Recoil Management

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by pokute, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    I shoot at least once a week. I shoot competitively, I do some beginner coaching, and I also plink. In a typical 3-4 hour range session, I shoot 200-300 22lr, 100-200 45acp or 10mm, and 100 45LC or 44M. I hold any handgun firmly, but not "hard", and always as high up on the grip frame as possible.

    Of the guns I shoot regularly, the only one that I approach with trepidation is the Contender in 44M. Now, this gun has a HEAVY 14 inch barrel, and I shoot the same loads in it that I have no trouble shooting in a 5.5 inch Ruger Super Blackhawk. But the Contender kicks me around quite a bit.

    I've observed people shooting the whole range of tupper-guns, and I see big-boned men with big hands getting tendonitis shooting 9, 40, and 357sig with the whole range of those guns. When I shoot them, the muzzle rises about 1/2 inch, and that's it.

    I've also occasionally shot S&W M29's in various barrel lengths. I've shot a 4 inch M29 that kicked my hands to pieces, and I've shot a 4 inch M29 that was a pussycat.

    Hold on... Did he just say that he shot the same gun twice and had two totally different experiences of recoil? Yes he did.

    Let's look at those three cases of unpleasant recoil one at a time, and examine the cause(s).

    The Contender is basically a huge barrel with a little handle screwed to the back. The Contender grip shows no evidence of ergonomic design, and basically just lets the recoil come straight back into your wrist. Shooting it with a bent arm can redirect some of the energy into lifting the barrel and your forearm, but it's far from optimal. I shoot the Contender with a fingerless glove with a thick leather palm, and it's not too terrible that way. On the other hand, the Ruger SBH has a long grip modeled after the Colt Dragoon. Even with a very high hold (I hold with the hammer touching the web of my hand), the gun rotates upward, and the arm follows. The hand and wrist get very little thumping (unless you put rubber grips on it! See below discussion of the M29).

    Tupper-guns are very light. They are also the result of considerable research and design directed towards optimal ergonomics. They are made to be very easy for anyone with at least three fingers and one arm to shoot comfortably. They are so over-engineered that they can generally not be improved by 'smithing or by swapping parts. So why do so many people look like they are riding a bucking bronco when they shoot them? It's all in the grip. First off, NO gloves and no rubber grip sleeve, ever, unless you are making range porn. Also, ignore that squared off front on the trigger guard - No gun is ever going to try to jump forward out of your hands - That's there for retention when someone is trying to disarm you.
    DO grip the gun as high as possible - They all have an extension just below the slide for you to mash your strong hand under - USE IT. DO use the standard THUMBS-FORWARD grip, it gives you full control of the gun. DO shoot two handed - These guns are NOT designed for one-handed use (revolvers ARE).

    An now to my favorite part. How can the same shooter shooting the same gun have a totally different experience on two occasions? Grips. Or "Stocks", as you prefer. For Tupper-guns, you really have no choice, and you wouldn't want one, because they are already perfect... Anyway, with revolvers, you want big smooth grips that flare out towards the butt. Traditionally called "Target Grips", they give you the best control of the gun with a one or two hand hold. In the specific case of the M29, the recoil impulse is nearly straight back, like the Contender, so the gun must be able to rotate upward with the arm following, without checkering or, god forbid RUBBER making the skin of your palm absorb recoil. Your thumb(s) should be pointing forward, right thumb lying along the sideplate, touching the latch. If shooting with two hands, wedge your weak hand up sort-of between your strong hand and the trigger guard, lightly gripping the fingers of the strong (right) hand.

    Gee, that's pretty much it. Remember to always hold high, and don't try to straight-arm a big bore handgun!
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  2. squirrelhunter

    squirrelhunter Well-Known Member

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    I use a Contender chambered in 35 Remington for deer hunting a lot,talk about kick!!! It took me a long time to get use to the recoil. The hammer use to get me lots of times because of holding it wrong.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014

  3. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    35 Remington! The load I'm going to test next in my Contender will be a 200gr 44M loaded to about 70% of a 35 Rem! I let a friend who said he had shot a Contender before shoot mine. Just before he touched it off I saw that he had it in a classic revolver grip... Before I could even open my mouth he took the trigger guard spur HARD. Dangerous gun to approach without some coaching. I've decided I'm going to stick with it, but I can see it's going to be a serious challenge. Bad design, but the only game in town for shooting a bear that's driving off in your truck, or maybe shooting squirrels through a telephone pole.

    For folks who don't know, a Contender is a single-shot pistol so insanely overbuilt that nothing but an atomic load will break it. You can even shoot full power 35 Remington if you have balls the size of the moon! My 14" 44M Contender barrel is so heavy that I could kill a grizzly by hitting it over the head, or by shooting it at about the same distance.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  4. squirrelhunter

    squirrelhunter Well-Known Member

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    Most of my reloads are on the lower end of the scale,pushing a 200g Hornady SP at about 1,700fps but I do have a couple loads that push it around 1,870fps. I've never had a deer go more than 20 yards but it also causes a lot of blood shot meat unless I'm using hardcast bullets. The scope and barrel porting help a lot with the recoil,but it's still a handful.
     
  5. pokute

    pokute Sincere as a $5 funeral

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    A 200gr 10mm going 1200fps in a Springfield Omega is pretty mild. I'm going to try to hit 1500fps with the 200gr 44, which should keep me supersonic at 200m. Interesting how 200 grains seems to be a popular weight in a LOT of cartridges.

    I've never gone hunting, but the possibility of getting a freezerful of meat for a few days effort seems pretty attractive. The wholesale illegal killing of coyotes in semi-residential desert areas out here has caused an insane profusion of rabbits, to the point where the desert flora have been decimated over vast areas. I wish they would offer a bounty on rabbits, even though it's too late to save the desert. After what I saw the last time I took a long desert hike, I'd be the first one to head out to slaughter the cute, fuzzy little dears.