By Mike Burchett
I had the chance to try something new this past weekend. I’ve had this idea for a while and it all started when I began watching The Walking Dead. My mind often wanders to a post apocalyptic time where I must find sanctuary with minimal gear while still protecting those closest to me. I think about what gear each of the five of us would carry. How much gear it would take to make the 25 miles to a close friend’s country retreat? Imagine with me for just a moment, the power has been out for a week, there is no fresh water flowing from the tap and the food stash in the garage is waning to the point it is time to move. A good majority of folks from the neighborhood have already departed and we are left almost alone. Gangs have formed and road blocks have been set up at all the bridges by said gangs to confiscate anything possible. Keep in mind getting to the retreat will require one major river crossing and just one bridge to choose from.
Defensive tools will be a must. While carrying clothing, food, water, shelter and trading supplies, the defensive tools are what I dwell on most. The question comes to how light can I have my defensive tools and how effective can they be? These tools would be redundant in both rifle and pistol calibers. Each tool would have its purpose and while each person would possess a handgun, we’ve ultimately came to rest on the AR platform as our medium to long range tool. Sufficient terminal ballistics for human targets out to 500 plus yards, sufficient fire power seeing as ammo is light and typical magazine capacity is 30. I see three of us having such a weapon but again, light is the key. I’ve learned over the years hiking the trails in the Pacific Northwest’s Cascade Mountains that ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain.
With light being the primary goal for the rifle platform chosen, every opportunity to cut weight would be taken. I have my eye on a minimalist fixed stock and an ultra light key mod hand guard. With physics always present, I need to think about felt recoil and how it will affect follow up shots. If I want to keep the sights on target, I need to reduce muzzle climb and recoil. Muzzle climb is defeated with a great muzzle break but recoil reduction is another subject that is a bit more difficult to tackle. Enter the Shooting Innovations LLC Recoil Reduction System.
The Recoil Reduction System replaces both the buffer and buffer spring in your rifle. This system will replace any buffer system you currently have. Either Carbine or Rifle type buffer systems are compatible with this product. Installation is a snap. If you already have an AR then you’ve probably already completed the steps needed. Simply depress the buffer retaining pin allowing the buffer and spring to be removed from the tube. Now, simply insert the Recoil Reduction System by aligning the groove with the retaining pin and push into place. There ya go, you’re done.
I used my lightest weight AR as my test rifle. My upper is manufactured by Yankee Hill Machine using their 16 inch diamond fluted barrel, integrated flip up sight/gas block, tactical charging handle, Phantom flash hider and Hogue free float aluminum hand guard. The lower is an Aero Precision filled with DPMS parts, Hogue molded grip and a Tapco six position stock assembly. The rifle weighs in at 6 pounds 9 ounces. Could I get lighter? Sure, and I plan to. The lighter the better and I think I can shave almost a pound off this thing.
I started off with my mags loaded with XM855. I wanted to use the full blown 5.56 load to try and see just how much difference I could perceive. I took my 17 year old daughter with me to see if a 135 pound person who loves recoil could see any advantage. My daughter has well over 20,000 rounds down range in long guns and another 10,000 plus in handguns. I look to her for her opinion as she is well versed, so please don’t let the age fool you. We started by firing at paper targets from about 50 yards. Once we got the jitters out we were ready to work. We changed our target to a foam mannequin dressed in a T shirt simply to make this as realistic as possible. Your mind changes a bit when you place your sights on what looks like a person compared to the paper we typically shoot.
We each fired two mags using the standard carbine buffer system. Once we were done, I had her perform the change out on the buffer and away we went. There was enough difference to say it was there. It isn’t like putting a muzzle break on a .300 RUM. In saying this I mean we didn’t go from 40 pounds of felt recoil down to 25 for a 30 plus percent decrease in felt recoil. When you have just 8 pounds of recoil to begin with, losing just 2 pounds would be almost as drastic a change as we discussed before. It comes down to the knowledge that reducing recoil will always improve follow up shots. If I can have just a slightly tighter group during rapid fire with the Recoil Reduction System installed compared to a standard buffer, why would I not use it? If we are shooting with purpose then we must look at the final goal. And with the goal being a lighter faster shooting rifle, then I will have this option installed in my rifle. Note: We don’t have any scientific tools to measure the difference in felt recoil after changing the buffer assembly. This has all been perceived felt recoil. I don’t believe I would be able to feel anything less than 25 percent change when we began with such little recoil from the start.
In all, we fired 200 rounds using the device. No failures to feed or extract and I will say it seemed to function a bit smoother. The YHM upper is already smooth but there was always been that slight bit of noise and grit with the standard spring. This one piece drop in system removes the big long spring that is continually moving inside the tube.
If you are looking to reduce the weight of your rifle and still keep the recoil to a minimum or if you are building a three gun rifle and want to keep the bump as small as possible, take a long look at the Shooting Innovations LLC Recoil Reduction System. At just $149.99 you really are not adding much more of an investment into the rifle and besides, this is just the dusting of sprinkles on top of the frosting. Be sure to check out www.shootinginnovationsllc.com for more info. I know I will be installing one of these in each of my rifles.