View Full Version : Looking for a good LOW RECOIL rifle above .22

May 17, 2012, 07:39 PM
So here's the deal. I want a rifle that's adequately supported in the after-market world, reliable, relatively portable, with light recoil in a decent caliber.

I'm HEAVILY left-eye dominant. I cannot shoot with any type of speed with my right eye. I'm also apparently very right-hand dominant when it comes to guns. I've shot a lot for years. Mostly handguns and .22 rifles. I've tried for months now and I cannot get quick shooting left handed. I've really tried hard to just get used to it.

When I shoot .22 rifles, I "lean over" the gun. I shoot right handed, and put my right cheek bone (and my nose sort of) over the top of the stock. My head is tilted to the right at about a 45 degree angle.

This is fine for .22, I'd even say comfortable and natural for me. But in larger calibers, especially shotguns, the gun just slams into my face. The recoil forces the gun against my cheek bone.

So, my dumb solution is to try to find a low recoil rifle with some actual stopping power. I'm fine with bolt-action, but I'd really prefer a semi-auto. Well, honestly, I'd prefer both in the same caliber.

I was thinking .22 mag, but that doesn't really seem like enough of a step up, although I don't know a ton about the caliber. I was also thinking maybe a carbine in a handgun caliber, but it seems like that just offers increased accuracy and only slight improvements in power.

My other option seems to be some sort of hunting handgun like a Thompson, but then you're way down into the single shot category.

The use for the gun would be SHTF hunting/tactical. I want to be lethal on BG and deer-sized game out to 100 yards (maybe 200, but I have no experience shooting that far.

I know it sounds like I'm asking for an AR and Sniper rifle at the same time, but I'm really hoping someone can point me in the direction of specific caliber. Unless you know about a specific gun with a modified stock or some other sort of dampening system or something that will allow me to shoot bigger bores. Either way, just looking for any advise on my situation, other than learn to shoot left-handed. Got that advice, tried it, didn't work.


May 17, 2012, 07:47 PM
Perhaps a lever action .357 ?

May 17, 2012, 07:47 PM
You need an AK47. The 7.62x39 is near nill on recoil and if you put a quad rail on it you can then hang all sorts of goodies on it to bring the weight up and the push the recoil even further down. See pic below it's a rifle I put together for my wife to use deer hunting. If my 5ft tall smokin hot red headed wife can master this beast you shouldn't have a problem.:D

May 17, 2012, 07:51 PM
Today, 08:47 PM #3

Join Date: May 4, 2012
Posts: 20
You need an AK47. The 7.62x39 is near nill on recoil and if you put a quad rail on it you can then hang all sorts of goodies on it to bring the weight up and the push the recoil even further down. See pic below it's a rifle I put together for my wife to use deer hunting. If my 5ft tall smokin hot red headed wife can master this beast you shouldn't have a problem.
I must confess...I was looking for the 5', smoking hot, red head, when I opened the picture. :(

May 17, 2012, 07:53 PM
AR15 in 5.56 will get the job done without beating you up.

Leverguns in .357 and .45 Colt also work well.

In my Marlin .357 I can push 125 gr. JSPs at 2100fps+. In .45 Colt Rossi 92 Im pushing a WFN 260gr. hardcast at 1750ish.

Some pistol calibers get a good jump in power in a carbine. Some don't.

Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2

May 17, 2012, 07:55 PM
sorry to disappoint....I tried that once and it caused such a stir on another forum I got docked points....it's sad but the Mrs. is too hoottt for the internet:eek:

May 17, 2012, 08:18 PM
Learn to shoot left handed. I am left handed and was required to shoot right handed in the service. I can now shoot with either hand and it is not that difficult.

Brian Pfleuger
May 17, 2012, 08:31 PM
Why not just close your left eye when you shoot?

I am right-handed and heavily left eye dominant. I can not shoot with my right eye if my left eye is open. I've always just closed my left eye with rifles and I just shoot "left eyed" with handguns.

It seems like your looking for a complex solution to a simpe problem.

May 17, 2012, 08:35 PM
If you are left eye dominant and right handed you will find it is easier to learn how to shoot left handed. You may struggle at first, but don't give up. You will soon find that you will actually shoot much better than you currrently do.

May 17, 2012, 08:49 PM
Learn to shoot left handed is the only real answer. You will shoot much better if you do, because right now you aren't shooting in a natural position. It can be done I shot for many years left handed because that was how I was taught since I can't close my left eye and keep my right open as well. It wasn't until I was in the Army and someone realized I was right eye dominate that I started shoot right handed. I shoot everything now with both eyes open scopes or irons makes no difference anymore, but the good thing is I can switch back to the left if needed.

May 17, 2012, 08:50 PM
I have to admit, the high rails/sights/scope and low and flat the stock of the AR look appealing. They look like guns that you don't need a "cheek weld" on. Is that why you're saying it won't hurt me?

Can any explain the difference between 5.56 and 7.62? I'm assuming 5.56 is smaller/lighter/less powerful/less recoil?

Is there also a "cheek-weld-less" way to get an AR set up for long range?

I love the idea of a .357 since I can use that round in a revolver as well. But they're usually pretty old school designs. I was hoping for at least the option for optics and other accessories. I love proofing the traditional revolver can be as effective as modern handguns, but given that I have a huge disadvantage when it comes to long guns, I'd like to utilize every modern advantage.

Looking forward to discussing this further.

May 17, 2012, 09:16 PM
I agree with all of you about shooting left handed, but it can't happen.

I don't have the time, money or space to shoot everyday, but I shoot once every week. I've tried really hard to shoot left handed, I'm just super clumsy. I can do it, but not effectively.

I have horner's syndrome. I can't close my left eye, and my right eye sucks at just about everything. I shoot with both eyes open because of this. There's really no easy solution for this. It's not laziness, just my weird eyes and coordination.

May 17, 2012, 09:19 PM
5.56 is what the M16 is chambered for. recoil is negligible, i've never hurt a cheek or a shoulder firing the M16. Eyebrow, yes, but i get too close to the scope so it whacks me most shots. unpleasant, but not painful unless I do it a couple hundred times.

there's four kinds of 7.62 that I can think of. the one you would be interested in is the 7.62x39mm. never fired one but it serves the same purpose as the 5.56, probably not much difference in the recoil department. someone else can probably weigh in on this better than i can.

you also mentioned you want a bolt and semi in the same caliber, in which case the 5.56 gives you more options as far as bolt actions go and you can fire .223 out of a gun chambered in 5.56 if necessary. the CZ 527 is a bolt action in 7.62x39mm though, about $700 unfired and scoped on gunbroker right now.

Brian Pfleuger
May 17, 2012, 09:48 PM
Ah. The problem is not as simple as it first appears.

I can't imagine trying to shoot a long gun left eyed and right handed.

I guess I'd try an eye patch. If that's not possible and you've just really, really got to do it right/left, 223 is the obvious answer in a semi auto.

There are other that would have even less recoil, like 204Ruger, but the guns will be less common (in semi) and the ammo more expensive.

May 17, 2012, 11:58 PM
There are other calibers available in the AR platform, too. 6.8SPC, .300 ACC Blackout, and even the Russian 7.62x39 and 5.45x39. And many others. They are all low recoil.

A Carbine telescoping stock has just the buffer tube coming out from the receiver so it is even more minimalist than the standard A2 fixed stock.

May 18, 2012, 07:28 AM
Get yourself an AR platform. 223 is ample power for self defense above a .22Mag. If you want something better for deer, get a conversion to 6.8SPC.

Because of your eyes, forget long range. Pick up a red dot or Eotech setup for the AR and use the dot for aiming. You can keep both eyes open.....maybe.

I say maybe because the best thing you can do is visit a gun store and spend an hour there bugging the staff to try a bunch of different things. Maybe an extended-eye relief Scout scope would work well for you? Maybe a red dot or holographic scope setup would work? Maybe an Trijicon ACOG?

One thing is for sure, you want a MODERN platform like an AR so that all the various aiming mechanisms are available to you. Get something with an ambidexterous safety to at least have the option of trying it left handed once you buy it.

May 18, 2012, 07:33 AM
The main reason I reccommended the Ak is because for one the recoil is nill, it's very cheap to shoot, it lends itself to modifications of all types very easily like in my pic the scope is mounted scout style but Could be mounted tradtionally if one so chooses, it's also the only rifle/caliber mentioned and that I can think of that is legal to hunt game as large as deer anywhere in the USA (except for the 6.8spc AR but ammo is waaaayyy more costly) and lastly parts are easily found and cheap. The only real draw back of the AK is accuracy. It's not bad (mine groups at about 2-2.5 inches at 100 yards) but is easily outdone by any of the AR variations. If plinking for fun and service as a medium sized game rifle is your main interest you can't beat the AK but if tiny groups and varmits are more you speed the AR is the better bet. If cost is of a major concern then the AK wins hands down in every department. Oh BTW the AK is the most reliable rifle on the planet, you can neglect the heck out of it and it'll still run without fail and if you can break anything on it with normal use or even the usual abuse for that matter you are one bad man. The same can't be said for the AR. Let it get dirty and she won't run and those pesky trigger guards are kinda fragile. One more thing, the AK doesn't need special/ gun specific tools like the AR.

May 18, 2012, 07:44 AM
Nice setup, CountryUgly. Oh and best regards to your wife. :)
I'm now experimenting with "scout" optics on my vz. 58, what are your average groups with the AK - if you bothered to measure it ofc?

A little comment to AKs: for a long time I was considering AKs a bad and crude weapons, until I saw an AK semiauto clone made in Poland. I believe it's sold under label Works. The ergonomics and namely the trigger were very fine, quite impressing.

May 18, 2012, 08:42 AM
thanks FEXT, the average group with 154gr wolf soft point (deer hunting round) is about 2 and half inches. I've never bothered checking the fmj's or hollow points but I do notice the bunch of holes in the target appear to spread out more when chunking the lighter loads down the tube. There isn't any one thing my AK does really well but it does do everything I ask of it without fail. It's primary job is the Mrs. hunting rifle but in the off season it handles truck duty and critter control quite well. Tin cans, Zombie targets, deer and any pesky vermin that this gun has encountered have all fell with ease and it's all done while being easy on the shoulder and wallet.

May 18, 2012, 09:45 AM
The more I think about it the more an AK and AR sound interesting to me. They're not built for long range, but I can get a different gun for long range. And when shooting long range, it's slower work, less instinctive, so I can easily do that left handed.

I think I'm going to look into AKs first. I can afford and AR, but I love being a little different. I'd rather be surprised when something outperforms it's price, than even a little disappointed when something expensive doesn't stack up.

Thanks for all your help!

May 18, 2012, 10:08 AM
There isn't any one thing my AK does really well but it does do everything I ask of it without fail. A very good AK definition. :)

They're not built for long range, but I can get a different gun for long range. I think that AR clones are pretty OK with ranges viable for DMR. 1 - 2 MOA with good ammo is not unusual, and it means that the rifle should be able to hit a man sized target at some 600m consistently. But the ammo quality is a very important factor. And the recoil of .223 Rem is definitely much lower than 7.62x39. I was shooting CZ527 rifles chambered in .223 and 7.62x39 round and there was a significant difference.

So if it's just for plinking, I'd consider starting with AR. I also believe that the NATO milsurp ammo you can get is generally of better quality than the Soviet milsurp ammo. I have no experience with 5.56 NATO milsurp, but for example German 7.62 NATO is quite good and makes very consistent groups. The 5.56 NATO will be about the same quality I guess.

May 18, 2012, 10:39 AM
I think I'm going to look into AKs first. I can afford and AR, but I love being a little different.

Well in that case, get a Vz.58 instead.

May 18, 2012, 12:36 PM
I see a lot of suggestions for .223... OP specifically stated one of the uses will be deer/big game. Check your local laws and see what the minimum is, cause .223 may not be legal for hunting what you want to hunt.

I personally agree that your best bet is to shoot with an eye patch until you can train the right eye to do the job well, or learn to shoot lefty. Then the recoil issue you are having will be moot.

May 18, 2012, 01:06 PM
Well in that case, get a Vz.58 instead.
I'm affraid vz. 58 is not a low recoil gun. At least in 7.62x39. CSA already started to make .223 clones but I'm not sure if these are shipped to USA. However they claim that the gun will shoot 37mm groups on 100 m and 80mm on 200m which sounds good enough.
There is a link but it's only in czech.
The site has a lot of accessories for vz. 58, too.

May 18, 2012, 08:26 PM
If the AR platform interests you, the AR15 in 300Blackout might be a good compromise. 7.62 caliber while still staying in the AR15 form. Its capable for hunting even larger game under 200yards, and recoil is not very much. I've shot my AR15 in 223 side by side with my roomate's AR15 in 300blackout and it had a softer recoil.

Support and availability is pretty common, except for ammo which is mostly available online. Pick up a couple of hundred rounds while you are not shooting. In case you want to go back to a .22 caliber, its as simple as switching the barrel, or separate upper recevier is you have the funds.

An AK is great, but depending on the brand, it can get heavy on weight. I could barely shoot a few rounds on my friend's Centrury AK without getting tired and having to put the rifle down every once in a while. Could be a consideration to think about.

May 18, 2012, 09:10 PM
5.7 - PS90 or AR Upper in 5.7

5.45 - AR-15 or AK74 (much less recoil than a AK47)

5.45 is essentially the cheapest center fire rifle round you can find.

May 19, 2012, 12:41 PM
One afterthought - since the problem seems to be a dominant eye on the wrong side, what about to fix the scope mount somehow, so the shooter can hold the rifle as comfortable, and still look through the scope with his dominant eye.
I believe I heard that Russians do use some side mounts with an additional rail on a side, and they have a red dot on the side rail and scope on the upper spot and they use different eyes to look through the scope and the red dot.
Now I don't know if this is really true. Maybe the guy who was explaining the idea was just pulling my leg. But indeed I have seen some AK mounts designed like that and it does make some sense. So, try to consider this.
Something like that. (http://kalinkaoptics.com/mounts/ak-vepr-saiga-romak-1-2-slr/original-bp-02-ak-saiga-vepr-centered-side-mount-to-weaver-rail-w-tactical-side-rail.html)
If you can get similar stuff for other rifles (M14?) and put the scope on the side rail, then you might be able to use the left eye to look through the scope.

May 19, 2012, 01:47 PM
You don't walk to around in the hunting woods with an AK ... trust me!

May 19, 2012, 04:11 PM
I agree with all of you about shooting left handed, but it can't happen.

I don't have the time, money or space to shoot everyday, but I shoot once every week.

You can dry fire hundreds of rounds every evening in your home for free. This is the only way anyone can afford to become really proficient regardless of which way we shoot or which eye is dominate.

Learn how to shoot left handed, and for gods sake don't even think about trying to close one eye. God gave you 2 for a reason and I cannot think of a single good reason to use only half of your vision for any activity.

May 20, 2012, 10:59 AM
Simple solution---wear glasses with the left lense occluded,masked,covered(whatever you want to call it). After a short period, you'll find it works quite well. My daughter is a lefty with right eye dominance and this easily solved her shooting difficulties. Works much better with a scope but does work with open sights/shotgun.
Option 2 if your right eye is severely challenged is an offset scope mount. I designed one of these for a right handed lady who lost vision in her right eye. It makes the rifle somewhat unhandy but allows right shoulder/left eye shooting.
I've had 12 years of experience solving shooter vision challenges and have had success in each case.

May 20, 2012, 11:28 AM
I see this has already been suggested, and it may not work with your condition, but I've used a right eye patch turkey hunting for several years now. I am extremely right eye dominant and of course many times the turkey wants to come in on my right side which would require a left handed shot or a lot of movement to get into position for a right handed shot. Solution: eyepatch over right eye. When turkey comes in from right, I can usually flip down the eye patch without getting spotted, and I'm all set for a left handed shot. Killed 3 turkeys so far with this method that I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

May 20, 2012, 02:42 PM
Normally SHTF gets a snicker from me, but in your case it could be the clear reason to where you want to go - learn to shoot left handed. If you're really worried about that scenario, you want the ability to use any gun, any time. Any of the crutches like cross-over shooting, off-set scope or patch over the left eye to train your right eye won't help you when your fancy set-up breaks or you are out of ammo for your gun. Get an AR15, spend the winter dry training, and by spring your muscles won't even remember that weird right handed shooting.

May 20, 2012, 07:36 PM
If you are left eye dominant and right handed you will find it is easier to learn how to shoot left handed.
I disagree. If you shoot like you are you will never be a competitive shooter. It just wont work with rifles. It will work with shotguns and some odd looking extra equipment though.

I don't have the time, money or space to shoot everyday, but I shoot once every week.
Shooting once a week is a lot. It may not seem like it on this forum, but on this forum the regulars are pretty much all in the top 1% of shooters as far as money/time put into the sport(not saying skill). Or they are totally full of crap. I have shot rifles, pistols, and shotguns in amateur competitions and I am on the extreme low end of the regulars here. Either way, I wouldn't use what you see here as a judge of normal shooter behavior or how much you need to be shooting to be good. Once a week is plenty. If you dry fire another day a week for 20 minutes you will be in very good shape. As much as you are shooting my guess is that within one month you will have decided learning to shoot lefty was a good idea and you will be shooting much much better with in two. In six months you will be able to show up to local competitions and at least not be in last place, probably do decent. Assuming you practice correctly.
If you won't heed the advice, then an eyepatch/obscured lense is the solution. The offset systems have come up before and other places and they do not work well for rifles like they do for shotguns. THink about how much target shooters put into getting the scope low to the bore. Now think about moving it 4 inches to the left.

"Eyebrow, yes, but i get too close to the scope so it whacks me most shots. unpleasant, but not painful unless I do it a couple hundred times"
I highly recommend you not allow this to happen. Use to set up the scope correctly or buy a decent scope with enough relief. There are very cheap scopes for the 556 that will work fine($50). It may not be painful, but i seriously doubt you can do this without it effecting your shot(flinching). Your mind can't know something will be coming back and hitting around your eye without it trying to pre-empt the contact. Claim what you want, but I won;t believe it.

If the AR platform interests you, the AR15 in 300Blackout might be a good compromise.
I agree, except that it won't be a compromise. I don't have one, but for what almost all civilians are using their ARS for the 300 blackout really performs a lot better than 223. With "everyone" owning an AR now I expect to seem them used a lot more for hunting and for how most of us hunt the 300 is great and it will get cheaper if it grows causing more growth.
I would only get an AR if you either want to make a real target rifle out of it OR you want to buy multiple uppers for it. Keep in mind that if you buy uppers for different things the lower will not be specialized for them. For instance if you have one 223 upper for competition shooting it will have a target trigger and if you have one 300 blackout for hunting and home defense that taget trigger will not be the best option, so most end up getting multiple lowers also and don't utilize the modularity all that much(the lower is cheap compared to the upper, accessories and optics).
I have not seen anyone, including people who compete with ARs at Camp Perry with an AR set-up I really liked as far as cheek weld. Most say it is very important for accurate shooting. I shot my AR better than my Garand because of the low recoil, but I hated the cheek weld on it and it negatively affected my shooting.

You don't walk to around in the hunting woods with an AK ... trust me!
To be frank there will be some people who will not invite you back hunting if you show up with an AK. Less so with an AR that is set-up for hunting. Maybe you won't want to hunt with them anyways, but most of us are desperate for land access. I had a land owner tell me they MIGHT let me hunt coyote on their land if I use my muzzle loader. I will probably go for it if they come back saying yes.

My suggestion:
Get a 03 FFL(C&R), then buy an SKS and a few bolt guns in various cartridges. You can get some cheap sporting stock for SKSs that make them a lot less tactical. Play around with them a bit, find out which you like and get it set-up for your needs. At least they will all come with decent sights.

Alternatives I do not know much about that come to mind:
1. the 5.7 as other stated, but I think ammo is expensive and same problems as the 223 for hunting at range and legal limitation
2. the 7.62X25- Some semi-auto carbines available for it. There have been some bolt guns at different times available on the used market. Still the cheapest centerfire out there I think. Ballistics not too far off from 22 mag or 5.7. The cheap surplus is corrosive.

May 21, 2012, 01:33 AM
5.56 has just a little bit more recoil than a .22 in my experience...

May 21, 2012, 02:00 AM
I think it is fairly easy to mount a scope off to the left side of a top eject Winchester lever gun. It might be pricy, but M1 Garands and old Springfield/Enfield rifles also mounted scopes to the left to allow for loading.

May 21, 2012, 07:29 AM
if you want a lite recoil rifle that is a stopper and good form home defense and a hoot to shoot think about a 30 cal M1 Carbine. lite weight low recoil accurate. I like mine, and my granddaughters like to shoot them because of there weight and recoil. Ammo can be found easyly or reload you own. A copy of the M1 Carbine will cost aout the same as a AR or AK. (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/36_903/products_id/46038/Auto-Ordnance+California+Approved+.30+Carbine+Rifle+wWalnut). I tried to add a link to buds, last price for a M1 carbine was $623.00

May 21, 2012, 10:37 AM
I am left handed and right eye dominant. When I decided to begin shooting skeet on a regular basis, I also found it easier to stay with my right eye dominance and switch to shooting my Citori right handed. I can now shoot pretty well right handed, shooting a 25 out of 25 every now and again at skeet. I say try and switch shoulders for a few weeks and see how it goes. It only took me a few weeks to get comfortable shooting right handed. Good luck!

May 21, 2012, 11:41 AM
Another +1 learn to shoot left handed. Spend lots of time dry firing or "dry handling/aiming" in your living room, with empty magazine of course. I was going to +1 the M1 Carbine suggestion, excellent in the HD/SD role, but see part of the OP's criteria is mid-size/deer game. Like the .223, yes the .30 Carbine "can" do it, doesn't mean you should--unless you absolutely gotta. So:
+1. .357 Lever - Rossi 92 or older Marlin, not Win 94.
+1. 7.62x39 - SKS or my preference, Mini 30, higher cap and quick change stick mags than SKS, more PC-looking than AK (see other posts' hunting comments)
- .30-30 lever - older Marlin 336 or Win 94 - but only if the intended use skews more toward hunting use versus SD-specific. The .30-30 can do yeoman duty in that area too, it's just there are better (see above, the nearly same x39 besting it due to combo of capacity and rapid fire capability. The OP said <100 yards for "deer," and this is where the .357 excels--matching .30-30 performance (w/in that range) while lower recoil and higher capacity, making it better in the HD/SD role.
The more I think about this--the Mini 30 is looking more and more to be a winner. Aforementioned cheap ammo, more ergonomic (loading/unloading) than SKS, + with its mini-Garand appearance more PC than either AK or AR. Unless you're a rangemeister, where accuracy-cometition is the key goal (in which case get a .223 AR) its at least minute-of-critter accuracy should certainly suffice for most duty.