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Recoil Lugs

15 Nov 2016
@ 08:34 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Hey Nathan,

I'm not sure if you cover this is your Rifles book, please feel free to point me there if you do...

But the recoil lugs' material has peaked my interest.

If we look at the Tikkas for example, the new model T3x has the steel recoil lug, the older one, the T3, has an aluminium recoil lug.

During the Kapiti Deer Stalker talk you spoke about the aluminium recoil lug in a positive light somewhat. So I'm curious if the company has actually made an improvement on the recoil lug by making it steel now or was it simply a change made to satisfy consumers? Similarly the bolt shroud is now metal whereas before it was plastic.

They've made some other changes too, one comment I read is that the old action may be better because it was larger? I can't quite remember where I read it or what it was exactly about but something to do with people wanting the old action back down the track...

Would love to know your thoughts, here or in the book.


16 Nov 2016
@ 01:23 am (GMT)

Brendon Greig

Re: Recoil Lugs
Nathan covers this in his books I think its the Accurizing book and recommends replacing the alloy recoil lug with a stainless one when bedding it so to answer your question I guess its an improvement [b]
16 Nov 2016
@ 04:47 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Recoil Lugs
Will go back over this regardless to make sure all is clear.

The old ali lug created a battery point, much like earlier brass cross bolts. But it also caused a galvanic reaction and I have seen some powdered lugs in poorly kept rifles.

Any excessive play in the area of the lug from very high recoil wear or corrosion can have a potentially negative effect on accuracy. I have however seen poor accuracy blamed on a lug bite, when this was not the actual cause.

The new lug should be less reactive. But a hard steel can cause double grouping if the fit is not 100%. Sometimes you see small double grouping even when the fit is 100%, though in this instance, the effect can be very small and of no concern. It is merely something I have noticed when looking extremely closely during tests. Most folk would not even notice this, the effect is so subtle. Titanium (but not the silly tight fit designs) is possibly ideal because although hard, it does not have a harmonic ring to it. Very interesting to work with but also expensive.

So as you can see, there are pros and cons both ways.

Regarding the shroud. The word itself has a meaning, it is a gas shroud and is not simply there to cover the mechanism. If a case ruptures, the plastic shroud is prone to explode but the fragments are light in weight and energy. These do however pose a risk of eye injury. I cannot say how the ali unit will behave. It could resist high pressure gas forces or it could explode but with greater energy and a greater risk of injury. As a side note, neither is ideal for military tactical usage, the entire rifle design has limitations in this regard.

A lot of guys have lost or broken their plastic shrouds. Hard to say whether this is good or bad. One the one hand, any hot gas will vent straight back with no cover to push the gas out to 90 degrees. If the cover is on, both gas and the cover can (and sometimes do) come back.

Each rifle design has its quirks. The more you understand each base design the better. It is important to start with the fundamentals as you are doing with the book series.

I think that covers things without divulging more than I care to.
16 Nov 2016
@ 07:40 am (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Recoil Lugs
Cheers mate,

I appreciate the time and effort, and the patience too :)

I've got many questions and not much experience. Cheers for the training wheels so to speak.


We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.