In our previous post about avoiding recoil, we looked at various calibers and gauges (rifle, pistol and shotgun) that naturally generate relatively low felt recoil. While all have their limitations, nonetheless they can be effectively used for all sorts of shooting tasks, ranging from home defense to sporting clays to deer hunting. What they can’t do, however, is help ensure a comfortable experience for shooters who don’t have access to such guns. And if you’re like most newcomers or tackling the jump from .22 rimfires to something bigger, a well-meaning mentor will hand you whatever gun he or she has on hand, recoil be damned. Chances are it could be a .270 or .30-06 hunting rifle, perhaps a .45 ACP M1911 or .38 Spl. revolver, or even a 12-gauge shotgun with 3” turkey or slug loads, all of which have been very popular for years and thus are quite common.
But you don’t have to go out and buy a new gun, because major manufacturers offer alternate ammunition products that minimize the kick of our “old reliables.” Such loads are assembled with powder charges that vary in type and amount with those used in standard rounds, and with bullets built to perform as needed at lower impact velocities. Even so they utilize identical cartridge cases and bullet diameters, and therefore are safe in any appropriately chambered gun. The makers say these specialized loads cut felt recoil 40 to 50 percent, which makes them ideal for teaching new shooters or calming the fears of anyone sensitive to the thump. Generally priced the same as standard loads, reduced-recoil ammunition but may be hard to come by at retail and so your best bet finding it could be online. The manufacturers can also direct you to nearby sources. Here’s a look at what’s available:
Hornady-Custom Lite rifle loads cut back on the kick and muzzle flash in eight calibers ranging from .243 Win. to .300 Win. Mag. They are topped with the company’s respected SST and InterBond round-nose bullets, and so are set for all sorts of predators and big game at ranges extending to perhaps 60 percent of normal maximum recommendations.
Remington-Nine calibers are included in Managed Recoil rifle offerings, starting at .260 Rem. and extending to the powerful .300 Rem. Ultra Mag., all of them carrying the company’s famous Core-Lokt bullet. With an estimated recoil reduction of 50 percent, these loads not only appeal to neophytes, but old hands may also prefer them for practicing or in certain cases (smaller game, closer shots) where full-power loads offer no practical advantage. Filling out the line are Managed Recoil BuckHammer, Copper Solid and Slugger slug shotshells, as well as buckshot.
ATK Federal-Handgunners who want less recoil from their practice or personal protection ammo, can find it in the Federal Personal Defense (LR) line. The Low Recoil rounds allow faster target reacquisition and can help speed up and improve the accuracy of follow-ups. Included are: .380 Auto, .327 Federal, 9mm Luger, .38 Spl., .357 Mag., .40 S&W, .45 GAP and .45 Auto. The company also makes 20- and 12-gauge (LR) options for turkey hunters, 2-3/4” Mag-Shok Heavyweight loadings with No. 6 or 7 shot, which purportedly kick 47 percent less than harder-hitting 3” loads.