Pachmayr Decelerator Slip-On Recoil Pads

By Chuck Hawks

Decelerator Slip-On
Illustration courtesy of Pachmayr.

August Pachmayr was a well known U.S. gunsmith and gun maker in the Germanic tradition. His gunsmithing business eventually expanded to include a retail store and an accessory business. Particularly well known today are Pachmayr grips for handguns and Pachmayr recoil pads for rifles and shotguns. The Pachmayr Company is headquartered in Middletown, CT and is now owned by Lyman (, which also owns the TacStar, Trius, Uni-Dot, A-Zoom and Butch's brands.

Pachmayr recoil pads for rifles and shotguns have been the top choice in butt pads for as long as I can remember. They are supplied on many factory built firearms and a great number of custom guns. Many classic firearms can be found wearing Pachmayr White Line recoil pads. Today the Decelerator is Pachmayr's top of the line recoil pad and my personal favorite among recoil pads.

I have a reasonable amount of experience with the Decelerator recoil pad, having had them fitted to a large number of my best firearms over the years. Prominent among these are my Winchester 21-4 Trap Grade shotgun and my Remington/Accurate Innovations custom .30-06 rifle. You can bet that I would not select a second rate pad for these guns!

New to the Pachmayr line are slip-on Decelerator recoil pads designed for "magnum" recoil reduction. These stylish rubber recoil pads are available in three sizes (small, medium and large) and two colors (brown and black). This one inch thick pad features cut away sidewalls for easy attachment and removal, an internal air chamber design to attenuate the maximum amount of recoil and an exclusive "speed mount" (hard, smooth) insert at the heel of the butt so that the pad does not hang-up on clothing as the gun is mounted. Pachmayr recoil pads are made from an exclusive, soft compound that is blended from the highest quality rubbers and don't cut corners on quality like pads made from synthetic materials. The 2008 MSRP is $23.98.

Decelerator Slip-On pads
Black and brown Decelerator slip on pads. Illustration courtesy of Pachmayr.

As soon as I heard about their introduction, I called my friends at Lyman to request samples in both colors and all three sizes. We were in the process of reviewing the ultra-light Merkel K3 takedown rifle, which dearly needed some recoil attenuation. This handsome little travel rifle is a jewel, but weighing only 6 pounds 13 ounces including scope and mount, it is too light for the 7mm-08 cartridge for which it is chambered. The 7mm-08 is known for moderate recoil in a normal weight rifle (say, eight pounds), but it simply overwhelms the little Merkel. In the K3, the 7mm-08's high recoil velocity is definitely unpleasant.

I found that the small pad fit the K3 best and was easy to put on and remove, so that is the size I chose to use. The Decelerator's curved, cut away sidewalls are a big advantage here, as they clear the rear sling swivel stud, yet they still hold the pad securely in place. If you have struggled to attach and remove on old style slip-on rubber pad with deep sidewalls, you know what a big advantage this is. Other Guns and Shooting Online staff members even complemented the Pachmayr pad's good looks.

Like other one-inch thick slip-on pads, it lengthened the length of pull (LOP) by that amount. This would actually be an improvement on rifles with a short buttstock, such as many "Compact" models, but the Merkel comes with a man sized 14-1/4" LOP, so the added length (15-1/4" LOP) made it difficult for me to get my eye close enough to the scope's ocular.

The quick fix for that problem was to remove the rifle's original butt pad, which is held in place by two Phillips head screws. (Smear a dab of petroleum jelly--Vaseline--on the screwdriver blade and it will easily slip into the slits in the stock pad to access the screws.) This reduced the LOP with the Pachmayr slip-on to 14-3/4", which (because I have long arms) is manageable.

The next day it was off to the range to see how much improvement the Decelerator slip-on pad would actually make. The very first shot demonstrated that the pad did a fine job of taming the K3's sharp recoil. It definitely made the rifle easier on the shoulder. It was almost a "night and day" difference. Of course, the total recoil energy remained the same, but the Decelerator pad really softened the impact on my shoulder. I fired several groups from the bench rest over a Caldwell sandbag and at the end of the session my shoulder felt no worse for wear, a big improvement over my first session with the same rifle, sandbag and bench rest. My shoulder was sore for a week after that earlier encounter.

The bottom line is that if you have an ultra-light or other hard kicking rifle that needs taming and you don't want to cut an inch off of the buttstock to fit a permanent Decelerator pad, you owe it to your shoulder to try one of these Pachmayr slip-on pads. I will definitely be purchasing the sample for my own use. Two thumbs up for the best slip-on pad I have ever used.

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Copyright 2008, 2013 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.