View Full Version : Some Notes on Fit......

Dave McC
November 15, 2008, 04:22 PM
Yr Humble Scrivener's PMs and E mail have been loaded lately with queries about fit. Here's a few things to help get folks on the right page......

The old canard about sticking the butt inside the elbow and having the trigger at the first knuckle of the index finger is at best a very rough guide.

Better to mount a shotgun Known to be empty and see if there's room between your thumb and nose. If you can get two fingers in there, the Length Of Pull is about right for most stuff.

Most of us can work with a LOP that's a bit on the short side. Drop, however, is more sensitive to variation. If you can see all the rib when mounting the gun, it will probably shoot a bit high for you.

Fit varies not only from one person to another but by mission. Trap shooters who shoot pre mounted oft opt for a long stock with little drop.They prefer a high POI for Trap targets shot rising. Folks who shoot Sporting Clays from Low Gun often like a long stock, but prefer more drop to keep POA and POI closer.

For instance, my last pure D Trap Gun was an 870TB. It had a Monte Carlo comb to keep my cheekbone up a little and a 15" LOP with an adjustable butt to add some drop but keep the POI high.A shim moved the butt to the right (Known as cast off) to put my eye in the correct place.

It crushed clays for me and now does so for a friend.

My current Clay slayer is a Beretta O/U. An aftermarket pad lengthens the pull to 15", but has less drop for a 60/40 POI. A bit of built in castoff does the same as that shim did, placing the eye correctly.

Number Six is my wingshooting go to. 15" LOP, more drop to keep the POI about 55/45. This works better on flat targets,ground targets, and works on rising targets if I cover it with the barrel.

Frankenstein, my overly publicized parts 870, has a standard length stock, about 14 1/4" with the pad. It's a waterfowler these days, and the shorter length works better when wearing a goose parka and/or sitting up in a coffin blind.

Same for my "Serious" shotguns, which double as venison acquisition tools. Those stocks work for me when they're shot like rifles, aimed. They also fit well over body armor.

And,yes, I'm a behemoth, but this applies to everyone.

Might as well say this here. The plethora of great pads on the market means all of us can shoot more in comfort.

Here's a quick check for fit.

Make sure your shotgun is unloaded, then check it again.

Focus on the corner of the room, where two walls and the ceiling meet.

Close your eyes and mount the shotgun.

Open your eyes. If your shotgun fits, it should be pointed right at that corner.

Repeat a couple times to make sure.

Any questions?....

November 15, 2008, 04:43 PM
The closing the eyes trick has helped me a lot. Ive told some people about that trick as well and its helped them as well.

Lots of good info.

Dave McC
November 16, 2008, 09:11 AM
Thanks. I forget where i picked that up, but it's a good'un....

November 17, 2008, 02:01 PM
Dave makes some good points on fit / and I agree, it is a very misunderstood issue among shooters, gun dealers, etc. ( and it confused me for years ).

Taking all of Dave's suggestions - I still think you haven't completed the job on fit until you take the gun to the pattern board and test it. You can get it close inside, using Dave's tips - but the proof is when you see the point of impact on the board matching where you look. The pattern board is where you fine tune the adjustments.

For what its worth - I shoot Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clays with a pre-mounted gun. On sporting clays in particular, the Bobby Fowler Jr technique of pre-mounting - then dropping the muzzle slightly to get a solid view of the target - is a very good techinique, at least for me. I don't pre-mount a gun in the field hunting of course - but I use the same gun, same stock dimensions, etc. with a parallel adj comb for Skeet, Sporting Clays and hunting - O/U with 30" barrels in 12, 20, 28ga's and .410. I do use a different gun, similar setup - but longer barrels and heavier - for Trap. In Trap, I do adjust the point of impact a little higher than my general use guns.

Dave McC
November 17, 2008, 10:26 PM
Thanks for the backup, Jim. On the first BB I mod, there's a sticky at the top on patterning.

Unlike you, I shoot little premounted and prefer Low Gun most of the time. To each his own.

Besides the patterning board, there's a trick I stole from Ed Clapper.

Using a trap range, lock down the trap to only throw straights from Post 3.

Stand at Post 3,shoot and read the breaks. It's a game of opposites, if the big piece goes down you're hitting high, etc.

Once you're putting the center of the pattern where it counts, try it from Posts 2 and 4.


November 18, 2008, 07:30 AM
thanks for the tips Dave.when i bought my shotgun a few months ago i used the close your eyes trick. with me i checked if i was looking at the spot and also to see if the beads were lined up. i shoot (what little i can) skeet and s/c's i prefere to shoot low gun also. was a dove hunter way back when before i found the clay games.take care all and keep it fun.

Dave McC
November 18, 2008, 10:15 AM
Glad to help....

November 18, 2008, 11:35 AM
Ed Clappers points are always well taken, especially for experienced shooters - but I see so many new or inexperienced shooters with fundamental flaws ...

head popping up as they start to move
gun moves off target flight line - as they follow thru
barrel yanks hard one way as they slap the trigger
shooter looks at barrel and stops his swing
steering the gun with the forward hand ...

that grading breaks for a new shooter, or any shooter with fundamental swing issues, is pretty risky. At least if I take them to a pattern board, I know the gun hits where they look in a static environement - then I can work on the fundamentals knowing where gun shoots for them. Often with a comb on a gun that is angled - the point of impact is anywhere from 6" low to 6" high at 21 yards - and they put a heavy coat on (with an angled comb ) their face moves back on stock 1/4" and it alters the fit again and makes it even worse.

Dave McC
November 18, 2008, 03:27 PM
Good points, Jim. Fit for new shooters should just be close.We should not obsess about it until consistent form and technique emerges from the morass.

New shooters do not understand that the whole body moves on the shot.

Swing starts with the toes.

"Steering" causes Mystery Misses, ruins morale etc. The forward hand points the way. It doesn't control the swing.

You've seen me rant about trying hardware solutions for software problems, but the parallel comb is a big help for many ,maybe most, of us.

Drop at comb is more crucial than LOP, IMO.

November 18, 2008, 04:37 PM
Ranting is good for you - what good is having power and money if you don't use it ...and enjoy it for that matter.

Dave McC
November 19, 2008, 09:31 AM

November 19, 2008, 10:26 AM
Dave / Jim
It's great someone's talking about swing vs steer. The difference between an average and a good shooter is frequently observable in their swings. We can discuss the relative merits of M-500s and R-870s all day; but, as Duke Ellington said, It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.

Dave McC
November 19, 2008, 09:46 PM
Glad you like it,Zippy. The swing's the thing.

Watch a good Shotgunner shoot. The whole body is involved and moves as a unit.

Shotguns are merely a device to direct a cloud of shot to a place and time of our choice. It's US that makes the shot.

To repeat myself, I'd rather shoot a Mossberg that fit me than a Purdey that didn't.....