Measuring Firearm Recoil with a Canoe!

How Powerful is a 50 Cal?
December 3, 2019
Griffin Resistance 22M beside a slimmer Bowers USS22
Griffin 22M Resistance 22LR/223 Suppressor
December 17, 2019
Recoil Rowing a Canoe with a machine gun

Can you measure rifle recoil by rowing a boat?  This has probably been in my mind for about 25 years. I first attempted something of the sort when I was a child but it involved a skateboard, umbrella, leaf blower, and a long extension cord.  So I suppose this is the inevitable grown up version.

The Contraption

Sure I could just hold the rifle, but I was afraid my body would absorb too much of the recoil.  The entire point of this is to see how well energy would transfer to the canoe and into movement.  Enter the Caldwell Hydrosled.  The Hyrdoseld is an updated version of the

in which it gives you a stable platform to zero your rifle while absorbing the majority of the recoil.  It does this by filling it with water, sand, rocks, or whatever to make it weight 30-40 pounds more.  But for this experiment we left it empty but it gave us a safe and solid platform to attach any rifle to the canoe.

Caliber Variation

For the test we used a full auto M16 machine-gun lower so we could test several different uppers.  This included several different calibers:

Guns. Lots of Guns

A few of the firearms ready for the canoe experiment.

Recoil Results

You can’t just skip the video.  It was too much fun.  And you’ll also want to see how many times the canoe capsized on us.  However we obviously had the best results with the most lead flung downrange.  The 9mm wasn’t bad, the 223 did well but it also had twice the capacity.  I was disappointed that I didn’t go further faster with the 458 SOCOM.  Those are hard to hold onto full auto!  However since it’s a larger cartridge we only had 14 rounds.  The M2 did well considering it jammed three times.  The 308 moved us well for only 20 rounds.  Finally, when we went to the smaller brake on the 50BMG it did amazing.  I wanted to try it without a brake at all.  However industry professionals talked me out of it.

Nevertheless, this was a fun experiment, even if not completely scientific.  And now you know if you find yourself up a creek without a paddle, you can use recoil to row.  As long as your ammo holds up…



  1. Buck says:

    This guy is crazy ! I love to watch him ! Sure burns up a lot of ammo & money .

  2. Loy Moe says:

    I like the sasquatch 🙂 in the background of the first few frames