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Old August 12, 2012, 03:10 PM   #26
Brian Pfleuger
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.308 is more recoil that I like, I know that much. Other people might shoot it all day. It's just not fun for me.

Of course, I've been deer hunting with 12ga slugs my entire life and shooting 12ga since I was 12 or so. I guess I've had my fill of guns that beat me up and don't do anything that I can get with a lot less recoil.

That said, a good recoil pad and/or padded jacket as mentioned by others will do wonders.
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Old August 12, 2012, 06:10 PM   #27
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You mentioned that you tensed up which will increase the felt recoil. Think of getting a shot in the arm. It hurts much less if the arm is relaxed vs. the arem being tight and tense. This is one reason why some kids scream when they get a shot.

It could be that you do not have the butt of the rifle on the right place of your shoulder and that it was not snug against the shoulder. When a shooter is uncomfortable shooting a firearm, they tend to tense up and also try to put distance between themselves and the firearm. The result is the butt typically is not tight against the shoulder. They also end up fighting the recoil by trying to anticipate when it is going to come.

It is also possible you were not using proper form, posture and balance.

Any of the above has the potential to increase the felt recoil.
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Old August 12, 2012, 06:58 PM   #28
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I think Buzzcook was the first to nail what I was thinking. It will seem tons better when you get it off of the bench. Once you get into a good sitting or standing position- the recoil perception is much much less. Sadly enough though, you'll have to tough through it to get your sighting in done. But getting past that part opens a whole new world of shooting- and that's geting good at positions.

Also, do you have access to anything like this in your neck of the woods? For as little as there is to them- they make a huge difference. They're pretty popular in several areas of Europe.
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Old August 12, 2012, 07:20 PM   #29
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James, don't feel bad about it. I had the same experience with my first rifle, a .270 WSM. The recoil seemed harsh, and the muzzle blast added to the "felt" recoil. I added a limbsaver recoil pad and the problem was solved. Now I just recently purchased a. 308 Win for a long-term project precision rifle build, and the recoil is not a factor. With the .270 experience behind me, the .308 is a walk in the park. Maybe it is the practice, maybe it actually recoils less, either way, a good recoil pad and some practice will cure that fear of recoil!

Best of luck!

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Old August 12, 2012, 10:22 PM   #30
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I found that my shoulder was much more recoil resistant after I started hitting the gym more frequently. An unexpected benefit of overhead presses; more meat right where the butt rests, in addition to the usual benefits of getting in shape

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Old August 12, 2012, 10:33 PM   #31
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In the same boat as Brian.

I grew up getting punished by 12 gauge slugs because of OH's deer laws. I am at the age where light recoil is a welcomed.

Lots of cartridges to choose from that do what the .308Win does, only better, and with less recoil.

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Old August 12, 2012, 11:09 PM   #32
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As barnbwt noted, pumping iron does help with shooting. In addition to becnh presses, shoulder work builds up the delts which are where the buttplate rests.
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Old August 13, 2012, 12:50 AM   #33
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This is one reason why some kids scream when they get a shot.
Oh yes. Kids. They scream... Not me, though. No, no!! I never scream, errr..... NURSE!!

As it happens I did a double take on that sentence. Initially I read it it as "This is one reason why some kids scream when they get shot."

I thought to myself.... What the heck does he expect?!
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Old August 13, 2012, 01:02 AM   #34
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Thanks for all the input and the recoil pad/shooting jacket/rolled towel message is coming in loud and clear: will definitely try them in the towel, pad, jacket order....

Pulling the rifle in tight:
I did pull it in as tight as I could: one thing I remember from shooting clays. Was it tight enough? I think so.
However, I got some fairly unforgiving injuries to my upper body courtesy of a car driver who was unable to notice 300kg of bike and biker before he pulled out, so it means that my right arm flexion is not as strong as my left and so, it may not be as tight in the shoulder as is the case for "intact" shooters.

Bench shooting:
Yes, I thought this may result in more punishment, but right now my barrel control is such that trying to hit a target at 20m was hard enough!! If my goal was to zero the scope, I needed stability. It was the same with pistols. Now I'm a respectable shot with those...
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Old August 13, 2012, 01:03 AM   #35
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One of our local matches is a military bolt action rifle match. I like to shoot my 1903A3 rifle in 30-06. Gotta admit after a 56 round match which includes two rapid fire stages, I have gone home feeling punished.

A friend loves those Mosin Nagant 91/30 rifles and fires them in the 200 yard matches while wearing a "T" shirt for a top. After firing 56 rounds from that brute, he has gone home with a blue shoulder. Of course, all vegetation forward of his firing line position is charred to the roots, as well.

Hey....there's your answer! Shoot about 50 rounds of 7.62x54R and when you return to the .308, it'll feel like a .22LR!

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Old August 13, 2012, 01:05 AM   #36
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I took my .308 bolt out a few weeks back for first time.

I was shocked at how little recoil it had.

Lots of time on the shotgun may be blame?
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Old August 13, 2012, 01:18 AM   #37
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My shooting jacket is the canvas Marine style and when I shot competition I used to wear the heavy leather jacket. Not fun when it's 110 on the firing line and you are on your belly shooting long distance. The tough guys shooting in their shirt sleeves didn't last long and rarely finished the match.

Hey Grump, That's how I did it, too. I have a nice leather shooting coat that I cinched up for standing/offhand only. As soon as that stage ended, I stripped that coat off and wore my USMC canvas coat for the rest of the match. In sitting position, I unbuckled the bottom two buckles on the coat.

I have two of the USMC coats. I got them at but I went there tonight and couldn't find them. They actually make them for the Marine Corps. If I find them, I'll post it.


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Old August 13, 2012, 08:50 PM   #38
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Recoil is percieved differently by different shooters

What may be minor to one person might cause the next guy a bit of discomfort. And the flinch reflex is one of the most frustrating darn things there is about shooting, to me.

Recoil pad is the biggest issue, and rifle weight is second. Adding a really good pad is number one. Weight can be added fairly easily by drilling a hole into the stock from under the butt pad, and inserting a snuggly fitting lead rod. A pad and a pound of added weight will help immensly.

Shooting from the bench makes recoil worse, as stated by others. If you can latch onto a weighted shooting rest like the "Lead Sled" and sight in with that, it will help decrease any flinchitis that may set in if you take 10 rounds to really get dialed in. If you start flinching you may spend all day trying to get sighted.

Good luck!
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Old August 13, 2012, 09:19 PM   #39
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Years ago my right shoulder was rebuilt, the MD took all the padding off the front of my shoulder leaving a groove. I can't handle recoil well as a result. I've found, for me, having the rifle fitted to me like you would a better grade shotgun helps. A slightly wider butt stock helps more.
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Old August 13, 2012, 11:12 PM   #40
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As suggested above, a sandbag between the butt and your sholder will take out the bite by both adding weight and spreading out the recoil over a larger area. Don't let all the macho talk get to you. If it hurts, you will develop a flinch. Sand bags are easy to make. Don't use sand. Cut off sections of the legs of an old pair of jeans or work pants, sew up one end, fill with cheap non-clumping cat litter, and sew up the other end.
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Old August 14, 2012, 01:18 PM   #41
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I can not imagine anyone complaining about recoil with a 308....Most of my guns are 308 cal....My wife shoots a 308....She has never complained....I have a 300 win mag that I shoot 180 grain bullets with....Try shootin it first....
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Old August 14, 2012, 08:41 PM   #42
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Have not seen it in previous post but the only reason a .308 might have a bite would be shooting hot loaded 180-200 grainers. For a light weight bolt gun, i'd go for the 150s and a nice gel pad. If after that it's still way too much recoil, you will have to go with a gas gun FNAR, M1A or even a Winchester 100 which are a LOT more fun to play with anyways, in my opinion.
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Old August 14, 2012, 09:28 PM   #43
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91/30, big gap....., 2 3/4 slug, m44, big gap again.... 308 semi auto, m1 garand (surplus ammo), EnField, 223 single shot
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Old August 14, 2012, 09:36 PM   #44
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I think I'm on the opposite side of the fence on this one; .308 recoil on the light side. Of course, the rifle weights over 10 lbs too. I've put 60 rounds through it on the bench and barely felt a thing. On the other hand, a buddy's 7mm-08 (lightweight Savage) had a pretty good bite to it, and so did another buddy's 300 Savage. I had a BDL .270 that would leave a mark no matter what. So many variables here...

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Old August 15, 2012, 02:03 PM   #45
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Mr Pond, might I suggest a Limbsaver Protective Pad (Midway, around $30).

1/2 inch thick shoulder protector that you slip your arm through and then buckle at chest. Really works to take the sting out.

Be Safe/Have Fun!

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Old August 15, 2012, 11:22 PM   #46
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I saw a sweet .308 today,

a Ruger Mark II carbine. Sweet little thing musta' weighed all of 5 1/2 pounds, I suppose.

Then I come home, in love with that little thing, and you guys tell me she'll beat me to a pulp.

LOP was 2 inches shorter than most bolt actions. Recoil pad was a hard, thin rubber. Maybe a thick, ventilated Limbsaver pad would give me the right LOP and soak up the recoil.

Wish it was a 260 Rem, now.

I'm just saying.
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Old August 16, 2012, 03:30 AM   #47
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Rifle Fit it the heart of the problem

I shoot a Savage 116, 338 Win Mag. About 20 rounds is my limit before the body wants a break.

1. You should check the fit of the rifle to YOUR BODY. If the length of pull (LOP) is too long or short, you will not get a good shouldering.

2. Have a really good recoil pad installed. Insure when the recoil pad is installed the LOP is correct.

3. Proper form. Firm but not death grip on the rifle

4. Do not fight the recoil, "allow" your body to "roll with the punch"

5. Much like a car wreck the key to surviving recoil is to increase the length of time it takes to absorb the energy and to spread the load over the largest area possible.

6. Last WEAR EYE PLUG AND MUFFS!!! much of the "PAIN" in shooting a rifle is acerbated by the noise and Muzzle blast.

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Old August 16, 2012, 11:17 AM   #48
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My very first rifle was a Mosin M91/30

I made the very horrible mistake of snuggling up all nice and cozy onto the rifle while shooting off the bench.

I'll tell you, I never did that again.

I've had no real trouble with it since, though I tend to shoot my AR more simply because I want to develop my skills before trying to tackle it again. Don't want to get the flinches because of it.

Only thing I can recommend is to let your body "give" as you fire, don't stay rigid, because that makes it worse.
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Old August 16, 2012, 01:27 PM   #49
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>>The first 308 I shot was my M-14 in basic with a steel butt plate.<<

Same here, and it's even more fun on full auto! (Guess we're dating ourselves, eh?)
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Old August 17, 2012, 01:41 AM   #50
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if it kicks

If you say it kicks, then it kicks. My dad, who was a pretty tough customer, did not shoot typical deer rifles well, and shot his best w/ .243.

+1 to a good pad. Also, consider a lighter bullet. A 180 slug can be a pretty stiff kicker, and a 150 noticeably lighter.
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