Question on rifle reaction

Firearrow

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I know there is a difference in the way a rifle reacts between small bore and large bore. So let's narrow this question down.

You have your 300WM lined up on your target, bipod out, and a rear bag holds the rear of your rifle. You then position your self behind your rifle and inline with it and take your prone position. The dial up for your 750 yard shot is in and you will hold for your wind. You shoulder your rifle, level it, adjust your rifle for a natural point of aim on the target, relevel it, hold for the wind, settle on your target, start your breathing cycle, squeeze the trigger, and the shot is made.

So here is the question. If everything was done right to make your shot, how should the rifle have reacted? By this I mean when looking through the scope at your target should the reticle have come straight up, or straight up and to the left off of the target? This is for a right handed shooter and a right twist barrel.
 

azsugarbear

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How a rifle reacts with recoil is dependent on a number of different factors. A big factor is the design of the stock itself. Benchrest and tactical stock designes have high combs and are designed to allow the stock to come straight back. Weight increase subdues recoil. That is why hunting rifles will often allow for more muzzle climb than heavier rifles. Rifle balance can also have a pronounced impact. A thin, short, pencil barrel will climb much more in the same rifle than a bull barrel contour.

Obviously, the more powder and the heavier bullet used by the shooter will further intensify the natural direction of recoil in the rifle. Try shooting a 12 ga. rifled slug out of a smoothbore shotgun barrel sometime. You should notice a slight torque counterclockwise in your hand.

Each style of rifle will exhibit subtle differences in recoil, even when shooting the same load out of different rifles.
 

WildRose

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How a rifle reacts with recoil is dependent on a number of different factors. A big factor is the design of the stock itself. Benchrest and tactical stock designes have high combs and are designed to allow the stock to come straight back. Weight increase subdues recoil. That is why hunting rifles will often allow for more muzzle climb than heavier rifles. Rifle balance can also have a pronounced impact. A thin, short, pencil barrel will climb much more in the same rifle than a bull barrel contour.

Obviously, the more powder and the heavier bullet used by the shooter will further intensify the natural direction of recoil in the rifle. Try shooting a 12 ga. rifled slug out of a smoothbore shotgun barrel sometime. You should notice a slight torque counterclockwise in your hand.

Each style of rifle will exhibit subtle differences in recoil, even when shooting the same load out of different rifles.
Pretty well said.

Let me add.

Much of it also depends on whether or not you have a muzzle brake and if you do the type of brake. A radial 360deg discharge brake is going to cause a different gas jet pattern than one that is side ported only.

Caliber makes a big difference too, heavier bullets and more powder generate more force.

Recoil management makes a big difference. If you are really leaning in to the bipod you will get more muzzle rise than you would if you allow for free recoil because all that energy is going to seek the path of least resistance when you fire.

In general though there will be some muzzle rise along with horizontal motion in the opposite direction of your barrel twist. How much movement there will be in the horizontal and vertical planes though depends on all of the factors above and probably a few more we haven't covered yet.
 

Firearrow

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Pretty well said.

Let me add.

Much of it also depends on whether or not you have a muzzle brake and if you do the type of brake. A radial 360deg discharge brake is going to cause a different gas jet pattern than one that is side ported only.

Caliber makes a big difference too, heavier bullets and more powder generate more force.

Recoil management makes a big difference. If you are really leaning in to the bipod you will get more muzzle rise than you would if you allow for free recoil because all that energy is going to seek the path of least resistance when you fire.

In general though there will be some muzzle rise along with horizontal motion in the opposite direction of your barrel twist. How much movement there will be in the horizontal and vertical planes though depends on all of the factors above and probably a few more we haven't covered yet.

When I wrote the theoretical situation I was speaking in a general situation. I know that everything about my rifle makes it different than everyone else's rifle. I was trying to get a general idea of what a rifle should do if the shot was executed properly. Reason being is I am trying to be more aware of what I am doing with my body that can influence the rifle and the way it reacts.

For example I found that when I put a slight pull with my trigger hand, I thought this would better anchor the rifle into my shoulder, I had more left to right POI. If I had to much pressure on my cheek weld, I would get a high left POI.

So for a 300 WM, with a muscle type break, standard HS precision stock, bipod, and shooting prone after my shot my reticle goes up and to the left a bit. Is this the right reaction, or is my body someway still influencing the rifle?
 

WildRose

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When I wrote the theoretical situation I was speaking in a general situation. I know that everything about my rifle makes it different than everyone else's rifle. I was trying to get a general idea of what a rifle should do if the shot was executed properly. Reason being is I am trying to be more aware of what I am doing with my body that can influence the rifle and the way it reacts.

For example I found that when I put a slight pull with my trigger hand, I thought this would better anchor the rifle into my shoulder, I had more left to right POI. If I had to much pressure on my cheek weld, I would get a high left POI.

So for a 300 WM, with a muscle type break, standard HS precision stock, bipod, and shooting prone after my shot my reticle goes up and to the left a bit. Is this the right reaction, or is my body someway still influencing the rifle?
You're probably creating a little torsion by trying to "pull it in tight". You can also cause the butt of the rifle to kick down and a little out by doing the same.


Set everything up the same BUT, Don't grip the stock at all with your trigger hand and simply put your thumb on the triggerguard and squeeze and see what kind of reaction you get.

Also be sure that you are only using the last joint of your trigger finger to apply pressure to the trigger. I see a lot of guys really jamming their TF in there and "pulling" the trigger with the second joint or even fold between the 2nd and third segments. This very much can create torque.

If you imagine making a "C" with your thumb and forefinger and pressing your forefinger into your thumb that is the correct application of the finger in the trigger. We use the term "pull the trigger" but in truth the proper action is to "press" the trigger.

Another way to think of it is to use your thumb and forefinger to make a chicken's head when you were a kid doing shadow figures against a wall.

To quote an old instructor of mine "Less finger in the hole equals better trigger control".
 

Canadian Bushman

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In a perfect scenario with a balanced and tuned rifle that fit the shooter perfectly; the rifle would recoil straight back and the sight picture would either never leave the target or return to it.

This rarely happens. Especially not consistently, at least for people who hold their rifles.
In F-class and benchrest its pretty typical.

In a more conventional scenario the rifle will recoil back while the muzzle rises up and to the left. Usually settling on or near the target or just left of it. In my experience this is typical for heavier recoiling rifles shot by long range hunters.
 

azsugarbear

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I have never tried to 'counteract' the recoil effects of a rifle's recoil with my body. Rather than fighting the rifle, I allow it to go where it wants. Consistency is the name of the game in achieving accuracy. I think that that the problem you would encounter in attempting to counteract or offset the recoil of you rifle, would be in doing the same thing, with the same pressure at the same time for each shot.
 

Canadian Bushman

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I think the word "absorbing" is adequate for describing what your body should do to recoil.

I agree with sugarbear in the idea that free recoil is probably the most consistent way to handle recoil as far as accuracy is concerned, but i can not find a way to do it consistently with a hunting style rifle in field conditions.

I merely compromise by using my body to absorb the recoil as perpindicular to the target as possible and supporting it so it moves backwards in a straight controlled fashion.

However you position your body and hands so that this is what's happening is good.

This again is my .02 and i am in no way an expert. I typically shoot low recoiling rifles because i have struggled with this so much in the past.
 

Firearrow

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Thanks for the replys. I was hoping that the natural reaction of my rifle would be up and to the left. I am getting to the point where I can now notice how subtle changes make a big difference, and I wanted to make sure that what I was doing and how my rifle acted was correct.
 

jfseaman

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A wonderful topic!

I have several bench rest rifles and of course more tactical, target, F-Class, varmint and hunting than a non-OCD person could understand. :)

This discussion gives me the start to examine each rifle type and the recoil reaction.

Structure of each stock style:
Bench rest - everything on the center line of the barrel. Bottom of forend parallel with bore. Bottom of butt stock slightly angled to all some muzzle rise on free recoil.

Target/Tactical/F-Class/Varmint - everything on centerline of barrel. Bottom of for end tapered. Bottom of butt stock parallel to or slightly angled from the bore line.

Hunting - I like Weatherby and thumbhole. The butt stock is offset. For me a right hand shooter, to the left. As I Understand It (AIUI) this is to facilitate reticle+target acquisition. Forend and bottom of butt stock angled.

So, with the prompting of this discussion, bow does each react?

Bench rest is supposed to recoil straight back and return to POA when returned to battery. I recently changed rear bags and my return to POA is all messed up. I had suspected my new bag is filled to "soft" and is changing shape during recoil. Now I'm sure of it.

Target/Tactical... I shoot off bipod and rear bag or mono pod. As a result of this discussion, I now understand why my rifles "torque" to the right with my "hard" hold. With consistency the goal, when I vet it right I'm back on POA quick enough to spot my own impacts from 400 yards+. Get it wrong, well no point spotting impacts because it will be dirt.

Hunting Weatherby and Thumbhole, now I understand why I always torque right and have horozontal stringing when i don't expect it. I will work on consistent hold pressure into my shoulder.
 

lancetkenyon

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Body position while shooting prone makes a huge difference in recoil management.

You should be directly behind the rifle, legs spread, with the line of the rifle being parallel to the spine and making a line just inside your right (if you are right handed) knee.
Rifle stock should fit right in the crease/pocket of your shoulder, not on the collar bone.
Load the bi-pod to the point that is almost starts moving, with your spine, not your feet pushing your body forward.
Cheek pressure on the rifle should be as if you are laying your head down for a nap, not light, not heavy, but consistent every time.
No torque on the stock with your grip hand. I actually place my 3 fingers on the front of the grip, not around it, with thumb laying on the right side of the grip, not wrapped around to create torque.
A good rear bag that you adjust by squeezing, and only touching the bag, not the stock with your off hand.
Squeeze the trigger with the tip of your finger, not the pad.

Long range accuracy is all about consistency. And being able to see your hits or misses is imperative to knowing your rifle. Being directly behind the rifle should help in keeping you on target through the recoil.

I can watch hits with my .223, 6.5 SLR (w. brake), .25-06 Ackley, 7mm RM, and .300RUM (w. brake) by following these positional steps.

A great video series to watch on the subject is "Art of the Precision Rifle". Taught by Magpul Dynamics and Todd Hodnett with Accuracy 1st. He teaches most LEOs and Military snipers advanced accuracy tactics in ways most laymen can understand. From positional shooting, to basics of accuracy, ballistics, trueing, and reading wind and reticle design. It has helped my shooting immensely.
 
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