The recoil from a gun can be painful at times, especially after taking many shots in a row. This can affect the hunter while practicing on a shooting range or while out on the hunt. Many times it will actually be worse on the shooting range, due to the frequency of the shots and the number of shots fired. They take their toll as they add up. There are many ways to deal with and minimize recoil; while it will never be taken away completely, one can do a lot to keep the amount of recoil down to a more manageable level.
The first thing one can do is simply to wear appropriate padding. Carhartt jackets can go a long way toward doing this. They are thick, tough jackets that look and feel as if they should be worn in the woods or on the construction site. They can be very warm as well, a nice benefit in the winter months, and that extra padding will keep the recoil from pounding all of its energy into the hunter’s shoulder. Sometimes wearing a sweatshirt or thinner jacket underneath the Carhartt–Carhartt’s are quite big, as well, and other clothes will fit under them easily–can further help this padding. There is only so much that one’s body can do, especially in the shoulders where the bones are close to the surface, and the assistance of a heavy jacket and sweater can go a long way to lessening the blow.
Another thing that a hunter can do is to buy lighter shells. If hunting for big game such as moose or bear, this may not be preferable. Especially with a bear, one wants that first shot to pack quite a punch and get the job done. However, when hunting smaller animals such as rabbits or ducks or squirrels, one can afford to go with a less powerful shell. This has the added bonus of making sure that small game of the aforementioned type will not be too damaged by the shot. Some people do not believe in shooting lighter loads, however, and so this will not work for them. If that is the case, one must simply remember that the effects of recoil are cumulative over time. The lighter the shot, the longer one can go before things add up to a level at which there can be actual damage to the shoulder, or pain.
Another good thing to do is to add a recoil reduction system to one’s gun. This has two benefits, the first being that it adds weight to the gun. More weight means more mass for the explosion to push backwards, which in turn means that the gun will be traveling back into one’s shoulder at a much slower rate. This alone can work wonders for reducing recoil and preventing that cumulative damage. The other benefit is that some recoil reduction systems are hydraulic, and they can slow the gun down themselves, sometimes by up to a third. When one is shooting hundreds and thousands of times, reducing it by a third is like taking thirty-three shots out of a hundred. That will reduce the wear on the body considerably.
The main complaint with a recoil reduction system is that it is not that much fun to look at. It can take a beautiful weapon and make it look like something industrial. It detracts from the age and classic nature of hunting that so many people have come to love. They want their guns to look like they were passed down for twenty generations, not like they just came out of some factory in New York where they attached machinery to the end. This is a valid complaint, and will just have to be weighed against how much the hunter wants to reduce the recoil and how often they shoot. For those who shoot every day, aesthetics may just have to fall by the wayside.
Whichever way one decides to go, it is a good idea to deal with recoil by reducing it at the source. Whether this means wearing a heavy jacket or buying a recoil reduction system from the store, one’s body will be very thankful for the added protection.