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They warned me. Everyone warned me. Even posts on this very forum warned me. I did it anyway, my Rem 700 TAC-21 in .338 Lapua finally saw some range time today, and my shoulder now feels like i tackled a semi..

The Rem came from the factory with an AAC 51T muzzle brake, which I'm sure did 'something', but not nearly enough. The kick on this thing was so hard I couldn't even keep my target in sight. I've been reading a lot about muzzle brakes and suppressors, but this isn't something I've ever needed on my nice, gentle creedmoor rifle..

What do you guys recommend? Upgraded brake (if so, what kind)? Suppressor? A couple months of heavy gym time?
Shooting is supposed to be enjoyable.
You have a gun you enjoy owning now it is time to go down the enjoyably path of making it fun to use.
Seems like suppressors are the ultimate if you go the way of adding bits .
Through my experience with a 338-378 loading rounds up that don’t boot so much is the way to go.
I suggest you get some trail boss and start from no recoil.
I went from ear ringing muzzle breaks ,extra weight and wot not using factory rounds to no muzzle break and confidence in pulling the trigger through a progression of reloads.
Now I shoot max loads without drama .
Having a bit of a break at the moment due to the scope mounts breaking .
You need exceptional mounts and scopes to handle the recoil.
Use a standing bench will make a huge difference , I lost skin of my elbow on a concrete range bench.
My biggest mistake was holding against it like a shotgun .
Letting your body get shoved like a rag doll is not easy but that is what stops the pounding.
The eyebrow thing is a bit scary and a friend videoing you to see a flinch will help down the track.

After a while I got comfortable with it and was shooting at a soda bottle at 300 mtrs , firing a shot letting it land so I could see if it was hit , being amazed at the plough like furrows beside it when a fox ran past the front of the target .
Could not believe it .
Sort of gun that is best shot when you are alone, complaints about headaches from the percussion get tiresome.

So no need to toughen up just make some mellow rounds and learn how to go with it.

Disclaimer: any injuries caused through dislodged ,bashed in ,cut or disrupted bodily parts or functions that may come from my advise are to be deemed not my fault through the lack of information I have about you as a person.

Lots of fun having a gun with the potential yours has, I hope you get it under control and enjoy your mind boggling new gun.

Cheers.
 

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I’ll preface my comments by saying that I’m 71 and that does matter! I hunt white tails with a 6.5x55, about the same as your Creedmoor. When I elk hunt, I use my 30-06. The largest rifle that I’ve owned, .300 win mag I’ve had 3 and hope I never own another. I can’t shoot a .300, tried a muzzle brake and still didn’t like it. Perhaps a .338 just isn’t for you and if not, what’s the point of punishing yourself? Finally, unless you’re a bench shooter, why would anyone drag around a 20lb rifle? Going from a 6.5 to a .338 is analogous to getting out of a 1971 Ford Pinto and jumping in a Lambrigini.
 

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When I was shooting 35 ft. Lbs of recoil energy off the bench with my 325wsm rifles, I would put a pad between my chest and the rifle. I wrap duct tape around a sponge. Another pad I made I folded a dish towel down and wrapped that with
electrical tape. From the bench it always helps to use pads. Eventually I put brakes on them and that reduced recoil to about 20 ft, lbs of recoil energy. They now feel like a 30-06. But they do loosen my scope rings more frequently. I have to upgrade rings and bases. Check out Accurate Shooter- precision rifle blog. You’ll see plenty of options of “what the pros use”.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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I'm not sure what you bought a 338 Lapua for, but now you have one and rather than lose your shirt selling/trading it, load it so you can enjoy it.

20 pound rifle? I doubt it has more felt recoil than my 300RUM, but that is a debate better left for another time. Not everyone is built to soak up recoil or enjoys it.

I guess what I'm saying is this:

Suck it up, Buttercup!!!!

RJ
 

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My policy for about the last 70 years, is that, if I don't enjoy something, I quit doing it. I would sell the rifle and get one I enjoyed, because I cannot think of a single reason why it is necessary to shoot a .338 Lapua that you don't enjoy shooting.
 

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My $0.02

That's not a muzzle brake. That's a flash hider. Much of the shooting world doesn't seem to really know what a muzzle brake is. For it to be a muzzle *brake* it must exert forward thrust to counteract some of the rearward thrust. Usually this takes the form of the holes through which the gas can escape while the bullet is still traveling through the muzzle device are angled about eleven or more degrees back in the direction of the shooter. The ones Barret puts on their .50 BMG rifles look to be more like 35 degrees.
Yes, any gases not escaping straight forward are not contributing to the rearward thrust of recoil, but your muzzle device does little of that.


Ultimately, I'm going to agree with the general sentiment, though. Even a real muzzle brake isn't going to reduce recoil a huge amount. If you're not going to invest time, money and/or effort into making the gun heavier and getting it fitted to your shoulder, sell it and get something that won't leave you with buyer's remorse.
 

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To predict the effectiveness of a muzzle brake, look at the angle of the holes. The steeper the angle to divert gas backwards the more effective and NOISY the brake is.
I hate the things and won't have one on anything I own.
Many thousands of ears lost their effectiveness from Cutt's Compensators on the trap and skeet fields. Nobody knew, until the jet age, that it was the unheard whistle that kills your hearing more than just decibels.

Twenty years ago or so, I was contacted by a lawyer to advise him on a case involving a shooter that lost both eyes to road gravel when he shot a muzzle broke(?) . 378 Weatherby on a bipod from the prone position. (went nowhere, of course). Muzzle breaks are a liability to the installer so must be explained in full--- DON'T shoot it over car roof or window is #1.

Recoil is necessary discomfort. You can heavy the rifle, lighten the bullet, slow it down or deal with it, your choice.
 

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I have a Rem 700 .338 Lapua. It came with a brake from the factory, its recoil is no worse than my .270 or .308 and a lot less than my son's .300 Winmag.
 

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Except for what comes on Ronnie's 50's,. Factory breaks are just noise makers. If you get a noisemaker that actually has a wee bit of design in it; they make a big difference in recoil.

For the money, the SureFire procomp is hands down the winner for recoil reduction. For some bucks, the 5-star ba$tard brakes are extremely effective, as is the Terminator line from Australia.

Remember with a quality designed brake, gas flow makes a big difference. Light loads don't help.

Cheers
respectfully disagree on this one. My father's rem 700 factory brake on the 300 win mag reduces the recoil to significantly less than what my 308 is. Now some of it may be stock design. There isn't much weight difference between the 3, and in fact one of my 308's is probably a tad heavier as I have a laminate thumbhole stock on it.

I've shot his 300 at the same sitting as 2 of my 308's off the bench. It is a cream puff.
 

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The Shadow (Super Mod)
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respectfully disagree on this one. My father's rem 700 factory brake on the 300 win mag reduces the recoil to significantly less than what my 308 is.
No doubt, and it's all good. :)

The point I was going for was my personal take on effectiveness, given the OP's rough time shooting a 338 Laupa. For the bulk of the common hunting cartridges, a factory brake may be fine, but they typically aren't the most effective things on the market.

The trick is that recoil is sickeningly subjective. My little brother dies a little bit inside every time he shoots Painless(a 20# .308). But is perfectly content to fire his 8# 338 Win mag, because that rifle "doesn't kick as bad":confused:

Given the gas flow of the 300, I'm not very surprised that kicks less than an unbraked 308. My 95gr varmint loads in a Creed with a brake, kick harder than strong 140gr loads. Just depends on the brake and how well you feed it.


Cheers
 

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Muzzle brakes....I take the hacksaw to them if they don't unscrew. Evil things. If you cannot handle recoil then don't buy a rifle which does. Simple. NOW there are sometimes design problems that come into play and here in the UK we occasionally come across a rifle built in Germany and they seem to have very low setting of their stocks probably because they spend a lot of time shooting out of high blinds, I don't know BUT all German made rifles I have shot , even a 243Win kicked like a mule. SOOOOOO!!! I wouoldn't buy one, simple.
 

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Get back on that horse and ride it !!!

There's a learning curve to shooting heavy-hitters. Learn how to hold the rifle and let it move you. You don't own big kickers.........they own YOU. Learn to let them have their way with you and you'll be a lot happier at the end of a range session.

Now, I'm having trouble wrapping my head around a 20# 'Pua being a kicker in the first place......... But just put in your time and learn how to coexist with the gun.
 

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Excessive recoil over time can lead to a detached retina similar to injuries during the rapid acceleration/deceleration in auto accidents. No matter how tough you are, your retinas are not.
 

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Get back on that horse and ride it !!!

There's a learning curve to shooting heavy-hitters. Learn how to hold the rifle and let it move you. You don't own big kickers.........they own YOU. Learn to let them have their way with you and you'll be a lot happier at the end of a range session.

Now, I'm having trouble wrapping my head around a 20# 'Pua being a kicker in the first place......... But just put in your time and learn how to coexist with the gun.
Back about 45yrs ago I turned up for my monthly training day with our Force's Tactical Unit. The Instructors said they had been issued some 12 gauge shotguns for us to use. I took a look and they were some seriously cheap Russian side by sides which had been sawed off to around 18 inches. Hmmmm I had been shooting shotguns since I was twelve so shooting one of these would be no different but the majority of the team had not fired a shotgun before and when we then got issued with some Winchester Rifled slug, things got interesting. All of them mounted the gun, put a foot well forward in their stance and leaned heavily into the gun. Result a smack on the jaw and a very sore shouder. The instructors didn't seem to have a clue either, so I aked if I could show how they should stand and fire the guns. I stood as I normally do feet shoulder width apart, almost side by side but right one turned slightly out, fully relaxed body and leaned forward hardly at all just sufficient to cleanly mount the gun with just a hint of relaxation in the knee area. Result was my relaxed body allowed the recoil to be absorbed, no pain and no discomfort. You have to let your body act like a big soft shock absorber. Brace yourself and it will hurt, similarly never shoot abig calibre seated for the same reason.
 

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One of the causes of recoil is headspace, it doesn't seem to get mentioned much.

I'm well aware that recoil is a subjective issue but I'll give you a f'rinstance.

My game gun (shotgun) is a sxs 12 ga Darne V-19, it weighs just over 6 pounds loaded, it has 27" barrels. It has a sliding breech system, the face of the breech has a raised ring (for each chamber) that is the same outside diameter as the rim recess in the barrel. When the action is closed the ring crimps the case head firmly into the rim recess. I can fire 23/4 w-w short magnums without sensing any undue recoil whereas the same shells in my Winchester model 23 make themselves known and the 23 is 1.5 pounds heavier.

My Ruger #1 in 308 with 155 grain factory match loads has very discernible recoil whereas my homeloads with 168 grn Speer bullets at 2650 fps mean muzzle velocity measured on my magnetospeed chrono has barely any recoil, because I just neck size my cases so headspace is a minimum.

Why should this be so?, When the gun is fired, firing pin hits the primer and in doing so pushes the case so the bottleneck or rim or belt moves up against the end of the chamber, rim or belt seat. Powder ignites along the way and the front of the case expands against the chamber wall whilst the rear of the case moves backwards at a pace approaching that of Cassius Clay's right that k.o'd Sonny Liston in their second fight.

Case comes to a stop against the bolt face or breech at about the same time as the bullet exits the muzzle, the combination of gas thrust and mechanical punch causes the recoil.

Some guns have minimum head space (like my Darne) others don't some guns recoil less others don't.

FWIW I go along with Sus Scrofa, if the Kitchen gets too hot don't go into it.

My 10 gauge sxs has 3 1/2 inch chambers, weighs about 9.5 pounds loaded. Take a look at Chuck Hawks recoil tables. The 338 Lapua has 37.2 ft.lbs of recoil energy, 12 ga 23/4 1.5 ounce short mag has 45 ft.lbs and the 3.5" 10 ga 21/4 ounce load has 62.9. I can fire the short mags out of my darne all day and the most shells I've fired from my 10 ga , in about a couple of hours decoying geese, is about 20 odd. I can't remember any ill effects. I have to say that's unusual and normally I fire just 4 or 5. Back in the day I was 5' 11" and 175 pounds wet.
 

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Try several larger calibers to find your limit.

As some others noted, a shooter has to work up to handling the big bangers, and most of us have a limit as to what we can shoot comfortably.

I personally like the big bangers, and hunted with a Model 70 push feed XLR sporter .300 magnum for years. The thing was deadly and accurate out to 500 yards, and game dropped, with no wounding or tracking. But I shot 150 grain bullets, which eased the recoil. Those old Model 70s had a nice rubber recoil pad and a superbly designed stock. While the thing roared, it was actually pleasant to shoot at the range.

Cousin had a Mark V, .300 Weatherby Magnum, and was having trouble getting it to shoot, and handed it to me (it had copper fouling I discovered after shooting it) The thing was a miserable rifle for me to shoot. Not only did it kick more than my Win mag, but the darned thing bucked up and actually hurt to shoot, and the extra punch the Weatherby mag had over the Win mag just was not worth the pain I endured. After we got the Mk V shooting, I handed it back with no desire to ever own one.

On another note, I shot a 338 Winchester mag without too much difficulty, also a Model 70 with their excellent stock design.

My limit however came when I got a bee in my bonnet to own a Mark X .375 H&H, for bear. With those, you can get really heavy bullets, but a 300 grain was enough for me. About 10 rounds and I had a headache from the kick and concussion. It was a pain to shoot.

My advice is to consider what type of use for your rifle, and then try several calibers capable of the range, accuracy and sustained energy abilities you need. Then, choose the caliber that you can fire at least 20 rounds through at the range, and still want to shoot some more. Stock design and weight and type of muzzle brake does make a big difference.
 

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The Shadow (Super Mod)
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One of the causes of recoil is headspace, it doesn't seem to get mentioned much.
.

For the same reason that we don't blame Poseidon for tsunami's......
 
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Despite not blaming Poseidon, I still hold the view that headspace can create recoil.
Couple of pix, the breech of my Darne and the breech of my Winchester 23.
The Darne has had upwards of 20000 rounds through it, the Winchester less than 5000. The Darne shows very slight impact polishing around the firing pin hole whereas the WInchester shows distinct polishing across the whole of the area covered by the base of the cartridge, it also shows the polishing created by the ejectors being cocked which will be considerably more than 5000 times as I did a lot of dry firing with snap caps.
The Darne was made in 1956, the winchester in 1983.
 

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When I was 17, a "friend" of mine let me shoot his 450 Alaskan. It was summer time, I was wearing a T-shirt, and the Winchester lever action was wearing a crescent metal buttplate. I think it took at least a week for my shoulder to loosen up and the bruise to go away Back then I was 6'2" and about 185.
 
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