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Thread: Help with Flinch

  1. #1
    Warrior Troutguide's Avatar
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    Help with Flinch

    I have hunted with .30-06 for 25 years and had great success. The first rifle i hunted with was my Fathers Rem. 700 and it had a super light trigger pull which I was good with. A few years ago I inherited a Ruger 77, the trigger is much heavier and I shot it a little and hunted with it the last few seasons, however I have developed or possibly had already developed a flinch when I shoot. So bad I started missing deer at close range. This has led me to the Grendel for a lower recoil alternative and a better trigger. I purchased a Howa 65G and am loving shooting it. I am working on the flinch with snap caps and lots of rounds down the range. I am able to shoot 1" groups at 100 with it but still have issues with the flinch at times. I recently took it hunting for the first time and killed a hog at 60yds with a perfect head shot. This was after trying to shoot with the safety on and flinching badly, so reminding myself to breath correctly and pull smoothly I nailed it. That evening I had another hog at 60 yrs and was worried they were going to bolt so I made a rather quick shot and missed. I assume I flinched again bc I didn't tell myself not to.

    How do you work on the flinch for live targets and quick shots? Any tricks to fix the flinch? Like I said I can control it now at the range and do fine with snap caps its just the real life situations that it seems to come back. I used to shoot archery a lot and developed target panic, I was able to mentally correct that with practice holding on target and shooting to different counts mixing up how long I held on target before releasing. So I know I can overcome this too, just looking for advice on the best way?

  2. #2
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    When shooting with others we load each others guns to try to catch each other flinching. I'll leave it empty or put in a fired case in between live ones. It's not so much training as a reason to poke fun. Anyhow that's how we avoid it.

    When I'm shooting game I sort of mentally think in terms of putting the bullet in where I want it as opposed to a bench situation where I let the gun go off and surprise me. That is to say I break the trigger and push the bullet into the animal as if in one motion. In recoil I'm trying to get the gun cycled and back on a target that might be moving. I guess another way of saying it is be too busy killing to anticipate breaking the shot.

  3. #3
    Chieftain montana's Avatar
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    I have seen flinching from the bench with people who are recoil sensitive. Practice dry firing and most of all follow through. Practice keeping your eyes open and focused on your target even after the trigger has been squeezed and the rifle recoils. Focus,focus focus. The more you practice the more it becomes second nature.

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    As you work toward eliminating your flinchitis, one key to seeing how successful you are is your ability to keep your eyes open through the shot break.

    Then, you will find your precision improving by folowing advice LR1955 passed to us awhile back: Train yourself to pull, rather than squeeze, the trigger when the position and sight picture are right. That exercise has significantly improved my precision because we can't eliminate all motion when shooting from even the best of positions.

    BTW keeping one's eyes open through the shot is extraordinarily difficult. So, I am very pleased when I see muzzle flash in the scope or splash of the bullet when the target isn't paper!
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  5. #5
    Warrior ricsmall's Avatar
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    Approach game much the same as you do a paper target. If you are not calm enough to think through the shot, back off and start over with your firing sequence. Focus on a tiny spot where you want your bullet to land and make it go there. I've shot literally hundreds of different rifles, and calibers from 17 hmr to .50 bmg, and to me a .270 and .30-06 are the worst in terms of felt recoil. The numbers may say otherwise but the sharpness of the recoil is different. Maybe LR1955 will chime in with some professional advice

    Richard
    Member since 2011, data lost in last hack attack

  6. #6
    Warrior Sticks's Avatar
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    All of the above, and would add that you are not done when the shot breaks. Proper follow through with the trigger reset is also quite important. I always hold the trigger until after the impact/sight picture returns before I let it reset.
    Sticks

    Grasseater // Grass~eat~er noun, often attributive \ˈgras-ē-tər\
    A person who is incapable of independent thought; a person who is herd animal-like in behavior; one who cannot distinguish between right and wrong; a foolish person.
    See also Sheep

  7. #7
    All the above is excellent advice but something else to add that helped me..

    When I first started shooting my new Grendel build I hadn't shot anything over .223 or 30-30 in along time, at least 3-5 years. And the second time I went out I discovered myself flinching pretty badly (I was really pushing the COAL and a couple of the rounds were too long and wouldn't fire which made it extremely obvious how far I'd moved when the gun didn't go off )

    Since the Grendel as we all know is a very mild shooter especially in a semi, this pissed me off to no end. So I grabbed a mag of Amax's that I knew were loaded correctly, took a big deep breath, relaxed on the exhale, and let er rip for 15 rounds.

    The point was simply to feel the gun, accustom my mind and body to a higher recoil impulse, accept that it wasn't painful or harsh and the scope wasn't going to hit me in the face, etc.

    Take my mind to a more zen state if you will, where I could focus on the fundamentals of shooting. I settled down after that and had a good rest of my trip and was much improved the next time I went as well.

    Which is a long way of saying, relax it ain't a .375 H&H, and get more trigger time with the proper fundamentals mentioned above.

  8. #8
    Chieftain Klem's Avatar
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    All good advice above. I will add that Howl's technique of using others to load your gun is what we used to call in the military a 'Ball and Dummy' shoot. You can even do it by yourself. Load a mag with a live round, another with a dummy and so on. mix them up and load them without looking. We noticed that flinching comes and goes and needs to be checked with practise - so it's not just inexperienced shooters. I like Sticks advice to about follow through. Consciously hold the trigger to the rear until you see the splash on the target. That way you can guarantee you have not automatically relaxed your grip while the bullet is still in the barrel.

  9. #9
    Warrior AZ. Old Guy's Avatar
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    I learned to shoot handguns from a couple Air Force gunnys by Ball and Dummy about 35 years ago. A whack on the back of the head helps too.
    NRA Lifer

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troutguide View Post
    I have hunted with .30-06 for 25 years and had great success. The first rifle i hunted with was my Fathers Rem. 700 and it had a super light trigger pull which I was good with. A few years ago I inherited a Ruger 77, the trigger is much heavier and I shot it a little and hunted with it the last few seasons, however I have developed or possibly had already developed a flinch when I shoot. So bad I started missing deer at close range. This has led me to the Grendel for a lower recoil alternative and a better trigger. I purchased a Howa 65G and am loving shooting it. I am working on the flinch with snap caps and lots of rounds down the range. I am able to shoot 1" groups at 100 with it but still have issues with the flinch at times. I recently took it hunting for the first time and killed a hog at 60yds with a perfect head shot. This was after trying to shoot with the safety on and flinching badly, so reminding myself to breath correctly and pull smoothly I nailed it. That evening I had another hog at 60 yrs and was worried they were going to bolt so I made a rather quick shot and missed. I assume I flinched again bc I didn't tell myself not to.

    How do you work on the flinch for live targets and quick shots? Any tricks to fix the flinch? Like I said I can control it now at the range and do fine with snap caps its just the real life situations that it seems to come back. I used to shoot archery a lot and developed target panic, I was able to mentally correct that with practice holding on target and shooting to different counts mixing up how long I held on target before releasing. So I know I can overcome this too, just looking for advice on the best way?
    TG:

    What the other guys have said are all sound so if one of their techniques works for you, go for it.

    First thing you need to come to grips with is the reason you are flinching. The most elemental reason is that you are allowing your attention to shift from making a good shot and directing your attention towards the effect of the shot on you. Normal result is for a guy to close his eyes, thrust the rifle away from him while jerking the crap out of the trigger.

    Solutions? Varied but all of them are designed for you to keep your attention focused on the shot instead of the recoil and noise.

    Best solution is to find a rifle and cartridge that has sufficiently less recoil and noise that you can shoot it confidently knowing you are focusing on your shot.

    I have also had luck with insulating the shooter from the rifle by wearing plugs and muffs, eye protection, and light gloves.

    Sometimes a change in stock design and a break works but is very costly.

    One thing I am pretty confident in knowing is that you can take so many hits from a hard recoiling and very loud rifle before your body simply won't take them anymore.

    So, you need to keep your attention focused on your shot. You know exactly what it feels like and sounds like when you pull the trigger so you got to accept it but you don't have to allow it to interfere with holding a sight picture through the shot. Push it to a periphery of your consciousness where it won't interfere with your mental focus of holding a adequate sight picture through the shot. You must want to make a good shot more important than any pain inflicted on you from the shot. If you can't make the shot more important than the single smack of the stock under recoil then you need a rifle and cartridge that will allow it.

    You can also use some self talk if it works for you. Like as you are tracking the animal and taking your hold you can say to yourself something like 'calm, calm, center, center, center' and allow yourself to fire the shot. A good way to approach your shot on a game animal may be that once you get your rifle up and are going through your aiming process, breath and count to yourself up to maybe four or five breaths and with each breath and count, focus your attention more and more on your sight picture and making the shot. Consciously breathing short, sharp breaths while counting oxygenates your system, provides you physical strength, allows you to see better, and tends to give guys confidence that they are in control of their shot. Counting also is a distractor and if you are counting to yourself, you aren't thinking about the recoil or blast. So, you can push the recoil and blast out of your mind but then you must replace it with an image of what you must do for a good shot. With each count, focus your attention more and more on the sight picture and shot. At four or five count, you are ready to shoot because you have flushed negative thoughts or fears and have replaced them with doing what you need to do to make a single, good, shot.

    It can get you through the relatively few shots you take with the rifle for hunting purposes. Just understand that you have a limited amount of hits allowed before you simply need to get a rifle with less recoil and noise.

    LR55
    Last edited by LR1955; 02-28-2017 at 02:08 AM.

  11. #11
    Warrior Troutguide's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. I think I am on the right path given your comments. I switched to the Grendel for a reduced recoil rifle and I do enjoy shooting it compared to the .30-06. I think it will do anything I need it to do for my normal hunting and I will get past this flinch using it. I think my flinching is a combination of recoil and a relapse of the target panic I had with bowhunting, once the sight picture is right I just yank the trigger instead if being in control through the shot. I have gotten through the archery issue with lots of consistent mental practice and I think this is going to be the same. LR1955 I like the counting exercise, it will make me focus on the correct shot sequence instead of just yanking the trigger when I see a good sight picture, basically what I had to train myself to do with the bow. I am going to start mixing in the snap caps anytime I am range shooting to keep letting me know when I am flinching. Thanks ALL!!

  12. #12
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    The Grendel recoil is noticeable but not severe. It being noticeable, however, makes the initial work toward eliminating the habit of flinching more challenging.

    I do know that 85 - 90 grain bullets recoil a lot less than the mainstream 123 gr pills do. That means one might be able to try them with a light load and fast powder to reduce even further.

    Then return to your hunting and target weight bullets when you feel comfortable with the rifle and any residual flinch. If my experience is normal, reverting a flinching state is all too easy. I has taken a long time to get to where I think I have it under control when I'm on my game. I still find myself forgetting to concentrate and blinking or outright flinching on occasion.
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  13. #13
    Chieftain sneaky one's Avatar
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    I agree JASmith. Add a muzzle brake- it's like shooting a .22lr. Always a brake on my rifles at the range. Confidence helps . Both eyes open shooting.

    So does a Limbsaver recoil buttstock pad, it's cool.
    Last edited by sneaky one; 03-05-2017 at 02:19 AM.

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    Well the hardest part is over, admitting that you have a flinch. I denied it till my buddy said here let me load your gun for you.....Yep I had a major flinch. The other problem might be thinking I'm shooting 1" groups at 100yds, how can I miss a whole hog at 50-60 yds. It happens, like the line in American Sniper "Aim small, miss small".

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    Quote Originally Posted by customcutter View Post
    Well the hardest part is over, admitting that you have a flinch. I denied it till my buddy said here let me load your gun for you.....Yep I had a major flinch. The other problem might be thinking I'm shooting 1" groups at 100yds, how can I miss a whole hog at 50-60 yds. It happens, like the line in American Sniper "Aim small, miss small".
    CC:

    From American Patriot of something of that name.

    Anyway, makes no sense to me putting 'miss' into someone's mind just before they pull a trigger.

    Sounds good for a movie, though.

    LR55

  16. #16
    Warrior Sticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by customcutter View Post
    ... It happens, like the line in American Sniper "Aim small, miss small".
    Quote Originally Posted by LR1955 View Post
    CC:

    From American Patriot of something of that name.

    ...

    LR55
    "The Patriot" - Mel Gibson
    Sticks

    Grasseater // Grass~eat~er noun, often attributive \ˈgras-ē-tər\
    A person who is incapable of independent thought; a person who is herd animal-like in behavior; one who cannot distinguish between right and wrong; a foolish person.
    See also Sheep

  17. #17
    Warrior Troutguide's Avatar
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    "The center of an Asprin tablet is exactly the same size as the center of a beach ball. You always shoot at the center.” -Byron Ferguson

    This is an archery quote but seems appropriate. Thanks for all the input guys. I will get to shoot again next week and will be putting it all into practice at the range.

  18. #18
    Ball and dummy along with shooting by the numbers with a light caliber rifle. Once comfortable with that, move back to the rifle that you were having issues with. Again shooting by the numbers. I would highly advise against a muzzle brake, in my experience brakes added to a shooter usually increase the flinch verses fix it. The increased muzzle blast doesn't help when trying to get rid of bad habits. I've taken more brakes off rifles than added to them. And of the ones I have added brakes to, over half been removed in under a year. Fast shooting competition rifles and really hard kicking rifles are really the only rifles I've seen a true benefit in using brakes on.

  19. #19
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    Most of us are extraordinarily lucky to have been introduced to Mr. Grendel. We get easy to handle rifles with very tolerable recoil in a cartridge adequate for 95% of North American hunting opportunities.

    That alone makes flinchitis a manageable challenge rather than one that must be in the forefront of one’s consciuosness every time the trigger is pulled.
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