Cones And Pads

Dear Technoid,

At least one of these topics has already been addressed in these hallowed pages but since the archives are unavailable at this time, I am going to ask that the Technoid consider his responsibility to the uneducated masses and at the risk of being redundant, please consider responding to these questions for me.

I am going to purchase a used Browning Lightning Sporting Clays 12 ga 3″. The previous owner did not like the round knob stock, so he purchased a stock for the Sporting Clays Edition from Browning with the square butt and palm swell. I have been shooting a Gold Hunter 12 ga for sporting clays and do like the softer recoiling gun, therefore, I am considering having a 1″ Pachmayer Decelerator recoil pad installed and the forcing cones lengthened.

My local gunsmith does not like working with the Kick Eez pads, which some say are superior, and will lengthen the forcing cones out to 1 1/2″.

My questions are, forcing cone jobs run the gamut from 5″ to 1 1/2″, my gunsmith says he was taught that there is no practical benefit to lengthen forcing cones beyond 1 1/2″, is this true, and will the replacement of the seemingly hard original Browning pad with the Decelerator pad actually make a difference, would you install the Kick Eez instead? If you were to do only one of the above at first to reduce perceived recoil, which would have the greatest effect?

Thank you for your help!



Dear George,

Ah, I love that word “humbly”. The only problem with supplicants is that as they bow low before the awe inspiring genius of the Technoid, they are more likely to notice those feet of clay.

As far as recoil pads go, the Decelerator is fine. Some gunsmiths don’t like to work with the Kickeez pads because they gum up if too high a sander speed is used. You will find the Decelerator to be a good bit lighter than the Kickeez too. That is good or bad depending on whether you want to add/subtract weight at the rear.

Frankly, I don’t think that any particular pad is going to make a whole lot of difference at sporting clays. Clays is basically a low gun game and you tend to mount “softer” than you do at mounted gun games like trap or skeet. A recoil pad has to be firmly against the shoulder to do any real good. The regular Browning pad is a standard rubber Pachmayr. The Decelerator will be softer and you might notice some very slight difference, but not a lot.

I often use the Terminators by 100 Straight Products. Unlike the Kickeez and Decelerators, the Terminators never seem to “gloss up”. They remain sticky. Most people hate this as it can interfere with the gun mount. I like it because my gun mount is pretty good, but I often push a gunstock back down off the shoulder a bit with cheek pressure. Everyone has their gun mount problems and a sticky pad helps me with mine. The Terminators are solid “foamed” sorbothane and are very light. Due to their porous nature, they do not finish up well and always remain dull looking. Very effective though. For me, they seem to reduce recoil the best of any of the pads on the market. Like Kickeez, they are also tricky to grind.

As to lengthening cones, I think that it was Seattle gunsmith Stan Baker who ran some experiments and found no benefit to forcing cones longer than about 1-1/2″ or 1-3/4″. Seminole, Ballistics and Shotgun Shop certainly sell enough of those 5″ inchers though. The problem with the 5″ stuff is that it is always combined with other barrel work, so you can’t really tell what does what.

Do long forcing cones help anything? Browning doesn’t think so, but Beretta does. The current Beretta gas guns have cones that are about 1-1/2″ long. Browning, both Belgian and Japanese have the old short cones.

Personally, I think that lengthened cones do help very slightly with recoil and perhaps a bit with the pattern. A guesstimate would be 3%-5% in both cases. So much of it depends on the shell you shoot.

The FIRST thing that you do to reduce recoil in an O/U is to go to a lighter shell. That simple move will cut recoil more than anything else. Cheaper too. If you are just dying to do something more, then I guess lengthening the cones would be my next step, but you won’t notice the difference after a day or two. If the gun kicks you now, it will kick you with long cones too. The change is anything but dramatic.

If you want a dramatic change in recoil, go back to the gas gun. Oops. Foot in mouth. There go those feet of clay acting up again.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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