Ambivalent Skeptic

May 10, 2012

Turkey loads, recoil, and the elephant gun

This is for the guys and geeks that like numbers and ballistics.

My earlier post mentioned how the recoil of a seven and a half pound gun did a number on my shoulder.

No wonder. Turkey loads of infamous for heavy recoil. But how heavy?

I subscribe to the recoil velocity school of thought as The AnarchAngel so well explains.

Sure there are people who say a .375 H&H with 40 ft-lbs of recoil energy (RE) kicks twice as hard as a 180 grain 30-06 load with 20 ft-lbs of RE. Or maybe they’ve just convinced themselves that the 16 fps recoil velocity from a 375 hurts twice as much as 12 fps of recoil velocity from the ’06. I don’t know.

Here are the numbers for the turkey loads in my gun:
A load of 1.75 oz shot at a nominal 1300 fps has 2872 ft-lbs of “muzzle” energy, a recoil energy (RE) of 53.2 ft-lbs and a recoil velocity of 21.2fps.

I also fired a few Federal Top Gun loads:
One and 1/8 oz of shot at a nominal 1145 fps has 1432 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, RE of 20.3 ft-lbs and a recoil velocity of 13.1 fps.

In contrast, a 30-06 in an 8 lb gun has:
A 150 gr bullet at 2910 fps for 2820 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, RE of 18.6 ft-lbs and a recoil velocity of 12.2 fps.

And a heavy 458 Win Mag load in a 9.5 lb gun is:
A 500 gr bullet at 2260 fps for 5669 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, RE of 68.3 ft-lbs and a recoil velocity of 21.5 fps.

So that turkey load from that light shotgun was close to equal recoil of an elephant gun. And that was excluding the wad weight. The shotgun recoil is actually higher. So if you can handle long range sessions with a shotgun and turkey loads, you should find a 458 Win Mag downright pleasant.

So is turkey hunting the North America equivalent to elephant hunting? Not really, but it’s still cool.


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