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Old March 5, 2013, 09:00 PM   #1
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.308 help

So I purchased a savage 16 in .308 last summer and really don't care for shooting it because of the recoil. It weighs about 7.5 pounds with a 22 inch barrel. My primary use is target/bench shooting from 200-500 yards. Though I also bought the .308 for the possibility of big game hunting (elk, moose, bear) though I'm not sure ill ever get the chance.

So I'm thinking about getting rid of it and getting a different bolt gun. I already have an Ar15 and am thinking about a .223 bolt action but was also thinking a different .308 with heavy barrel would be less painful to shoot. Thoughts? I know a .223 doesn't hardly kick at all in an ar but what about in a bolt gun? Would a heavier bolt gun in .308 kick much less than the one I have now?

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Old March 5, 2013, 09:15 PM   #2
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Two options to reduce felt recoil: add weight by putting lead or a similar heavy metal in the hollow of the butt stock. Or get an aftermarket recoil pad and install it on the gun. Several are available, I won't give options as I don't have any on my guns and therefore can't give an opinion on how well they work. A combination of the two is a cheap way to enjoy the rifle you already own.
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Old March 5, 2013, 09:47 PM   #3
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When I first started shooting .308, I thought the recoil was pretty harsh.

The heaviest recoiling rifle I shot previously was a 25.06.

After shooting the thing and getting all bruised up in my shoulder, I started to really plant the rifle into my shoulder. I shoot .308 a lot and have not had a bruise in years.

If that rifle hurts you to shoot, you might want to take a good look at your technique or better yet, have someone else watch you closely.

I am not trying to be critical of you but really do hope this helps.

.308 is generally a real pleasure to shoot and I have an LR308, M1A and a Rem 700P. I shoot them all.

Don't be too quick to kick the rifle to the curb.

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Old March 5, 2013, 09:58 PM   #4
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Well I already put a limb saver recoil pad on it and still don't care for the recoil. It's not unbearable, just not fun to shoot more than a few rounds and it leaves me bruised.

I'll explore my technique as well.
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Old March 6, 2013, 01:08 AM   #5
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Put a muzzle brake on it. Or I should say have one installed.
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Old March 6, 2013, 02:41 AM   #6
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Get a PAST recoil pad. They work well. Ask me how I know.
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Old March 6, 2013, 02:55 AM   #7
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Re: .308 help

Originally Posted by highbrow View Post
Get a PAST recoil pad.
I got the magnum version for use with my .300 win mag. Was never too excited about shooting very many rounds through that thing before. First range session with the PAST, I got to 60 rounds before I realized how much it was costing me! Not even a HINT of soreness in my shoulder then or the next day. The pad is amazing!
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Old March 6, 2013, 06:12 AM   #8
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The 16 shouldn't be worse than other hunting rifles for recoil. What weight bullets are you shooting?

Last edited by PatientWolf; March 6, 2013 at 03:51 PM.
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Old March 6, 2013, 06:23 AM   #9
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I have an old 110 Savage 223 with a VariX 2 3-9 on it . Beautiful rifle to shoot and very accurate. I also have a M70 Lightweight 308 and it kicks much worse than my standard wt. 30-06 and 270. How about some reduced recoil ammo? A muzzle break will significantly increase muzzle blast.
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Old March 6, 2013, 10:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Guv
A muzzle break will significantly increase muzzle blast.
I see that posted all the time. I have a brake on my .308 and my 30-06. I don't notice a significant increase in muzzle blast. Yes it is increased but I don't notice it on the back end and it does SIGNIFICANTLY reduce recoil. Now if you're talking about the blast bothering people shooting next to me, most of them are bouncing hot cases out of their AR's and AK's off of me and my bench. They are shooting 20 to 30 rounds in succession. I shot 1 to 5 then the rifle takes a brake (pun intended) It a "shooting" range. If noise bothers them they shouldn't be at a "shooting" range. Their hot brass doesn't bother me, it's part of "shooting" at a range.
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Old March 6, 2013, 11:24 AM   #11
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I don't like .308 recoil either and the cartridge doesn't punch paper any better at 200-500 yards than any number of other lower recoil cartridges.

There are a lot of other cartridges that will do a great job of punching holes in paper at that distance.

Last year, I researched the hell out of the "best low recoil medium range cartridge" question. I kept trying to get away from .243Win, because it's so damn popular and I like to dislike things that are popular and get something weird and interesting. Things like ammo availability and price for it were non-issues, because I handload.

Trouble is, every road kept leading back to the .243Win. As much as I didn't want to like it, it keeps being the answer to my questions. Plenty of other esoteric cartridges are out there, but the perceived benefits don't over come the shortcomings, like brass availability, or price of dies, etc.

Finally, I compromised and went with .243 Ackley Improved. I get 100-200 fps over the Win and still get my "weird" cartridge.

Still, the answer to the question is, .243Win. If you handload, the AI is great too. If not, the Win will do everything you need without punishing recoil, up to and including being a fine elk gun.
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Old March 6, 2013, 11:49 AM   #12
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If the OP says the 308 kicks too hard, it kicks too hard for him. Don't tell him how it doesn't kick, he says it does. This is the famous "perceived recoil" issue.

Several things I can see here that could help. If you want to shoot big game, you are going to have to accustom yourself to recoil. Hunting rifles are lighter than target or varmint rifles becasue people generally do not want to carry a 10 lbs rifle into the ountains or on a long hike. Lighter rifles kick more than heavier rifles, it's simple physics. This is a common problem with new shooters, they are unaccustomed to recoil, and want a do-all rifle. Fact is, there are few do-all rifles in real life: rifles that are pleasant to carry are not always pleasant to shoot. If you are stuck on shooting a 308, you could buy a heavier rifle or add a muzzle brake. Many people (myself included) do not like shooting around other shooters who have muzzle brakes on their rifles due to increased muzzle blast (redirected muzzle blast is actually a more accurate term), but muzzle brakes do reduce recoil for the shooter.

If you are not absolutely sold on the 308, a 223 or 22-250 would be a good alternative. For 200-500 yds shooting, a 223 will be accurate and serve just as well as the 308 with less recoil. I would opt for a heavy barreled model if you are just going to be shooting from a bench.
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Old March 6, 2013, 12:14 PM   #13
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Couple options.... Sell the gun and put the money into a heavy, fast twist barrel, upper and trigger for your existing AR. Keep your original upper and you can have a carbine and target gun all in one package.

Next, consider a new barrel in .243 for your existing Savage. All it takes to swap barrels is a barrel nut wrench and a set of go/no-go gauges. BTW, the same gauges work for .243 and .308 so you can swap back to a .308 in 15 minutes without any additional cash.
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Old March 7, 2013, 04:52 PM   #14
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Handloading is another option, cast bullets are great for cutting down the recoil.
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Old March 7, 2013, 11:52 PM   #15
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Hey newguy . I have a 308 Ruger American that weighs just over 6lbs and I think it kicks like a mule . It's very accurate and I like it a lot . After about 20 rounds though it starts to be less fun and more of a choir to shoot . I like to target shoot and when I go I shoot close to 100 rounds each trip ( 308 ) . After 40 rounds I could really feel me anticipating each shot . It's also more of a lite barreled hunting rifle rather then a target gun so I decided to invest in a more appropriate rifle .

I went with the Savage model 10 FCP-K

Here is my review on the rifle .
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Old March 8, 2013, 09:46 AM   #16
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So I purchased a savage 16 in .308 last summer and really don't care for shooting it because of the recoil. It weighs about 7.5 pounds with a 22 inch barrel. My primary use is target/bench shooting from 200-500 yards. Though I also bought the .308 for the possibility of big game hunting (elk, moose, bear) though I'm not sure ill ever get the chance.
I have to say a 308 is probably as lite as I would go hunting elk & moose.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; March 8, 2013 at 10:43 AM.
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Old March 8, 2013, 10:05 AM   #17
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I purchased a savage 16 in .308 last summer and really don't care for shooting it because of the recoil. It weighs about 7.5 pounds with a 22 inch barrel. My primary use is target/bench shooting from 200-500 yards. Though I also bought the .308 for the possibility of big game hunting
I see too things here. You have a 308 you want to use for hunting, but the recoil bothers you. But you want a light rifle for hunt ( I certainly do).

The 308 is more then capable for the animals you listed. And plenty well suited for target shooting to 500 yards (I use 308s for 1000 yards and further)

I recommend a muzzle brake. You'll get your 308 down to the recoil of the 223s. You'll have to wear ear protection, which you'd be silly for not wearing with or without a brake.

I built a 308 for my grandson, but the recoil got to him, I put a muzzle brake on it and it works great, he enjoys shooting it and is doing quite will.

I also put one on my 300 WM and my 375 H&H. Call me a wimp if you will, I'm too old to care, I'm more interested in my shooting abilities. I do shoot heavy rifles better with a brake then without.
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Old March 10, 2013, 05:27 PM   #18
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That's a pretty light rifle for target shooting. I have 5 guns in .308 and the recoil varies a lot. Two are M1As which are heavy guns and don't seem to bother me, possibly because the action absorbs some of the felt recoil. One is a heavy barreled GAP Crusader (.920 all the way to the muzzle) that gets my attention but not overly so. I can shoot it all day but I'll know it when the day ends. One is a bull-barreled Savage 10-FP that gets more of my attention because it isn't as heavy as the GAP (but it's markedly heavier than yours). The last one is a black gun from LaRue Tactical (7.62 OBR) and that thing kicks the bejesus out of me, or at least it did before I put a big muzzle brake on it. It's just physics - the heavier the gun, the less the perceived recoil.

I also have 5 guns in .223 and none of them kicks at all. Older guns with slower rates of twist in the barrel won't give you the range you talked about shooting because the slower twist won't stabilize the heavier bullets needed to reach out there. But the fast twist barrels in newer guns can handle the heavy bullets - 69, 75, even 80gr. In competition, these guns do very well even at the 600yd targets provided they can use the heavy bullets. A twist of 1:8 or faster is needed for these, compared to the older guns with 1:12.

A popular trend in target shooting today is to go with guns between 6mm and 7mm. Some of these are pretty much wildcats (6.5 x 284) while others use older cartridges like the 280 Rem or 7mm-08, etc. These guns shoot lighter bullets than the .308 that do well downrange because they have inherently better ballistics than the 30 caliber bullets, yet fight the wind much better than the .223. And they kick less because they are throwing lighter bullets. The problem is that guns in these calibers are more rare (often custom guns) and the brass is also rare (often formed from other, more popular brass).
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Old March 10, 2013, 11:37 PM   #19
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If you really like the rifle then the muzzle brake is the way to go. If you don't like the rifle in question you could go to something like .260 or the 6.5 Creedmore. You'll get a flatter shooting round with adequate punch for hunting and better ballistics due to the high sectional density of the 6.5 bullets, and lighter recoil. I'd suggest getting into reloading regardless of keeping the rifle or not. Since you're only shooting out to 500 at most, you could load some Sierra 150 match or the 155 Palmas with lighter powder loads and still find a decent load that won't kill your shoulder. The good thing about the .308 is that it will usually shoot very well using a wide variety of powders and bullets.
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:52 AM   #20
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Grow stronger.

In all seriousness. What size bullets are you shooting? Unless you're using very large bullets it's probably the way you're holding the rifle. If you're leaning into it to much on the bench it my well kick like a mule.
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Old March 11, 2013, 07:55 PM   #21
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kraigwy has the ticket. If you don't want a brake or a soft pad, get the same rifle in 260. My 16 kisses my shoulder.
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:11 AM   #22
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Muzzle break could help. My Remmy 700 VTR comes with one integrated into the barrel because its a goofy light triangular barrel and recoil I believe would have been a bear otherwise.

Plus muzzle breaks look cool! right?!
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