You ask for help with a very good cause, so hear is some more information.
There are different kinds of recoil. percieved and foot/pounds of energy.
Percieved can be a lot of things (example: a single
action pistol with a low grip style rotates more in
your hand than a modern pistol with a high grip of
the same weight and cartrige but feels like it recoils
more but in ft/lbs it is the same.
How a rifle reacts can have this same effect so if
you take two different rifles with the same ft/lbs
of recoil one being heavy the other being very light
the percieved recoil will be more on the light rifle.
This is called recoil velocity (how quick the rifle
moves backwards when it is fired).
Also muzzle blast can make a huge difference in percieved
recoil this is probably the most common cause of target
panic(flinching) and most target shooters who contract
this ailment practice with a 22 cal of the same size as
there match rifle.
So my recommendation would be to select a caliber that is suitable for the quary at the greatest distance to be used under poor conditions and then work on reducing both percieved and ft/lbs of recoil.also make it short and
handy to use .
After you think you have the right one run the recoil
calculations if it is two high thin you can add weight
with a heaver stock,barrel or even a heaver scope.
At his age you probably take him to the blind and help
him get setup so a short handy 10 or 11lb rifle would
help him to steady down and if he did flinch would minimize
the effect on the point of impact.
Long winded but I hope this will help.
You hear (Take a youngster hunting) often but whats wrong with taking a father/grandfather hunting.
He hunts out of an elevated box blind. Rebuilding that with a shooting bench is also on my to do list for this summer. The only time he hunts where there is no blind, is during Deer drives. He is always a sitter and often has to cover 200+ yards in several directions. He uses his ATV to get to his hunting locations. My point to all this is that his rifle can be as heavy as is needed. After the holidays, I will start ordering components. The plan currently is to go with a .243 barrel, but being a Savage this could be made into a switch barrel. Any thing built on a .308 case should be easy to do.
I do have a couple questions though.
First, what would be the best length for heavier (95+) .243 bullets? I think 1:9 twist is what I want. But I don't know just what length. Obviously longer is heavier, which is good from the recoil stand point, but is there a length at which returns begin to deminish?
Secondly, does anyone know a good gunsmith in southwest Michigan? The only 'smith I know of in the Grand Rapids area is at the Gander Mt. store. I have asked several people at my shooting club, and it seems nobody knows of a good one locally. I ask this because, I would like to see if building the gun heavier, with a better stock and recoil pad will cut the recoil enough to not need a brake. The extra muzzle blast from the brake could easily increase his perception of recoil. If I need a brake later, it will have to have the barrel threaded, and the brake indexed. These are not the sort of things I want to do myself.
Which rifle scopes have the longest eye relief? I know that when I had a cheaper scope on my 7 mag, I would occasionaly get kissed by the scope. It didn't cut me, but having the scope come back and even touch my eyebrow, caused me to flinch for a few shots after that. I now have a Burris that seems to have a lot more eye relief than the previous scope. I has not touched me yet, which is a great help.
Thanks again for all the info. It gives me a great deal to think about, and helps me to understand what I need to do.
And by the way, the old guy is not quite a frail as some imagine. He still works full time in a local machine shop. He just has very bad shoulders, short arms, and has developed a flinch.
If this rifle is going to be used on some drives I think I'd keep the barrel length to 26" or under, any thing over that long gets "front heavy" and more dificult to shoot off hand.
This guy isn't in MI, but he is in Delphos OH (where ever that is), he's a Savage specialist and can provide up to a 27" barrel. I think he uses Douglass barrels, not top end but not bad either. Sharpshooters Supply
Ignorance can be treated with education, sadly there is no cure for stupidity.
Im not trying to talk you into any particular caliber because I think your on the right tract.
The 243,260,7/08,308 all reach there optimum velocity
with 18" to 20" of barrel you gain about 20 ft/sec for every
inch of barrel over 20".
One of my favorite rifels and most accurate is a
7/08 with a 20" #7 shillen ss barrel. It pushes a
120 gr ballistic tip at 3010 ft/sec and bucks the
wind very well. And recoil is 10 ft/lbs with a recoil
velocity of 7.7 ft/sec.
Recoil is so mild some times I get to see the hit through
the scope. NEAT:
The 243 should work but watch the wind. A 260 would also be a good choice.And A 20" to 22" barrel should be perfect and if later you decided to add a brake it would still be under
As for the scope Leupold has 3.5" to 5" of eye relief depending on the power and type.
First, what would be the best length for heavier (95+) .243 bullets? I think 1:9 twist is what I want.
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24-26 inch with 1/8 twist.
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I would like to see if building the gun heavier, with a better stock and recoil pad will cut the recoil enough to not need a brake. The extra muzzle blast from the brake could easily increase his perception of recoil. If I need a brake later, it will have to have the barrel threaded, and the brake indexed. These are not the sort of things I want to do myself.
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Recoil in a 10-12 pound 243w, is almost nil. However if it might be a problem, just get a brake put on with a thread cap, and if he dosn't need it take the brake off, and put the cap on.
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Which rifle scopes have the longest eye relief?
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Generally Leupolds. Especially the fixed 6x's. They have long eye relief (4.5 inches), and a huge eyebox. Don't be scared of "only" 6 power. I shoot quite well out to a 1,000yds, with 6x. A FXII or FXIII 6x, with turrets, is hard to beat. Those that try ours, generally flock to'em.
A lot depends on how much money you want to spend.
Option 1- new stock barrel etc. could easily run $800 and see no need to do that based on what you described.
Option 2- (My Choice) Used Savage wood stock that you can drop in and bed yourself if it is not pillared. Buy straight from Savage also. Wrap 2" masking tape on the butt, drill two 1/4" holes above or below the butt/recoil pad screws and about 3 inches deep. Use a band saw to cut off the amount you want. Later you simply glue the piece back with 1/4" dowels and perfect match. The 243 is good round and no need to spend the money on something else when your issue is the stock.