A reader asks: "Would my sporting averages improve if I went to a fitter and had my gun fit checked? I like my gun and it seems comfortable to shoot with."
If you’re happy with your shotgun, the lack of improvement in your averages could be due to your technique rather than the gun fitting incorrectly.
That said, it’s common enough to get used to a poorly-shaped stock in time by ‘fitting’ ourselves to the gun, rather than the other way around. If you are having to make allowances for the gun then this will certainly have an affect on scores.
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Time to visit a qualified instructor
Our first recommendation would be to book in and have a one-to-one session with a qualified shooting instructor. They will spot any weakness in your technique and see how you handle the gun.
Some shooting schools employ knowledgeable instructors who are also expert fitters with try-guns at their disposal – shotguns with a stock that can be adjusted for length, cast, drop and pitch at the turn of a key.
The likelihood is that the instructor will want to see you shoot with your own gun first so that everything can be assessed – from stance to gun mount. You may be asked to fire at a pattern plate to ascertain where you are centreing the shot.
Checking a gun is fitted properly
The instructor will spot whatever is at fault – whether it’s you, the shotgun or both. You can then get to work on correcting any inconsistencies during the lesson, confident that a trained eye is on you.
If the expert suspects the gun doesn’t fit properly he will apply your gun’s measurements to the try gun and watch you shoot a variety of targets before making any adjustments he feels are necessary.
One final point: let the fitter know if you are using an over-and-under or a side-by-side, to ensure that they have the right time of gun ready for you.
Both types shoot differently and need setting up accordingly.