One thing that I have found is that most shooters don't even know that they flinch while shootingn Something that I have done in the past is to load dummy rounds and mix them with my reloads that I will be taking to the range. Just the thought of not knowing which round your getting ready to send down range makes you really focus on not flinching. I would normaky only have two or three dummy rounds per twenty. It did not take long before the dummy rounds stoped kicking. humble pie works wonders !
Great article. I have to admit that every once in a while I when I have been shooting heavy boomers for a few days I develop the dreaded affliction. I too have found but one cure, shooting a light recoiling rifle for accuracy. I usually drag out my 223 or a 6ppc and shoot 50 to 100 rounds concentrating on staying behind the gun. After that I am good for a while.
Jde512 has the right idea. I admit I flinch, especially with big revolvers. The dummy round technique really helps keep me honest. I trained myself to use a .340 Weatherby using techniques similar to the ones presented in this article in preparation for an AK hunt. I have now lost this skill, but know I could regain it if I worked up to it. Shooting LR with big guns is NOT like riding a bicycle. The skill goes away if not practiced.
Whitesheep is correct. practice practice practice Something that works well for me, is to get all set up in my basement, and with a snap cap one can work on trigger control, breathing, cheek weld, body position, etc. For me this is an inexpensive way to stay in tune, and this is also a great way to keep flinching in check. Just my 2 cents.gun)
This article has to be one of the best I have read on here, and confirms my thoughts on ridding myself of the dreaded flinch. Yes, I do flinch. My current plan is to shoot the snot out of target 22's and heavier guns to improve my skills and try to eliminate the flinch as much as possible. I'm also going to print this and put it in my range box to read before I shoot from now on.
Darrell, really great article . Something I've noticed when letting people shoot long range for the first time is how well women and men who have never shot before do when set up correctly . most of the time they out shoot the "experienced" shooters and I"d bet it is the flinch factor. The "experienced shooters just seem to tighten up and this surely affects their shot. The part on dry firing really can help anyone. That could be a whole other thread as to the effects on the firing pin but it hasen't seemed to hurt mine and i'm sure that dry firing has dramaticaly improved my groups. Thanks again for a great article.
I shoot heavy 300 win mag rounds a lot. What I find helps me more than anything else is to not over shot to the point of becoming sore in the shoulder. I made the mistake one time before trying to prove how tough I was. Cost me about three mths of work to correct the problem by shooting everything from 22 long rifle to 6mm rem to work out the kink. It was not so much the recoil as the pain I was bracing for.
Great article and some really helpful posts - thanks everyone.
My experience has been similar to some of you in that the greatest cause of my flinch has been pain or anticipation of pain - either pain in the shoulder/upper body caused by recoil or pain in the ears caused by the report of the rifle shot.
Remember this problem/solution is personal as we all have differing levels of tolerance to pain - and to just about everything else in life.
My remedy has been to minimise the number of shots fired with my rifles that, in my case, have enough recoil to cause me physical pain to the upper body (.303 Brit and .375 Ruger calibres) and to ensure I allways wear ear muffs when target shooting - I generally don't wear earmuffs for hunting so I can still hear my hunting mates (safety reasons).
# 1 rule is STOP when it isn't fun anymore - IE it hurts or is uncomfortable.
I would agree that overcoming flinching is an ongoing discipline and control of the mind and the gun is critical to, and the biggest part of, the flinching solution.
In my case, flinch equates to trigger pull and anticipated recoil. I've found that reducing trigger pull ( and a quality trigger with no pretravel or creep) goes a long way toward reducing or eliminating anticipation, aka: flinch.
Flinch will ruin your day when shooting competition and it occurs across all calibers.
In my case, controlling recoil is all about decelerator pads, or muzzle brakes. heavy, abrupt recoil not only is a detriment to accurate shot placement, it's a detriment to optics and optic alignment.
I come to rifle now after shooting shotgun at clay for over 15 years so I am familiar with the flinch. Luckily I had some good mentors and the one point that was drilled into me and I have followed to this day - use as little shot and powder that you need to get the job done. I load a "candy" (lite) one ounce load for trap, skeet and SC when I shoot it. Choke down and practice. I have put over 100,000 shells thru my Browning O/U and I don't flinch (knock wood).
Now that I am doing more rifle I always have my 22LR with me when I shoot targets. And while a have a few bigger rifles my next rifle is going to be a .223 because that is all I will need for woodchucks out to 200 yards. And when I need something which will reach out a little farther I will buy it but not until then.