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  1. #1
    Senior Member labradort's Avatar
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    7mm-08 vs 308 - recoil question

    I've never shot either of these calibers. I've probably looked at Chuck Hawk's recoil table for too long. In the preface, he says:

    In 1909, the British Textbook of Small Arms stated that 15 ft. lbs. of free recoil energy was the maximum allowable for a military service rifle. (The standard British .303 Lee-Enfield infantry rifle was below that figure, as are most service rifles to this day. This should tell you something.) The 1929 edition of the same textbook stated, in addition, that recoil velocity should not exceed 15 fps; above that velocity a gun-headache was very likely to occur. These figures remain practical maximums for the modern hunter.

    Above this level recoil becomes increasingly intrusive. In addition, the effects of recoil are cumulative. The longer you shoot, and the harder the rifle kicks, the more likely you are to flinch. These are good things to remember when comparing rifle cartridges.
    I also had a fellow shooting next to me at the range and he said he was happier shooting 243 than his previous 308 for the repeated recoil.

    The 308 starts at 15.8 ft lbs and goes up with bullet grain. So it is already on the border of that standard established for military back then.

    I started reading about the 7mm-08 and it seems many people feel it is very adequate for deer hunting, especially with the shorter range scenarios we see in the east. The 7mm-08 produces about 12 ft lbs coil. So I was thinking this is a good calibre to shop for a hunting rifle.

    Then I found the shotgun recoil table. I was astounded to see the 20 gauge produces anywhere from 16 to 31 ft lbs. I don't recall any flinch-inducing recoil from the 20 gauge. The first shot out of my 20 gauge was while hunting, and taken by my teen son, who was used to shooting 22lr, and he didn't notice anything worth mentioning other than not being able to hear for a second.

    So with the purpose of hunting, not shooting hundreds of rounds with range time, and looking at Browning BLR, is recoil really less of an issue than the British stated?

    I'm thinking now of seeking the BLR in 308, which is easier to find for the rifle, and the factory ammo can be found cheaper.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CLW .45's Avatar
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    It is as much a function of how the particular firearm is stocked, as it is calibre.

    Properly stocked a fairly wide range of cartridges will exhibit similar recoil effect, as felt by the shooter.

    I am happy with my .308 BLR.
    To show that men can travel to the moon and return, use the American experience.

    To show that public safety isnít hurt by responsible individuals carrying to protect life, use the American experience.

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  4. #3
    Super Moderator Rory McCanuck's Avatar
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    Then I found the shotgun recoil table. I was astounded to see the 20 gauge produces anywhere from 16 to 31 ft lbs. I don't recall any flinch-inducing recoil from the 20 gauge.
    I had to go have a look, but the shotgun list doesn't give the speed of the recoil.
    It's a big thud, but it's spread over more time, so it doesn't seem as violent.
    His chart really bothers me though, in that he doesn't compare apples to apples.
    All of the guns are of different weights.
    Yes, different cartridges are likely going to be used in different types of firearms, a 470NE isn't going to be fired from the same typr as a 25-20, but pick a number and run with it.
    Or at least use the same weight with similar ones, and certainly with the same one.
    The 444 gives 2 examples, one is 7.5 lbs, one 8.5, why???

    The first shot out of my 20 gauge was while hunting, and taken by my teen son, who was used to shooting 22lr, and he didn't notice anything worth mentioning other than not being able to hear for a second.
    Funny, I haven't ever noticed much recoil while hunting either, adrenaline is a wonderful thing.
    So with the purpose of hunting, not shooting hundreds of rounds with range time, and looking at Browning BLR, is recoil really less of an issue than the British stated?
    Different people react differently to recoil. I think the Brits were trying to find a level where the average guy could lay down prone (which produces a lot more felt recoil) and shoot all day long without getting recoil shy at they end of it.
    That's a whole lot different than 5 shots at the bench and 3 out in the field every year.
    In the case of a hunting rifle, I think you can get away with a whole bunch more recoil, so long as it isn't so much that the first few shots cause you to be scared that it's going to bite you.

    Personally my first choice would be the BLR in 260, then 7/08, then 308, but that's also the order of rarity, for both the gun and ammo.
    After all that, I don't think anyone really feels that the 308 is a hard kicker.
    Get a BLR in 308 and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
    Don't blame me, I didn't vote for that clown. Oct 20, '15

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  6. #4
    Senior Member ruger#1's Avatar
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    You can always put a Limbsaver recoil pad on the rifle. I find if I am shooting at the bench, I have to have ear protection. I am 180lbs. And have no problem shooting 375 H&H and down. IN the field it is different. A nice crisp trigger also helps. The 308 cartridge is popular. But the 708 will also work fine. It will kick a little less. My father has a BLR in 243. He is always carrying that rifle.

  7. #5
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    No BLRs made in 260, would be sweet. The straight grip, and pistol grip in my opinion, have different felt recoil with the same ammo. Has to do with fit . The 7 08 has very little felt recoil in the pistol grip. I have BLRs in 222 up to 325 WSM some straight grip, as well as pistol. They are fairly forgiving if your recoil sensitive.

  8. #6
    Senior Member labradort's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rory McCanuck View Post
    I had to go have a look, but the shotgun list doesn't give the speed of the recoil.
    It's a big thud, but it's spread over more time, so it doesn't seem as violent.
    I think you've got a point with that. The muzzle velocity of shotgun is roughly 1/3 of centerfire, which would influence the opposite reaction spread over a longer time. That would mean the felt recoil for shotgun could be the measured total (>16 ft lbs) divided by 3 - so 5 ft lbs and up for the same amount of time the bullet is travelling within the rifle barrel.

    Today I saw an article about the popularity of the 7mm-08 gaining with youth hunters and replacing the 243. A 9 year old was in a deer hunting trophy picture. I think the 308 isn't going to be an issue, and it has the advantage of some slightly cheaper ammo.

  9. #7
    Senior Member CLW .45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by labradort View Post
    I think you've got a point with that. The muzzle velocity of shotgun is roughly 1/3 of centerfire, which would influence the opposite reaction spread over a longer time. That would mean the felt recoil for shotgun could be the measured total (>16 ft lbs) divided by 3 - so 5 ft lbs and up for the same amount of time the bullet is travelling within the rifle barrel.

    Today I saw an article about the popularity of the 7mm-08 gaining with youth hunters and replacing the 243. A 9 year old was in a deer hunting trophy picture. I think the 308 isn't going to be an issue, and it has the advantage of some slightly cheaper ammo.
    There is also a difference between rifled arms and smooth bore.

    Jeff Cooper commented, in one of his books, on the notable lack of recoil from smoothbore tank guns as compared to their rifled versions.
    To show that men can travel to the moon and return, use the American experience.

    To show that public safety isnít hurt by responsible individuals carrying to protect life, use the American experience.

  10. #8
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    Recoil is just physics...and recognizing math as my weak suit ... oversimplified, all other things being equal (weight/stock shape) - - - bullets of the same weight, launched at the same speed will have the same recoil. Lighter bullets = less recoil if launched with same MV. Hope I got that right?

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