Takes the pain (at least, yours) out of large calibers.
The first hunting rifle I ever bought on the Internet was a used Sako AV chambered for 7mm Remington Magnum. The gun was in excellent condition, and exactly as the seller had described it, except for one minor detail: the stock had been shortened about an inch. Given that I’m 6’2″ and wear a 36″ sleeve shirt, this obviously was not going to work well for me. But the shortened stock, along with the rather sharp recoil that the 7mm RemMag offers, gave me the impetus to try some of the recoil-reducing technology offered by Graco Corporation.
Graco Corporation, located in Gravette, Arkansas, has been producing recoil-management systems for rifles and shotguns since 1986, and in that time, they have established themselves as a clear leader in their industry segment. At least one major US firearms manufacturer offers Graco’s products as options on their premium guns. While Graco originally oriented their offerings to shotguns, they have recently added products for rifles as well, something that will surely represent a growing market segment as America continues to succumb to “magnum fever.” They also offer models with adjustable buttplates, and will install an adjustable comb as well. In addition to furnishing the products, Graco will perform all the necessary labor (at quite reasonable rates, I might add) for the installation and configuration of their products.
When I decided my Sako was in need of such services, I contacted Graco. Their customer service was simply outstanding; the person with whom I spoke patiently explained the options (they offer several products that would have fit my gun), and suggested which would and wouldn’t be appropriate. We decided on their Gracoil compression butt plate and the installation of adjustable comb hardware. I sent my stock into them and got it back in just a couple of weeks – pretty fast turnaround in my book. The installation was magnificent; a professional woodworker who examined it for me was duly impressed by the craftsmanship. But…looks aren’t what this was about; time to take this rifle to the range.
The only adjustment necessary for the recoil hardware is to set the tension. It should be set so that compression of the hardware will not occur when you shoulder the rifle and pull the stock into your shoulder. It should also be set to begin compressing just after this threshold. It might sound confusing (I’m sure I’m not explaining it optimally) but it’s a breeze to do. The adjustment of the comb is purely a subjective matter; just keep moving it around until it feels best. Mine is moderately high, and slightly to the side, to accommodate my long neck. Once these adjustments were made, it was time to fire the rifle.
I’m pleased to report that the Gracoil took much of the edge off of firing this rifle. It doesn’t eliminate recoil completely (it’s not designed to, and that probably isn’t something you’d want to do anyway), but it did reduce it enough to make the gun pleasant to shoot. Those familiar with the 7mm RemMag know how sharp the recoil can be (it’s well above the level that many experts believe is where flinch sets in), but with the Gracoil, it was very, very tolerable. I could shoot this gun all day without fatigue. My only regret is that I didn’t also get an adjustable butt-plate so I could add to the drop of the rifle (my long neck causing problems for me again).
So: is a Gracoil (or other Graco product) for you? You’ll have to judge that for yourself, but ask yourself the following questions:
- do I own a gun that I don’t shoot as often as I’d like because of its recoil?
- do I own a gun that causes me noticeable flinch?
- do I own a gun whose recoil makes it hard for me to regain the sight view?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, you may want to consider talking to the nice folks at Graco. They can make shooting big guns a much more pleasant experience.