I am reluctant to move to a lighter gun, though, because I don’t want to be knocked about by recoil, or become uncompetitive. I would appreciate your advice on this?

Tuition

JOHN BIDWELL says:

Since when was ‘competitiveness’ decided by a gun’s weight (or rather lack of it)?

By the sound of things you are struggling to maintain any form at all with this gun anyway! True, a heavier gun dampens recoil and often proves steadier to shoot with, but its dimensions and handling characteristics will only be of benefit if you have the physical strength and physique to use it properly.

We all know that recoil is both tiring and a barrier to good scores, but so too is a heavy gun, just watch how many targets start slipping away when your gun mount and movement become affected by tired muscles and tired concentration.

If you are not physically capable of handling a full-bloodied Sporter, then my advice would be to down-size and try something lighter and shorter. In fact now’s the time to get kitted out with a gun that fits properly and allows you to move forward with your shooting!

A 28in gun with thinner, lighter, barrels will prove much easier to handle as long as the woodwork is altered to suit – and for women this often involves some shortening of the stock, raising of the comb and alteration to the shape of the toe where it meets the chest.

Once this work has been done correctly you will find it far easier to mount the gun and get your eye in proper alignment with the rib once the stock has come nicely to rest in the shoulder and cheek. It will also move a lot better and allow you to stay in control of the gun from start to finish.

Furthermore, if the gun is properly fitted and balanced – and mounted correctly – then recoil will be less obvious. To make doubly sure the shoulder doesn’t take a hammering then down-size your cartridge at the same time as the gun change. There are lots of highly competitive 24-gram shells on the market that are soft on the shoulder, but deliver plenty of shoot winning performance down range.

When you consider most full-bloodied Sporters are designed for men, is there any wonder your own shooting is being hampered and held back in this way?

But as I say, now’s the time to change all that once and for all. Go for it!