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How much recoil can you comfortably shoot before accuracy diminishes for your preferred cartridge?

The answer will of course vary, sometimes simply due to shape/fit of a rifle stock, whether it is padded, whether you’re firing a bolt or semi-auto action, etc. Plus, hunters will often describe certain cartridges as having “sharp” recoil while others have “push” recoil, which may be a felt response to powder burn rate and/or cartridge capacity. For example, the 416 Rigby is typically described as a push, compared to the 375 H&H which can be perceived as more sharp.

All the same, recoil calculations can be helpful as a broad indicator of impacts on the shooter resulting from different cartridges. Recoil calculation factors include bullet grains, muzzle velocity, rifle weight, and case powder charge. Rifle weight tends to be the dominant factor, followed closely by muzzle velocity, then bullet weight and powder charge. Here is a link to the SAAMI technical paper as a PDF file regarding gun recoil formulae: https://saami.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Gun-Recoil-Formulae-2018-07-9-1.pdf

Gun recoil is typically measured in foot-pounds of energy. The proper term is “pound-foot” but the colloquial “foot-pound” is so commonly used it has become ubiquitous. The understanding of foot-pounds, however, may not be as widespread. In short, a foot pound is a measure of energy; specifically, the amount of energy required to lift a one pound object one linear foot. [Sidebar: Even less understood is mechanical horsepower, also measured in foot pounds of energy, but in consolidated chunks so that one horsepower is the energy needed to lift 550 pounds one foot in one second, or by its original calculation, 32,572 pounds one foot in one minute.]

Let’s say you fire a 168 grain 30-06 Springfield bullet in a case with 56 grains of IMR 4831 producing a muzzle velocity of 2,720 feet per second. Your rifle with scope and loaded magazine weighs an even nine pounds. In that scenario your projected recoil would be 18.43 foot pounds of energy. If your rifle is much lighter, say 7.5 pounds all set-up, then your recoil with the same bullet weight, powder charge, and muzzle velocity increases to 22.12 foot pounds. That 20% reduction in rifle weight translates into a 20% increase in recoil energy... if you’re thinking there is a 1:1 correlation there, you’d be right.

The general rule of thumb is that shooter accuracy begins to drop when recoil goes above 20 foot-pounds of energy. Needless to say, that is not a hard and fast rule for every shooter, thus the generalized question with this post. Following are some examples of average recoil energy using average charges and average muzzle velocities for different cartridges and rifle weights:
View attachment 170977

So given that there can be many variables, just as a broad indicator how many foot-pounds of recoil energy would you say is your accuracy limit, and for which preferred cartridge that you shoot?
And you did not even address the most important part of 'felt recoil'!!!! That is the time, usually in milliseconds, that the energy , foot-pounds' is delivered.
That is the difference in the recoil between a shotgun and a rifle. The 'sharp' (fast) recoil you get from a rifle is because the gasses (mass) leave the bbl at 5,000+ fps and most have two to three times the powder (mass) than a shotgun which cause the recoil to happen faster than the shotgun which has less 'gases' (mass) at a lower velocity. The projectile is the 'push' as that is lower velocity but more 'mass'. Basic physics.
 

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When you watch the 577 T-rex being shot in the Youtube video, you also see a normal guy shooting it without any "trauma". So he either slipped in a reduced load, or he knows how to actually shoot that rifle. I'm guessing the latter.

But like what Runfiverun said, it has a lot to do with how the stock is designed and what it's made of.
 

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Worst recoiling gun I own is my Mossberg 835 Utilimag shooting 3.5" Tungsten Turkey loads. Those are no fun at all.
I own a 375 Ruger African model with the 23.5" barrel and wood stock. With 300gr bullets over a max charge it can really punish you. I have shot it side by side a 375 H&H shooting factory loaded 270gr bullets and I will say the Ruger has sharper recoil.
For me shooting rifles the 375 Ruger is my upper recoil threshold. I have shot 458WM with 500gr bullets from a CZ and that was to much of a good thing. I also shot a 416 Rem Mag in light rifle and that was maybe worse than the 458WM.

I will agree with everyone above about the stock fitment being important. Weatherby stocks do not fit me well and when I shoot them I get slapped in the jaw and I hate it. Even shooting non magnum calibers in them I find the recoil to be more than say a Remington or Winchester stock. It could have something to do with the fact that i'm left handed and those stocks are set up for right handed people.
 
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That really depends on the gun for me. Example my rem 700 in 270win hardly has any recoil to me. But my friends savage 110 in 270win has way more felt recoil.. my 300wm savage 111 is decent but my brother hurts. I shot a 416rigby once that felt like a 20ga. I have shot several 338wm that were just painful.
 
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I have 2 thoughts on "recoil."
I feel the full effect of recoil while firing multiple rounds at the rang. Big bore only of course.
Just honed in on the target. Squeezing the trigger. Only thing left, the recoil. After a while I know.
The flip side. In all the years I`ve hunted, I can honestly say, I can`t recall ...recoil.
I guess I`m so focused I just miss that.
 
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