Question about shotgun kick...

Question about shotgun kick...

This is a discussion on Question about shotgun kick... within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I have been shooting shotguns literally my entire life. One thing I am not sure about is what makes a particular shell kick harder. The ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array joe8512's Avatar
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    Question about shotgun kick...

    I have been shooting shotguns literally my entire life. One thing I am not sure about is what makes a particular shell kick harder. The first time I shot 000 buck, I distinctly remember it kicking like a mule and they were 2 3/4 shells.

    My buddy the other day was trying to tell me that 000 buck and 00 buck are no different in terms of kick, that a shells length and only a shells length are what makes a shotgun kick harder. Is this true? I would find that hard to believe.


  2. #2
    Member Array JohnHancock's Avatar
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    I think it boils down to the weight of the projectile. Buck has more recoil than bird and slugs have more recoil than buck. The length of the shell allows for more/heavier projectile and more recoil. In the case of "reduced recoil" rounds, there's slightly less powder.
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    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    It is a function of the weight of the projectile(s) and the velocity of the projectile(s). A 3 1/2" 12 gauge slug is a real thumper!
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    VIP Member Array mprp's Avatar
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    Think of it like this: Using the same powder charge, in one hand you have a 3 1/2" shell filled with feathers for the ammo. In the other hand you have a 2 3/4" shell stuffed with lead. Which one is going to create the most resistance toward your shoulder in order to accelerate the ammo down the barrel? In other words, the length of the shell has nothing to do with kick.
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    A good presentation and a "push" slightly on the forearm will make it much more comfortable to shoot.
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    Senior Member Array ElMonoDelMar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mprp View Post
    Think of it like this: Using the same powder charge, in one hand you have a 3 1/2" shell filled with feathers for the ammo. In the other hand you have a 2 3/4" shell stuffed with lead. Which one is going to create the most resistance toward your shoulder in order to accelerate the ammo down the barrel? In other words, the length of the shell has nothing to do with kick.
    If you fired 1 oz of lead and 1 oz of feathers over the same powder charge the loads would have the same kick. Just like 1 oz of bird shot over 1 oz of lead slug will have the same kick for the same powder charge. The length of the shell does have a lot to do with kick. The longer "magnum" shells have more shot or a heavier slug which is why they kick harder.
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    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    The amount and type of powder also makes a difference in recoil. A fast burn powder will give more of a slap type recoil and a slow burn powder will give more of a push type recoil. The type of stock and recoil pad makes a difference.

    I have a Benelli SuperNova Tactical 12 gauge shotgun. With the handle grip stock and recoil pad, I can shoot a 3 1/2" round with about the same felt recoil as my Stevens 12 gauge double barrel side-by-side shotgun with a wood stock and no recoil pad with a 2 3/4" round.
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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by molleur View Post
    A good presentation and a "push" slightly on the forearm will make it much more comfortable to shoot.
    So will switching from a pump to a semi, which is the route I took
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    VIP Member Array StormRhydr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe8512 View Post
    I have been shooting shotguns literally my entire life. One thing I am not sure about is what makes a particular shell kick harder. The first time I shot 000 buck, I distinctly remember it kicking like a mule and they were 2 3/4 shells.

    My buddy the other day was trying to tell me that 000 buck and 00 buck are no different in terms of kick, that a shells length and only a shells length are what makes a shotgun kick harder. Is this true? I would find that hard to believe.
    It used to be common to speak of shotgun shells in terms of "high brass" shells, and "low brass" shells.

    An example of "High Brass" shells might be traditional rifled slugs in 2 3/4" length. Btw, the slug weighs 1 Oz, in 12 Ga.


    An example of "Low Brass" shells would be something like Win AA Skeet Shells. One can select a variety of loads in the AA line. Perhaps the most common, for 12 ga, would be 1 1/8 Oz of lead shot.

    Obviously the skeet loads, in 1 1/8 Oz are heavier than a 1 Oz slug. And I can assure you that the 1 Oz slug will kick MUCH more than the 1 1/8 Oz skeet loads.

    Why? Because of the amounts & types of powder used.

    The "High Brass"/"Low Brass" thing was used as short hand for heavy or light powder loads. The amount of brass used as a visual indicator, as well.

    Its the powder charge that will give you the kick. Thats it in a nutshell.
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    VIP Member Array mprp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElMonoDelMar View Post
    If you fired 1 oz of lead and 1 oz of feathers over the same powder charge the loads would have the same kick. Just like 1 oz of bird shot over 1 oz of lead slug will have the same kick for the same powder charge. The length of the shell does have a lot to do with kick. The longer "magnum" shells have more shot or a heavier slug which is why they kick harder.
    That is true too and that is exactly I only said what the contents were and didn't assume that the ammo was of equal weight. Still, the length of the shell has absolutely nothing to do with the kick but rather the capacity, type of powder charge and ammunition. For instance, there are 3" lead ammunition shells that kick harder than a 3 1/2" steel ammo shells.
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    Quote Originally Posted by molleur View Post
    A good presentation and a "push" slightly on the forearm will make it much more comfortable to shoot.
    Very good advice. Gun mounting is critical.

    There are many factors in shotgun recoil. I primarily shoot Skeet and Sporting Clays. Most competition shotguns are heavier than the field models. A field model gun lighter and easier to carry, but with a 3 dram load, can have tremendous recoil. The same can be said for "Defensive" type pump shotguns. Lots of recoil. In a competition gun a 3 dram load is not that bad. Firing a 1300 fps. 1-1/2 oz load, through a lightweight defensive pump will "Knock your figs loose". I have fired a Barret 50 Caliber from the shoulder. Although much louder, the recoil was far less than a lightweight pump shotgun with a 3-1/2" shell.

    Stock design, has a tremendous effect on felt recoil. Bruised jaws, jawbone area, are not uncommon with poorly fitting stocks. Too short a stock can be your worst enemy when firing a shotgun. A good rule of thumb. Place the butt inside the bend in your elbow, your finger should be in trigger squeezing position. Again, this is just a "Rule of thumb". If the gun is too short your will have to place your jawbone on the stock. Your cheek should touch the stock, not your jawbone. I's not like you are trying to look through sights, you are just looking down the plane of the barrel. If you try to fire a shotgun as you would a rifle, it is going to hurt. Most field shotguns have a good deal of "drop" on the stock. This allows the shooter to place their cheek on the gun, instead of their jawbone. This distributes the recoil to 2 areas, the cheek and the shoulder and makes the gun easier and faster to mount.

    I have seen several lightweight pumps, with pistol grips, dropped after someone fired a 3-1/2 dram buck load. I personally stay away from the higher powered loads in pumps and single barreled guns. I want the damage to go out of the front of the gun, not the back.
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    Member Array colding's Avatar
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    I though high brass and low brass meant the length of the brass cap on the end of the shell that holds the primer.

    Like this:
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    VIP Member Array StormRhydr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colding View Post
    I though high brass and low brass meant the length of the brass cap on the end of the shell that holds the primer.

    Like this:
    Well, yes, it does. However, when folks spoke of "High Brass"/"Low Brass" shells, they were talking about the powder charge in them.

    Ie Fred says to Bill "I threw up on some ducks, and was loaded with some good Remington High Brass shells..." Bill says to Fred: "Man, all I had were those no account low brass Mohawk specials I picked up at Walmart! I could hardly knock a feather loose."

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    VIP Member Array OutWestSystems's Avatar
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    What makes it is kick harder? F = MA. Force = Mass * Acceleration.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by colding View Post
    I though high brass and low brass meant the length of the brass cap on the end of the shell that holds the primer.

    Like this:
    Very true...

    High Brass is not necessarily an indicator of the load. Higher brass is used, sometimes, for the purpose of reinforcing a weaker plastic, or paper hull. I have seen low brass, 12 Gauge, 1-1/4 oz 3-1/2 dram loads. I have seen High Brass on 12 Gauge, 1 oz, 2-3/4 dram loads.
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