30 Caliber Recoil Comparisons

.30 Caliber Recoil Comparisons

 Why use ultra-lite bullets?

When first introducing your young son or daughter (or wife or girlfriend) to shooting, the two things that will challenge your efforts are noise and recoil. For a first time shooter they are SCARY. In other articles we’ve talked about flinching, muscle memory, reduced loads, plinking, etc., and has concluded that the 4-Sigma Bullets’ products are the best possible pathways for introducing the shooting sports to non-shooters.

Having said that, just exactly how much do the various rifles “kick” and how much can 4-Sigma Bullets reduce that recoil?

Newton’s Second Law tells us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, the push absorbed by your shoulder is equal to the energy going out the barrel.

Many reloading manuals provide the muzzle energy for the various bullet/powder combinations and this can be used as a rough approximation of the relative recoil. However, note that this is only the bullet’s energy; it neglects the gas that is propelling the bullet. If we want a better result, we will need to “do the math”.

Two things are going out the barrel, a bullet and a bunch of hot gas. In order to calculate their energy (which will be equal to the recoil), we need to know (1) the weight of the bullet and (2) the weight of the gas (since the gas all comes from the powder, powder weight = gas weight). The equations needed are readily available, but if you simply go to http://www.handloads.com/calc/recoil.asp, you can simply enter the variables and let the computer do the work.

When we do this for the .30 caliber family of cartridges, we get the following table:

[table “30CalRclComp” not found /]

If we include the .22 Long Rifle and show these data as a bar-graph, we get the following:


.30 cal Recoil Comparison

These are obviously not trivial reductions in recoil nor can they be duplicated by simply changing the powder or reducing the amount of powder. To paraphrase Francis Church, “Yes Virginia, you really can shoot your dad’s .300 Weatherby.”


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