Hard Kicking 686

Dear Technoid,

Just bought a Beretta Silver Pigeon trap gun, 12 ga. Comes up to my shoulder like it was custom made for me. But it’s also going to break my shoulder if I don’t find a way to reduce the recoil.

Yes, I know I can reduce my reloads, but I don’t want to set up a second reloading station, and my present one is just right for shoulder-kindly skeet loads (used in my Citori)

I called a place in Houston and they said I should have the gun ported and the forcing cones reduced. Having read a number of articles in your magazine, I am aware that you don’t think much of porting (especially for single-shot trap) and that Beretta gives longer forcing cones anyway.

My local dealer wants to install mercury-filled recoil reducers in the stock (and he thinks I need two). Having removed the butt pad from my 686, I see a yawning cavity that looks like it’s ready for not two but three cylindrical reducers.

I don’t want to knock the dealer who sold me the gun, but I’m not sure he knows the full story on recoil.

What would you do with a Beretta 686 that kicks like a horse but gave me good scores the first time I tried it on trap?



Dear David,

The first question is whether it kicks you in the face, in the shoulder or both. Facial kick is due to poor gun fit. Kick in the shoulder is just plain pure old recoil. No amount of porting or recoil reducers in the world will help if you are taking it in the chops instead of the shoulder.

Trap shooters are the experts on recoil. Trap involves a large number of rounds, little body movement and full power loads. When you go out to the Grand, you will see that virtually each and everyone of the vendors sells something to reduce recoil.

While I definitely don’t think much of the machine shop’s Holy Grail of coning, backboring and porting, I must admit that the full Ballistics package did reduce recoil on the Beretta 303 bbl I tried. It didn’t reduce it much, it took too much weight out of the barrel and it can cause reliability problems with certain shells in an auto, but the full Ballistics package definitely, positively did reduce recoil a tiny bit. We swapped bbls back and for on my stock 303 and there was a slight difference. Was it worth it? I don’t think so. It certainly wouldn’t turn a kicker into a coddler, it costs a ton and it makes the barrels quite a bit lighter (which you may, or may not want). I have been even less impressed by the barrel “packages” from other shops.

Adding weight to the gun is the blunt approach, but it always works. Each percent of weight that you add to the gun will reduce recoil more or less by that same percent. I think that your local dealer was right. A heavy stock doesn’t matter much in a trap gun because it is shot mounted. You get two 10 oz mercury reducers ( or just plain 20 oz of lead- works just about as well) and your recoil on an 8# gun should drop 14% when it hits 9.25#. 14% isn’t the world and may not make the gun shootable for you, but it is about twice as much recoil reduction as I felt from the Ballistics barrel work.

You might try pulling off your recoil pad and filling that giant hole in the back with 2# of lead. That alone will reduce free recoil by 20%. See if it makes enough difference to matter. If it does, then go for the reducers.

Also, don’t forget a good recoil pad. For trap I like Kickeez and Terminator best, with the edge to the Terminator for the mounted gun games.

One alternative that really does work is the pneumatic stock as made by G Square and the others. That really does tame recoil in the mounted gun games, though it doesn’t help much in low gun games because it depends so much on a firm and repeated shoulder mount.

In spite of the fact that you want to leave your reloader set up for your skeet load, since you have to change shot size when you reload for trap (unless you use #8 for everything, which is OK) it should only take you a moment longer to drop in a smaller powder bushing and one oz shot bushing. Reducing your shot load from 1 1/8 oz to 1 oz at the same velocity will lower recoil 19%. Combine that with the 2 pounds of lead in the stock and you will have a soft shooting (if smaller patterned and butt heavy) gun.

One final question: Are you sure that recoil isn’t gun fit? Your Citori doesn’t kick you and the Beretta does. They both weigh about the same. That means that they both recoil the same. Yet one hurts and the other doesn’t. Sounds like gun fit to me.

Best regards,

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

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