Shotgun Fit

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Shotgun Fit

Postby Kiger2 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:44 am

Since Ryan hijacked his own post, I thought it might be a good time to have a discussion about shotgun fit and wingshooting in general and things we can do to improve both. For mostly new shooters.

First off, Im not an expert shooter. I have good days and bad days. My best day on chukars was 9for 9. Now are limit is eight, but I had to shoot one twice. My worst day (s) are over 30 rounds fired for no limit. I love to shoot, but 30 rounds with no limit, thats frustrating.

A little history.

While i didn't remember it until years later, when i was a kid and old enough to go out and shoot squirrels and jays so they didn't eat all of the filbert crop with the model 12. My Dad took me out in the field and had me shoot at a gopher mound from 20 yards or so. We then went into the barn and he took the stock off. The model 12 has a steel extension that the stock bolts onto. My dad put the extension in the vise and he BENT it. He then sanded the stock so it fit the reciever and we out and shot it again.

What he did was change the drop in the stock so that when I mounted the gun and fired I hit the gopher mound. Now my Dad was not wealthy. He grew up poor during the depression. His mother cleaned and skinned whatever him and his twin brother shot. I suspect that they learned about fit from my grandfather and perhaps through him, his grandfather. My grandfather had a double blackpowder 12 ga. I have the gun and it is clear that the stock was made to fit "someone". I have no idea who, but it fits me and is obviously made with some cast and drop. to fit "someone" It was made sometime in the later 1800's. So for all you new shooters, they knew in the late 1800s if not sooner, that a gun needed to be fit properly to shoot well.

So move forward to my early years hunting. I really tended to shoot pretty well. Along came 1990 and I got an berretta O/U 20 ga when I sold my first litter. Really every serious chukar hunter shoots an O/U right??? Well I shot terrible. I couldn't hit hardly anything. this was when we had LOTS of chukars. My friend after multiple hunts kept telling to get rid of the gun. I kept telling him it wasn't the gun. I had forgotten about my dads lesson.

This was the early days of the internet, but I started researching and found a short book by a guy named Rollin Oswald about stock fitting. I could not hit a clay going straight away with this gun. So I followed Rollins book and checked my gun on a pattern plate. It was shooting 6 to 8 inches left and high, at 16 yards. at 30 yards the only thing that would hit the bird was the very edge of the pattern.

I first stared to correct by bending the stock. Put heat lamp on it and bent it. That helped but it pounded my face.
So next I bought a "New American" stock from Weings.the dimensions of this stock match what they make for "most" people.

It was a great improvement. I started crushing clays that were going away. but I couldnt hit a crosser to save my life.
So I broke down and got a lesson. One of the top instructors in the country at the time.

I showed at the range and he checked my gun fit. He had me mount the gun as he stood to the side. He said the stock was too long. (after reading rollins book , I knew it was too long but I was afraid to cut it. ) He tried several of his guns from the shop but none fit me. I finally said let me take the gun home and cut an inch off the stock. So thats what I did. Went back the next week and he said OK mount the gun. He was standing in front of me and lined up his eye while looking down the barrel at my eye. He said I was goos to go.

Now I have to tell you that guy could see the shot string. We start with a couple of away birds and i break them. He says Ok. We are on the Skeet range and we go to do some crossers. I say pull , he says , you are behind. I say pull and he says you are low and behind. This goes on for many birds. He finally takes the gun and says you just need to let your left hand put the gun in front. He shoots two birds in a row with the gun on his hip, not mounted at all. He is looking at the bird and letting his handstand eyes do the work.My first session was bad, so bad he didn't charge me for it. I came back the next week and he got me dialed in. Maybe 30% broken the first week, over 80% the second. Over 90% of the last 50.

So fit is extremely important. But so are fundamentals.

There is far more information available than I want to provide here. Just spend some time with Rollins book or Gil Ash at OSP.

But to help the newer shooters.
Your eye, is the rear sight on a shotgun.Your eye and brain will align the front of the barrel with where it thinks it should point to hit the bird.
The issue is this. If our eye is not aligned correctly, the shot string will not go where it needs to be.

Most right handed shooters need "cast off" on their stocks. That means that the comb of the stock should be moved away fronm the cheek because that will cause the eye to be moved to the right and centered over the barrel.

Most shooters will need more drop than a typical off the shelf gun. Drop in the stock determines how high or low the gun shoots compared to where you are looking.

A lot of new guns have adjustable shims. Really a good idea. Not perfect but better than what the "average " stock dimensions do off the shelf. But you do need to check your fit.

So I suggested to Ryan that he do two things. Check out Ollin Roswaids Book and check out Optimum shooting performance for some drills you can do at home to help train to shoot better.
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