The Good Ole' Boy Saying "This 7mm Mag. don't kick at all!"
It's common for a proud man to uncase his favorite big-game rifle, look at it lovingly, and pronounce that "it hardly even kicks!" or "it kicks about like a .22!" Then inexperienced hands shoot it, and wind up with a bloody nose wondering what happened.
While some stock designs fit shooters better than others and seem to mitigate perceived recoil as do recoil pads and especially muzzle breaks, recoil is a measure in physics that can be calculated as a base line estimate for comparison. The cartridge's bullet weight, muzzle velocity and especially gun weight all factor in the equation. The lighter the gun, the more the kick with all else being equal. Also, some cartridges burn power more quickly than others, and therefore the recoil impulse is quicker, resulting in higher perceived recoil despite its numbers on paper. Nonetheless, all guns kick—just some more than others.
The Numbers According to the NRA Fact Book, here are some recoil calculations based on average loads and gun weights typical for that caliber.
The Conclusion When Bubba yanks his new ultra-lightweight .338 Win. Mag. from the back of his truck, shoves it in your hands and says, "It don't even kick!"—beware. It probably does. While some additions to a rifle can help lessen its bite, it's tough to completely undo physics. So don't get too close to that scope, and hold on tight.