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 Post subject: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:23 pm 
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Hi there - I am glad to have found this site! I have a question before I buy my first shotgun and I hope you can help.

I have been shooting handguns for several years, but am new to Shotgun Shooting and am LOVING IT! My husband and I joined a local club about a month ago - we are shooting Sporting Clays 2-3 times a week. I have been renting a gun from the club (or graciously shooting guns offered to me by club members) to get a feel before I make the BIG PURCHASE. I have shot both O/U and semi's. So far I have shot - Syren Caesar Guerini, Beretta Silver Pigeon 1, Beretta 690, Browning Citori 725, Remington 3200, Fabarms Semi, Beretta A400 multi-target, A400 Xplor, A400 excel.

I have read the pros and cons of Semi-Autos and O/U and understand that O/U has some definite benefits. I am shooting 12 gauge only and will buy a 12 gauge gun. I am handling the recoil fine on my shoulder on both types of gun and use a light load (1oz). But I have a very strange side effect from SOME O/U guns. Within minutes of firing some of the O/U guns, I get a raging headache. It has not happened every time but at least 80% of the time. Does not happen with the semi A400 or Fabarms.

I am still new and learning my mount and technique - is this a function of improper mount, improper fit - or could it just be how the O/U recoil affects me?

We will be purchasing guns soon. I would really prefer to buy an O/U. If my problem is mount or technique - I can learn to correct that and buy an O/U. If however, this is a common occurrence in some people with O/U and recoil - then I don't want to spend thousands of $ on a gun that I will never be able to shoot and will instead opt for a semi.

Sorry for the long introductory post - and I look forward to your advice and feedback!
Thanks so much!




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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:04 pm 
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Lady J, we are very happy to have you! My wife is just starting to shoot, she shoots a Tempio Sporting 30" 20ga. She is 5' 3" and the same age as me...I am 63. I suspect your headaches are a direct result of poor gun fit or maybe your gun mount. Also some 1oz 12 ga shells are very fast and kick a lot. Look for shells that are slower than 1200 fps. I personally love my 1060 fps 1 oz'ers (no kick).
I wonder why you are not looking at a 20ga.? 20's can shoot the light 3/4 oz loads that smoke targets on the skeet field and you can shoot the occasional fast 1 oz load for the 40-60 yd crossers on the sporting clays range. It will be a rare Sporting Clay target that will put you at a disadvantage with a 20 ga.
Then, again, while a personally don't care for automatics they are great choices and are not terribly expense (relatively).
The bottom line is, whatever gun you buy, spend the money to get it professionally fitted. May you break every target you hit! Be Blessed, Chip

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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:14 pm 
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Chip Kolar wrote:
I am 63. I suspect your headaches are a direct result of poor gun fit or maybe your gun mount. Also some 1oz 12 ga shells are very fast and kick a lot. Look for shells that are slower than 1200 fps. I personally love my 1060 fps 1 oz'ers (no kick).


Do you remember which brand of O/U gave you the headache or were some just more intense than others?

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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:22 pm 
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Another thought:
It is never about the shell, it is always about fit and how the gun points. The gun should point where you are looking and a scatter gun is NEVER to be aimed.

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www.saltwatersshootingclub.com St. Augustine FL
www.woolleyshooting.com
www.triggersportsintl.com
Muller Mofia
Pilla Glasses call Granny www.pmsfirearms.com
http://silverbulletgunoil.net


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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:23 pm 
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Lady J, My wife was experiencing many of the same symptoms that you are including the terrible headaches. She, too, was set on an over under and had been shooting and 20 gauge over under but still getting headaches. When you tried everything from a custom stock and fitting to low recoil rounds like those that have been suggested earlier. Nothing really seemed to do the trick. I came across a Syren XLR5 and suggested that she give it a try. She was resistant because she really wanted an over/under but once she shot the gun just a few times, she was sure that she wanted to buy it. Since then it has been a night and day difference her headaches are gone and she loves shooting. Plus now she gets to shoot a 12 gauge instead of the 20. If you have the opportunity I suggest you check the Syren semi-auto out and shoot it if you can I think you'll be pleased. Based on what you said, you do not get headaches with the other semi autos it seems like the logical choice at this point. I hope this helps you if you have any other questions feel free to message me.

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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:05 pm
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Thank you all for the responses so far. Here are a few more details and answers to your questions:

I first noticed this with my cousin's 20 gauge O/U remington - I believe a remington. It next happened with the Syren O/U (not sure which model) - it was awful. It also happened with the Silver Pigeon and the 690 - although have shot them both again and did not have the same issue. Shot a Remington 3200 over the weekend - it was awful. Switched to the 690 and it continued.
Headache did not happen with the Browning.

I had the chance to shoot the XLR5 (FabArms compact model - same dimensions as Syren just not as pretty). Really nice gun. If I go semi - would strongly consider this or the Beretta A400 - but that will be another thread if I decide it must be a semi.

I am shooting 1oz load at 1200 or 1260. I didn't feel any difference with either shot.

I am 5'7 - slim build. Definitely need a smaller LOP.

Keep the thoughts and suggestions coming - I'm learning a lot!


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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:08 pm 
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Are you right or left handed? My wife is left handed and a right handed gun causes misses and headaches.

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Kolar Max SC Custom "The American K-Gun"
www.saltwatersshootingclub.com St. Augustine FL
www.woolleyshooting.com
www.triggersportsintl.com
Muller Mofia
Pilla Glasses call Granny www.pmsfirearms.com
http://silverbulletgunoil.net


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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:05 pm
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Chip Kolar wrote:
Are you right or left handed? My wife is left handed and a right handed gun causes misses and headaches.



I am right-handed, definitely right eye dominant and shooting a right-hand gun. And I have no issues with headache at all with a semi.

I should also mention I am shooting pretty well for a beginner. Although not yet keeping score - definitely breaking well over half of the targets when we are out... I seem to hit better with the semi - but I think I am more relaxed and not "worried" about the impending headache that may or may not come with the O/U. Sort of a vicious circle I am creating I think....


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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:31 pm 
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Taken to the basics, you get headaches after shooting most OU's but not after shooting most auto loaders. Gun fit matters but so does the type of gun, and the biggest difference is how each type delivers the recoil impulse to the shooter.

You say you are handling the recoil fine, but you must understand how recoil handles you.

Fixed breech guns such as OU's and pumps deliver the recoil impulse directly to your shoulder, and indirectly to your neck and head.

Autoloaders absorb some of the recoil energy in moving the action parts and that movement spreads the recoil impulse over a longer period of time. The general result is softer felt recoil and reduced impulse to the shooter. This is especially noticeable in gas operated autos.

With due respect, you are new to shotguns and have tried quite a few different guns over a very short period. Some of these guns may fit better than others but each one is new to you, and this could be masking your conscious differentiation of recoil impulse from any one model or type of gun.

Your unconscious is well aware of it, and your body is certainly telling you there is a difference. The fact that you mentioned you were more relaxed and shot better with the semi not worrying about potential headaches says you are not handling recoil fine. You may be tolerating it, but over time you will run the risk of developing flinch early in your new hobby, and that's a bad thing.

Bottom line, the best fitting OU will hit you harder than a properly fit gas auto, and over time you will find the softer recoil from the auto is not noticed. The only real advantage to the OU is two different chokes, and nearly any sporting clays presentation you shoot can be broken with just one.

Before you make that BIG PURCHASE spend some time with one type of gun, one that fits you, and learn to shoot with that one gun. The more you shoot the better you can judge how that gun is working for you. Any quality auto or OU can be resold with little money lost if it doesn't work out. You will get a very high quality auto for the same or less money you would spend on an entry level OU.

My suggestion, which I have applied successfully with my wife and daughter-in-law, is start with a good autoloader and see where more time and experience lead you. It may be an OU, maybe not, but you must become friends with your gun, not have it leave you with headaches. This stuff is supposed to be fun... :D


Last edited by Cerberus on Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:12 pm 
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Lady J, I am seeing sound advice here. I agree, an auto is a good choice and it is less costly to go from an auto to an O/U. The auto does kick less...I know old guys that solved they arthritic shoulder pain by moving to an auto. My wife and I are big fans of Syren guns because they are made for the ladies and the ladies have been neglected in the shotgun world for far to long. A ladies gun is not to be confused with a youth gun. Give my friend John Woolley a call and he can go into great detail about the issues that ladies face shooting shotguns. I am high on John because he provided the gun knowledge to help the love of my life become my shooting buddy! Congrats on your current shooting success!

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Beretta S.57E
Kolar Max SC Custom "The American K-Gun"
www.saltwatersshootingclub.com St. Augustine FL
www.woolleyshooting.com
www.triggersportsintl.com
Muller Mofia
Pilla Glasses call Granny www.pmsfirearms.com
http://silverbulletgunoil.net


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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:05 pm
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Thank you all for the thoughtful and insightful advice. And I think I've come to the conclusion that starting with a semi-auto is probably the way to go so I can remain comfortable while I continue to learn! I can always "graduate" to an O/U someday (love the tradition of a break-open gun). I suspect shotguns are like handguns - you can never have too many!

Now to decide between Beretta Multi-target, A400 Xplor or Fabarms XLR5.... Decisions decisions


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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:32 pm 
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Lady J wrote:
Thank you all for the thoughtful and insightful advice. And I think I've come to the conclusion that starting with a semi-auto is probably the way to go so I can remain comfortable while I continue to learn! I can always "graduate" to an O/U someday (love the tradition of a break-open gun). I suspect shotguns are like handguns - you can never have too many!

Now to decide between Beretta Multi-target, A400 Xplor or Fabarms XLR5.... Decisions decisions
Fit, Fit. Now that your closer to a decision see how each fits or if it can be made to fit you. In autoloaders I am a Beretta fan but if the XLR5 feels good to you, pick between the two.

Sounds like you have access to both guns. Try to go out on a day when they are not busy, or when someone truly knowledgeable can check your mount and shooting style. You will get a better feel for the characteristics of the gun of the mount and fit is correct for you.


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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:41 pm 
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I was very excited to have my wife shot the A400 Xcel reduced length version because I thought it would be a great fit. However, I was amazed at how poorly it fit. The reduced length stock only comes in a parallel comb and she couldn't get anywhere close to a proper site picture down the rail. Once she picked up and shot the Syren XLR5 she instantly knew she had found her gun. It really is all about fit. Good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:14 pm 
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I had the same issue when I started two years ago. Headaches that lingered for a day or so. My everyday gun now is a Beretta A400 with a Wenig stock and a Isis recoil reducer. I shoot either 7/8 or 1 ounce shells. My gun weighs 8.5 pounds. I also have a 692 with a JS Aircushion stock, which shoots very soft. The A400 is the softest of the two. Both guns the NUMBER ONE thing that was the biggest improvement was gun fit.

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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:53 am 
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Lady J,

I agree with those who suspect the lack of "fit" with the guns you have tried. Fit involves the way you shoot a gun (your shooting form), which includes how the gun's stock dimensions match or fail to your individual size and shape.

Suggestion: Go to the second page of this forum and read, "Why shotguns fit or do not fit women, girls and youths." You can find the pages available in the lower right-hand corner of "Women shotgun shooters' " index page.

The thread will explain what shotgun fitting is all about.

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Author of "Stock Fitter's Bible, Second Edition," which explains the interrelationships between shooting form, stock dimensions and a shooter's size and shape http://www.amazon.com/Stock-Fitters-Bible-Second-Edition/dp/1451570384


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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:33 am 
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Rollin Oswald wrote:
Lady J,

I agree with those who suspect the lack of "fit" with the guns you have tried. Fit involves the way you shoot a gun (your shooting form), which includes how the gun's stock dimensions match or fail to your individual size and shape.

Suggestion: Go to the second page of this forum and read, "Why shotguns fit or do not fit women, girls and youths." You can find the pages available in the lower right-hand corner of "Women shotgun shooters' " index page.

The thread will explain what shotgun fitting is all about.

Is this the thread you're referring to... ?
viewtopic.php?t=286474

Also, what element of fit might cause headaches? That's a new one to me.


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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:55 am 
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When I shoot a shotgun with too long of a LOP, I get a screaming headache.


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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:15 pm 
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My daughter started shooting for the high school trap team and she switched to my 682 mid-season. She told me that she gets a headache at the 100 clay events but not the 50 clay events or when we shoot sporting clays which is almost always 100 clays

The gun was modified to fit her so I figured it was recoil. I had her record me shooting the gun and then I recorded her. The effect of the recoil on her was much more dramatic than mine so I had a gracoil installed which eliminated the headaches

She shot a Benelli for months with no ill effects but the added recoil of the O/U started to get to her


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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:30 pm 
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Go auto, get it fitted, and don't look back. If you dive off into this sport, this will simply be the first gun, not the last. But, do it right and you'll learn about gun fit and how important it is to shooting comfort. Do it wrong you will learn all about recoil and it's ill effects!

A head banging beautiful engraved O/U with fantastic wood looses it's appeal really fast, along with any perceived advantages when it keeps smacking you upside the head. This ain't rocket science...if it hurts, don't shoot that gun.

Remember this...if you stay in this game, the gun will become the cheapest part of the deal in the long run...even if you start out spending 10 grand! Spend your money wisely...good gun...good fit...no more headaches.

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 Post subject: Re: New to Shooting - Buying First Gun - Headache from O/U?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:27 pm 
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Stuck-N-Kali wrote:
Rollin Oswald wrote:
Lady J,

I agree with those who suspect the lack of "fit" with the guns you have tried. Fit involves the way you shoot a gun (your shooting form), which includes how the gun's stock dimensions match or fail to your individual size and shape.

Suggestion: Go to the second page of this forum and read, "Why shotguns fit or do not fit women, girls and youths." You can find the pages available in the lower right-hand corner of "Women shotgun shooters' " index page.

The thread will explain what shotgun fitting is all about.

Is this the thread you're referring to... ?
viewtopic.php?t=286474

Also, what element of fit might cause headaches? That's a new one to me.


Yes, that's the one; thank you.

"Headache" is a very general description of pain. If it describes pain in the cheek, head raising during swings and the wrong pitch can be suspected.

If it describes pain in the front of the head, eye strain is suspect.

I the pain is in the general temple area, the sound of the gun going off is suspect.

Also, lightweight shooters as was mentioned above, are more sensitive to recoil. That is because their light weight allows the recoil to push the gun back into the shoulder more than it does with heavier shooters. If you add a loose gun mount where the gun is allowed to accelerate more before it reaches something more solid like the shoulder, felt recoil is even greater.

Being violently moved to the rear during recoil is cumulative, not only during a day of shooting but like all felt recoil, over years of shooting. It will eventually cause a flinch for many shooters with the use of release triggers.

I agree that a good gas operated semi auto is a type of gun you should seriously consider. The felt recoil would be considerably reduced. Also, the heavier the gun, the greater the reduction in felt recoil.

Your use of one-ounce loads was a wise decision. They work very well for targets out to 22/23 yards. Hopefully you are using shells that are lower velocity, like those with a velocity of 1100 or 1150 feet-per-second.

The weight of the shot load and its velocity are the causes of measured recoil where "felt recoil" is the subjective experience of the shooter.



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Author of "Stock Fitter's Bible, Second Edition," which explains the interrelationships between shooting form, stock dimensions and a shooter's size and shape http://www.amazon.com/Stock-Fitters-Bible-Second-Edition/dp/1451570384


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