Reducing Recoil with Muzzle Brakes

As we get closer to hunting season this week’s tip to get your shots on target in about muzzle brakes. When we plan to hunt with a rifle we need to do our best to make sure we have good shot groupings.

I’ve shared ways to attain a tighter shot grouping and a few ways to reduce shooting flinch. After that, I received a message from a friend telling me that adding a muzzle brake to the rifle is a way to reduce flinch. While the brake reduces recoil, it doesn’t necessarily reduce shooting flinch.

CLICK HERE to listen to this tip and more
in my segment at Armed Lutheran Radio.

I have a muzzle brake on the end of the barrel of my 6.5-300 Weatherby, my daught3er has one on her .270 WSM, and H has one on his .338-378 Weatherby. Are you noticing a pattern with these three guns? They are ones that shoot very hot rounds. That means the cartridge is loaded with a lot of gunpowder and when it’s ignited, it produces a mass of gasses that go “bang” and push the bullet out of the barrel.  Many of the rifles that shoot “hot” loads will have muzzle brakes on the end because without one the recoil would be tremendous.

Muzzle brakes are ported devices that attach to the end of the barrel and are designed to reduce recoil. They are not suppressors. The brake has ports that angle so as to push the gasses, which push the bullet out of the barrel, back. The shooter and bystanders will feel the effects/wind from the shot.

( + ) Reduced Recoil

The redirecting of the gasses causes the felt effect of recoil to be spread out instead of pushing the rifle directly back into the shoulder. Most muzzle brakes reduce recoil by about 50%.

This is something that indeed may reduce shooting flinch for someone, but let’s talk about some of the other plusses and minuses before we come to a verdict.

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( – ) Noise

You and any bystanders need to wear your eyes and ears when you’re shooting a rifle with a muzzle brake on the end of the barrel. Instead of being blown downrange the sound is being blown back to you. Along with this, dust and debris may be propelled in your direction Be safe and wear your proper protective equipment.

( +/- ) Accurate

The muzzle brake won’t decrease the velocity or accuracy of the projectile. However, you’ll need a gunsmith to install it and then you’ll need to sight it in. If you remove it you’ll need to sight in your rifle again.

( – ) Adds Barrel Length

The brake adds to the length of the barrel. I personally have no issue with the added length, however, some people do. If overall length is an issue, you may order your rifle with a shorter barrel prior to adding the brake.

( – ) Debris

A ported device that adds length to the barrel makes me think about knocking tree branches as I’m hiking, which leads me to the issue of debris. With a muzzle brake, you need to be aware that the ports will increase your chances of collecting debris in the barrel. The ports can snag pine needles and other items as your hiking. The good news is it’s easy to remedy this issue. Either rubberband a plastic bag over the brake, or cut the fingertip off of a latex glove and roll it over the brake at the barrel’s end. These are easy to remove and in a pinch, you can even shoot through them.

A muzzle brake is something you can look at to reduce recoil. It makes those larger calibers and hotter loads more “shootable.” However, due to that increased noise and the blow-back of air, it can actually increase shooting flinch. Overcome that with practice at the range.


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Hunting Prep – Reduce Shooting Flinch

If you’ve been to the range to prep for hunting season and have noticed that your shot groups aren’t consistent, it may be due to the developed bad habit of Shooting Flinch.

While sighting in with a friend I noticed that she’d developed a flinch. She was anticipating the recoil while shooting her rifle, which significantly reduced her accuracy on target.

If you’re having a similar problem, there are a couple of techniques you can try to help reduce flinch. We need to get a tight shot group on the target.

CLICK HERE to listen to this tip and more
in my segment at Armed Lutheran Radio.

Shooters feel the recoil as it punches the butt of the rifle into the shoulder. It’s most recognizable when we shoot from a bench or prone shooting position. If it isn’t addressed, it can lead to bad habits which carry on into the field and can ruin a hunt.

In addition to the flinch, some habits a shooter can develop are closing their eyes, pulling or jerking the trigger, or sitting back or pulling away just as they pull the trigger. These bad habits will cause their shots to rarely hit the zone where they are aiming.

 

Mia-Anstine-shooting-6.5-300-Weatherby-Swarovski-x5i-optics

Start by shooting from a bench or lead sled to make sure the optics are zeroed. After that, you need to transition to a shooter held rifle position.

One thing you can do is to add a shoulder pad, puffy jacket or vest. Another thing a shooter can do is purchase a butt pad for their rifle. It will absorb a great amount of the recoil between the gun stock and the shooter’s shoulder. Something you’ll need to consider is that this will change the length of pull for the shooter, so test out the trigger finger’s reach before you go to live fire. This should be done before the hunt anyhow as we may be wearing different gear depending on the weather conditions.

With the added padding between the rifle and shoulder, the anticipation of recoil induced pain may be reduced.

With the expectation of recoil out of the way, you may notice other issues. Such as the bad habit of closing the eyes or the reflex of sitting back from the gun as the trigger’s pulled.

You can work on relaxing during the shot as well as some of the following:

  • Breathing techniques – Take a deep breath, slowly exhale then hold it for a pause as you pull the trigger.
  • Shoot at larger targets – Instead of aiming for a point on a bulls-eye shoot large paper animal-shaped targets. Aim for the kill-zone instead of a dot.
  • Trigger control – Worked on slowly taking up the slack on the trigger to prevent pulling or jerking her shots. Learn to pull the trigger slow and steady. As you pull the trigger look to see the point where the bullet hits the target. You should be surprised at the shot as it breaks.
  • Shoot from various positions – Shoot from the shooting bench and transition to sitting, kneeling, standing and from shooting sticks. This will provide a new focus that is not that of the anticipation of the shot.
  • Create shooting scenarios – Have a partner talk you through the following, “The elk just walked out. He’s broad-side. He’s clear. Take the shot when you’re ready.” Then add a reload into the scenario. Remind your partner, “You’re going to shoot once. Quickly throw the bolt and reload. The elk didn’t fall down. Quickly re-acquire your target and shoot again.” Rehearsing this scenario not only helps for real-life hunting situations, but it takes the shooter’s mind off the recoil.

With some practice the added confidence of shots that are grouped better we can reduce shooting flinch. Another thing to note is to shoot a very minimal number of rounds so the shooter doesn’t become tired or sore. If you’re preparing with your hunting rifle, six rounds may be plenty. Don’t let the shooter leave the range with a sore shoulder. You’ll be happy to work on better groupings instead of evading the dreaded bad habits.


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Help me create better videos for YOU by showing your support at Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/MiaAnstine.

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Managing Recoil – How to Reduce Shooting Flinch

Since a friend asked for advice, and many are trying to fill their freezers, I thought I better revive this old post about how to reduce shooting flinch. Is this something you’ve ever had an issue with? How did you deal with it? ~Mia


In sighting in my Little Gal’s rifle for her elk hunt I noticed she had developed a flinch. She was anticipating the recoil when shooting her rifle. It was significantly decreasing her shooting accuracy. Her shots were all over the target, and some were even missing it entirely. I have tried a couple of teaching techniques to help reduce her flinch. We needed to get a better shot group and hit the “kill zone” on paper.

The Little Gal practicing shooting from sticks.

Shooters feel the recoil as it punches the butt of the rifle into the shoulder. It is most recognizable when shooting from a bench or prone shooting position, and when adrenaline is flowing out in the field, the bad habits can ruin a hunt. A shooter can develop a habit of closing their eyes, pulling or jerking the trigger or even sitting back just as they pull the trigger. These bad habits will cause their shots to be all over the place, and rarely hit the zone where they are aiming.

CLICK TO SHOP SHOOTING STICKS —->

In working with my Little Gal, I have had her practice shooting with her hunting vest on. It is a Prois Sherpa vest which is soft and plush. It provided a significant amount of shoulder padding. Another thing a shooter can do is purchase a butt pad for their rifle. It will absorb a great amount of the recoil between the gun stock and the shooter’s shoulder.

The Little Gal wearing her plush, reversible, Prois Sherpa vest.

With the added padding between the rifle and LG’s shoulder, the pain anticipation was reduced. The problem was the bad habit of closing her eyes was still there as was the reflex of sitting back from the gun as the trigger was pulled.

We worked on relaxing as well as some of the following:

  • Breathing techniques – She took a deep breath, slowly exhaled then held it for a pause as she pulled the trigger.
  • Trigger control – We worked on not pulling or jerking her shots. She learned to pull the trigger slow and steady.
  • Shot at larger targets – Instead of aiming for a point on a bulls-eye . I purchased paper targets that were animal shaped. I asked her to try to look and see where the shot was going to hit.
  • Shoot from various positions – I had LG shoot from the shooting bench as well as shooting sticks in order to change her mindset.
  • Created shooting scenarios – I asked her to rehearse the following, “The elk just walked out. He’s broad-side. You are going to shoot once. Quickly throw the bolt and reload. The elk didn’t fall down. Quickly acquire your target and shoot again.” Rehearsing this scenario not only helped her for real-life hunting situations, but it took her mind off the recoil and her shot grouping was much better.

With the added confidence of shots that were grouped much better, LG began to realize she could overcome her flinch. We also shot a very minimal number of rounds. Generally a maximum of six. She never left the range with a sore shoulder. We are happy to be working on better groupings instead of evading bad habits.

The Little Gal had a better shot grouping after working on reducing flinch.

What techniques do you use to overcome flinch when you are shooting?


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Advertisements on this site do not express or represent the opinion of MAC Outdoors or Mia Anstine. 

Recoil – Reducing shooting flinch

Since a friend asked for advice, I thought I better revive this old post about how to reduce shooting flinch. Is this something you’ve ever had an issue with? How did you deal with it? ~Mia


In sighting in my Little Gal’s rifle for her elk hunt I noticed she had developed a flinch. She was anticipating the recoil when shooting her rifle. It was significantly decreasing her shooting accuracy. Her shots were all over the target, and some were even missing it entirely. I have tried a couple of teaching techniques to help reduce her flinch. We needed to get a better shot group and hit the “kill zone” on paper.

The Little Gal practicing shooting from sticks.

Shooters feel the recoil as it punches the butt of the rifle into the shoulder. It is most recognizable when shooting from a bench or prone shooting position, and when adrenaline is flowing out in the field, the bad habits can ruin a hunt. A shooter can develop a habit of closing their eyes, pulling or jerking the trigger or even sitting back just as they pull the trigger. These bad habits will cause their shots to be all over the place, and rarely hit the zone where they are aiming.

CLICK TO SHOP SHOOTING STICKS —->

In working with my Little Gal, I have had her practice shooting with her hunting vest on. It is a Prois Sherpa vest which is soft and plush. It provided a significant amount of shoulder padding. Another thing a shooter can do is purchase a butt pad for their rifle. It will absorb a great amount of the recoil between the gun stock and the shooter’s shoulder.

The Little Gal wearing her plush, reversible, Prois Sherpa vest.

With the added padding between the rifle and LG’s shoulder, the pain anticipation was reduced. The problem was the bad habit of closing her eyes was still there as was the reflex of sitting back from the gun as the trigger was pulled.

We worked on relaxing as well as some of the following:

  • Breathing techniques – She took a deep breath, slowly exhaled then held it for a pause as she pulled the trigger.
  • Trigger control – We worked on not pulling or jerking her shots. She learned to pull the trigger slow and steady.
  • Shot at larger targets – Instead of aiming for a point on a bulls-eye . I purchased paper targets that were animal shaped. I asked her to try to look and see where the shot was going to hit.
  • Shoot from various positions – I had LG shoot from the shooting bench as well as shooting sticks in order to change her mindset.
  • Created shooting scenarios – I asked her to rehearse the following, “The elk just walked out. He’s broad-side. You are going to shoot once. Quickly throw the bolt and reload. The elk didn’t fall down. Quickly acquire your target and shoot again.” Rehearsing this scenario not only helped her for real-life hunting situations, but it took her mind off the recoil and her shot grouping was much better.

With the added confidence of shots that were grouped much better, LG began to realize she could overcome her flinch. We also shot a very minimal number of rounds. Generally a maximum of six. She never left the range with a sore shoulder. We are happy to be working on better groupings instead of evading bad habits.

The Little Gal had a better shot grouping after working on reducing flinch.

What techniques do you use to overcome flinch when you are shooting?


Connect with Mia – Twitter  Facebook  +Google Pinterest YouTube Instagram

Advertisements on this site do not express or represent the opinion of MAC Outdoors or Mia Anstine.