When comparing firearms for deer hunting, it’s important to consider the felt recoil of each choice.

What is felt recoil? How does it affect the hunting experience? And how do different hunting guns compare when it comes to felt recoil?

We will discuss these details in this Smokin’ Gun Worx review of three popular deer hunting cartridges: the 12 gauge Savage 212, the 20 gauge Savage 220, and the Savage Axis .350 Legend.

What is felt recoil?

When firing your weapon, a controlled explosion occurs that propels the bullet from the gun and causes the firearm to thrust back. This is called recoil. “Felt recoil,” also known as the “kick,” is what happens when the gunstock connects with your shoulder as a result of this kinetic energy. In other words, you feel the kickback.

That kick, or recoil, can have a significant impact on your accuracy, comfort, follow-up shots, and more. For example, if you’re dealing with excessive recoil, you may find it challenging to maintain proper aim and follow through, especially during rapid or successive shots.

Various factors will affect the recoil you feel. The material and size of the gun and your choice of ammunition will all change the amount of recoil.

How Much Recoil Does a 12 Gauge Have?

The Savage 212 slug gun is a powerhouse 12 gauge shotgun. It has the largest bore diameter of the three guns we’re reviewing today. And while the range is shorter than a 20 gauge shotgun, this bolt-action gun still has a decent reach.

You will notice in the video we fired this gun with a 300-grain SST slug. The Savage 212 gave us a significant recoil of about 30-foot pounds of pressure to the shoulder.

To help with this amount of kickback, this model features an adjustable stock and an improved recoil pad. You can fit the gun to yourself for a more comfortable shooting experience.

What Is the Felt Recoil of a 20 Gauge?

A shotgun that shoots like a rifle, the 20 gauge Savage 220 slug gun has a more balanced approach to power and recoil.

Although this shotgun fits less powder and has smaller projectiles than a 12 gauge, when fired with a 260-grain 2 ¾” Hornady SST Sabot we achieve a faster velocity than the 212 and a flatter trajectory.

The felt recoil is also less, at around 17 to 19-foot pounds of pressure on your shoulder.

Recoil of the .350 Legend

The Savage Axis .350 Legend is a very popular option for deer hunting and has been approved for single-shot hunting in Illinois. This cartridge, likened to a long nine-millimeter, packs a punch with a 160-grain bullet traveling at 2,225 feet per second.

Felt recoil is only about 8 to 9 1⁄2 foot pounds, making the .350 Legend the lightest on the shoulder among these three guns.

This incredible straight-walled cartridge shoots flat and has plenty of energy despite being a lighter rifle, making it an excellent, easy-to-shoot 35-caliber round for any deer-sized game.

Choose a Deer Hunting Firearm That’s Right for You

We have reviewed the 12 gauge Savage 212 slug gun with its sheer power but more felt recoil, the balanced 20 gauge Savage 220 slug gun, and the impressive Savage Axis .350 Legend rifle with minimal felt recoil. Each of these guns has its strengths. The choice ultimately depends on your preferences and hunting situation.

Felt recoil plays a crucial role in determining the success and satisfaction of your hunting experience. Choosing a firearm with a manageable recoil and implementing proper shooting techniques can enhance accuracy, comfort, and overall enjoyment in the field.

Do you need help choosing a deer hunting shotgun or rifle for this next hunting season? Stop by Smokin’ Gun Worx in Forreston, IL today! Our team of experts will be happy to guide you through the process and find a firearm that’s right for you.

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