Gun Fit

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Gun Fit

Postby Webfoot12 » Fri Mar 17, 2006 4:22 pm

We see a lot of questions about "which gun to buy?" And a lot of people respond with "what fits the best." Ok, that's fine and good advice. But, how should a gun feel and how exactly is it supposed to fit, and what should you expect or how should you expect it to feel and what should you see when you look down the barrel/receiver. How should the stock fit into my shoulder when one is looking down the barrel?

I may know the answer to a couple of questions but others may not.

If anyone has any experience with getting a gun fitted for them, please let us know what you expected or the gunsmith recommended.


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Postby Citori12 » Fri Mar 17, 2006 4:48 pm

There are many factors concerning proper fit...first and foremost which most people do not ever look at is length of pull. This is the distance between the trigger and the butt of the stock. When one shoulders a shotgun the best way to determine length of pull is to pick a spot on the wall (in a safe direction if you are in a store) and focus at that point. Close your eyes and bring the shotgun to your face and should without cocking your head. Open your eyes and you should be pointing at that spot. Your nose should be about 2 finger widths from the back of you shooting hand thumb. You should not have to crane your head on the shotgun stock to be looking down the barrel (not over, not under) Drop at comb has alot to play here. Some models of shotguns come with spacers to adjust this. Shotguns that are too long can be modified to accomodate a shorter length of pull. There are some butt plates and recoil pads that can add some length for shorter stocks. You also have palm swell factors as well as comb height..Most shotguns are designed to fit an average weight man of 5'10". For me personally I have stock dimensions I use that suit me but I still cannot see spending money on a custom stock unless I was makin some money shootin the old smoothbore. Basic stock fit is good enough for the practical hunter/shooter. More extensive shotgun fit is left to those shooting competition.
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Postby Gooseboy » Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:13 pm

Lat your forearm out with the gun in it. The recoil pad should go directly into the crease of your forearm and elbow and you should be able to hold the trigger normally. It fits.
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Postby Joel » Fri Mar 17, 2006 9:45 pm

DU hase some video on gun fit on there web sit
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Postby Jim Broadbridge » Fri Mar 17, 2006 11:10 pm

I'm with C12 the length of pull in my opinion is the most critical stock measurement and also the easiest to modify. One problem all shooters share is the thickness of clothing that one might wear while shooting one shotgun. Our temperatures in Southern Ontario vary so much that we have to choose the stock dimension for our duck guns according to thickest hunting coat we wear. I say that because I believe it's better to have a stock that is a little short rather than a little long. Longer stocks are more prone to get hung up on the hunting coat especially stocks with recoil pads. The stock that fits us perfect in the "tee shirt weather" shooting sporting clays will be too long for us when we put on a heavy hunting coat. All my shotguns have shortend stocks. When talking stock dimensions , 1/8" is lots. Here is a quick check, with the hunting coat of choice on hold the gun in your right arm, with the stock up tight to the inside of your elbow, with the gun pointing up in the air hold your bicept part of your arm parralel to the floor and form a perfect 90 degree angle with your arm, the gun is pointing straight up. Your trigger finger should be in a position to put the first crease on the inside of the finger on the center of the trigger,do this without reaching. If just the tip of your trigger finger touches the trigger you gun is too long, especially for fast gun mounting with hunting coats on. And here is a quick test to see if the gun points where you are looking, real important to good wingshooting. Shoulder your gun and point at a spot on the wall, with both eyes open repeatedly shoulder your gun from the down position and point it at the same spot, when this gets comfortable to do, with the gun in the down posistion stare at the spot , close your eyes and shoulder the gun to point at the spot. If your gun fits you good when you open your eyes your gun will be on the mark. :smile:
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Postby pennsyltucky » Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:53 am

a big thing is the distance from ur trigger hand thumb to ur nose. C12 says 2 fingerwidths. that is probably perfect for most guns, but if u have a good bit of recoil, stretch that back to about 1 1/2". i prefer it that way (cuz im 6'3" 245) but if u give that extra bit of space on all ur guns, ull be a better shooter.

dont underestimate the body's power to adapt. it wont overcome a grossly unfitting gun, but a little high or low in the comb, a little too much drop or pull, or even a set of double triggers..... you will grow into the gun if u shoot it. (to an extent)

the more u shoot the better ull be.
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Postby Jim Broadbridge » Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:45 am

:withstupid: Good point Pennsyltucky, that's why I feel it's important to stick with one gun for most of your shooting because in time your body will adapt to any imperfections in gun fit. I shot the same 870 for over 30 years and it became like a third arm for me. I know my wing shooting was better because of that. :smile:
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Postby Ducksbeus » Sun Mar 19, 2006 11:02 am

Some SUPERB advice...Shoulder a shotgun while watching yourself in a mirror, if you appear to be reaching... It dont fit :cool: :cool: :cool:
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Postby puddlerjumper » Sun Mar 19, 2006 11:11 am

This is becoming a sticky.
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Postby Citori12 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:14 am

:withstupid: :withstupid: I am with Jim....Now remember that sport hunting and sport shooting are entirely two different things. Hunting stocks have certain measurements. So if you have ever wondered why they make different models say..sporting vs field models its because people like trap shooters want thier shotguns to shoot a little high. Some clay target shooters want their clays "floated" over the barrel so they can see the target when they break it. Field guns are stocked a little different. And Jim makes an excellent point in terms of clothing and fit. I have a lenght of pull that works for me. So I always slightly modify my shotguns with 1/8" spacers between the recoil pad and butt of the shotgun. This enables me to use the shotgun on clay target ranges when I can shoot in light clothing and remove the spacer for heavy waterfowl clothing. There are certain makes and models of shotguns that fit me very well off the shelf. So when I am looking at new guns I look at these manufactures.
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Postby Webfoot12 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:32 pm

Great advice fellas thanks....
I was playing around with the two fingers, space idea. I notice my spacing is only around one finger. I like to get down low so I can see straight down the barrel rib to the ball. I mounted all of my shotguns the same way, even my first 870 youth 20 g that I have had for a while. You think I should make an effort to stay up and back some or just go with what works?
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Postby Citori12 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:41 pm

Or simply add a recoil pad that is a little thicker than what you currently have on the gun...once the fit is established alot can be accomplished without expensive gunsmithing just by adding spacers or thicker or thinner recoil pads.
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Postby maltzie » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:29 pm

Gentlemen;

Proper gun fit is much more detailed than the posts offer so far, with basics or old rule of thumb beliefs. Many competitive target shooters pay hundreds to thousands of dollars to properly fit a shotgun. From adjustable combs, length of pulls with pad adjusters to custom made stocks just to address this issue. Personal gun fit is of great value to a competitive shooter. For the less active shooter, good gun fit is still the difference between being a good game shot and wondering how you could missed easy birds.

Most important after the gun is mounted, your goal is to be able to just look at your intended target and the gun will pattern center on your focus point. No aiming, no looking back at the beads (bead checking), just mount and allow the gun to follow your vision. Thereto, center on that visual focus point. Having good form is also part of the equation. Head up, eyes level, bring the gun to your eye and locking into the gun mount. From this point the guns stock configuation allows for placing the shot on target.

We can all just get by with a close fit, learn where the gun places shot and log that data into our "human targeting solutions computer", your brain. Or we take the time to learn what stock dimensions fits our frame, makes the gun place shot naturally (natural shot) and its not that hard to do. The best advise so for has been to purchase a gun that seems to shoot well for us or adjust an existing gun to come to your eye already lined up. Your eye looking straight down the rib with out wiggling into the mount.

Too long of LOP, the shooter tends to shoot left as the head come off the stock during the shot process or the shooter is looking down the rib sideways. Requiring the eyes to look far left or right depending on right or left hand shooting. Too short of LOP is actually a good thing if your not giving yourself a bloody nose. Too short allows the shooter to swing faster and be in decent control of the gun. Also allows the mount to remain locked in during the move in the shot process.

Length of pull LOP is less important than comb height setting. Earlier I stated "head up", Your neck should be in a relaxed position for shooting. If the shooter is dropping the head/cheek down to the comb 2 thing happen. First, its likely the shooter will raise the head off the stock during the shot, changing the (POI) point of impact from bead center. Your stock eye is the back sight with a shotgun. 2nd, the shooter is looking through the top of their glasses or the top of the eyes to make a visual reference to the target. We see best if our eyes are not stressed and through the optic center of a prescription correction.

This subject "Gun Fit" would require a book to completely overview. There are several already in print. But....my point in this post is to make certain you understand that gun fit is more important than the uninformed information already offered. The difference of making great shots on targets and game all of your life. There is no such thing as a natural shot. Only people with good hand to eye coordination or a well fit shotgun in hand.

We tend to debate gun models and manufatures. When all of us could out shoot a $5000.00 O/U with a 870 pump if the pump fit better. "Gun fit" is more important than price, features, and gimmicks.

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Gun Fit, i.e. stock fitting

Postby stock fitting » Sat Sep 22, 2007 11:07 am

Maltzie provides excellent advice. The hunting community is slowly becoming aware that how well a fun fits, has a lot to do with how well the shooter will ever be able to shoot it.

There are five rudimentary stock dimensions, 3 cast dimensions, drops at th comb and heel, length of pull (LOP) and pitch. When all fit or match the shooter's size and shape, the gun mount and body posture (shooting form) that is most likely to result in the greatest shooting success can be used.

As Maltzie suggests, some stock dimensions have a greater effect on shooting success than do others. The ultimate goal is to be able to mount the gun (without thinking) and know where the pattern is going when you point at a target, whether clay or feathered.

This seems much simpler than it actually is. Although shotguns are pointed and not aimed, to shoot at a moving target requires something known as a sight picture. It is made up of three points, the shooter's eye, the front bead or muzzle and the target. (It's the only way you can decide when to pull the trigger.)

It is the position of the eye relative to the barrel or rib that determines where the pattern will go. The eye acts like the rear sight on a rifle. If it is too high, the pattern will go higher than expected. Pull the cheek off the comb during a swing and the pattern will follow.

That is why Maltzie wrote that the position of the comb on the stock is so important. It positions the eye, which determines whether or not the gun will shoot where you look, meaning that the pattern will go where you expect it to go and not over or to one side.

As Malatzie says, guns are designed in hopes of fitting the greatest numbers of buyers. That is why stock dimensions are chosen by manufacturers to fit an average man 5' 10" tall and weighing 160 pounds.
It is the best they can do. Unfortunately, not only are there few shooters with that height and weight, there are a lot of other individual differences, even among shooters who are "average".

Without rewriting my book, Stock Fitting Secrets, there is no easy way to explain how to check gun fit and when necessary, explain how to make it fit.

Suffice it to say, you will shoot your best only when your gun fits you. Trap shooters (who tend toward the obsessive compulsive bent), have, been dealing with getting their guns to fit more than those of other shooting disciplines. Skeet shooters come next, followed by sporting clays shooters. Now, hunters are becoming interested in improving their shooting success and gun fit has a lot to do with it.

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Postby stock fitting » Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:48 pm

"Gun fit" is comprised of three things, stock dimensions, shooting form (gun mount, body posture, stance) and shooter size and shape.

A gun that fits allows the individual shooter to use the shooting form for a particular shooting discipline (trap, skeet, hunting, etc) that over time, has proved most successful.

With stances, gun mounts and body postures differing with the different shooting forms, given a particular shooter, a correctly fitting gun, i.e.the stock dimensions, will be different depending on what type of shooting is being done.

It is difficult to pick one stock dimensions and say it is the most important. For example, the drop at the comb dimension affects the height of the eye relative to the gun's rib. It is important.

The importance is lost however if the height of the gun mount or the drop at the heel dimension promotes the head coming off the stock during swings. The same can be said of the lateral position of the comb and a tendency to pull the cheek away form the stock's comb during swings.

On field guns with slanting combs, the stock's length of pull can gain importance. When a stock is too long, it can be difficult to position the cheek on the comb and be able to look along the rib. The gun will also swing clumsily and be difficult to swing accurately.

When it comes to pitch, if the bottom toe of the stock sticks out too far (inadequate pitch), the barrel rise during recoil can be excessive and the butt can catch on clothing during the gun mount.

Finally, when the cast is off, the shooter may have difficulty horizontally aligning the eye with the rib or if that can be done, keeping it aligned during swings.

Head movement during swings and inconsistent gun mounts are two things that commonly plague shooters using guns that don't fit them.

Almost universally, a gun that fits will allow the user to mount it inside of the shoulder joint with the top of the butt even with the top of the shoulder and place his cheek on the comb with only a forward nod or... mount the gun by sliding the comb along the cheek until it makes contact with the shoulder and the gun is fired (depending on the shooting and type of lead being used.)

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Postby stock fitting » Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:27 am

I posted this on a couple of other duscussion forums and was told it was useful so I will post it here.

The importance of a stock or gun 'that fits' is fairly well known in the some shooting communities but. I can't help wonder how well its meaning is understood.

A well fitting gun assumes the gun allows the shooter to use what is generally understood as the "correct" shooting form (stance, gun mount, body posture) assuming the shooter is physically capable of using the form. Shooting forms vary somewhat from one shooting discipline to the next.

A "gun that fits" allows the shooter to:

Stand with the body rotated approximately 23 degrees toward the side of the gun mount

Have the entire recoil pad, top to bottom, make simultaneous contact with the shoulder as the gun is being mounted in the shoulder pocket with the heel even with the top of the shoulder. The shoulder pocket is the slight indentation at the end of the collar bone just inside of the shoulder joint.

With the cheek on the comb, have the head turned very little toward the stock and tilted or leaned forward, even less

Positions the eye, following the mount, so it is aligned horizontally with the rib and at a height along or above the rib that results in the point of impact (POI) chosen by the shooter.

Have a nose (or glasses) to trigger-hand-thumb separation of between one and two inches

Have his or her weight evenly distributed on the balls of both feet or with slightly more weight on the forward foot with a slight forward lean at the waist (not that easy to do in a duck blind or when stepping over a log in the woods.)

When a shooter can mount the gun as described above, it "fits" the shooter. The shooting form partially described above is the one that is commonly taught in the U.S. by virtually all instructors with only slight variations for the different shooting disciplines, e.g. hunting, trap, skeet, etc.
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Postby Stogie » Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:40 am

Sunday I was invited to shoot trap. This is the first time in many years I have done this and I shot 3 rounds in pretty quick succession.

By the end of the third box of shells my cheek had a pretty good goose egg and is still sore today.

I have never really noticed this in bird hunting.

My question is "Am I having to lean in too close to the stock to get my sight picture"? Would extending the stock with a slip on pad remedy this?
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Postby maltzie » Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:24 pm

Stogie....sorry no one has taken the time to respond. I've been busy hunting ducks. The following copy and paste from Rollins previous post will help you better understand what to do to take the pounding off your cheek.

Rollin wrote:
Have the entire recoil pad, top to bottom, make simultaneous contact with the shoulder as the gun is being mounted in the shoulder pocket with the heel even with the top of the shoulder. The shoulder pocket is the slight indentation at the end of the collar bone just inside of the shoulder joint.

Getting the right pitch to the pad will help with the cheep bump. Your were also more aware of keeping your stock form while shooting trap since you have time to specifically mount the gun and be aware that your eye looking down the rib (master eye) needs to remain consistant, it is your back sight. Being over zealous with grinding into the comb to insure the back sight. In hunting we hit the comb during mount less consistantly based on variable target dirction, speed and height. We also tend to shoot more instictively hunting because of the inconsistancy of our stock mount and movement as compared to clay targets. The goal is the same.....see the target and place the shot. Take a little more time to perfect the targeting solution.

Witch brings up the reason most people miss game while able to shoot very high scores in clay targets. Shooting to damn fast, trying to shoot before some other gunner kills the bird (I call it game hogging) or looking at the lead/bead instead of the intended critter. The best way to eliminate that dreaded game shooting slump is ........ look at the bird and allow the proper amount of time for your human targeting solutions computer to calculate the shot placement.

Send me your casher checks for this leason :thumbsup:

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Postby skagithunter » Sat Dec 22, 2007 11:07 pm

so is there anything a person can do to shorten a SBE synthetic stalk
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Postby lnester » Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:58 pm

Good tips, maltzie!

To me the most important aspect of shooting is the lower body. When shooting clays, it's very easy to be properly aligned. Once in the field, we tend to get crossways and shoot awkwardly, thus missing the shot. If you take an extra second and properly stand and weight your body towards the shot, you'll be much more accurate.
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Postby Ned S » Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:37 pm

How in the "hall" do you use the proper stance in shooting laying down with a back rest, like layout blinds. You don't, you just practice on clays this way. I don't even set up at my age but just shoot from the laying down position. It works! Ned S the young 79 yr old. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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Postby JoJer » Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:14 pm

[quote="Ducksbeus"]Some SUPERB advice...Shoulder a shotgun while watching yourself in a mirror, if you appear to be reaching... It dont fit :cool: :cool: :cool:[/quote]

I like this, too: I have an Ithaca NID that I really like, and I shot it really well. One day I watched while my son shot it and noticed how short it looked when he shouldered it. I realised it fit me the same way. I added about two inches to the LOP- and really started killing with it!
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Re: Gun Fit

Postby REM1100 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:37 pm

I'm with Jim on clothing fit. My rem1100 stock has two spacers which I can add/remove according to weather clothing conditions.
My Rem 870 had a stock with the wrong curv so I heated the rear stock with a hairdryer and straightened it out.
Th length of pull as a good compromise to allow me to see the sight plane well with out seeing any end barrel..as both rems did not line up the bead corrrectly I solved that problem by using different height TRUE GLO front ramps.
I did these mods with wood stocks and in the last year replaced both rems with OEM camo lightweight stocks and forearms and somehow they mount up pretty good with the exception of a modified spacer on the rem1100 about 1/4"
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Re: Gun Fit

Postby Billy Boy » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:26 pm

Check out the book- The Stock Fitters Bible by Rollin Oswald
He is a regular at www.Shotgunworld.com
I have a copy and it is worth the money!
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Re: Gun Fit

Postby lostknife4 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:23 am

An old saying comes to mind:
Beware the man with only one gun!
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