Ask Phil: Dealing With Recoil

I was wondering if you had any tips for dealing with recoil anticipation on high caliber rifles. I currently use a .300 Win. Mag., and the anticipation of recoil that happens after a few rounds go down range affects my ability to zero effectively. This happens every year before the hunting season, and I'm tired of wasting ammo on pulled shots. Any advice is appreciated!

Thank you,
Tony

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Tony – Rifles are out of my area of expertise, but recoil is not, as I have occasion to shoot slug guns and pattern turkey loads, and some of the latter kick as hard as very large rifles when you shoot them in a lightweight gun.

When I sight in slug guns I either use a Lead Sled with 25 pounds of shot in the tray or I drape a padded gun case over my shoulder. Either helps a lot. I also find it's easier to shoot hard-kicking guns if they have good, light triggers like the Savage Accu-Trigger. Wearing lots of hearing protection -- ear muffs over plugs -- helps, too. A lot of what we perceive as "kick" is the noise of a muzzle blast. As a shotgun shooter, I always notice how loud centerfires are when I'm around them.

If none of that works, get a gun that doesn’t beat you up. I'd suggest you think about trading in your .300 Win. Mag. for a rifle that doesn't kick so hard. The flinching habits you build at the range can follow you into the field. You might be happier and deadlier with a smaller caliber.

If it makes you feel better, I have always believed that disliking recoil is a sign of intelligence, not wimpiness.

Do you have shotgunning or bird hunting question? Ask me anything. Not only do you get the benefit of my advice and wisdom for free when I answer your question here, you get your choice of a nifty prize from Cabela's: S.T.R. Max Hearing Protection ear muffs, an Xtreme Range Bag, or an Interchangeable Shooting Glasses 3-Lens Kit. So, please, ask away at fsgunnuts@gmail.com