Gas Gun Recoil vs. Fixed Breech Gun Recoil

Dear Technoid,

There are many articles written on the fact that semi-auto gas guns reduce felt recoil compared to a fixed breech shotgun but I have never seen any data to show how much reduction. Assuming equal weight shotguns with identical butt pads and using same shells is there a way to guesstimate how much reduction is actually produced by the semi-auto gas gun over an O/U or pump gun?


Del Van Horn

Dear Del,

Semi-auto gas guns don’t reduce calculated recoil at all. Newton’s laws still apply. Calculated recoil is based solely on the weight of the gun, the weight of the ejecta (shot and wad and powder), and the speed of the ejecta (muzzle velocity). Nothing else. All shotguns of all action types have the same calculated recoil if they weigh the same and use the same shell at the same muzzle velocity. Has to be. Got to be.

But… “perceived” recoil is a very different thing. Perceived recoil is what you feel, not necessarily what is calculated. Example: Shoot a shotgun with a particular load from your shoulder and notice the recoil. Now shoot the same gun and load, but hold the butt against your nose when you shoot it. Same calculated and actual recoil, but VERY different amounts of perceived recoil.

Gas semi-autos are generally considered to have less perceived recoil because they stretch the time of the recoil pulse out over a longer period. You get more of a push than a punch. Same ft/lbs of energy, but over a longer time. That’s what makes them seem like they kick less. Pumps and O/U and SxS guns don’t stretch out the recoil pulse. Inertia autos do stretch it out a bit, but they are generally faster cycling than the gas guns, so they stretch it out less and seem to kick more.

Gun fit also has a lot to do with perceived recoil. A stock which is poorly fit will slap you in the face like an upset college coed. Properly fit, there is much less noticed recoil with the same gun and shell.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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1 Response to Gas Gun Recoil vs. Fixed Breech Gun Recoil

  1. Pingback: The Browning BAR - Big Medicine - Northern Rifle

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