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Old March 6, 2011, 09:53 PM   #1
Kimio
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Join Date: January 2, 2011
Location: Utah
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Bad habits, and questions on how to prevent them from developing.

I am still a little new to firing guns and such, but I noticed that I am starting to have issues with anticipating the recoil of my rifle.

I started on a .22LR but admittedly, I only fired it briefly while visiting my uncle. From there I tried a few .22 pistols and a few larger pistol calibers.

I currently own a Mosin Nagant M91/30, and while I try to stay conscious of my breathing and how smooth I pull the trigger, I catch myself after a dozen rounds or so having to stop and re-adjust due to getting anxious of the recoil.

Is there a way to help prevent this from occuring? This most often happens after I put about 30-40+ rounds down range. Perhaps it's due to fatigue? Lately I've been practicing at 100-200 yards with just irons.

I want to nip this in the bud before it becomes a real hard habit to break. It's not all the time, and usually once I notice it, I can keep myself from anticipating the recoil.
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Old March 6, 2011, 11:58 PM   #2
JohnKSa
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If you can tell when you start to get "flinchy" during a practice session then simply stop a few rounds before it normally occurs. A 30-40 round practice session is pretty reasonable for a centerfire rifle. There's no need to stretch it out past that, especially if it's causing you to develop bad habits.

If you want to keep shooting that session then switch over to a .22 rifle or maybe do some dryfire practice or switch to practicing on getting into and maintaining your shooting positions for awhile before getting back to shooting your M-N.

Some other things to consider.

Double up on hearing protection. Using foam plugs and muffs can help deaden the muzzle blast which can reduce the overall effect of recoil/blast that many shooters perceive as a single event.

If the recoil is causing you pain or significant discomfort then use a padded jacket or have a recoil pad added to your rifle. If you don't want to add a recoil pad you can look into a less permanent solution like a lace-on or slip-on recoil pad that can be easily removed. Changing your shooting position can also help--shooting offhand is much less punishing than shooting over a bench.
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Old March 7, 2011, 12:41 AM   #3
Rob228
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Kind of just repeating whats been said...

After you shoot your 30-40 rounds center fire, shoot .22 for a while. After that, dry fire the center fire, holding it on target to see if you flinch. If you have a shooting partner, have them load it for you, either with no round in the chamber or loaded but not tell you that it is and shoot ten or so times like that (maybe 3 live rounds during that ten rounds, the rest will be dry fire, but you will never know if you are shooting a live one or not). Dry firing is one of the best methods of building muscle memory and overcoming a flinch.
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Old March 7, 2011, 02:28 AM   #4
Kimio
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Join Date: January 2, 2011
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Thankyou for the advice, I also am concerned if I may be yanking on the trigger during these times. How can I tell when I'm doing this? I usually am able to keep my shots on the mark and fairly close together. Will I see any major changes in my shot placement?
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Old March 7, 2011, 10:31 AM   #5
JohnKSa
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If you're yanking the trigger then your groups will open up.

Given the wide variety, quality and usage levels of the different M-N's on the market and also the huge spread in terms of ammunition quality in that caliber it's hard to make a blanket statement about what sort of accuracy you should be achieving.

Flinching can be remarkably consistent--that is, I've seen people who can achieve reasonably good shot placement because they are flinching so consistently. Where it shows up most is in group size.

The classical method for determining if a shooter is flinching is to have a second person load the magazine, occasionally putting a dummy round into the magazine at random positions. That round won't fire and if the shooter is yanking the trigger, it will be apparent in the absence of report/recoil.

That may be overkill in this situation. Most of the time it's hard to convince a shooter that he's flinching. If you actually think you're flinching it's probably a good bet that you are.

The recipe for curing flinching is pretty simple. Do a lot of practice that doesn't cause flinching. Use a rimfire, do dryfire work, recoil padding and up your hearing protection.

If you really want to or need to shoot in a situation that you know causes you to have a tendency to flinch then be VERY disciplined about how many rounds you allow yourself to shoot in that situation. Remember, poor practice is actually hurting, not helping. If you can shoot 10 rounds without flinching but 15 rounds causes you to have to really fight a flinch then stop at 10 rounds. It may seem like a waste of a range trip to only shoot 10 rounds, but it's worse than a waste if you are practicing in such a way as to develop bad habits.

I recommend you get a decent rimfire rifle. That will allow you to do more shooting during your range visits and therefore eliminate the temptation to shoot more than you should with the M-N.

Over time, you can probably work back up to shooting more with the M-N, but for now, if you can tell it's making you flinch, you're doing more harm than good by trying to stretch out the length of your practice sessions with it.
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