It's something that often occurs to shooters. Is their lack of success due to poor gun fit? Should they have it checked? Read on for some useful advice from West London Shooting School
The right gun fit is your essential starting point
You might have bought your own gun or have inherited one from family or a friend. But in every case, you must be absolutely sure that your gun fits you properly.
Really? Is that so important? Yes, because it is only when you are comfortable with the fit of your gun that you can concentrate solely on the bird, confident that your gun will follow your eye and shoot precisely where you are pointing it.
Q: I am emailing out of frustration and wondered if there was any advice you could give me. I have…
Do you know this gun fit terminology? Cast Cast off: This is the degree to which the shotgun’s stock is offset…
Where to get your gun fitted
Thankfully, getting your gun fit right is relatively easy to initiate, and reputable gunsmiths and shooting schools will always check yours for you.
For example, it’s a service offered by West London Shooting School. Here qualified gun-fitters will carry out a thorough test on your gun and your shooting stance, checking everything from length, ‘bend’ and ‘cast’ of the stock to the alignment of your eye along the barrels and how the shape of the butt beds into your shoulder.
Using one of 20 fully-adjustable try-guns, you will use a pattern-plate and practice clays in various configurations to arrive at the perfect fitting for your gun. The School will then provide you with a detailed set of specifications to take to their gunsmith or yours, who will use them to ensure that your gun fits you as comfortably as your clothes do!
We asked West London Shooting School for some key principles of good gun fit. Here’s what you need to be aware of.
“Poor gun-fit actively works against you and prevents you hitting your target. Taking account of your size and build, our expert fitters will check four essential elements of your gun and mount”.
If the stock tents to catch in your clothing as you bring it up, it may be too long; too short and the recoil can bruise your shoulder.
Bend or ‘Drop’
If the gun points too high, there is probably not enough bend in the stock; too low and the stock is bent too much.
‘Cast-off’ compensates for the fact that your shoulder is to the right of your eye (if you are right-handed). If the gun points left, you need more cast-off; if to the right, you need less. And vice versa (‘cast-on’) if you are left-handed.
If the gun is properly mounted and fitted, your right eye will be exactly along the rib with your whole eye visible above the breech.
Length, bend and cast are measured precisely to the nearest eighth of an inch and provided to the gunsmith so that appropriate adjustments can be made to your gun.
Q&A on gunfit
Our readers frequently write in to ask about advice on gun fit. Here’s some answers to some of the questions we’re asked.
A: I have just bought a new gun and I’m wondering whether I have the right gun fit, when I compare it to my old gun. The only difference between the two is the amount of cast on the stock and the spare carries noticeably more than the other. Should I have it reduced?
A: My inclination is to say yes, have the work done, especially as you are so used to the dimensions of your first gun and, possibly, had it fitted some time in the past.
Then again, if it hasn’t been fitted to suit, who’s to say the new gun isn’t a better fit, and the old faithful is the one in need of some remedial work!
On balance of course you should have the newer gun altered but if you have a few lingering doubts it would be well worth seeking the advice of a professional fitter who will help with the right gun fit for you.