One of the main drawbacks to teaching shotgun sport to a novice is the reputation of shotgun recoil. Although that may contain a grain of truth, it is certainly no longer a downside of the sport.

About 15 years ago European companies exported reduced recoil shells to this country to meet a need with sporting clays shooters. About that time Winchester introduced their Feather Light AA. That probably was spurred because of the perceived need of the sporting clay enthusiast.

Europeans in general do not shoot nearly the high powered shell we prefer. A lot of them shoot 28 Grams which is less than an ounce in a 12 GA load. They tend to not shoot as much and only shoot 2 ½ inch shells in 12 GA.

Low recoil ammunition has been a trend with rifle ammunition with Federal and Remington both producing some low recoil rifle ammunition. In the shotgun ammunition Winchester leads the low recoil, low noise, 12 GA load in the AA line.

In 2007 they came out with a whole line of ammunition called WIN light and it is in both a 12 and 20GA load. They are low recoil. 20 GA load in a semi-auto and the shooter notices hardly any kick at all. There is a problem in the semi-auto shotguns in that it does not want to function because of a lack of enough power to make the action function fully. The shells run a muzzle velocity of 980 fps which is subsonic. That means the noise is less. Both the 12 and 20GA are the same with velocities which are down from the regular ammunition.

A lot of the single action or cowboy shoots are using these just because they are shooting light weight stage coach guns. They would kick the heck out of a shooter using a regular shell.

People who have developed flinches use reduced loads to kind of get themselves back into shooting without the flinch. Even the most experienced shotgun shooter can be affected by heavy shooting practice.

People shooting older shotguns also use these loads. Older weapons were never designed to experience the stresses of multiple use modern propellants. The low recoil ammunition provides less stress on the weapon.

In hunting, the lighter loads are fine for dove and quail. You have to give a little more lead because the velocity is down. The light loads do not have quite the energy of an 1100- or 1300 fps load. They can be used to introduce a novice to hunting. They do not work well for other upland game because they do not pack the punch needed for heavier loads to be effective.

Light loads are also available in slug and buck shot loads. The 12 GA load is a platinum tipped bullet which is a good bullet in a low recoil shell. Winchester has a regular rifled slug with the pumpkin ball. The buckshot load still has nine pellets with 1125 fps velocity, so it is low recoil.

Both of these would work at short ranges as is often the case in the deer hunting in the eastern part of the country.

These loads just make the shotgun and rifle comfortable to shoot. The traditional entry level shotgun, the .410, does not have enough pattern density because it is probably a ½ ounce load. A .20 GA is better and being able to do it with something that is not going to kick is just a plus.

It is possible to use lighter loads for practice and move to the heavier loads for hunting. There is a little bit of difference in terms of lead. Most of the time people are shooting behind stuff anyway. With more practice time on the range one will be a more accurate shot. When practicing you shoot more with the light loads. In a hunting situation you might only shoot a few times per outing.


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