The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Dave McCracken Memorial Shotgun Forum

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 15, 2001, 06:27 AM   #1
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
Got a few queries about this, on and off the BB, so....

Many of us have seen someone on a firing range trying to teach a new person to shoot. Maybe a girl friend, wife, child or SO of some other sort.It might be for defense, or the person has expressed an interest in joining a shooter in their hobby. Anyway....

Our Hero hands the newbie, who is half his size, a shotgun with a stock way too long for her,and a handful of shells. They might be 3" mags, 00, or 1 1/4 oz pheasant loads. Or, mercifully, they might be light target loads. In either case, our Hero shows her how to load up, tells her to stand up straight,shoulder the weapon,press the trigger,and mere milliseconds later, a flinch is born. She hurts, but is game, and shoot again. This time, the butt has left the shoulder and is out on her upper arm, and the bruise will be there for a week or so. About this time,she decides that shotgunning is not her thing,hands the shotgun back, and we ALL lose.

Or, our Hero wants to do the right thing, knows that stock fit is important,and has had someone that knows what they're doing fit the stock on a shotgun to the rookie in question. This means not only shortening the stock, but making the butt conform to the ins and outs of that particular person. Usually, with women, this means a bit more pitch, maybe a touch of toe out, and a rounding of the toe. Also, since shorter means lighter here, and lighter at the rear gives more of a muzzle heavy feel, adding a bit of weight to the stock under the pad keeps the piece balanced. Muzzle heavy shotguns are de riguer for trap, but a struggle to hold up for the newcomer.

(An old thread here about proper mounting technique may be useful at this point).

And, while our Hero does OK in the field and smokes some clays, he's no expert, nor is he a teacher. So, off she goes for a short but intensive lesson on mounting and swinging from someone who knows both shooting and teaching.

Finally, she's using shells made as light and slow as possible. If it's a 12 ga she's using, it may be a good idea to find some of the Brit loads that come as light as 15/16 oz and a velocity of 1100 FPS. As near as I can tell, the Brits make these just for those little game guns with 2" chambers, and those run very light indeed. These shells can be hard to find and more expensive than dove loads from Walmart, but it's money well spent....

Otherwise, use the lightest loads you can find or make. Dropping the velocity AND the weight will produce the best results. A loose rule here might be to load as if for the next common gauge down, like a 1 oz load(16 ga standard) for a 12, a 7/8 oz load for a 16, 5/8 or 3/4 for a 20....

So now, our Heros' SO has shot a little, not gotten hurt and has broken a few clays placed on the backstop or thrown Frisbee style. She's having fun. So our Hero stops the shooting when she tires, and that's that.Both walk away smiling, and not from relief that it's over.

So how long do you keep her at this level of involvement and shell power?

As long as she wants to. Meanwhile, let her look over various shotguns and explain the up and down of each type, gauge and "Feel". Then, if she wants her own, get it and give it with a smile. Or resign yourself to giving up one of yours.

And while I've used a female for an example here,all this applies to males also,even grown up, testosterone oozing he-men.

Hope this helps...
Dave McC is offline  
Old January 15, 2001, 08:35 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: May 31, 2000
Posts: 1,127
In my experience, gun fit and ensuring less recoil on training loads is very important but so too are gun weight and hearing protection. New shooters it seems are intimidated by the combination of noise and recoil. Good hearing protection (e.g. plugs and muffs) work well. Another suggestion is to have the shooters put them on early if you are at a public range. We might not notice the sound of shells going off but for a new shooter it can be disconcerting.

Gun weight was the issue that surprised me the most. One afternoon while letting a couple of female friends try some guns, the women complained about the "recoil" of the 12 gauge and wanted to try the 20 I had borrowed for the occasion. I was perplexed because the 12 load was 7/8's ounce and the gun was a 30" Beretta A390 with some added weight on the foreend expressly put their to reduce recoil. The women happily burned through several boxes of 20 gauge in a light fixed breech gun that in my view kicked a lot more than the 12. When I asked them about it afterward they said the semi was too heavy and unwieldy but the light 20 suited them just fine and neither of them mentioned the recoil.

Now, I'm no instructor. What I do is let people try shooting and if they like it suggest a couple of instructors who can really teach them what's what. As for light loads I load my own 7/8s 12 gauge but have also used the Winchester Low Noise, Low Recoil. The main drawback with them is that they don't work in a semi and sometimes don't reset the inertia trigger in an over/under.


[Edited by PJR on 01-15-2001 at 02:10 PM]
PJR is offline  
Old January 15, 2001, 09:45 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: December 20, 1998
Location: NE Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,640

I have noticed a lot of youngsters and women shooting the venerable Remington 1100LT 20 ga. This is the perfect gun to start newbies out on. It will break any target a 12 will on the skeet field and the gun is light enough for small people to handle .

One problem, particularly with small framed women (and guys too) is that most 12 ga guns are too heavy to handle easily. To compensate for this the shooter leans back to try to balance out the weight and ends up in a riflemans' stance. This position will exacerbate the effect of recoil as the butt is not in the shoulder pocket and the entire force of the recoil is concentrated on the toe of the stock.

I have seen 1100LTs' passed around among several shooters families when a new member decides to learn how to shoot. There are always one or two up for sale at the local T & S club as youngstes grow out of the gun and want something better. This is an easier way to solve the recoil problem than trying to make lighter loads for a heavy gun that is probably the problem anyway.

Geoff Ross

I am no longer a member of this forum. Bye!
K80Geoff is offline  
Old January 15, 2001, 04:32 PM   #4
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
I can't think of a better starter shotgun than an 1100, folks. Trouble is, not everyone is willing to get one when they're not sure the newbie will like shooting. That's why so many women get turned off to shotguns, they try shooting a full size 12 ga with standard loads. A flinch can start with shot One.

And hearing protection is mandatory, of course, along with shooting glasses.

A lot of recoil woes are mental.

After being belted a few times, a rookie will cringe away from the shotgun, a maximum flinch which means he/she gets belted again.
Dave McC is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:47 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.05227 seconds with 7 queries