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08/02/2004 Archived Entry: ""Recoil Reduction" by Ian McCollum"

IAN HAS THE BLOG TODAY WITH ANOTHER RANGE REPORT. This is a good one for those of us who don't practice enough with our shotguns and big-caliber rifles because of the Dreaded Recoil.

Recoil Reduction
By Ian McCollum

Since writing my range reports on the M1 Tanker and Beretta 1201FP, I've had a chance to get back out to the range for more work with both of them. I took along some newly-acquired Winchester low recoil buckshot for the Beretta and a Smith Enterprise M1 Garand brake for the M1. Both worked wonderfully.

First, a bit of background on low-recoil shotgun ammo. The way the recoil is reduced is simply by reducing the powder charge until the muzzle velocity from the shell is around 1150 or 1200 feet per second (full-power shells have velocities 100-400 fps more than that). This ammo is effectively identical to the "tactical" shot and slugs you might see for sale. The story I've heard about the origin of this weaker ammo is that it was originally marketed to police departments, whose less

gun-oriented officers were averse to normal shotgun ammo. To promote it in that market, most brands were labelled as "Law-Enforcement" ammunition. This, of course, drove many more gun-oriented private citizens to want it, and to make a distinction (and thus retain the police marketing gimmick), companies began to put out a second version labelled "Tactical." It was (and is) practically identical to the LE ammo, just with a different name.

When I first took the Beretta out to the range, I had with me light trap and skeet loads, #4 buckshot, full-power #00 buckshot and full-power Remington slugs. The buckshot (both sizes) had fairly hefty recoil, and the slugs quickly became painful. The low-recoil buckshot, however, was very easy on the ol' shoulder. I would rate it as approximately equal to the trap and skeet loads, in fact. Next, I want to go pick up some low-recoil slugs and try those out. In a shotgun as light as the Beretta (6.3 pounds), the lighter shells really make the difference between shooting practice being a chore and a pleasure.

Now, the M1. "Tanker" M1 Garands have a reputation for having horrendous recoil and muzzle blast. As is often the case with the reputations of uncommon guns, this is mostly exaggeration and has only a bit of truth to it. The recoil is certainly heavier than that from a normal M1, which is no surprise when you consider that a normal m1 has at least a pound more weight hanging off the end of the barrel. That weight does a good job of absorbing the recoil impulse, and as a result the rifle can be fired all day long without any discomfort (assuming you hold it right). My tanker, with its bare muzzle, has noticeably more recoil (though it was still perfectly tolerable) and quite a bit more muzzle climb than a normal M1. The recoil didn't bother me, but I wanted to reduce the muzzle climb, to make my rapid fire faster and more accurate. To that end, I picked up a muzzle brake made for the M1 (see the link above).

Installation was a breeze, thanks to the convenient design of the M1. I removed the gas cylinder lock screw valve, replaced the gas cylinder lock with the muzzle brake, and screwed the valve back in. Handily, the valve ensures that the brake will never work itself loose. With the brake in place, I proceded to the range to test it out.

The results? That sucker works. The force of the recoil is reduced significantly (it feels like shooting a normal M1), and the muzzle climb is cut down to an AK-like level.


In case that's not clear enough, I'm giving this piece of gear a definitle thumbs-up. :)

Posted by Claire @ 09:05 AM CST

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