeet competitors across the country. And, the twenty-eight is gaining popularity with small bird hunters.

Don't forget the little gun...
The .410-bore is shot in competition and the field, too. How many young shooters are introduced to shot-gunning with the four-ten? How many families have an ancestral single shot .410-bore tucked away, waiting for the next generation of shooters?

The arms makers know the commonly used guns. Look at the Remington catalog: the venerable 870 Wingmaster is available in 12, 20, 28-ga and .410-bore.
The 16-ga, being overlapped by the 12 and 20, has essentially been obsolete for years. It's still offered in limited field models for the die-hards. Browning has a hunting pump gun in 16-ga and several 10-ga duck guns. Their over/under guns are available in the standard and commonly used 12, 20, 28-ga and .410-bore.
zippy13 is offline  
Old November 2, 2008, 01:54 PM   #7
oneounceload
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: N. Central Florida
Posts: 8,518
unless the responder meant the 32 and 24 gauge? Those are used mostly in Europe

the 16 has pros and cons - the main con is the lack of available ammunition everywhere; otherwise the old adage of "carries like a 20 and shoots like a 12" works for many
oneounceload is offline  
Old November 2, 2008, 02:57 PM   #8
Hoss Delgado
Member
 
Join Date: November 1, 2008
Posts: 41
Alright, thanks for the info so far. Good stuff.

Sorry, I guess this might have been unclear in my first post. I shot #8 and #2, both from a 12 gauge. I went and checked on the ammo, and here's what the boxes say.

#2, 1 1/8 oz, 1375 velocity
#8, 1 1/8 oz, DR. EQ 3

I looked it up and I think DR. 3 is about 1200 velocity in this case? So is that why the recoil is so much heavier then?

For comparing the 12 and the 20, both of those are based on #8. I realize that, being a bigger shell and launching more metal, the 12 gauge will have more recoil. But I'm trying to find out how much of it is based on that. The reason being, I want to be able to comfortably shoot a 12 gauge. Currently, I can't handle this one. I'm not sure if it's me or the gun, and I don't have another 12 gauge available to compare it to. It may also just be because I'm so light, I'm 6' 3" and only 140 pounds. For whatever it's worth, I have shot a .410 briefly and the recoil is pretty low, but a 20 gauge is manageable.

Also, I remembered another question. What exactly is an o-ring? I've heard about them in reference to semi-autos, and apparently they're something that needs to be replaced regularly?
Hoss Delgado is offline  
Old November 2, 2008, 03:09 PM   #9
oneounceload
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: N. Central Florida
Posts: 8,518
3DE is about 1200 fps, so the difference in recoil is exactly due to that difference

O-rings are a rubber, (or similar material) used, especially in Remington 1100's (I have one) that work in conjunction with the other parts to operate the system that bleeds gas off to operate the cycling of the action

a shotgun needs to fit properly to avoid beating the snot out of you (literally ), so depending on what you are trying to do - HD, clays, hunting - would depend on what type of stock you might be prefer
oneounceload is offline  
Old November 3, 2008, 12:53 AM   #10
zippy13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 23, 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,416
Oneounceload is right about the importance of stock fit. At 6-3 and 140, you are not the "average" body size the Wingmaster's stock was designed to accommodate. I'm guessing you'll be happier with a little more stock length. You could kill two birds with one stone and get a thicker recoil pad. Go for the hat trick, and put a weighted recoil reducer in the stock's bolt hole while you have the pad off. Also, I assume your cheek is fairly thin, you might consider a sticky-back resilient pad for the comb.

One gets acclimated to recoil. If I'm shooting regularly, I'm not bothered by recoil; but, if I take a significant hiatus, then I need to re-acclimate. I do it by starting off with a few rounds with a 20-ga before I go to the 12-ga. You might consider using something lighter than the 1,200 fps 1-1/8-oz loads in the 12-ga. Have you tried any Xtra-Lite target loads? You can get 12-ga shells that are equivalent to 16 and 20-ga loads.
zippy13 is offline  
Old November 4, 2008, 07:24 PM   #11
BigJimP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 11,420
If you shoot a 7/8 oz load ( 8's, 6's or whatever, it makes no difference - except in 7/8 oz of shot if you have 8's you have more pellets in the shell than if you have 7/8 oz of 6's , or 4's or whatever).

If you shoot a 7/8 oz load around 1200 fps / its the same recoil as a 20ga - if the guns weigh the same. I have a grandson that is 16 , 6'4" and about 160 lbs - and he finds an 8 1/2lb O/U 12ga too much gun - so he shoots my 12ga Benelli super sport 12ga and last summer was here for 3 weeks and we got him up to a 20 average in skeet using that gun. He was shooting my primary reloads 1 oz of 8's at 1225 fps / and he did great with it. He's been shooting with me since he was about 12 / and shot my 28ga O/U with 3/4 oz loads at 1200 fps in a 7 1/2 lb gun - and he was averaging 15 - 18 in skeet. As he developed a litttle more upper body strength, we moved him up to a 7/8 oz load in a 20ga gun / then into the 12ga. But for all new shooters - if you feel like its too much recoil - then go to a different gun or lighter loads. Too much recoil ruins a lot of new shooters. Zippy is right - even though I'm 6'5" , 290 lbs and built like a buffalo, sometimes I just don't feel like shooting a 12ga - so I grab a 20ga or a 28ga ......its not a big deal. I had a newbie to the gun club laught at me one day, because I was shooting a 28ga - he kind of smirked and said he'd never seen a big guy shoot a 28ga / so I proceeded to run 50 straight just because he ****** me off ....and he apologized / since he was already down at least 10 targets shooting 1 1/8 oz 9's in his 12ga.

Bottom line, shoot whatever you want - light loads, smaller gague, whatever suits you ( and no matter what, make sure the gun fits, so it hits where you are looking / or its all a waste). If it doesn't fit / get a comb pad or something on it to make it fit / and you can't tell if it fits by shooting targets / you have to shoot at a pattern board. Ask around at your local club - hopefully somebody will give you a hand.
BigJimP is offline  
Old November 5, 2008, 07:05 PM   #12
Hoss Delgado
Member
 
Join Date: November 1, 2008
Posts: 41
Okay, cool. I don't think I'll be able to modify to this particular gun even with simple things. It's the ancestral shotgun and my dad hates even shooting it. The 20 gauge I could modify but the recoil doesn't bother me that much. But I'll keep it in mind for the future. I got the 12 out and tried holding my right hand up past the trigger and pulling it against me. Not that I'd be able to shoot it that way, but I could feel it a lot better against my shoulder. Looks like either my arms are too long or the gun is too short.

So let me make sure I understand light loads. A light 7/8 12 gauge round flings exactly as much metal as a standard 7/8 20 gauge round? That's good to have available and all, but doesn't it defeat the purpose of using a 12 gauge in the first place?
Hoss Delgado is offline  
Old November 5, 2008, 07:25 PM   #13
BigJimP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 11,420
Loads ..

7/8 oz is 7/8 oz ( whether its in a 20ga hull or a 12ga hull doesn't matter ). 7/8 oz of 8's has about 350 pellets in a load / but assuming the speed of the shell is the same, say 1200 fps, the balistics and performance are identical. It hits just as hard in either gun / and performs exactly the same.

Does a 7/8 oz load defeat a 12ga - maybe, maybe not. I see guys all the time shoot 7/8 oz 12ga loads for games like Continental Trap - and splatter birds just as hard as guys shooting 1 1/8 oz loads. If you center the target - it will break convincingly. If 7/8 oz is a load you have confidence in, and it breaks targets, or kills game birds - then why not use it.

When I travel, especially on airplanes, I don't usually want to carry more than 1 gun, so I will often just take a 12ga - and change my loads for whatever clay target game or bird I'm hunting. I may shoot some 7/8 oz loads for quail, or 1 oz - I may shoot a 1oz load for Skeet - I may shoot a 1 1/8 oz load for Trap or for Sporting clays. So shooting a 7/8 oz load in a 12ga is fine - depending on what you want to do. Personally, my default shell on a 12ga is 1 oz of 8's ( and I use it for all kinds of game and clay targt games).
BigJimP is offline  
Old November 5, 2008, 08:38 PM   #14
Ricky B
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 3, 2002
Posts: 251
Quote:
Looks like either my arms are too long or the gun is too short.
Your arms are just right for you. It's the gun that is too short.

As others have noted, stock fit is important in not getting beat up by the recoil of the gun. With your height, I am guessing you need additional length of pull (the distance from the center of the trigger to the center of the recoil pad).

One simple, inexpensive, and non-permanent modification you can make to the gun is to use a slip-on recoil pad. It's a recoil pad that slips on and off on top of the existing pad. On mine, it adds about an inch of length to the length of pull, and it adds significant additional cushioning. Given that you mentioned that the 870 recoil pad is thin and less cushy, this should make a noticeable difference and possibly solve the problem entirely.

Any time you want the gun back to the original state, just pull off the pad, just you would pull a loafer from your foot. (OK, it's a little harder than that, but you get the idea.)

Here is a link to Brownell's for the Limbsaver slip on pad:

http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/sto...20RECOIL%20PAD

And for the Pachmayr Decelerator slip-on pad:

http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/sto...20RECOIL%20PAD

This one says it adds 15/16 of an inch to the length of pull. Don't know about the Limbsaver in that regard.

And for the cheapie Pachmayr slip-on pad:

http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/sto...20RECOIL%20PAD

There are other places to buy them of course, and your local gun store may have them. I listed Brownell's so you can see them and see what they look like.

I got the last one, the cheapie for my Mossberg 500, which has too short a stock for me. It seemed to add about an inch to the length of pull. When I shoot 1-1/8 oz. 3 DR Eq. loads in my Mossberg with the pad on, I perceive the recoil as mild. The cheapie pad looks ugly, but the gun has ugly wood and was purchased cheap from a police supply store so it'll never win any beauty contest anyway.

In addition to adding a slip-on recoil pad to lengten the length of pull, you can modify the stock where your cheek sits with moleskin and other pads that are also temporary. But first try a slip-on recoil pad.

Last edited by Ricky B; November 5, 2008 at 10:53 PM.
Ricky B is offline  
Old November 5, 2008, 09:05 PM   #15
Ricky B
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 3, 2002
Posts: 251
If you're going to buy a new gun...

Your original post suggested that you were thinking about a new gun. If so, you should know that gas-operated autoloading shotguns shoot "softer." By that I mean that they don't kick as hard, not that the shot goes out slower.

It's often said that gas-operated shotguns recoil less because some of the gas (from the burining of the gunpowder) is used up operating the mechanism, but that is not correct. The actual recoil between a pump and a gas-operated autoloading shotgun is going to be the same if they both weigh the same and shoot the same load. The perceived recoil from the gas-operated autoloading shotgun is going to be less. The reason for this is that the operation of the mechanism spreads the recoil impulse over a longer period of time.

The classic example of the soft-shooting gas-operated autoloading shotgun is the Remington 1100. It's an old design, but it works well. There are of course newer designs, and I'll leave it to the others to suggest gas-operated guns that shoot as soft or softer than the 1100.

Keep in mind that not all autoloading shotguns are gas-operated. Some are long-recoil (Browning A-5), some are short recoil (don't know any), and some are inertia (Benelli). Generally speaking, the gas-operated are the softest shooting.

Another factor in perceived recoil is the forcing cone in the barrel. In the days of the cardboard wads in shotshells, the forcing cones were sharp so that the cardboard wad could make a good seal as soon as possible. The forcing cone forces the shot to make the transition from the chamber to the bore of the barrel. The chamber is larger than the bore of the barrel (because the shell has to fit in the chamber) and the forcing cone acts as a funnel. Thus the shot charge leaves the chamber at high speed and hits the forcing cone and has to be squeezed down in a short space and in a short period of time. This often results in a sharper recoil impulse. With the advent of plastic wads, which have a thin skirt that can readily expand to seal the bore, there is no need for such a sharp forcing cone, and newer barrels often have lengthened forcing cones, which squeeze down the shot charge over a longer space (and therefore over a longer period of time) and thus smooth out the recoil impulse.

If your dad's 870 dates back to the 50's, there is a good chance that it kicks hard in part because the barrel has a sharp forcing cone. A new barrel for the 870 might improve the felt recoil, but that's speculation on my part. I'd be interested to learn if others have replaced an old 870 barrel and improved the felt recoil.
Ricky B is offline  
Old November 5, 2008, 09:58 PM   #16
oneounceload
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: N. Central Florida
Posts: 8,518
one of the softest shooting autos is the older Beretta 303, and used prices aren't that bad on the wallet
oneounceload is offline  
Old November 6, 2008, 11:49 PM   #17
Ricky B
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 3, 2002
Posts: 251
I received a private message from someone who lengthened the forcing on his old 870 barrel and did not notice any change in felt recoil.
Ricky B is offline  
Old November 7, 2008, 02:48 PM   #18
oneounceload
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: N. Central Florida
Posts: 8,518
An 870 is a fairly light gun to begin with - if you want to lessen recoil, shoot a HEAVY gun with a LIGHT load - you cannot change the laws of physics
oneounceload is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:39 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.11474 seconds with 9 queries