July 02, 2008
Calculating Flinch Factor
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
In my accuracy extravaganza in the July issue, the promise was made (not by me) that we would reveal the formula for calculating how much a flinch can throw off your bullet. Here it is:
Distance off = L * 0.0014706
What you need to know in order to understand this gibberish is that the rifle is assumed to be 42.5 inches long, that L equals the distance the bullet will go wide, and that the asterisk means multiply. (Apparently mathematicians no longer use X for that purpose, although it did perfectly well for many centuries.)
So, if you want to calculate how far you will miss by at 200 yards you would multiply 200 by 0.0014706, which would give you 0.29412 yards or 10.59 inches.
Now if any of you who scored 800 in your math SATs would like to quibble, you can do so with each other. Feel free. I am not going to get involved.
The only things you really need to know about recoil are: a) it will make you miss for seemingly inexplicable reasons, since no one admits they do it, because b) it casts serious doubt on your manhood, and c) it can be cured by getting a much less powerful gun.
And a further note on the accuracy piece. In the summary of how the Winchester Model 70 shot, I said it performed like an old Model 70. I've learned that's because it was an old Model 70 that looked like a new gun, but was actually assembled from leftover parts from the New Haven plant. I was sent the same rifle, yet again, for an upcoming piece on the ups and downs of the Model 70. I am told that I will get a real, honest-to-God new rifle in late July. We will see.