Here is a questions sent to the Curmudgeon:
“I need loads for beginning shooters. What does The Curmudgeon recommend?”
And here is what the Curmudgeon has to say:
We all may become instructors at one time or other. It is wise to prepare yourself and the new shooter too for this eventuality. Less is more when it comes to preparing loads for the new shooter; less recoil will yield more progress for the new shooter. The shotgun being used by the beginner should be light weight and have a short barrel. It is obvious that the average woman or young boy or girl usually has short arms. Watch and see if the shooter leans backwards to counter the shotgun’s weight or overall length. Don’t proceeding with the training if the gun is a poor fit. Handling a shotgun is an intimidating thing to a first-time shooter. A nimble gun and low-recoil loads will point the shooter in the right direction.
Some years back Browning made a 12-gauge Citori O/U with 24” barrels. This shotgun, with a reduced stock length and tame loads, was a perfect starter/trainer. Light and nimble, it is also a grouse hunter’s dream. For auto shooters, the Remington 11-87 20ga youth model is a wonderful gun. These are relatively inexpensive and many can be had secondhand – after the original buyer has outgrown it.
Many people are inclined to teach young shooters on .410 or 28ga shotguns. These guns might be light and nimble, but they can be incredibly frustrating for new shooters. You are better off by taming a very lightweight shotgun with reduced loads. Lighter shot charges and lower velocities are the physical traits that will reduce recoil down to insignificance. One you’ve reduced the recoil, you’ve all but eliminated the intimidation factor.
Recoil reducing butt pads are excellent for beginners as long as the overall length of pull is not increased.
The average box of 12-gauge shots shells are not for beginners. A beginner needs light-weight shot charges with powder and wad combinations that do not translate into recoil. The speed of the load does not reflect into felt recoil as much as weight does. The mass (weight) is the biggest factor behind the inertia of recoil. We can calculate recoil with a mathematical formula, however, FELT recoil is what causes beginners to shy away from leaning into the shot. So… down with felt recoil.
Curmudgeon has found that ¾ oz lead shot loads offer the beginner a good change to break clays, yet does not create harsh felt recoil – even when the velocity creeps up. Light weight loads often translate into increased velocity with little felt recoil.
Click here to see some of the low pressure and recoil recipes from the Curmudgeon.