View Full Version : Recoil pads YOU wear....

Dave McC
August 7, 2000, 07:18 AM
I have to admit, I consider myself fairly tough. I've survived the Nam Mess, 20 years of working in some tough prisons, and a coupla Cub Scout overnighters.I'm big, tough, and when I walk through a room I leave the aroma of freshly made testosterone wafting behind(G).

And while I like shooting shotguns, I don't much care for recoil. I started out at 12 with a H&R 16 ga single bbl,stock crooked as a Clintonista, weighing a good half lb less than it should be. I learned form with that relic, because if I wasn't holding it right it did hurt considerably.And that still happens, but good form isn't the only factor here.

When I graduated to Pop's 870 around 1958, recoil was light, since the standard Remington mag plug at the time was a solid steel cyclinder the length/diameter of 2 shells. Shooting didn't hurt with the plug in place,but that piece was H*ll to carry chasing Pop's great Shorthairs.

Since then, there's been a plethora of shotguns, shot a myriad of ways, at a great variety of things. The common thread, they all kick. And all will hurt you sometimes.

Heavy loads, of course, exascerbate the problem. And testing heavy loads, like benching slugs in a shotgun of moderate weight, calls for anti-inflammatories in advance, and maybe prayer.

So, we've devised better form, and pads,etc, to take the hurt out. And that's where this thread goes.

Some goes on the gun, the newer recoil pads are excellent. The Pachmyer Decelerator and others work wonders with reducing the bite and help turn the recoil mule into a pony. But still,when it comes to benching slugs, patterning turkey loads, or using overkill loads,like the 15 pellet 00 3 inch barn burners, that pad just isn't enough.

Hint, if your shotgun hurts you and has a pad, a bigger pad will help. Some shotguns have smaller butts than others,especially shortened ones.

So, let's talk about extra protection.

First, everyone has a shooting vest of some kind, maybe the kind worn on the dove fields, or on the clays course. The common feature here is some kind of padding on the shooting shoulder. My generic vest downstairs has a quilted area there, and it must offer some relief, tho I can't tell much difference. The next step up is the leather faced kind found on skeet,trap,clays vests. Most of these have some more rigid material, a big improvement. This spreads out the recoil over a greater area, reducing the bite.

Next up is the pads sold separately, which are possibly the best solution. The one here is a PAST pad, nicknamed the Wonderbra, which attaches with straps and buckles, providing plenty of protection. The material is semi rigid, and spreads the kick over a much greater area.

I need to do a certain amount of slug shooting each year, and I shoot a variety of rifles and muzzleloaders that also kick. The PAST pad means I shoot my best without again building up the flinch that has plagued me off and on for 40 years.

The only drawback with the PAST pad is it does lengthen the pull a little, like adding 1/2" to your stock length. For most folks and shotguns, this won't be critical.You'll get that much variation in length if the same shotgun is used in the early dove season, and for February Snow Geese.

SO, if you're not practicing enough because pain isn't your thing, or you are but it leaves you sore and cranky,try the Wonderbra.

And trust me on this, when the adrenaline's up, you will not feel the kick. You may not hear the gun go off either.

Questions, Comments, Donations?

Gary H
August 7, 2000, 09:05 AM
If you don't like the recoil, why not try the Hogue CompStock? There was another post regarding this last week, but it seems that it suffers from poor sales. I don't think that anyone on this board has given it a try. Now, you are a nuts and bolts kind of guy. You don't get distracted by the glitter, but rather look for the practical. That and your years of experience make you the perfect person to review the CompStock.

Dave McC
August 7, 2000, 09:24 AM
Gary, I can handle the kick. The problem I have with the Compstock and similiar stuff is it's a hardware answer to a software problem.
More gizmos and gadgets are not the answer, better form and better understanding of how to deal with the problem.

I split up shells and shotguns by mission. Stuff needing a heavy load by and large get shot in heavy shotguns. My HD 870 runs close to 9 1/2 lbs, my deer 870 over 8. The bird 870 gets used much more for clays and birds needing no more than 1 1/4 oz loads,and weighs appropriately, maybe 6 lbs, 12 oz. The occassional turkey load out of the bird 870 calls for the Wonderbra, and so does slug testing and zeroing with the other two.

Compstocks and other reducers weigh in heavily,and since the weight is all at one end of the piece, balance is compromised. We still have to swing the darn thing.

Between that factor and the expense, I see little need for the Compstock, tho I admit I've not used one. Did use a Pachmyer setup a little and didn't like the muzzle light feel.

August 7, 2000, 10:16 AM

Over the past year I've tried several different approaches to reduce the felt recoil from a Winchester Defender 1300 with 18" barrel:

My first step was to get some training from http://www.firearmstraining.com/index.html. No problem there as the class only used #6-8 birdshot for combat and speed loading practice, plus rapid fire.

Next I started experimenting with buckshot, slugs, 3" magnum #2 shot, etc. Even though the Defender is a defensive shotgun, I wanted to shoot clays with it for fun, while furthering my familiarization with the weapon. My first time out to the range shooting clays with magnum loads produced major hurt and a nice bruise in my shoulder cup by the end of the day. My shooting partner, who is very lean, was uncomfortable right from the start. We practiced proper shouldering technique, but those loads were just plain punishment. I do like the results with the larger shot loads though, 'cause out of the short barrel they are better than regular birdshot loads at bustin' the clays.

For the next range trip, I picked up a PAST pad as recommended by my local gunshop. It was cumbersome for me and I couldn't get comfortable using it. The strap system didn't keep the pad in place for me, which made each shouldering a challenge. I checked back with my gunshop and they confirmed I was using the strap system as intented. They let me return it.

Next up, as I needed some large vest pockets for shells, etc., I purchased a Browning Deluxe Mesh Shooting Vest with their built-in Reactar pad system. I was skeptical when I received it, as the Reactar pad is extremely thin and not of any "substance" like the PAST pad. Well, the results were surprising. The Reactar pad works extremely well for me, as I've not had another, even slightest, bruise. I've since taken several other friends, new to shotguns, out to the range and the vest has protected them all while shooting heaver loads. Browning sells the pads separately, $17.50 list, so you can retrofit a favorite field jacket.

[This message has been edited by m3bullet (edited August 07, 2000).]

Dave McC
August 7, 2000, 10:23 AM
Thanks. I didn't mean to sound like the PAST pad was the only answer, I have to $%&* with the straps too.

The idea behind that thin pad is spreading the kick out over a larger area, and if the material is rigid enough, it will work very well.

I admit the idea of shooting mag loads for clays makes me uneasy. Instead, why not working on form and shooting so you can bust them regularly with standard loads?

August 7, 2000, 11:22 AM
PAST makes a shooting vest with a thick synthetic pad that cuts recoil. I use it when sighting in my slug guns and when shooting clays. I will also use a bag of sand or shot while at the bench. I try and limit my bench shooting to getting the gun zeroed and then shoot from standing and sitting positions.

As primarily a clay target shooting I've tried just about every doo-dad there is to reduce recoil. The trouble is that most of them require putting a spring or hydraulic system into the stock and that plays havoc with your gun's balance. Instead of gizmos gun fit and weight, shooting form, a good recoil pad, a proper vest and the right shell for the job usually do the job.

As Dave McC points out, using heavy loads for clay targets is not needed and most often counterproductive. Shooting maxium dram hunting loads will make 100 rounds seem like torture. I've found even going from 1-1/8 ounce to 1 ounce loads can make a real difference in recoil and the targets still break as well.

Gary H
August 7, 2000, 11:30 AM

I'm the same with my camera equipment. In the day of automation, I like my manual cameras. I have to say that I've begun to use some automation and I like it.

I was concerned about both the change in center of gravity and the mechanical disconnect between the butt and the rest of the gun. My main point is that should you try it and not like it, then I just saved myself a bit of money at your expense. I guess when you go fishing, you have got to fish for a dumb fish. Good Job!

August 7, 2000, 11:40 AM
Form may be part of it, however, a larger issue is regular birdshot has more rapid spread and more limited range out of my Defender's 18" barrel, compared to larger shot. True, larger shot mag loads are excessive, but they compensate for the short barrel, and most importantly, I picked up quantity Remington mag shells at low price during last end of hunting season sales.

I know proper form would be to go with a proper trap or skeet gun, but I don't intend to be a serious clays shooter. The Defender is no way intended to be a "clays" gun, however, if the shotgun and ammo are the same for both shooters, it can be sporting and provide a fun day shooting. It puts a real premium on rapid target acquistion and getting off a quick shot before range works against you in an exponential fashion.

BTW, I went back and tried the hyperlinked URLs in my post above and they don't work for me when I'm in the TFL post. The addresses are valid and work outside of TFL. ???

August 7, 2000, 12:36 PM

I had the same problem as m3bullet with the link to the vest. Currently, I use a PAST pad (the thickest) with excellent results. I wear only a T-shirt underneath it. I'm going to shave off the pointy toe of my stock as well, at Dave's suggestion, to minimize bruising in a certain area. Edited to add: By the way, I went shooting yesterday and noticed that several of the shooters' guns looked like they had been shaped at the toe of the recoil pad to minimize pointiness.

That being said, I also shoot trap from a short barrel (20") for fun and practice. I'm breaking about half of them now with 7 1/2 game or target loads (Fiocchi and Remington). I'm interested in m3's experience with different loads for short barrels, so I'm starting a thread for short barrelled trap load discussion.



[This message has been edited by Ledbetter (edited August 07, 2000).]

Dave McC
August 8, 2000, 08:05 AM
Nice try, Gary(G)...

Folks, a trap,skeet or clays gun is one used to shoot trap, skeet or clays.If one is trying to compete at the highest levels, then a specialized tool is needed, otherwise just have fun.I've said this before, shooting your shotgun,even a clay game or doves is the best way to groove in for HD or tactical purposes.

The first time I used a riot 870 for clay targets was at an instructors' refresher seminar. The head instructor broke out a foot trap and cases of training 8s and we got to play. After a couple of warmups, I ran about 30 straight, getting right on them out of the trap. This was better than I had done with my own 870 and a 28" bbl. I opened up to the possibilities.

August 8, 2000, 11:25 AM
GARY H-- is the Hogue comp stock your referring to the 'buffer' which includes the spring between it and the and shotgun and scews into the stock or replaces the end of the stock of the shotgun so its easy to carry but as a spring absorb's much of the recoil.
If not do you know what Im talking about anyone.
I saw it in one of my magazine's and didnt really look at it real hard planning to come back to it and have forgotten which one it was in.
For those kicking pump-action lighter guns seems like it would come in handy??

"those who sacrifice
liberty for security deserve neither"

Dave McC
August 8, 2000, 02:09 PM
Ruger45, there's old threads here about how to mild up the kick. See my post above about how I feel about these gizmos.

August 9, 2000, 04:19 PM
Dave McC: "Folks, a trap, skeet or clays gun is one used to shoot trap, skeet or clays. If one is trying to compete at the highest
levels, then a specialized tool is needed, otherwise just have fun."

I hear ya Dave. I have a shotgun for home defense and for fun. I'm probably not ever going to hunt birds with it, but shooting clays is great fun and good general practice, like you say.

What really tickles me is when one of the guys with the long shiny shotguns comes over after the round and asks me what choke I have and I answer "Cylinder bore," and they tell me they're surprised I could hit as many as I did. :D I figure if I can hit 12 out of 25, there's no reason why I can't hit 20 or more. (Right?)

I'm not trying to compete at the hishest level, but at my gun's and my highest level. For example, I could get a Rem 870 with a 28" barrel for just a little more than the cost of having a Vang-Comp job done on the M590A1. It would be better for clays. On the other hand, a Vang-Comp will give me a better 590A1 overall, whether for clays, fun or social purposes. So I think I'll eventually get the Vang-Comp. A specialized bird or clays gun doesn't have enough real world usefulness for me.

I am a defensize shotgunner who shoots clays for fun. But, the more I bust, the more fun I have. ;)

What a great forum.


Dave McC
August 9, 2000, 06:15 PM
I hear ya, Led. Have fun, and if the sports down at the clays range don't approve, so be it.

My "bird" 870 is the generic shotgun for everything not requiring slugs. Tubes from Skt I to Turkey Full give me control of the pattern, and weight and swing are right for me and how I shoot.It's not for specialized purposes, it's for anything that comes along.

This year, I've used it for clays, hand thrown trap, a little snow geese hunting, and did set it up for turkey, but didn't get to go. Before the year is out, I'll get in some practice on clays, some dove,and maybe a Canada or two in the resident goose season.

BTW,the stock is a survivor of the Md Pen, and looks it, even painted flat black, the Parkerized receiver doesn't quite match the matte bbl,and it's probably the UGLIEST 870 in Md. But as long as it shoots the way it does, it looks pretty good to me...

PS, the mod list is short,Forcing cone work, sling studs and the stock is shimmed a bit...

August 10, 2000, 03:58 AM
Building and maintaining muscle is helpful. Bench presses, shoulder presses and all other upper body work contributes to healthy tissue better suited to the abuse of recoil. A good stock weld, proper clothing, technique, Pachmayr Decelerator pad are recommended also.

Dave McC
August 10, 2000, 06:36 AM
Good point, Tuc, but not everyone is capable of building much muscle mass due to age, health, etc.
I do know that if it became very important to me to excel at any comppetitive shooting sport, I'd be spending a lot more time on the Nordic Track,etc...