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Old August 8, 2012, 11:01 AM   #1
Slugo
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the question of gun fit...

I read so much about, "make sure the gun fits you properly" before you buy. What does that really mean? Don't get me wrong, a very bazaar sized and shaped gun is not what I'm talking about. My question is regarding the run of the mill average sized shotgun. I've been shooting steady for over 30 years and have owned more guns that I can even remember, and only a handful can I remember were uncomfortable to shoot well due to size, weight or whatever.

Do allot of you have a problem if the LOP is not the same on each gun, or the cast and dimensions may be different. I'm interested in your opinions on the subject...
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Old August 8, 2012, 12:19 PM   #2
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Slugo, my friend, something that's often overlooked when talking about gun fit is a proper gun mount. A lot of guys (myself included) will shoot several guns with similar stocks. Some will use some pretty weird mounts to make a gun "fit" properly. The sad thing is, a few shooters will use a poorly fit gun for years and consequently develop bad mounting habits.

Don't get too carried away with exact length of pull, a change of clothes will change your effective LOP. Go to someone who knows about stock fitting (I'm lucky, Shockmaster is just a few blocks from me) and have them evaluate your mount with a gun that you thinks fits you properly. Hopefully they won't have any surprises for you.
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Old August 8, 2012, 12:59 PM   #3
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Could it be that you are the average size shooter that guns are designed to fit? It sounds as though you shoot pretty well, but what do you consider to be a good fit. One guy is tickeled with a gun that hits it hits within 2" of his POA, while his identical twin refuses to shoot the identical gun becasue it doesn't fit.
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Old August 8, 2012, 01:19 PM   #4
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To me...if a gun "fits" ...it means it hits where you look in terms of Point of Impact. So you have to take it to a pattern board to find that out / not to pattern it - but to determine the point of impact - and whether its the same as the spot you are looking at. I shoot a Full choke at about 21 yds ---at a 3" dot ...and fire 3 shells ...and check the Point of Impact. I always shoot off-hand ...mount the gun normally / like I would in the field or on a Trap, Skeet or Sporting Clays field.

If its high or left or whatever.....I make changes in the comb ( up or down / left or right ) to dial it in.

I'm one of those guys ...where my weight changes a little ( this season I've flucuated between 270 lbs ..and 295 lbs ..) and I tend to pick up a little weight in my face ...and accross my upper shoulders ( and in my belly too - but that's another story ) ...so I will occasionally make an adjustment to my primary guns. At 6'5" ...I may carry my weight a little different than some guys ...but that's how it affects me / and how I look at the concept of "Fit".

Angled comb guns ....have fit issues ...if you shoot in a Tee Shirt in summer....and a heavy coat and vest in winter...because it changes where your face contacts the comb of the gun by seasons..../ and I figured out a long time ago that parallel combs fix all that ...and make my adjustments a lot simpler.
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Old August 8, 2012, 02:11 PM   #5
Dave McC
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A shotgun that fits is one that shoots where you're looking, and enables you to place that shot in comfort.

Not up to Big Jim's scale, but I am larger than the average bear. Most shotgun run a little short, and since I've more neck than a beer bottle I need a bit more drop than most. Round faced, too.

Still, I've shot some guns well that were built for pixies. 13" LOP, 2 1/4" drop at heel, no cast, etc.

Humans adapt well. So, we adjust things when shooting and make up for minor shortcomings in fit.

S'funny, most older shotgunners are more insistent about fit, and also shoot darn near any shotgun well.
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Old August 8, 2012, 02:44 PM   #6
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It always amazes me to see folks on these forums who are the size of Jim or myself and they are putting youth sized stocks on shotguns.

Slugo, you visit SGW enough to know Rollin and all of the points he mentions about fit. LOP is just one factor. I can comfortably shoot shotguns with LOPs ranging from 14.25 to 15.5 - it all depends on the rest of the factors he mentions. Drop at heel, drop at comb, pitch, toe in or out, cast on, off or neutral, English, POW or full curve pistol grip, thickness of the comb, and on and on.

While many folks can try and somewhat make themselves fit to a gun, it makes more sense to make the gun fit you.

A Remington 1100 with a 14.25" LOP fit me just fine with its relaxed pistol grip and the grips relationship to the trigger, yet a gun writer's custom Perazzi 28 gauge with a 15.25", tight curving pistol grip also came up without a hitch - and seemed to do for everyone who tried it - from 5'4 to 6'4.

An easy way to tell if a gun fits (as well as how well it patterns) is to take it shooting clays - if you smoke every target, then that gun fits you and patterns very well!
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Old August 8, 2012, 04:43 PM   #7
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Weight is a factor in this stuff too....( the gun ) ...not me (quit laughing ...)...

For a general purpose gun ...hunting in the field ( at least upland birds ), for Skeet and for Sporting Clays....regardless of gague ...I like a gun that is around 8 1/2 lbs ...and in an O/U with 30" barrels.

In some situations - I might want a gun that is a little lighter ( 1/2 lb ..to a full lb ) but not less than 7 1/2 lbs.../ but my point is....I want the gun "lively" ...but not "whippy" and not too light so I slap at targets vs giving me a smooth follow -thru ...and with enough weight ( where I might shoot 200 shells a day in sporting clays ) that it doesn't beat me up / because a lb of weight in the gun cuts down recoil between 15-20% for any given shell. The length of the barrel and the overall length is important too ...so I get a good sight plane. In general ...if I go to a really light gun ( like a Benelli semi-auto at 7.2 lbs ....then I want a 30" barrel on it ) making it a little longer overall - than an O/U with 30" barrels ...because the longer overall gun helps me smooth it out.

Trap is a totally different game to me.....way less left to right ...or right to left barrel movement ( although there is some ) ...but I want a gun that is around 10 lbs...and in an O/U in 32" barrels.../ if I go to a single barrel gun, I want it in a 34" barrel. The extra weight - helps me keep my smooth follow thru.../ and if I go a little lighter - then I want longer.

To me - while I can shoot a 32" O/U at 10lbs on a skeet field ...it feels more like a "big ole sewer pipe" rather than a "nimble gun" in my hands. I wouldn't want to carry a 10 lb gun around all day after Quail or Pheasant either...its just too "clumsy" ...but it feels just right to me on a Trap field.

I realize I'm a little bigger than the average Buffalo... ...and my shooting buddy who is probably 6' Tall and 175 lbs ....agrees with me in concept ...but for him, his general use gun - skeet gun is about the same weight as mine ( 8 1/2 lbs ) but he likes it in 26" barrels. For Trap he goes to an O/U in 30" barrels at a little over 9 lbs...or a single barrel in a 32". So he takes a little weight off the gun and 2" off the barrels to suit him.

So this isn't an exact science...its whatever you like...
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Old August 8, 2012, 05:17 PM   #8
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here's my point. I can pretty much shoot any gun successfully, irregardless of size shape and fit. I just have to chuckle every time I see somebody recommending a custom fitter for ever possible scenario. Do you think our armed forces are custom fitting their M4's to every combatant...
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Old August 8, 2012, 05:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Do you think our armed forces are custom fitting their M4's to every combatant...
The old fixed stock ARs were made for small folks (I've put a 1" stock extender on my A2); but, IINM, the newer A4s are adjustable for LOP.
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Old August 8, 2012, 05:37 PM   #10
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First post ever..
I am average size, 5' 11" and 185lbs. I have shot a lot of different shotguns and had no fit issues. That said, I just put an adjustable AR stock on my Maverick 88 and love it. Carhart or t shirt i am comfortable. But i am also comfortable with my boys T/C hot shot 22.
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Old August 8, 2012, 05:56 PM   #11
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Greetings Olfogey, and welcome aboard.
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Old August 8, 2012, 06:07 PM   #12
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olfogey, welcome aboard...
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Old August 8, 2012, 06:39 PM   #13
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greeting olfogey ....welcome///

but shotguns are different ...because there is no rear sight .../ that is why fit is critical ( so they hit where you look ). Maybe the stock gun / right out of the box is just right for you ......for some of us / its not even close...

I don't prescribe to "stock fitters" ...not that they aren't valuable to a shooter that has a lot of experience / and is getting a custom fit stock ...but to most of us ...we can fit a gun ..by taking it to the pattern board / to check Point of impact - and adjust it accordingly.
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Old August 8, 2012, 07:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Do you think our armed forces are custom fitting their M4's to every combatant..
Nope, they put adjustable stocks on them

Quote:
For a general purpose gun ...hunting in the field ( at least upland birds ), for Skeet and for Sporting Clays....regardless of gague ...I like a gun that is around 8 1/2 lbs ...and in an O/U with 30" barrels.
Gonna start calling you Atlas - there's no way I am toting a gun over 6.5# for upland hunting

Quote:
here's my point. I can pretty much shoot any gun successfully, irregardless of size shape and fit. I just have to chuckle every time I see somebody recommending a custom fitter for ever possible scenario
And if you close to the "average" size the makers use then you can be somewhat successful. I guess it just depends on what you want to be successful at - I don't think Kim Rhode uses a gun that hasn't been fitted to her, but then she wants to win Olympic Gold.

I have an English friend who does the driven pheasant thing in England every fall. His pair for that endeavor were fitted to him because he wants to be successful at that endeavor - and for what they charge, I would too!
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Old August 9, 2012, 11:23 AM   #15
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I have an English friend who does the driven pheasant thing in England every fall.
I thought, if you're into that, it was best to have a duke or an earl for your father.
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Old August 9, 2012, 11:59 AM   #16
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I thought, if you're into that, it was best to have a duke or an earl for your father
He has more money than they do - they just have the property.....
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Old August 9, 2012, 03:12 PM   #17
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1 oz, don't get me wrong. While I can shoot fairtomiddlin' with Tinker Bell's bird gun, I do better with something around 15" for LOP, 2 5/8-2 3/4" drop at heel and maybe 3/16" cast off.
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Old August 9, 2012, 11:07 PM   #18
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I think it all depends on the person. Some people (I think I'm in this group) can pick up pretty much any shotgun and hit targets/birds with a good degree of accuracy.

My wife however, is not nearly as comfortable with several guns. I think it's more about weight in some cases, but there are simply some guns she feels comfortable with and some she feels uncomfortable with.
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Old August 11, 2012, 06:27 AM   #19
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good question. my firearms instructor told me that you can measure fit by taking a firearm and resting it in the crook of your elbow. if the butt of the firearm and your trigger finger both feel comfortable then the gun fits. not sure if this is tried and true but I'd like for others to weigh in on this
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Old August 11, 2012, 08:09 AM   #20
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Quote:
good question. my firearms instructor told me that you can measure fit by taking a firearm and resting it in the crook of your elbow. if the butt of the firearm and your trigger finger both feel comfortable then the gun fits. not sure if this is tried and true but I'd like for others to weigh in on this
This falls in the realm of kinda, sorta, but not totally true - what it shows is whether a particular stock is way too long or short - you still have all of the factors I mentioned above to consider - drop at heel, drop at comb, width of comb, cast on or off, pitch, toe, etc....
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Old August 11, 2012, 11:06 AM   #21
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I "used" to be in the camp of shoot it how it came and adjust to the gun. I bought Rollin's book, Steve Mulak's book: Good Shot: A Guide to Using Clay Target Skills in the Field and Orvis's Guide to Gunfitting. I read them and re-read them until I had a comprehensive knowledge of what the terms and relationship to the shooter meant.

I can say that with out a doubt the best thing I have ever done was fit my guns to me. It takes me time, but the payoff is huge. I was an average low/mid 70's shooter on the local sporting clays course, no matter how hard I tried, now I am creeping into the mid 80's. The biggest payoff is hours after I am done, it is like I never went, no pain or shoulder soreness.

Fit is a controversial subject, like comparing short recoil guns o gas guns or Beretta's to Browning's, Huglu's to everything else.

Fitting my guns have improved both my shooting and comfort, something I suggest everyone look into.
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Old August 11, 2012, 02:35 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaseousclay
good question. my firearms instructor told me that you can measure fit by taking a firearm and resting it in the crook of your elbow. if the butt of the firearm and your trigger finger both feel comfortable then the gun fits. not sure if this is tried and true but I'd like for others to weigh in on this
I believe this is a pretty good way to estimate the proper stock length. My Marlin 1895 failed this test, and fit more comfortably when I borrowed a decelerator from a friend that added a few inches and closed the gap.

Other rifles that I can hold comfortably, that are just long enough that the buttplate reaches my bicep when I'm holding my elbow a 90 degree angle, I've found those to be pretty natural fits.

The only thing beyond that that I'll find fault with is a rifle that has the wrong comb height for the kind of sights it's using. My groups actually got worse on a Mosin I put a 2.5-10x scope on (drilled and tapped not scout), until I added a propper cheek rest.

MidwayUSA's youtube channel has a whole series of videos on how to make a custom fitted stock.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...A&feature=plcp
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