JOHN BIDWELL says: In extreme cases the position of the front hand can sometimes be dictated by an ill fitting stock – too short and the forearm has to stretch out by way of compensation; too long and the hand needs to be brought back to balance the gun.

That said, experienced shooters will change their grip on a fore-end to accommodate certain types of target. For instance by bringing their hand closer to the gun’s action they might find it easier to swing the gun on a fast, close, crosser.

Similarly, adopting this hold on a high overhead driven bird increases the amount of gun movement and keeps the swing going passed the vertical, especially if weight is transferred to the back foot as well.

Equally, a small number of people find it helps steady their swing on long range crossers and quartering birds if they push their hand out a little farther on the fore-end wood, thereby straightening the arm a little.

In the early stages however I suggest you adopt a hold that allows you to shoot with a nicely bent arm at the elbow – such a grip
will ensure you can move the gun smoothly with a minimum amount of strain on your wrist and arm muscles.

If the gun you use is a reasonable fit you should find the leading hand comes to rest a little over halfway up the fore-end wood.