View Full Version : 12 gauge recoil

January 3, 2008, 01:44 AM
I am completely new to shotguns, but am considering getting an 870 Marine for home/boat defense. Being a 200 lb 6 ft male in reasonable condition, is the recoil from a 12 gauge shotgun very intimidating or is it manageable? I guess I have just seen too many movie scenes of people firing a shotgun and being blown backwards. And yes, I will find a range to practice with it before putting it into HD service. But I was just curious.

Thanks, Mike

January 3, 2008, 01:52 AM
Im 5'10" and 165 lbs and dont have any problems with my mossberg 500. full stock.
had an early model mossberg with pistol grip that was a little more of a handful.
definately couldnt shoot it one handed like arnold did in terminator!

January 3, 2008, 01:54 AM
You'll have no problems. If you suspect you might have a case of the skittishes- start out with light loads such as the $3.50/box upland game bird loads and then work your way up as you come to realize that recoil isn't so bad after all. The amount of lead (load weight) you shove out the noisey end is the prime dictator of recoil. As you work up, you'll learn to just "lean into" the heavy loads such as the 00's or slugs. Oh, also start out with the 2 3/4" shells. And, of course there are recoil reducers such as Dead Mule and comping and porting- but a guy your size will do just fine.

January 3, 2008, 02:08 AM
I am a little guy... 5' 8" 145-150. I ain't skeered at all of poppin off a 12er of any load... I ain't real fond of 2 3/4 slugs or buck for a day of shooting but a 3 1/2 heavy load would not bother me a bit for HD... I will have a sore spot after a few "hot rounds" which is any buck or slug of any length but my left hand and arm are 15% since a motor vehicle crash in sept.
Before that I would not hesitate to bust off 6 3 inch slugs in rapid succession!

chris in va
January 3, 2008, 02:23 AM
Two options...Limbsaver, or Knoxx CompStock. Or SpecOps depending if you want a pistol grip and adjustable LOP.

I now just have a Limbsaver which cuts recoil pretty well for the price.

January 3, 2008, 05:12 AM
Thanks guys. Just what I wanted to hear.


January 3, 2008, 06:11 AM
I was quite apprehensive for years. Though I have a variety of firearms, the
shotgun was not represented in the safe. Finally bought 12 ga, took a class
and found it managable, even without the Knoxx. Tried it with the Knoxx, it
was super, but opted to keep mine plain. I'm 5'5" and 150# wet.

January 3, 2008, 08:42 AM
Get some formal training on how to properly shoot a shotgun.


Find a club and get some experienced shotgun shooter to show you how to shoot so that you learn from the start how to minimize the recoil. Bad habits start fast and stop slow!

You should have no problems if you learn the right way first!

January 3, 2008, 01:03 PM
I have a Winchester 1300 12 gauge Slug Hunter, pump-action, 22" barrel w/Winchoke tubes. I've put everything from light target loads to heavy turkey loads, buckshot, sabots and Forster slugs. The only thing I've tried that has given me recoil I'd consider objectionable was some heavy slug loads I tried a fews back. Could be I just didn't have a proper hold on it. Anything else I've fired has been very tolerable. And since these Winchester 1300's have an aluminum receiver (I believe), it's fairly light. You'd think recoil would be nasty. But, like I say, no problem at all.

January 3, 2008, 01:08 PM
Shotgun recoil is no big thing - but the issue is to make sure the gun fits you properly, you shoulder it properly and you hold it properly - and then everything works just fine.

I'm 6'5" and 290 lbs - so maybe its not representative - but some experts say 40% of the recoil is controlled by the wrist and the grip - and for me, its pretty easy to fire a 12ga over under one handed - hold it out away from myself and just fire it / and I think that's as good a demonstration as any that recoil is manageable. But start with lighter loads / and work your way up to faster shells with more payload. Recoil is primarily a function of "weight in ounces of the shot or pellets", the velocity in fps of the shell, the weight of the gun. The lighter the paylod, the slower the velocity and the heavier the gun makes a big difference. Thats one reason why most of us shoot 10 lb shotguns for games like Trap where we might shoot 1 1/8 oz payloads at 1250 fps - and shoot 8 - 10 boxes in a day of practice with no soreness. The heavier gun makes a difference / and a good fit - so that grip, shoulder, cheek on comb and everything works together. Shotguns do not come in one size fits all - they need to be adjusted to fit the shooter - length of pull, drop at comb, drop at heel, etc are all real big deals to hitting what you see / and managing recoil.

January 3, 2008, 11:40 PM
gotta chime in as a small guy (5'11" and 130lbs on a good day) by saying that 12ga recoil isnt bad at all as long as you know how to hold it, i wouldnt wanta shoot 3inch slugs all day but ive been known to go though 200+ birdshot shells in a day of shooting
find somebody in your area that has one and see how it recoils before you drop the money on a gun, you might find that you would prefer a semiauto over a pump because of the reduced recoil on the semi

January 3, 2008, 11:56 PM
Most shotgunning is done offhand. Offhand shooting is easy on the shoulder as one rocks with the recoil. You might want to start with field/target loads before moving to highbrass, but even then it's not that obtrusive.

January 4, 2008, 12:22 AM
Well, my wife is only 5 foot tall and that is in high heels. She shoots Skeet with me on weekends and she uses a 12 guage Berreta 390. If she can handle it I would expect most anyone could.

January 4, 2008, 12:30 AM
I'm a little guy now (5'7" and down to 115lbs from 170lbs due to cancer), and I can still shoot my light-weight 12-gauge double. Don't worry about the recoil. You'll have no problem.

As for the people that fall over backwards shooting them, it's because they aren't trained shooters. The only thing I might suggest is get yourself a shooter's vest with a padded shoulder. That works well for me.

January 4, 2008, 09:42 PM
My 15 year old daughter will pull both triggers on a 12 gauge double with no recoil pad shooting clays.

January 5, 2008, 02:23 AM
Well, my wife is only 5 foot tall and that is in high heels. She shoots Skeet with me on weekends and she uses a 12 guage Berreta 390. If she can handle it I would expect most anyone could.

Dude!?!? Wish I had a gal that would shoot anything in high heels- now that sounds classy! Good job!

January 5, 2008, 06:52 AM
I'm 6'0" and 220lbs. I've been shooting 12 ga since I was 14 and moved up from the 20. This year I broke my back and had a spinal laminectomy and fusion. Six weeks after the surgery I was back at the range throwing buckshot and slugs as fast as I could cycle them with no pain.

I think you can handle it ;)

January 8, 2008, 10:24 AM
Taught right the 12 gauge will not hurt you with standard 2 3/4 inch shells, I teach 4-H kids the shotgun sports and I have 10 year olds shooting 12 gauge..Now any one that tells you that a 3 inch or 3 1/2 inch magnums with buck shot dont kick, they gotta be out their minds..:rolleyes: But they wont knock ya on your butt either..:eek:

January 8, 2008, 02:01 PM
Ranting-- Hope you healed up from your injury. I broke C3-C5 in my neck 3 months before dove season several years back,, My buddies had me in the field still in my neck brace shooting a 410 single shot with one arm.. I was 1 for 25 that day.. whew..

January 8, 2008, 02:54 PM
Mine was a burst fracture of L-1 (fell from my treestand bowhunting). Have T-11-L-2 fused with titanium rods now. I'm not quite 100% yet, but I'm close. They say it takes 6-12 months to fully recover and I'm just about 4 months since the accident.

When you get up into the C vertebrae that's when it gets scary......:eek:

Hope you are doing well with yours too.

January 8, 2008, 04:47 PM
Well I tell you the Lumbar stuff you must use everyday--With a broke neck you learn to turn your shoulders as well..I still do that and its been years since my accident(auto) I could not imagine having a lumbar or lower back issue.. A little funny story after I broke it and all the surgeries were complete.. Keep in mind I had a left broke humerous and all my ribs on left side too.. I needed a haircut and was still in my neck-brace so a old flame of mine came to the house to do it.. While on the back porch sitting as still as possible with my brace on a bumble bee flew inside of it.. i came un-glued but could not run or even walk fast at the time!!.. Yes it got me on the neck .. I hate bee's

PS.. were you hunting with a friend when you fell out?? thats terrible

January 8, 2008, 06:15 PM
your fine, big guys like us have no problems with 12 gauges, most men i know dont no matter how much they weigh. The biggest factor is kind of ammo your going to be shooting. 2 3/4 bird shot there isnt any, for 3 1/2 slug rounds, god know why you would want to, but they would hurt, same goes for big buck shot loads, i shot a tubes worth with a pistol grip on and although theres a rush from the recoil, that quickly fades to wrist pain


January 8, 2008, 08:08 PM
In my case I've learned to bend at the knee and not the waist. I had a good bit of pain initially but now it's just random soreness now and then. Doesn't really affect my movement much. I have a hard time looking up at any extreme angle because my lower back won't bend backward much, but that's about it.

My father in law was with me, but was some distance away. Got my wife on the cell phone who got him on his cell. I couldn't find his number in my address book. I was kinda out of it because the fall knocked me unconscious.

I did a pretty full write up on it here (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=263730) if you're interested.

January 8, 2008, 08:09 PM
for 3 1/2 slug rounds, god know why you would want to, but they would hurt, same goes for big buck shot loads

2 oz. 3.5" Turkey loads hurt like hades too.

January 8, 2008, 09:33 PM
i have used 12 gauge since i was 11. my first 2 seasons hunting was with an ithaca 66 super single 30" full choke bead sighted barrel. after that was a wingmaster 12 gauge 2 and 3/4". by 16 i was using a wingmaster magnum 12 ga. now i'm 34 standing at 5'-10" weighing 138#. fired everything in the cabinets at home from a .22 to an AR-15 to a '09 mauser in 30-06 or a '98 mauser in 8 mm. even a marlin in .35 rem. all have a kick some more than others. but i love them all i enjoy shooting them every chance i get. so the kick is not going to be a problem at all for you. a .50 cal. muzzleloader has less recoil. the one gun i have that kicks the most of all. is a savage single shot 20 gauge. and thats with #7.5 federal game loads not buckshot. you can get rubber recoil pads that screw on or slip over the buttstock. i would love to have the chance to fire a 1918 BAR and a Barret rifle in .50 BMG. i am sure they have some recoil.

January 8, 2008, 11:07 PM
I am 5'11 and at the time I was 205lbs. I have a L5 S1 that needs to be replaced and Degenerating Disk Disease 1 up and top piece of pelvics below. L5 S1 does not show up on X-ray at all. I take 10 pills a day for muscle and nerve pain.
I have a Remington 870 Super Magnum with a Knoxx SpecOps stock and it destroys recoil. I went thru 50x 2 3/4 clay pigeon rounds. Then I shot 4x 3 1/2 in double buck rounds all standing. While there was a big difference my hand to god it was not a hard or violent recoil. I was grinning ear to ear after I shot them and there was nothing close to pain or hard recoil. I was truly amazed.
Having said that proper length of pull is critical for any firearm to avoid excessive twist/back fatigue after shooting while standing (bonus for Knoxx Stock).
Also look for a stock that brings the top of the stock as close to parallel with the top of the receiver/barrel to allow the stock to avoid most of the recoil and reducing muzzle rise and jerking motions that can also ruin the night after a day at the range. Thats what I know works because it works for me.

January 9, 2008, 02:16 AM
When I went to School of Infantry West (SOI/W) out at Camp Pendleton, CA, long ago, grunts with the weapons specialty 0331, Machine Gunner (Me!) were given a lot of trigger time on slam fire/compromised disconnect Remington 870s and the M1911A1 pistol as these were the secondary weapons of our MOS. Our instructor for the shotgun portion of the training was a good natured but demanding Staff Sgt. from Alabama. One of his favorite expressions was that,

"All combat is like dancing. Now, who's gonna' lead?"

In this strange way he taught we green Privates and PFCs the proper way to mount the shotgun and cycle it well, smooth and quick. As a young Marine, 18 years old and stripped raw from boot camp, all of 5'8" and 140 pounds, I'd put several dozen rounds of 2-3/4" 00 Buck downrange weekly. It really was in how one mounted and held the gun. One of his greatest lessons was to bear the fore end away from the shooting hand when firing, work the action with authority, hard to the rear and back to that stance, the fore end almost pushed towards the target.

Today, older, heavier, still as short, a bit worn around the edges, I still take great pleasure in literally hosing a target with quick, repeated blasts of 12g 00 Buck and slugs. It's almost one of my party tricks so to speak.

Recoil is your friend, it means the sucker fired!