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Posted By FFL Dealer Network on 03/07/2019 in Reviews

Shotgun Recoil Pads - Do They Work?

Shotgun Recoil Pads - Do They Work?

Do shotgun recoil pads really work? In a word, yes.

The real problem with firearms is recoil. The more knockdown power delivered on the terminal end, the more beating a shoulder or wrist takes. Efforts to tame recoil, especially on long guns, usually means doing something to the stock or a muzzle brake. OEM pads, after-market permanent mount and slip-on pads are common.


The three pads for the shotgun recoil pads test come in at three different price points.

  • True Adventure - $6-$10 depending on retailer
  • Tourbon - $25-$28
  • LimbSaver - $20-$54 depending on size and retailer

Ammunition used was Sellier & Bellot 15-pellet 00 buck in 3-inch magnum, Federal FliteControl 2&3/4 8-pellet 00 buckshot reduced recoil and Remington 3-inch mag Wingmaster #4 birdshot, a turkey load. The shotgun was a Mossberg 500 with a rifled slug barrel. The red dot optic on the barrel was not used for this test. Patterning was not considered.

Shooters were police department major Richard Purvis, Police Chief Bill Ryder and gun journalist Ben Baker. Each shooter fired one round of each ammo using the recoil reducers one at the time.

In order of effectiveness, they are:


Made of very flexible rubber, this reducer is easily inverted. That makes it extremely easy to mount on a stock. It also slides around very easily on the stock. It adds more than an inch to the pull. The inside has a series of rubber pyramids that tame recoil. And tame it does!

Major Purvis was first to try the S&B. "Yes, yes!" he exclaimed after shooting. "Yes, yes! You can tell a world of difference. That was nothing to me. It was like the turkey load with the Tourbon on." Chief Ryder and Mr. Baker also noticed a huge difference.

"The Mossberg already has a rubber butt plate. Even so, that S&B ammo is punishing, Africa-class dangerous game punishing. With the LimbSaver, that stuff is actually shootable," Mr. Baker said.

Recoil on the Remington turkey loads came down to the range of dove and quail loads.

Major Purvis summed it up best, walking back from the range after shooting the FliteControl. He laughed all the way back. "You don't even feel it. It's like shooting a 556," Chief Ryder said. Felt recoil was so light it was less than a hot .410 load.

Mr. Baker found the added length a bit of an issue. Of the three shotgun recoil pads, the Limb Saver adds the most length. The extra length also affected his shooting. Also, with each shot the pad shifted on the stock because it would not seat properly against his shoulder. Running a string of shots with the gun to the shoulder could cause the pad to slide completely off. Trimming a bit from the stock, for the LimbSaver, would be ideal for people with a shorter reach.

If long gun recoil is an issue and making expensive modifications like a muzzle brake or a completely new stock is not an option, then LimbSaver is the one to get.


True Adventure Shotgun Recoil Pad

Made of a stiffer rubber than the Limb Saver, the TA has a hex pattern in the butt. The TA was the hardest reducer to put on a stock. It also was just a bit shy of a perfect fit on the Mossberg stock. It created a tight seal on the synthetic furniture. A hole needed to be poked into the sleeve to let air flow to get the reducer to pull all the way onto the stock. It does add about an inch to the pull.

With the S&B, recoil was still on the stout side, but more manageable than without the add-on. Major Purvis called it "Rough." Chief Ryder likened it to 3-inch turkey loads.

Recoil was likewise reduced with the turkey loads. "Not bad at all," Major Purvis said. Mr. Baker noted an appreciable difference.

With the FliteControl, recoil was less than a 20 gauge, a good bit less than without the recoil pad. "You do not know it's there," the chief said.

For the money, this is a fair deal. This is an excellent way to extend a youth-model stock to adult size without removing parts, especially if reducing recoil just a bit is an objective.


The Tourbon is leather with two layers of neoprene inside. Tourbon recoil pads comes in two styles. The one used in this test the wrap-around Velcro attachment. The other has a Spandex-type expansion section on the bottom. Both will fit most stocks. The Mossberg stock has a sling attachment and the wraparound did cover mount with this reducer. Moving the screw less than an inch forward removes that issue. The slip-on extends the stick just a bit.

The reducer also slipped around on the shoulder. All three shooters agreed that something on the back leather pad to help it grip would make it better. Chief Ryder said mounting the stock to the shoulder a bit higher so that the toe got a better grip reduced the slipping.

Tourbon Shotgun Recoil Pads

Tourbon Shotgun Recoil Pads

Having shot the S&B in the recent buckshot tests and suffered from it, the test crew passed on shooting the S&B with the Tourbon recoil reducer.

Shooting the FliteControl Major Purvis said, "Not bad. It is a little off." Chief Ryder described it as "not bad." The Mossberg and the FliteControl were also used in the buckshot tests

With the turkey loads. Mr. Baker experience even more stock slippage from his shoulder. "You can tell a little difference," Major Purvis said.

This makes the stock look more expensive, but that's about it.

Shotgun recoil pads work.

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