It is my opinion that every shooter deals with flinching at one point or another in their shooting career. I believe it follows the old maxum - There are those who flinch and those that will flinch; no exceptions.
I believe accepting and dealing with the flinches is what seperates the better shooter from the mediocre. I think the two main contributors to flinching are sound and recoil.
I believe that longer barrels help to move the sound away from the shooter and; therefore, helps reduce flinching. That is why I'm not a fan of muzzel brakes. I think they can damage hearing (regardless of protection) and that the extra/louder sound contributes to flinching. In my competative shooting, I've experienced the difference in sound between a 22" barrel versus a 24". Even though my Light Varmint benchrest rifle cannot exceed 10.5 lbs, I prefer a longer smaller contour barrel to a short heavy contour. I sincerely believe that moving the sound an extra inch away from my ears makes a difference.
Recoil. I subscribe to the notion that shooting the lightest bullet needed to perform the job helps avoid flinching. We all need to practice our shooting to become proficient and accurate. Regardless of our physical size, I believe repetative shooting of cannons will increase the likelyhood of flinching compared to a lighter caliber. I know you can add a muzzle brake
that will substantially reduce the recoil of the big bores; however, you then dramatically increase the sound and that can cause flinching.
These are my thoughts based upon my experience in competitve shooting and hunting situations. What are your thoughts on flinching and how do you deal with this problem when it creeps into your shooting?
I'm open to all thoughts and suggestions; however, I will never be convinced certain shooters/hunters never flinch - it is just as much a part of shooting as the yips are in golf. If you don't think you ever flinch, have a friend stand behind you during a practice session and let you know when you are flinching. It will be a very enlightening experience. If you acknowledge flinching and work to minimize it, your shooting will improve.
Just my 2-cents.