How to Manage Recoil and Shoot Faster
For most hunters, shooting faster means making fast and accurate follow-up shots
Straight-pull rifles like the Savage Impulse are designed to allow the shooter to cycle the action and ultimately shoot faster than traditional bolt-action rifles. For most hunters, shooting faster means making fast and accurate follow-up shots. The offseason is a great time to improve your speed and accuracy for follow-up shots with good position building and lots of practice with your rifle.
A big part of making quick and accurate follow-up shots is recoil management. The better you can mitigate a rifle’s recoil, the quicker you can get back on-target. Like getting an accurate first shot, your recoil management starts with building a solid position before you pull the trigger. If you’re off-balance, or in an otherwise unstable position, the recoil will knock you around and it’ll take you longer to get back on target for your next shot.
When possible, build a shooting position with your weight forward, slightly into the gun. You don’t’ want to be falling forward, but many shooters have a tendency of standing straight up or even leaning back. When the rifle recoils, shooters in these positions are rocked back, and off target.
So lean forward, slightly. If you’re using a bipod, you want to load the bipod by pressing your weight into the buttstock of the gun.
If you’re shooting offhand, use your support hand to pull the stock of the rifle tightly into your shoulder as you’re leaning slightly forward. This isn’t always the most accurate position to shoot offhand for single shots, but it’s the best to manage recoil, and if you want to shoot fast and accurately, it’s a concession you should make. Weight forward and pulling the gun to your shoulder will help you recover from your shot, cycle the action, and get back on target faster.
Stay on the Gun
Along with managing recoil, staying on the gun will help you get that follow-up shot off more quickly. It’s common after taking a shot for a hunter to drop the rifle from their shoulder, cycle the action, re-shoulder the rifle, aim, then fire another shot. Most of us do this out of habit and there isn’t anything inherently wrong with it, it’s just not fast.
Keeping the gun on your shoulder between shots saves precious time when you need to get another round on target quick. Cycling the action—especially a straight-pull action—is very efficient while the rifle is still on the shoulder. Eliminating unnecessary movement speeds up the process.
It’s also important to keep your cheek weld on the stock as you cycle the action. Maintaining your head position with both eyes open allows you to watch the target while you’re cycling the rifle. You’ll find the target in the scope again much more quickly than if you have to re-shoulder the rifle and re-establish your head position and sight picture through the scope or sights.
Dry fire practice can help you speed up and stabilize your shooting tremendously. It helps build familiarity with your rifle and its function. You can practice your positions, cycling the rifle, and breathing and shot process without firing a shot.
It’s important to practice with live ammo too if you really want to improve your speed and accuracy. You might need to adjust your position to best manage the recoil, reload, and get back on target quickly. Timing yourself in basic drills can help you track your progress—like how fast you can get three shots on a steel plate at 100 yards.