Here is something that no one mentioned yet. How are you seated at the bench? I see lots of people sitting like they would if they were eating a meal at a picnic table. Meaning, both legs in front shoulders square to the target and leaning forward at about a 45 over their rifle. Doing this drives all the recoil directly I to a very stiff structure. With no "give" this leaves your shoulder high and dry to take much of the abuse.
Yes the strap on PAST pads are nice. If you want to see if you can handle it without spending money, change your form.
For a right handed shooter***
Start Facing your target.
turn 90 degrees right and step over the sitting bench with your left leg so you are standing straddling the bench or seat facing down the firing line.
Now turn your upper body and face down range and shoulder your rifle and fire.
In using this technique when the rifle recoils it will cause your body to twist and allow for more recoil absorption through your whole upper body structure rather than tenderizing your shoulder meat.
Try it, it works. Would be the same only opposite directions for a lefty rifle shooter.