Introduction: Recoil Reducer

Picture of Recoil Reducer

Prevent that purple welt from holding your gun improperly, increase your high/low tower score, even get your girlfriend to try shooting... For about 10 dollars and 45 minutes you can build a hybrid recoil reducer.

I will admit, before you read further, that I have only gotten a chance to test this device with a ballistics pendulum so far. It proved itself beautifully though.
However if you go to a gun shop the "extended magazine clamps" (look like an '8' with a screw in the center to tighten the halves together) cost about 11$. You need two to hold the reducer to the bottom of the barrel, one end against the stock, which technically brings the cost to 32 dollars.

Also, before someone says something, I know that generally recoil reducers are in the butt of the weapon and I know why they use mercury although some use springs.

Step 1: Gathering All of the Components.

Picture of Gathering All of the Components.
You will need to go to the hardware store for all of this stuff so bring a list. I recommend ACE, both because I'm partial to them, and because I know they have all the parts.
Okay, the list:

1 roll of 50/50 lead-less solder
1 propane welding torch
1 roll of teflon tape
1 roll of heat duct tape
1 roll of duct tape
1 tube of 5min, chemically resistent epoxy

1 3/4", thin walled copper tube (should be apprx. 1 foot long)
2 3/4" copper caps
1 1/2" copper coupler
1 compression spring* (apprx. 1/2" diameter... it has to fit in the tube)
  • Look up the recoil force of your gun and try to find a spring with 50% that force at
an extension of 1/2 its critical length.

Also, enough 40 weight motor oil and anitfreeze in a 90/10 mixture to fill the copper tube apprx. 2/3. full.

Step 2: Making the Damper Weight.

Picture of Making the Damper Weight.

Now that you have all of the components it's time to make the weight that will force the spring to resist motion. The weight should be roughly 6oz when you are finished.

To make the weight place some of the heat tape on the bottom of the coupler and heat it with the propane torch. Slowly push the solder into the coupler so that it melts and eventually fills it completely. After the solder cools pull the heat tape off the bottom and you have a great fitting, wear resistent weight.

I know this isn't the only way to make a weight, but it fits really nicely in the 3/4" tube.

Step 3: Attaching the Spring

Picture of Attaching the Spring

Place the spring on top of the weight and use the solder and torch to bond the two components. After the part cools use some of the 5min epoxy to secure it better.

Step 4: Finishing the Weight

Picture of Finishing the Weight

Now wrap the weight in one layer of heat tape, then one layer of duct tape with the sticky side facing out and then several layers of teflon tape. This make a strong, quiet coating so the weight doesn't make noise in the tube.

Step 5: Attach Spring to One Cap

Picture of Attach Spring to One Cap

Wrap duct tape around the other side of the spring with the sticky side facing out. The point is to get a really snug fit into the 3/4" cap. The tape will help hold in the spring firmly if you have to use a screwdriver to stuff the end in the cap.

After the spring is secured in the cap you can use some epoxy to fill the bottom to make a really secure hold. *(Remember to sand the surfaces of the copper before you use glue on it)*
After the glue has filled the cap push the copper pipe onto it and hold it until the adhesive begins to set.

Step 6: Sealing One End and Filling

Picture of Sealing One End and Filling

Okay. Now that the epoxy is dry you can use some heat tape to wrap the end. This step might not be necessary but it will make you feel better when you fill it with the oil...
Now that the end is dry and secure, pour the oil to about 2/3 full inside the tube. The oil acts to lubricate the weights motion, resist the motion of the firearm and dampen the oscillation of the spring.

Step 7: Finishing the Tube

Picture of Finishing the Tube

Now you have to glue the other cap on the open end. Fill it with a little epoxy and stir it in the cap to coat the walls and base. When the epoxy is starting to gel press it firmly on the open end of the tube and bring it somewhere to weight down the cap.
*(The cap will try to pop off because you are compressing the air inside. You will need to keep it weighed down and upright so the oil doesn't touch the epoxy while drying.)*

Now that the glue has dried all you have to do is put some more heat tape on the end, polish it up and, if you want, paint it.

Step 8: Final Product and Information

Picture of Final Product and Information

This is the final product; a polished sleek tube. Mark the end where the spring is attached because that is going to be the side that faces you when the device is mounted.

As the gun is forced back from recoil, the spring with expand due to the weight tending to rest. This, in combination with the resting oil being hit by the other end, produces a dampening effect.

To mount it to the bottom of your weapon go to any local gun shop and purchase two "extended magazine clips". The clips are the perfect size to hold 3/4" pipe to a barrel. When mounting it put a piece of felt between the spring end and the stock of the weapon and you have a hybrid, home-built recoil reducer.


pankakes (author)2015-09-16

have you made any improvements on the design since original conception? I just found this and would love to build one but would also like to use any improvements

bstarling (author)2013-03-17

I made one of these from this ible a couple of years ago. A few modifications were made, namely made the piston from steel on a lathe and filled it with lead. I shortened the tube a bit and used ATF as the dampening fluid. To the point it works very well. I have in the stock of a 35 Whelen that has a tendency to kick. This did exactly what it was intended to do. Great ible, thanks Engineer.

lauropicasso (author)2011-11-20

dear Engineer, your article is very useful and easy to read, this is a project I wanted to do by myself and never start to work , please your help.

I have two rifles whose kick would like to treat.

one is Walther 8x68S, kicking like a 8 Rem Mag,
other ir a Heym Ruger, 6.5x68, build by Heym on a ruger N 1 action customized. This kicks like a 7 rem Mag.

I would like to adjust the weights and dimensions of you Recoil damper device to weigths and speeds I am reloading for.

could you please send me some hints ? to

BodhidharmaCharma (author)2010-08-23

Intriguing, typically I fill my gun butt with lead but this recoil reducer looks a lot cheaper (not to mention lighter). I'll give it a try.

bob the builder #1 (author)2009-04-04

Just to tell you 11 plus 11 doesn't equal 32.

10$ (paragraph 1) + 2*11$ (paragraph 2) = 10 + 22 = 32
But I noticed some typos while checking anyway...

thoraxe (author)2009-03-25

my uncle used to cast lead bars and place them in the butt of his shotgun. drastically reduced the recoil

awoodcarver (author)2007-09-10

Just reread didnt catch the not not tested on a firearm the first time, goint to try and make one and test it on my old mossberg 500 this weekend

ledzep567 (author)awoodcarver2007-12-27

i love mossberg 500's what barrel do you have on yours?

awoodcarver (author)ledzep5672007-12-27

I got the combo pack way back when you got 18.5 and 27 inch i think it is( the extra is in the safe), with it was a pistol grip and a stock ...I keep the 18.5 on it and the stock not the pistol grip... Over the 30 years I have had it only a new spring for the magazine tube

ledzep567 (author)awoodcarver2008-06-04

sweet, you wouldnt happen to want that pistol grip would you? :)

awoodcarver (author)ledzep5672008-06-04

I keep it around for my longer trips to the hills for gold panning lots of bear and large cats running around in calif now , I carry a S&W; 625 in .45 acp (full moon clips in a revolver ) and my son carries a model 19 in .357 but the shotgun with the pistol grips are a good choice for the cats and bears

ledzep567 (author)awoodcarver2008-06-05

nice, i like the pistol grip because you can sorta use it as a point of leverage to raise the gun really quick.

The_EN6INEER (author)awoodcarver2007-09-10

Cool. Careful with the molten solder. Also, please let me/us know how it works out with your weapon. I planned for the 1oz shot, 3.25 drams of powder because I wanted to harass my best friend about his last trap&skeet; score.

mojomoney (author)2007-11-27

Did you test this device versus a control group such as a mass equal to that of the finished recoil reducer to determine whether or not the damper has a noticeable affect? I have a hunch that the added mass is what is giving you the vast majority of the recoil reduction benefit. Also, please make an instructable detailing the constuction or use of a ballistic pendulum for use in measuring recoil of a firearm.

_soapy_ (author)2007-10-15

Very nice! Might I suggest that you could further improve this device by using a high powered magnet as the mass on the spring? The magnetic field would act as a damper of the movement due to the eddy currents set up in the pipe, and would be self-rate limiting, allowing low movement easily, but braking sharp moves very aggressively, which is ideal for this application.

Scott_Tx (author)2007-09-10

Interesting idea. Maybe someone could crank out a program that computes mass and spring tension, etc depending on all the variables. Also maybe make one small enough to fit on the accessory rail of pistols?

The_EN6INEER (author)Scott_Tx2007-09-10

I'll try to talk my friends into programming that in VB. I fail because it takes me too long now to figure out how to calculate it... I would love to make one for a pistol (like my dad's "Dirty Harry" .44 Magnum) but I think pistols, at least for me, kick 'up' more than 'back' so I would have to figure out how to prevent that.

dchall8 (author)2007-09-09

Nice and clear in the execution, in fact quite elegant; however, the mathematics of the system suggest that the spring, mass, and damper would be different for each gun, and to some extent, each load used in the weapon. Essentially what this damper does is attach the gun by a spring to a relatively fixed object (the mass of solder). When the gun fires, the recoil pulls on the spring faster than the movable mass can move. The damping effect of the oil helps resist the movement of the mass within the tube. This is opposite of what you would look for. The results might be better for this weapon if the device were turned around to compress the spring rather than stretch it.

The_EN6INEER (author)dchall82007-09-10

Yeah, unfortunately you have to look up the recoil force (they are available) for your specific firearm and grain load... it was a pain to try calculating it by hand. My classical physics is *ashamed* a bit rusty.
Before I tested the reducer I thought that the other orientation would be better also. What happens though is the spring oscillates more in that orientation but I've been trying to figure out how to fix that. If you have more suggestions on how to improve this I'm open though.

kill-a-watt (author)2007-09-09

Teh awesome.

We need more firearms instructbles that don't included a word that starts with K and ends with X.

What is the logic behind the motor oil and antifreeze mix as the fluid? I would think straight 10w-40 motor oil would work just as well.

Also, I don't see any reason why this could not be put inside the stock too. Although some people prefer a bit more weight up front when they are shooting clays.

Hint: If you have a classic firearm from before 1964 or so, check under the butt plate. Sometimes you will find a roll of quarters or dimes that the previous owner put in there to help tame the recoil. Odds are that the old roll of coins are silver coins.

The_EN6INEER (author)kill-a-watt2007-09-10

Well straight motor oil is a bit heavier but the problem is that the viscosity changes too much in different temperatures. The anitfreeze thins the oil a little, but it stabilized the viscosity over a greater range. You could put it in the stock too, only the one I made is a little too long for going in a stock.

awoodcarver (author)2007-09-10

Very nice !! This beats the tube 3/4 filled with Mercury my dad put in the stock of my first shotgun. Is the antifreeze to keep the oil fluid on those chilly mornings when the clay or birds are flying? Is this only for the shotgun you are useing or will it work on all brands ...... do I have to experment with it on say a 870 or 97 Winchester or Beretta or on a 12 or 20 gauge ?

Kiteman (author)2007-09-09

Nice 'ible. Clear instructions, good explanation - nice. (Maybe your next project should be how to make/use a ballistic pendulum?)

theque (author)2007-09-09

Looks to be pretty useful and effective.

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-09-09

:-\ im confused!

About This Instructable




Bio: Polymath, Engineer, Craftsman, Inventor I love to reverse engineer things and figure out how they work. I reflect that passion in my projects in that ... More »
More by The_EN6INEER:Recoil ReducerChess Board
Add instructable to: