Firing Heavy Caliber Rifles (The Real Story)

Firing Heavy Caliber Rifles (The Real Story) by Darryl Choy

The October 2015 issue of the American Rifleman had a wonderful article entitled “How To Shoot Big Guns (‘a man’s got to know his limitations’)” by Craig Boddington. The article laid out very important aspects such as scope eye relief, avoiding the prone and the bench rest positions, practicing with a .22 and building up gradually, using quality recoil pads and shields, increasing rifle weight and muzzle breaks, etc.

However, the article fails to explain specifically how to hold a heavy recoiling rifle. Many years ago, GARY CHANG and I established a dangerous game rifle shooting venue at both HRA’s annual Shooting Sports Fair and the Department of Land & Natural Resources National Hunting & Fishing Day events. The idea was to allow the public to fire heavy recoiling dangerous game rifles like the .375 H&H and .458 Magnum. You can imagine the potential injury and liability concerns voiced by other people.

In planning, we developed a simple method that allows just about anyone at least 95 pounds to handle a full house .375 H&H 300 grain load. The bolt action rifles all had open sights, recoil pads, weighed at least 10 pounds, and sans scopes. A high front bench bag was used to rest the rifle. No rear bag. The shooter was instructed to establish a hasty sling. This contributes little to recoil management but it does save the rifle from being let go and damaged if it fell off the bench. The shooter was told to use the left hand to grip the forend and the right hand to grip the pistol grip. Pretty basic stuff. But, more importantly, the shooter was told to grip both hands, not just tight, but as hard as possible. Pull the butt entirely (not just the bottom half) into the shoulder as hard as possible. And press down on the butt stock with the cheek, again, as hard as possible. The shooter was placed high on the bench with his/her back straight so the entire body would move back with the recoil. With the shooter holding the rifle as hard as possible at four points, the recoil was managed and injuries prevented. Not uncommon for a tiny Asian gal barely 100 pounds to fire a .375 H&H repeatedly.

This method has allowed many shooters to experience firing the century old .375 H&H cartridge and even the .458 Magnum. A few more seasoned public members even tried the rifles off hand with accurate results.

Come to the National Hunting & Fishing Weekend at Kokohead Range



NHFD 2015 Flyer


Sept. 16, 2015


Hawaii’s National Hunting and Fishing Day Recognizes Contributions of Sportsmen and Women

25th Year in Hawaii, 45th Year Nationally


(HONOLULU) – One billion dollars – that’s how much hunters and anglers contribute each year in the U.S. toward fish and wildlife conservation programs through taxes on their sport-related purchases. National Hunting and Fishing Day began in 1972 as a way for states to recognize the contributions of sportsmen and women in wildlife conservation and restoration, hunter education and to the shooting sports. For 78 years the Pittman-Robertson Act (American System of Conservation Funding) has imposed a 10.5%-11% federal excise tax on the sale of firearms, handguns, ammunition, archery equipment and accessories. That’s resulted in contributions of $9.24 billion toward wildlife restoration projects, including an allocation to the states of $808 million in 2015.


“In Hawaii, our version of National Hunting and Fishing Day is unique, in that it demonstrates that hunters and fishers also care about people,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case. “Our hunter education program, sister agencies within DLNR, more than a dozen shooting and fishing clubs
and the Watson T. Yoshimoto Charitable Trust, partner with the Hawaii Food Bank on National Hunting and Fishing Day, to help combat hunger in the islands,” Case added.


For every can of food or dollar that participants donate to the food bank, they will receive one activity coupon to participate in a fun and educational activity during hunting and fishing day. These include: trap shooting, .22 rifle and handgun, high power rifles, cowboy and single action shooting, muzzleloading, archery and fish casting contests. There will be additional free displays and demonstrations at this year’s event, Sept. 19 & 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Koko Head Shooting Complex, 8102 Kalanianaole Highway.


Andrew Choy, the coordinator for the Hawaii Hunter Education Program in the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement said, “This is a great day and a wonderful way to recognize the many contributions of hunters and anglers to protecting wildlife and aquatic resources across our island chain. This is a family oriented event and all you have to bring is canned food or a couple of bucks (not deer) to contribute to the Hawaii Food Bank and the fun begins.”


Firearms are supplied by participating shooting clubs. No personal firearms are allowed at the shooting complex on National Hunting and Fishing Day.



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HD video of hunting and fishing:


High res photographs of hunting:

Video News Release:

Talk Story with a Hawaii Hunter:

Talk Story with a Hawaii Fisherman:


All video and photos: Courtesy Hawaii DLNR


Media Contact:

Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Manager

(808) 587-0407