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Can anyone explain it to me?
Years ago I went down to Bisley to watch an inter-county rifle competition shot on the 900, 1,000 and 1,100 yard ranges. When I arrived and met up with the friend who'd invited me it was discovered one of the team had had to cry off for some reason leaving it short of a competitor. I was asked if I would be prepared to "fill in" the vacant spot. It would have appeared rude to have refused so I had to agree. I was taken down to the 25 yard sighting-in butts, shown how to operate a Lee Enfield .303 with aperture sights and invited to do my best! Down in the prone position, I let off my first sighter. My friend who owned the rifle was considerably shorter than me. I hadn't taken this into account, so the recoil of my first round caused my right thumb to clout the end of my nose with considerable force sufficient to induce an immediate nose bleed. There was blood everywhere but after a bit of first aid we managed to stop the flow. I completed the sighting-in and the competition having become a much wiser shooter. I'd have to say "felt recoil" is an actual thing!
 

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Next registered 3 or 4 day shoot use only 1 1 /8 oz at 1250 or 1290 and shoot them for everything, at the end of the weekend when you have shot 900 - 1200 rounds your shoulder will tell you what felt recoil is
 

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Years ago I went down to Bisley to watch an inter-county rifle competition shot on the 900, 1,000 and 1,100 yard ranges. When I arrived and met up with the friend who'd invited me it was discovered one of the team had had to cry off for some reason leaving it short of a competitor. I was asked if I would be prepared to "fill in" the vacant spot. It would have appeared rude to have refused so I had to agree. I was taken down to the 25 yard sighting-in butts, shown how to operate a Lee Enfield .303 with aperture sights and invited to do my best! Down in the prone position, I let off my first sighter. My friend who owned the rifle was considerably shorter than me. I hadn't taken this into account, so the recoil of my first round caused my right thumb to clout the end of my nose with considerable force sufficient to induce an immediate nose bleed. There was blood everywhere but after a bit of first aid we managed to stop the flow. I completed the sighting-in and the competition having become a much wiser shooter. I'd have to say "felt recoil" is an actual thing!
Similar experience for me. My dad had a gun he wanted me to sell for him, it was sitting in the safe for probably a decade prior. I took it and shot the singles event one day to make sure all was well before listing it for sale. Long story short the gun didnt fit me at all and beat me, eventually cutting me open on the 4th post of the 3rd trap. I was down 2 at that point, I ended up with an 88 after flinching so bad i could barely pull the trigger on the last trap .

Yes felt recoil is a real thing
 

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I think Perazzi_MX8 is asking about the difference between a firearm's "free recoil" or "mathematical recoil" versus what's called "felt recoil".

From the SAAMI technical paper on Free Recoil Energy:
"Recoil can be described mathematically by the physical law of the Conservation of Momentum. The law states: "If a force and its reaction act between two bodies, and no other forces are present, equal and opposite changes in the momentum will be given to the two bodies." Simply stated, this says that for every action there is an equal and opposite (in direction) action. It must be noted this approach does not consider any impact on free recoil due to the redirection of propellant gases by attached devices such as muzzle brakes or suppressors. Felt recoil (also referred to as “Perceived” recoil) can also vary by modifying the rate of application of force by devices such as recoil pads or damping devices and the influence of action type." - SAAMI "Gun Recoil - Technical" paper, July 9, 2018 Revision.

In other words, the pure mathematical recoil of a shotgun is based solely on weight of the gun, weight of the ejecta (propellant gases and shot/wad), and velocity of the propellant gases and ejecta. As stated above by SAAMI, this does not take into account things like stock shape, overall gun fit with the specific shooter, recoil-absorbing pads/mechanisms, porting/muzzle brakes, shooter size/weight, shooter experience level, proper shooting stance, etc. Felt recoil does involve such things . . . i.e., Felt Recoil is a subjective measure of how a specific shooter copes with absorbing the mathematically-calculated recoil.

Example:
Gun #1:
is a 9-lb Trap gun with a Gracoil recoil-dampener on the buttstock with a good-quality thick recoil pad. The comb of the stock is non-sloped, rounded-over nicely, and fits the shooter's cheekbone area perfectly. The stock has a well-shaped grip that gives the shooter good control of the gun with his trigger hand.

Gun #2: let's simply take Gun #1 and switch the stock. Let's say the gun now has a straight-grip (English-style) stock with a razor-thin comb that slopes way downward toward the rear like your grandpa's old hunting gun. And the only thing at the rear of this thin buttstock is a cruel-looking steel buttplate. After switching stocks, add weight to the gun as necessary to make it weigh 9-lbs again.

So, both guns weigh the same (9 lbs). If you shoot the identical shell in each, the mathematically-calculated Free Recoil will be exactly the same. But they probably won't feel the same to the shooter when he fires off a round! Different shooters will sense the level of recoil from each of these guns differently, and cope with it in varying degrees . . . running the gamut from "I could shoot this all day" to "don't make me go near that thing"!

That's "felt recoil" or "shooter-perceived recoil". So yes, it's a real thing, but it's subjective, different for each shooter, and can't be quantified mathematically.
 

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Felt recoil is the perception of recoil that includes fitment of the gun's effect on the shooter, noise augmentation of the experience, psychological predisposition to pain in general, as well as preconceived notions about the cartridge and/or gun involved.
It is what made New York Post reporter Gersh Kuntman have the experience in firing an AR-15 that he had.

In 2016, Kuntzman became the center of widespread attention when he wrote an article titled "Firing an AR-15 is horrifying, menacing, and very very loud." In the article, Kuntzman says that he traveled to a gun range in Philadelphia to shoot a "military-style weapon" so that he could better understand such weapons' appeals in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting. He said, "It felt to me like a bazooka - and sounded like a cannon." Kuntzman further described the experience by saying that "The recoil bruised my shoulder" and "The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick." The most controversial part of the article was when Kuntzman claimed, "The explosions - like a bomb - gave me a temporary form of PTSD.
-Wikipedia

It can go the other way as when Autumn fires one:


She seems to have no trouble at all firing various weaponry.

Be like Autumn. Not like Kuntzman.
 

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It is actual when your face feels slapped or your shoulder is sore after a box or two. Recoil in a subtle way will cause fatigue.
 

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Similar experience for me. My dad had a gun he wanted me to sell for him, it was sitting in the safe for probably a decade prior. I took it and shot the singles event one day to make sure all was well before listing it for sale. Long story short the gun didnt fit me at all and beat me, eventually cutting me open on the 4th post of the 3rd trap. I was down 2 at that point, I ended up with an 88 after flinching so bad i could barely pull the trigger on the last trap .

Yes felt recoil is a real thing
Don't know if anyone ever told you or not but you don't need 3 dram 11/8 loads to shoot singles. Just saying
 

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It all comes down to gun fit. I have a Jeff Mainland custom fitted Kolar MaxTA and have shot 100's of thousands of rounds through it, and hardly feel any recoil at all.. Also had a Remington 3200 for a week shooting the same shells & both the guns weighing about the same. That thing beat the snot outta me.
 

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It is absolutely a function of physics. The inertia of your gun (a 100-lb gun, while unwieldy would not move much with a certain force while a 10 lb gun would). Dampening (gas powered action, recoil pads) spread the recoil out over a longer period of time. Recoil lasts almost imperceptibly longer, but the peak force is less A recoil pad that has a larger cross section than your stock also distributes the same force over a larger area, which makes it feel softer even though the recoil is the same energy. Ported barrels and such actually reduce the total recoil force by diverting it, but that is a bit different.

Fit has a bit to do as well. A recoil pad that fits your shoulder is like having a bigger recoil pad since the force is evenly distributed over a larger area. Same force, hurts less.

If you play golf, you get the same kind of sensation if you skull a shot or hit it pure. Same energy, but the club head smooths out the contact if you hit it in the middle.
 

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The first shotgun I ever shot was my Dad's Ithaca Model 37 Featherlight in 12 gauge when I was about eight years old. The gun went off and drove me back a step. That's recoil.
 

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It is absolutely a function of physics. The inertia of your gun (a 100-lb gun, while unwieldy would not move much with a certain force while a 10 lb gun would). Dampening (gas powered action, recoil pads) spread the recoil out over a longer period of time. Recoil lasts almost imperceptibly longer, but the peak force is less A recoil pad that has a larger cross section than your stock also distributes the same force over a larger area, which makes it feel softer even though the recoil is the same energy. Ported barrels and such actually reduce the total recoil force by diverting it, but that is a bit different.

Fit has a bit to do as well. A recoil pad that fits your shoulder is like having a bigger recoil pad since the force is evenly distributed over a larger area. Same force, hurts less.

If you play golf, you get the same kind of sensation if you skull a shot or hit it pure. Same energy, but the club head smooths out the contact if you hit it in the middle.
Recoil is always there, the figure that sticks in my mind is 28 foot pounds, that minus the weight of the gun is the recoil energy. The better the stock fits the less ouf it you feel. The term felt recoil is the energy that the weight of the gun and the fit of the stock do not cancel out or neutralize. A poorly fit stock seems to add recoil so you feel (felt recoil) it more.

Al
 
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