Don’t Get Beat Up by High Caliber Rifles


Those of us who like big rifles have plenty to choose from, both in type of action and caliber. Some of us have found out that rifles bigger than 30 caliber are, for those prepared to learn how to control them, far more fun than those of 30 caliber and under. There are a few tricks to help you avoid being hammered by the big ‘uns, and we’ve published a few of those tricks from time to time on these pages. For the uninitiated, begin with a heavy-enough rifle, one that has appropriate weight for the caliber. In recent tests we looked at rifles chambered for the 416 Rigby, and such a rifle could easily weigh over 10 pounds without being declared too heavy. We have seen several 416 Rigbys and even more powerful rifles that weigh as little as 8 pounds, and some even less than that. Unless you are planning to do a whole lot of carrying of a powerful rifle, it makes very little sense to have it so light.

Another easy trick is to shoot your big rifle standing up, not from the bench. Or you could construct a standing bench, so you can have the steadiness of a bench rest, but keep your body upright so you can give with the kick. Be sure the rifle has a large butt area and a properly set up recoil pad. Pads can be too soft. The rifle does not have to fire the hottest round every time you press the trigger. You can easily make your own lightly loaded rounds, and thereby learn to control the rifle by reducing its recoil, and gradually working up to full-power loads. Cast-bullet loads are ideal for this. Another trick is to put a bag of lead shot between the rifle’s butt and your shoulder, a trick we used in this test. Be sure the rifle doesn’t slip off the bag just as you squeeze the trigger.

For more advice and recommendations on large and small bolt-action rifles, purchase the ebook, Bolt-Action Rifles & Gear, Part 1 from Gun Tests.


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