Hardest Kicker

I’ve shot a lot of hard kicking rifles and shotguns before.  But one stands out in my mind as being the coolest, and the most brutal.  But like spicy food, I really loved it.
It was a bubbafied Mosin Nagant, that I bought from a co-worker when I worked at Basin Sports.   It was shortened, and the foreend was bobbed… I don’t have a photo of it, but it looked something like this:


10 rounds – you would feel it for 5 days.  And I’m a guy that can shoot shotgun slugs all day long… .300 Ultra Mag, no problem.  But this little beast made me remember it.  It made my shoulder remember it.  But it was a great little carbine.  Very accurate as far as Mosins go, and light enough to pack it around.   Great hiking gun.  Great hunting gun.  I gave it to my brother in law as a Christmas present because he needed a hunting rifle and that little Mosin would do great in his area of operation.

What’s been your hardest kicking gun?

37 thoughts on “Hardest Kicker”

  1. My 12 gauge coach gun.
    I used to load it up with a double load of buck or slug and crank both triggers at once.
    I bled from that thing many times.


    1. +1 on that Evil Jim my Russian coach gun leaves nothing but bruzing behind after a (short) range session…

  2. My Steyr M95 carbine is up there. Similar ergonomics to a Mosin, but a pound lighter and firing 205gr 8x56R. Beastly.

  3. Mine was a S&W 329PD. When loaded with full-power .44 magnum rounds, the 26-oz. revolver would kill on one end and maim on the other.

  4. I had one of the Mosin 44s. It was a beast. I also had a Jungle Enfield in .308 with a metal buttplate that left an impression. Handy rifle but really produced a flinch.

  5. Hardest kicking gun i’ve got is a New England Arms single shot 12 gauge. It will leave bruises with 3 inch short brass bird shot and is devastating with 000 buck.

  6. My Brother in Law’s 12 gauge loaded with magnum shells (which he forgot to tell me), a hair trigger (which he also forgot to tell me) and a poor trigger discipline on my part. The stock was about an inch away from my shoulder when I pulled the trigger…the arm came back to life some 24 hour later

  7. My worst was a Handirifle in 30.06 with a synthetic stock. Even after filling the stock with shot, it would leave a massive bruise after a few rounds. I ended up trading that in on a Savage in 308.

  8. I don’t own anything that really makes me hurt, but all the steel-butted battle rifles come close. My friend had a Thompson-Contender single-shot pistol chambered in .45-70 that made them all feel like BB guns.

  9. A custom .416 Rigby. Sonofabitch only weighed seven pounds(“You’ll carry it more than shoot it, so I wanted it light!”). I sat at the bench with elbows resting so I’d be upright and able to move; it shoved me hard enough that I scraped both elbows on the bench top.

  10. Mosin-Nagant that I own now.
    Without the limbsaver it is a torture machine that is sadomasochistic. You want to fire more punishing rounds.
    Love my Mosin!

  11. mine was the best all around utility shotgun ever made (at least in my opinion) the Mossberg bolt action 20 ga. . I got my first from an uncle when I was 12. up to then I had only fired bb guns, and my dad took me out to shoot the 20. ga. . well we are both left handed and he shoots all his guns right handed so he hand me start with the 20 ga. right handed. man I could not hold the gun right and for 10 rounds it kept slamming into my shoulder. dad couldn’t figure why I couldn’t hit any thing so he had me switch shoulders and that changed everything I grew to love that gun as a matter of fact I still have it today and another one, but man those first 10 rounds were absolutely evil.
    now in my 50’s I wish Mossberg would start making them again but also in left hand and in the old style wich had the six shot tube magazine instead of the two shot clip. it is what what was called a bolt actin pump gun by some people. man I want one so bad.

  12. I picked up a HD 870 a few years back and took it to my Dad’s place to try it out. He grabbed a few odds and ends shells from his bench and we took off. I shot a few rounds then handed it off. He stoked it with some 3″ rounds “a buddy reloaded to reach out and touch ’em”. He fired one round and held it out to me – “Too much for me.” I thought the old man was getting soft and hammered out two quick rounds just to show him I’m tough. The world spun, my ears rang…WTF!? I picked up the the three spent hulls and the high-brass head was badly split on all three. Reach out and touch ’em? I probably came close to catching a face full of gun. Beware strangers with reloads…

  13. The most brutal I ever shot was some sort of custom .375 H&H built on a Sako action. The stock design was absolutely horrible and touching one off resulted in a belt to the cheekbone that was jarring. I once got whacked in the face with a baseball bat, and that experience was more pleasant than shooting that rifle. My .458 Win Mag M70 easier to shoot.

    And then there was that old single shot 12 ga I used to turkey hunt with. I get a bruise just thinking about that one.

  14. Scaling for age and experience….as a young ‘un, an Ithaca featherweight 20 ga, with what may generously be described as a poor gun mount.
    Nowadays, tossup between 12 ga. 870 with slug/buckshot/turkey loads, and a 16″ .45/.454 Rossi 92 carbine stoked with Buffalo Bore. 5 shots is about all I want to shoot in a session out of either.

  15. CZ 550 Safari Magnum in .505 Gibbs. 2 shots in one lifetime is enough. I was under a covered firing point. When I touched the first one off, all of the debris (including a bird’s nest) that had accumulated in the roof came tumbling down.

    1. That brought back some painful memories. what is it with guys shooting ported barrels or T/C Contenders being next to me every time I’m on a covered firing line?

  16. Worst was a ’70s vintage 870 3″ magnum 12 gauge shooting 000 buckshot. It was the stock design. Too much drop and poorly shaped pistol grip combined to slap you in the face with every trigger pull. Stock was subsequently redesigned.

    Next worse is my H&R 1871 model Buffalo Classic. It has the old fashioned curved metal buttplate. With the full power Buffalo Bore Magnum ammo it will rattle your teeth and give you a headache. Slip on a Limbsaver and you can manage a 10 round bench session pretty well.

    The surprise is my Weatherby Mark V 300 Weatherby Magnum. It is the wood stocked traditional California design with high comb. It is very light and ought to kick like a mule with heavier bullets like the 200 grain Nosler Partitions, but it is actually pleasant on the shoulder. But, the recoil is more vertical with barrel jump. Hang on tightly with the support hand, because it will try to jump out of your hand.

    1. Those H&R’s are serious thumpers… But the Buff Classic isn’t as bad. Imagine that same gun with an 18″ barrel of normal weight!
      This is why I do not really care for those NEF/H&R’s. They hurt.

  17. Left handed Savage in 7mm rem mag. I was about 12 and begged my dad to let me shoot his rifle, I held it like I held the cricket. OUCH. I don’t think the scope hit me, but I still don’t like 7mm mag.

  18. Worst I have ever fired was a H&H double “Royal” rifle in .500 nitro express (just borrowed, sadly). First shot went more or less where it was meant to. The second went … somewhere.

  19. Reading this article and comments brought back several memories. The first was my dad’s old JC Higgins bolt-action 12 gauge from Sears…it was the first 12 gauge I ever fired. ..it taught respect for power. Later my grandfather let me shoot a beautiful Italian double 20 gauge; little did I know that just because it has two triggers does not mean you put your fingers on them at the same time: suprise!
    On to modern times and a friend brought a .416 he had used on an African hunt…my shoulder was fine, but the trigger guard bit my finger something fierce…it hurt for almost a month…

  20. Went to a local shoot some time back and there was a guy who had brought a single shot, bolt action in .50 BMG. Beautiful custom job made somewhere around Houston. We were shooting it offhand and while it had a good muzzle brake, it still put a crick in my neck. Saw a couple guys walk away with a scope bite.

  21. The “weapon” with most felt recoil was a S@W Model 29 6 inch barrel, factory wood grips, and maxed out handloads that a friend had. 6 rounds was all I wanted to fire without a glove

  22. My single worst experience with recoil involved a pistol-grip only Mossberg Persuader 12-gauge and a three-inch magnum round of 00 buck.

    It was about two weeks before I could do much more with my dominant hand beyond signing my name, as the recoil sprained the heck out of my wrist. And I’ve loathed pistol-grip shotguns ever since.

  23. Hell that’s pretty hard to say. I’ve become so use to everything I have that none of them really bother me. But as I sit here and think about it I think I’ll say my ‘hardest kicking’ gun is my old Mossberg 185K-B bolt action 20 gauge. For some reason she just feels like she kicks harder than anything else I’ve ever had.

    But that being said I’ve never had anything bigger than a Nugget.

  24. I’ve got a bubbaed Mosin like that. I got it real cheap, partly because it didn’t come with a bolt. Guy I bought it from said that the Russians cut them down, and let the Comrades check them out at rec centers to go hunting with.

  25. My 8 bore, when loaded to its 300 grain max charge of 1.5fg behind an .800 roundball.

    I fired it 6 times with that load from the bench. The huge black bruise it left on my shoulder slowly migrated down my arm, and didn’t disappear into yellow haze until it nearly migrated down to my forearm.

    With a 100 gr charge, it is actually OK to shoot … about the recoil of a .375.

    Renner is still making these if you want one:


  26. The worst I ever shot was a custom .375 H&H that weighed under 8 lbs, all-up. Five shots, from the bench, left me with ringing ears, bloody nose, Weatherby eyebrow, and a bruise that extended all the way to the next shooter.

    The worst I own is a Rossi M-92 clone, in .45 Colt. With Ruger-only handloads (300 gr. WFN bullet over XX gr W-296, it will beat you to death. The combination of a 6 lbs gun with a steel buttplate, and over 2100 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, makes it something that you don’t really enjoy shooting.

    1. Really? I had a Rossi 92 Carbine in .44 mag, even with the hottest loads – that thing was a pussycat!

  27. WW1 anti-tank rifle. I was young and heaven only knows what it was, but when my eyes opened I was sitting about 4 inches back of where I had been.

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