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  1. #1
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    Question Recoil amount...Bolt action vs. Semi Auto?? Which one kicks harder?

    Ok, SO I turn the experts for another question that seems dumb to me. I have 2 friends arguing the point of recoil. The arguement is as follows, you have 2 rifles, one bolt action and one SA. Neither have any muzzle brake or anything special....both are loaded with the same ammo same grade same everything. One guy says "all bolt action rifles kick harder than semi-autos". One says that cant possibly make any sense, there's too many variables plus the round AND the action are causing recoil whereas in the BA only the round is causing recoil.

    Ideas? Opinions? Data? Help?

  2. #2
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    There is almost always less felt recoil on a semi auto than a bolt, pump gun or revolver. The reason is simple, the action spring reduces the recoil impulse before it comes to the end of its travel.

    It's most noticeable on a shotgun.
    Common sense in an uncommon virtue

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Low Drag View Post
    There is almost always less felt recoil on a semi auto than a bolt, pump gun or revolver. The reason is simple, the action spring reduces the recoil impulse before it comes to the end of its travel.

    It's most noticeable on a shotgun.
    +1.Semi=less felt recoil.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Low Drag View Post
    There is almost always less felt recoil on a semi auto than a bolt, pump gun or revolver. The reason is simple, the action spring reduces the recoil impulse before it comes to the end of its travel.

    It's most noticeable on a shotgun.
    Low Drag is on the money, given equal weight guns the bolt will "kick" more.

    After you put enough rounds down range with a properly held rifle, recoil will be less of a thought.

    Some rounds will be punishing, but the typical military service rifle calibers are not. My .458 Mag leaves a bruised shoulder and some "punch drunkness" regardless of how well it is held. I can shoot an M1-A or a Garand as long as somebody supplies the ammo and have no recoil issues. Remember that service rifle calibers were adopted at a time when the size of the average man was smaller than today. Right now the cheapest ammo you can get is 7.62 X54R get a cheap Mosin and shoot until recoil is no longer a thought with that rifle.

    Other opinions may differ and should be considered.

    Choirboy

  5. #5
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    dang, everyone beat me too it :D
    Tell your bolt guy to think about it this way. If you take the same weight, and add the same amount of force, you get the same energy pushing against your shoulder (same caliber, same weight gun, same recoil). The difference between a semi and a bolt, is that the semi has a build in shock absorber, just like the shocks on your car. The only way a bolt will have "less" recoil is if the bolt gun is significanly heavier than the semi (same energy trying to move more mass equals less force transferred as fast to the shoulder).

    For extreme examples of this, look at artillary pieces. Unless they are in a massive fixed mount, almost ALL arty pieces have some sort of recoil damper system, as all of them are mechanically similar to a bolt gun (breach stays closed till they manually extract the shell).
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAK2263 View Post
    +1.Semi=less felt recoil.
    I think this is the key. The recoil impulse is distributed over time with a semi as well as consuming some of the energy to function, so there is less perceived recoil.
    It's who we are... It's what we do...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgel View Post
    I think this is the key. The recoil impulse is distributed over time with a semi as well as consuming some of the energy to function, so there is less perceived recoil.

    +1

    The recoil is the same, the auto just distributes it over a longer time and sucks some up in cycling so it feels less intense.

    Choirboy

  8. #8
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    A better way to say it, is that the recoil Impulse is stretched out. Instead of all the force hitting at once (like a car with no shocks) a mechanism acts as a "kinetic battery" so store the impulse and release it over a longer period of time.

    There are also other mechanisms in various semi autos that add an opposing impulse to further reduce "felt" recoil. I think its the AK-107 that has a counter weight to balance out the Newtonian impulse of mass going one direction and needing an equal and opposite reaction.
    "He who lives by the sword, gets shot by he who don't."
    -unknown
    "A government is made from a body of people, usually, most notably, ungoverned."
    -Shepard Dariel Book, Firefly
    "Arm yourself because noone else here will save you..."
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by grizzerr View Post
    You're all right!!
    The recoil is the same but because of the action type the bolt gun felt recoil is more noticable. I don't know where perception comes into the equation though.

    It's kind of like the guys who buy the 300 WSM thinking the recoil will be less than the 300WM, wrong!!
    The actual momentum of the recoil is the same, but semiauto often spreads it out over a greater period of time. It is easier to take two separate blows of say 20 ft lbs than a single 40 lb punch. There are some early experimental semi auto that could "kick" more than a bolt gun.
    Last edited by barnetmill; 09-09-2009 at 12:40 PM.

  10. #10
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    Dec 2008
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    oh yea bolts for sure!

    I read in my Army Afghanistan handbook that Mosins were fairly popular Sniper Weapons in Afghanistan during the soviet times and that Soldiers would go into villiages to check the shoulders of the locals to determine if they were doing any shooting recently!

    I would bet take a mosin Carbine or the long barrel Vs. a PSL or a Dragunov you would get less bruising and felt recoil.
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