Recoil Pads And Soft Shells


Dear Technoid,

I hope you can take a little time out of your busy schedule to respond to my questions about reducing recoil:

1) I was about to write to ask about the Kickeez recoil pad when the reader from Malaysia beat me to it. They come in different sizes (small, med, large) and different thickness (1″ and 1.5″, I think). Could you comment on how to choose the correct size (I have a Browning 425, but generic comments are also welcome), or do I need to see a specialist?

2) I am taking your advice and want to reduce recoil through better shot selection. This means knowing the velocity and weight of the ejected shot. Is their an easy formula for velocity, some shell boxes list it and some don’t? I also want to go to lighter loads (12 gauge), 1 oz and 7/8 oz. However, these always seem to contain more powder, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? I have a feeling that I will have to start reloading to truely capitalize on the advantages of varying shot size and load.

I look forward to pulling up my boots and wading through your comments.

Regards,

Frank
San Jose, CA

Dear Frank,

The 425 was an excellent choice and will render you good and faithful service. It will also pound you a bit, as you have already noticed.

1) As to recoil pads, there is more here than meets the eye. I prefer Kickeez pads for a number of reasons. Before we start, remember one thing: a good recoil pad will absorb recoil that comes into the shoulder, but it will NOT lower the recoil that comes into the face and cheek called “face slap”. Face slap is due to improper gun fit (usually too much cast or improper stock height) and the collapsing of the pad will only exacerbate it.

A) Kickeez pads are made from solid Sorbothane, the space age polymer that is often used in the insoles of running shoes. They really do absorb recoil without giving much rebound. Lack of rebound is important because that means less movement of the stock along your face and back. A soft rubber pad will absorb recoil just as well, but it results in more stock movement along the face as it collapses and springs back. This means more face slap.

B) Being solid, Kickeez pads are easy to grind to any shape that you wish. If you do it yourself, be careful to grind slowly as the stuff doesn’t take heat well. Also be aware that there is a metal plate in the base of the pad if you grind in too far.

C) The pads slick up nicely with use, but never become too slippery like the Pachmayr Decelerators and do. You pad should have a tiny bit of stick to it, but not too much.

On the down side, Kickeez pads are HEAVY. They weigh several ounces more than an “egg crate” Pachmayr of similar size. If you shoot a mounted gun, this doesn’t really matter. If you shoot a low gun, as in English sporting, FITASC or International Skeet, you must take this weight into account when setting up your gun.

Kickeez pads come in three thicknesses (.8″, 1.0″ and 1.2″), three butt sizes (sm, med, lg), two colors (blk, brn) and three or four configurations (round top “sporting”, hook trap, flat and a “ventilated magnum” which I have not tried). You might consider ordering a catalogue from Brownell’s (tel: 515-623-5401). It is the class room primer for all Junior Technoids.

I found that the 1.2″ pad was too thick and collapsed too much on recoil so as to increase my face slap. I tend to use the .8″ and 1.0″ pads on my clay target guns. I do not suggest that you select the hook trap pad if you will be shooting low gun unless you have an absolutely perfect gun mount. A mismount with a hook pad also increases face slap, sometimes to a considerable degree. I also do not like the “sporting clays” Kickeez configuration as I think that they have rounded the top too much. I just use the regular ones.

I recommend that you have the pad installed by a gunsmith if you have not done it before. Although you can do it in your cellar, it is an amazingly messy job with black Sorbothane grindings going everywhere. The job is made very much easier with special alignment jigs that the gunsmith will have.

Remember too, if you want to change your length of pull, the installation of a new pad is the time to do it. This is the time to cut the stock or add spacers. Note: the solid rubber spacers can also be very heavy. I skeletonize mine first or use the “100 Straight” brand of foamed spacers.

If the new Kickeez pad is too “sticky” after being ground, sand it lightly with emery paper to get you through until it slicks up naturally in a couple of weeks. Don’t spray it with Armor-all or silicone or it will take just that much longer to age properly.

While I am at it, I do not like the Pachmayr Sporting Clays Decelerator pads with the plastic insert. While they are light in weight, the pads have too much “collapse” and thus movement along the face. Also, the plastic insert is TOO slippery and (for me, maybe not for others) makes the recoil pad a bit harder to mount properly.

2) Reducing recoil through informed cartridge selection is certainly the easiest way to go about things. The dram equivalency rating used by the manufacturers today is very confusing, perhaps intentionally so. A “dram” of powder is an old black powder measure and indicates velocity in a round about way today. You really ought to get Lyman’s Shotshell Reloading Handbook (4th edition). It explains it all faster than I can do it here because the same dram equivalency changes velocity as the shot charge changes. You should really do all your calculations in Feet Per Second as measured in the American manner of 3 feet from the muzzle.

The easiest way to lower recoil is to lower shot quantity (from 1 1/8 oz to 1 oz to 24 grams/ 7/8 oz) and/or speed. You comment on the fact that the lighter loads (especially the 24 gram International loads) may contain less shot, but they pump up the speed to “compensate”. Not always, but in the standard promotional dove/quail Kmart load of 1 oz of soft shot at 3 1/4 drams, this is certainly the case. I always thought that they did it to get a Browning A-5 test gun to operate, but they have never admitted this to me.

Most of the International loads that I have chronographed push their 24 grams (about 7/8 oz) of shot at 1300 fps to 1350 fps (some are even hotter). They do this in an effort to maximize the potential of the little load. Recoil is not a consideration and the very slight advantage in pellet energy given by the higher speed is sought at any cost.

I feel that the combination which gives the lowest amount of recoil combined with the best chance of breaking a bird is the 1 oz load at about 1150-1180 fps. The Big Three make a load similar to this, but they all call it something different. A “heavy” 3 dram (1200 fps) 1 1/8 oz load in a standard gun will generate about 17.63 foot pounds of free recoil. A 1 oz load at 1150 fps in the same gun will cut the free recoil to 13.0 foot pounds- about a 25% recoil reduction. 1150 fps is enough speed to do the job and you are only giving up 11% of your pattern. It will make a noticeable difference in recoil.

There it is, Junior Technoid. You may now pull off those barn yard boots and mosey on down to the gunstore.

Best regards,

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

Recoil Pads And Soft Shells

Dear Technoid,

I hope you can take a little time out of your busy schedule to respond to my questions about reducing recoil:

1) I was about to write to ask about the Kickeez recoil pad when the reader from Malaysia beat me to it. They come in different sizes (small, med, large) and different thickness (1″ and 1.5″, I think). Could you comment on how to choose the correct size (I have a Browning 425, but generic comments are also welcome), or do I need to see a specialist?

2) I am taking your advice and want to reduce recoil through better shot selection. This means knowing the velocity and weight of the ejected shot. Is their an easy formula for velocity, some shell boxes list it and some don’t? I also want to go to lighter loads (12 gauge), 1 oz and 7/8 oz. However, these always seem to contain more powder, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? I have a feeling that I will have to start reloading to truely capitalize on the advantages of varying shot size and load.

I look forward to pulling up my boots and wading through your comments.

Regards,

Frank
San Jose, CA

Dear Frank,

Welcome aboard. Shotgun Report and the clay shooting fraternity are glad to have you. The 425 was an excellent choice and will render you good and faithful service. It will also pound you a bit, as you have already noticed.

1) As to recoil pads, there is more here than meets the eye. I prefer Kickeez pads for a number of reasons. Before we start, remember one thing: a good recoil pad will absorb recoil that comes into the shoulder, but it will NOT lower the recoil that comes into the face and cheek called “face slap”. Face slap is due to improper gun fit (usually too much cast or improper stock height) and the collapsing of the pad will only exacerbate it.

A) Kickeez pads are made from solid Sorbothane, the space age polymer that is often used in the insoles of running shoes. They really do absorb recoil without giving much rebound. Lack of rebound is important because that means less movement of the stock along your face and back. A soft rubber pad will absorb recoil just as well, but it results in more stock movement along the face as it collapses and springs back. This means more face slap.

B) Being solid, Kickeez pads are easy to grind to any shape that you wish. If you do it yourself, be careful to grind slowly as the stuff doesn’t take heat well. Also be aware that there is a metal plate in the base of the pad if you grind in too far.

C) The pads slick up nicely with use, but never become too slippery like the Pachmayr Decelerators and do. You pad should have a tiny bit of stick to it, but not too much.

On the down side, Kickeez pads are HEAVY. They weigh several ounces more than an “egg crate” Pachmayr of similar size. If you shoot a mounted gun, this doesn’t really matter. If you shoot a low gun, as in English sporting, FITASC or International Skeet, you must take this weight into account when setting up your gun.

Kickeez pads come in three thicknesses (.8″, 1.0″ and 1.2″), three butt sizes (sm, med, lg), two colors (blk, brn) and three or four configurations (round top “sporting”, hook trap, flat and a “ventilated magnum” which I have not tried). You might consider ordering a catalogue from Brownell’s (tel: 515-623-5401). It is the class room primer for all Junior Technoids.

I found that the 1.2″ pad was too thick and collapsed too much on recoil so as to increase my face slap. I tend to use the .8″ and 1.0″ pads on my clay target guns. I do not suggest that you select the hook trap pad if you will be shooting low gun unless you have an absolutely perfect gun mount. A mismount with a hook pad also increases face slap, sometimes to a considerable degree. I also do not like the “sporting clays” Kickeez configuration as I think that they have rounded the top too much. I just use the regular ones.

I recommend that you have the pad installed by a gunsmith if you have not done it before. Although you can do it in your cellar, it is an amazingly messy job with black Sorbothane grindings going everywhere. The job is made very much easier with special alignment jigs that the gunsmith will have.

Remember too, if you want to change your length of pull, the installation of a new pad is the time to do it. This is the time to cut the stock or add spacers. Note: the solid rubber spacers can also be very heavy. I skeletonize mine first or use the “100 Straight” brand of foamed spacers.

If the new Kickeez pad is too “sticky” after being ground, sand it lightly with emery paper to get you through until it slicks up naturally in a couple of weeks. Don’t spray it with Armor-all or silicone or it will take just that much longer to age properly.

While I am at it, I do not like the Pachmayr Sporting Clays Decelerator pads with the plastic insert. While they are light in weight, the pads have too much “collapse” and thus movement along the face. Also, the plastic insert is TOO slippery and (for me, maybe not for others) makes the recoil pad a bit harder to mount properly.

2) Reducing recoil through informed cartridge selection is certainly the easiest way to go about things. The dram equivalency rating used by the manufacturers today is very confusing, perhaps intentionally so. A “dram” of powder is an old black powder measure and indicates velocity in a round about way today. You really ought to get Lyman’s Shotshell Reloading Handbook (4th edition). It explains it all faster than I can do it here because the same dram equivalency changes velocity as the shot charge changes. You should really do all your calculations in Feet Per Second as measured in the American manner of 3 feet from the muzzle.

The easiest way to lower recoil is to lower shot quantity (from 1 1/8 oz to 1 oz to 24 grams/ 7/8 oz) and/or speed. You comment on the fact that the lighter loads (especially the 24 gram International loads) may contain less shot, but they pump up the speed to “compensate”. Not always, but in the standard promotional dove/quail Kmart load of 1 oz of soft shot at 3 1/4 drams, this is certainly the case. I always thought that they did it to get a Browning A-5 test gun to operate, but they have never admitted this to me.

Most of the International loads that I have chronographed push their 24 grams (about 7/8 oz) of shot at 1300 fps to 1350 fps (some are even hotter). They do this in an effort to maximize the potential of the little load. Recoil is not a consideration and the very slight advantage in pellet energy given by the higher speed is sought at any cost.

I feel that the combination which gives the lowest amount of recoil combined with the best chance of breaking a bird is the 1 oz load at about 1150-1180 fps. The Big Three make a load similar to this, but they all call it something different. A “heavy” 3 dram (1200 fps) 1 1/8 oz load in a standard gun will generate about 17.63 foot pounds of free recoil. A 1 oz load at 1150 fps in the same gun will cut the free recoil to 13.0 foot pounds- about a 25% recoil reduction. 1150 fps is enough speed to do the job and you are only giving up 11% of your pattern. It will make a noticeable difference in recoil.

There it is, Junior Technoid. You may now pull off those barn yard boots and mosey on down to the gunstore.

Best regards,

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

This entry was posted in Shotgun related, Shotguns. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Recoil Pads And Soft Shells

  1. tarponhunter says:

    Having had a total shoulder replacement, I’ve tried all the top brands in recoil pads. I found the Limbsaver Airtech to be the bomb. It’s well cushioned without being mushy and is non-slip. I replaced all the pads on my O/U’s with the Airtech.

    Like

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