Re: Flinching/ Anticipation Problems

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by kfrye, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. kfrye

    kfrye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    411
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    What is the proper technique to avoid flinching? I find myself anticipating the shot occassionaly and ruining what would otherwise be a good group. Is this just a mental thing that I should try and shoot through with correct technique, or are equipment modifications in order (lighter trigger pulls)?
     
  2. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005

    The single most important skill in shooting is trigger control. The best thing you can do is dry fire practice. I dry fire practice more than I shoot live.

    If you haven't done it before, there is one critical thing to always remember.
    NO live ammo in the area you are using for dry fire practice.

    Dry fire practice allows you to practice trigger control without any stress of recoil, hitting your target etc.

    You should take the same position you would take at the range, or hunting and concentrate on gently squeezing the trigger. I generally practice prone, off a table (bench) and also standing. I use yellow post-its with small black circles drawn on them as targets. In my basement, I can stick them on one end of the basement and practice from the other end.

    When dry-fire practicing, make sure the rifle does not move when you squeeze the trigger. You should be able to see the jiggle caused by the firing pin and that is all.

    As far as flinching. I always recommend double ear protection, as the sound is more likely to cause flinching than the actual recoil.

    Another thing you can do, is shoot a 22LR and practice your trigger control (just like the dry-fire practice).

    I'm sure there are other things, but these are the items that I always recommend.


    AJ
     

  3. Wlfdg

    Wlfdg Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    267
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    I have a mantra that I have been using since I was a kid.

    Breathe
    Relax
    Aim
    Adjust
    S q u e e z e

    Along with dry firing on a spent casing I try to shoot 50 rds. out of my .22lr for every 5 centerfire.
     
  4. gamedog

    gamedog Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    591
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    What caliber do you shoot?
    You may need to drop down in caliber size if your flinching.
    If your afraid of getting hammered by a rifle, you'll never shoot it well.
     
  5. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2003

    I'm no expert, but shooting an unbraked 9 lb. 2 oz. rifle with load that develops 4800ft. lb. with any accuracy has 'pounded' a few things into me. One of the main things for me is absolute concentration and focus on placing the the crosshairs on the target properly--shooting prone off a bipod. Breathing control, as little stress in the system so the at the shot there is no extra movement of the rifle and concentrating on that target to the exclusion of most everything else. If my concentration is truly focused on that target and I'm doing my part to setup and hold the rifle right, the trigger pull is the next thing. The Jewell on mine is factory set at 1 lb and I allowed quite a bit of overtravel so it doesn't come up against a 'stop' as it's fired. (There's a good article on this in the 'Articles section' and do a web search for 'Bugholes from a bipod', and article on a benchrest forum about the 'hard hold' technique of shooting off a bipod.) A light trigger requires respect, and most of the time, the tigger will break before i have a chance to anticipate anything so less chance of flinching--but I shouldn't be anticipating anything because I'm concentrating fully on the target, right? You just have to let yourself get hammered and take it and don't worry about it. It's like the wide reciever that's going up for a 45 yard pass, nails the ball, knows he's going to get hammered by the defender, but makes the catch and gets hammered anyway. Part of the game, you know? :) Have fun!
     
  6. MagMan

    MagMan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,008
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    gamedog's advise is on the money.
     
  7. kfrye

    kfrye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    411
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    The gun in question is a 338 RUM with a B&C A5 style stock. I moved up from a 300 WBY, so I am not new to recoil. The RUM itself is fairly heavy, but still has some jump left in it even with a Vais brake. Felt recoil isn't bad at all, (never black and blue or sore) but the bark does keep me from holding my eyes open and consistenly squeezing the trigger everytime. I do shoot the gun well, but I think my reactive sense (outside stimulus) is too sensitive. After reading the replies here, I think a lot of it is between the ears. AJ, I have the molded in ear plugs, but feel that doubling up is a good idea to reduce the noise of the shot. I have also picked up a 22 & 308 to use as trainers.
     
  8. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Exactly! When I started shooting my 338AM, I started wincing just as the shot went off because of the concussion (the recoil is very tame), and I had to consciously ignore it until I got used to the sensation.

    AJ
     
  9. kfrye

    kfrye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    411
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Thanks for not making me feel alone in this game AJ! My 338 recoils like the 308, but the jump combined with that boom can really rattle you.
     
  10. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Another trick, make sure your mouth is shut. This will lessen the sensation of the concussion a little.

    AJ
     
  11. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,829
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Yes it is more mental than anything (albiet a crisp clean 2.5-3# trigger ussually helps a bit). Anticipation comes from thinking about the trigger rather than aiming.

    First off a rifle should not cause physical harm to your body. If it does, tame the beast with a better stock, pad, brake, add more weight. Any or all of the above. If it cannot be tamed enough, use a smaller cartridge.

    Once you set it up so that repeated firing does not cause bodily harm then you can condition the mind (the mental part of shooting). First before firing, consciencly think to your self that the rifle will not cause you any harm and that there is no need to anticipate the shot. This sets the tone for your focus. Put 100% of your conscience mind into mental and visual focus while on target as you begin to squeeze. It will take some conscince effort at first to get on the trigger but once youre there, regain focus on aiming and only aiming. The shot should be a suprise. Reinforce in your mind after the shot that the shot didnt hurt or intimidate you in any way. Your conscience mind can only perform one task at a time. Focus on aiming and let your subconscience execute the shot. This way you wont anticipate the trigger, recoil or anything else. Info on training the subconscience is in the last paragraph.

    For a very stuborn case of trigger panic have a friend go to the range with you and have him load the rifle for every shot while you are not watching him. Have him load some and not load some at other times. He might leave it unloaded several times in a row or he might load every other shot ect....The key here is to not know whether or not the rifle is going to fire. If you think it is loaded and it dry fires and you flinch, you will feel that mistake more than if it fired. You can reinforce in your mind that "next time you will make a better shot." NEVER say things like "why do I always do that" or anything else that reinforces the mistakes you make. Pretty soon you will start to not flinch. The goal here is not to fire a bullet rather the goal is to execute the shot. The bullet will launch. Let the rifle and bullet do its job and you do your job.

    You can practice doing your "job" by dry firing a few times at the range just before actuall shooting and by doing the dry fire practice that others have recomended. Personally I prefer to dry fire on occasion with my eyes closed so that I can focus 100% on executing a perfect shot. When you do this you make muscle memory and train your subconscience to control the trigger. When this occurs then when you are shooting, the trigger will just happen by subconscience effort thus allowing you to focus 100% on aiming. By dwelling on the trigger you will always maintain some form of trigger panic. By training and maintaining your subconscience to work the trigger, you will never suffer from trigger panic.

    Happy shooting!
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  12. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Meichele, well said! I've used the 'let friend load' when I was competing with a revolver. Multiple shot strings can raise havok on trigger control and trying to push into recoil when you are shooting against the clock. This is EXCELLENT advice that didn't even cross my mind.

    AJ
     
  13. kfrye

    kfrye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    411
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    That is great advice. I do the same thing when shooting trap- I will have a friend throw targets at their discretion, fast or slow when you start jumping at them.