Shotgun Recoil Calculator: Simplified for Beginners

shotgun recoil calculator

Many of us want to own a high damaging shotgun. However, owning one can be dangerous for us, if we do not have clear ideas about what we are dealing with.

A shotgun is pretty much dangerous for any man including the shooter too. A spontaneous number of shooters come to the hospital every week with severe injuries in their shoulders made by their shotguns.

A point to note, all of them are not newbie gunner. Some of them have come to a couple of times because of being not able to control the shotgun kickback (recoil force) from the gun. They also don’t know how to calculate recoil force. Professional shooters have their in-person method to do that.

The graph shows that in 2018 the USA alone is holding a mind-boggling number of shotgun injured people and somehow you don’t want to increase the number by putting your name on that group.  

Today, I am here with a simple technique to calculate the recoil force of a shotgun so that you can measure the force and save yourself from being hurt from the gun’s kickback.

So, What is Recoil?

This writing is for beginners. So, it’s better if we go deep down to it. To calculating recoil force of a gun, at first, you have to know the definition of the recoil.

Sometimes recoil is known as the kickback or knock-back. You can name it “kick” also. When a shooter shoots the bullet, it creates a backward movement. According to Newton’s third law “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”  So, when the bullet is discharged from the gun barrel, it throws the opposite force. Here, this opposing force created by the shot is recoil.

Get the Initial Measurement

Before going to the calculation part, you have to consider some facts. Without knowing those facts, it is not possible to get the exact value of the recoil force but you can get approximate data by using recoil force of gun formula. The facts are listed below.

  • Gun weight (in pounds)
  • Bullet weight (in grains)
  • Bullet velocity (in feet per second)
  • Powder weight (in grains)
  • Powder velocity (in feet per second) 4,000 feet per second

Though finding out these measurements isn’t such a tough task, I am presenting it if you do not have any past knowledge about them.

Finding out the gun weight is simple. Everybody knows the weight of his gun. In any case, if you don’t know yours, go and check out the details given by the manufacturer. Or you can go and weigh the gun on a scale.

Generally, producers put the weight of the bullet on the packet. Sometimes, they include the weight of all the bullets together. Get that number and divide that with the bullet numbers to get the individual weight of each bullet.

For knowing the powder charge in grains, look for the user manual given by the bullet maker.

And finally, riflemen of the USA have set a constant for the powder velocity at 4,000 feet per second.

Now, you have an initial measurement to work. Before starting the math, you have to convert the grains into the pound and pound-mass to pound-force.   

shotgun recoil calculator

Finding the Recoil Energy

To find out the exact result, you have to go through two steps-

  • Calculate the velocity of the gun and
  • Then calculate the Recoil Energy

Velocity of the Shotgun

To calculate the velocity of the shotgun, you have to put the initial measurements on the formula right below



VG= Velocity of the gun

WTB= Grain of the bullet

VB= Velocity of the bullet

WTP= Grain of the powder

VP= Velocity of the powder

Now if you have the measurement of those things, you can easily find out the velocity.


  • 10-pound rifle in 40-80
  • 200-grain bullets, at 4000 fps with 60 grains of powder


VG=(200*4000+60*4000)/(10*7000) fps

VG= 14.86 fps

14.86 fps!

Well! Quite easy, huh!

Now, you are in the middle of the calculation, and just a step behind to get the ultimate result.


In this shotgun recoil energy calculator topics, we are just one step further to get the final result. Now, put down the rest of the measurements on the formula below to get the desired result.

R(ft lbs)=RW*VG2*32.174


R= Recoil

RW= Rifle weight

VG= Velocity of the gun

Let me put another demo to make you clearer once again.

Just assume,

VG= 14.86 fps


Recoil= (10*14.86)/ (2*32.174)

So, Recoil= 34.32 ft pounds

Reducing Recoil

Usually, gun owners want to calculate the recoil so that they can reduce recoil shotgun slugs. They want to do so to get the maximum efficiency from their shooting. There are plenty of options that you can follow to reduce the recoil. I am listing down some of my favorites.

Choose Effective Design

Experts tell that a good shotgun has the design which can lower down the kickback force besides the high damage capacity. Research shows that a straight design firearm is more effective than a rifle with curve design. Again, you can also reduce the recoil with an attached gas chamber. Gunsmiths tell that a heavy gun is more likely to receive less recoil force.

Use Mercury to Damp Recoil

Using mercury in the gun to reduce kickback of shotgun is not a common practice, but it is useful as traditional methods. Just install a tubular, hollow container full of mercury to your gun. The mercury is liquid at room temperature, and the free movement of this can reduce the recoil significantly.

Use a Pad

Various companies on the market are offering different composite materials made a pad to the shooters. The recoil pad for shotgun is specially made to absorb the shock while reducing back the force of the shotgun and they are pretty easy to install with the gun. This tool is one of my favorites to take care of the recoil. Just grab a recoil pad from the market and leave the next shot of your shotgun to it.

Shotgun Recoil Calculator

Closing Word

There are plenty of ways that can help you to in regards to shotgun recoil calculator. Even, some webs are already presenting some sorts of software to calculate them. Here, in this article, I have elaborate on my favorite technique which I was learned when I was a beginner shooter. Moreover, I have added some methods to reduce recoil shotgun slugs. You can check our best shotgun recoil pad guide for your happy hunting journey. You can read also our sporting clays guide.

So, grab your gun and try this method to solve the calculation.

If you have some queries, leave your questions in the comment box.

Roland Carroll

Hi, This is Roland. I love Hunting and it's my hobby. I love to share my hunting experience in this blog. Keep reading all the articles here and let me know what do you think about this site.

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