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 Post subject: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:55 pm
Posts: 3
Hi I’m Jen and I started shooting skeet and trap with my dad a few years ago but started shooting more consistently within the last year. I go trap shooting with a casual group approximately every other Sunday and we usually shoot 3 rounds of trap each time we go. I’d say I shoot consistently around 18/25 and the best I’ve ever done is 22/25 and I’m the only woman in our group.

I shoot with a Winchester 1400 12 ga semi auto, which is a great cheap starter gun but I’m ready for an upgrade. I like this gun but I have some issues:

1. Especially in summer (but even in winter) the gun tears up my shoulder right above my armpit. One of the guys we shot with today even told me I’m holding the gun wrong and I need to bring it into my chest more but I think this is just him not realizing I have a boob there? Do any other women have this issue or am I really holding the gun improperly? The recoil doesn’t bother me and doesn’t even hurt but now I’m questioning whether I should be positioning the gun differently in general.

2. I’m 5’-11” so very tall for a woman but I am very thin, only 115 lbs and I have NO UPPER BODY STRENGTH. I have little noodles for arms and after 3 rounds of 25 I am compensating for the weight of the gun by leaning back instead of leaning forward and my shooting suffers as a result

3. I want new & better gun but I don’t want to spend more than $2500ish dollars for something I consider a hobby. I think the O/U is more respected in the sport but am I making the wrong decision if it’s heavier and with more recoil when I already have these issues with my semi auto?? Should I get a “field” in lieu of “sporting” model of an O/U for weight? I’m scared to go with a 20 ga or smaller because I think the 12 ga is more forgivable and increases my likelihood to hit ‘Em

I WANT to kick a$$ in this sport and appreciate any advice you have and any gun suggestions that would suit a young woman like me! Thanks!




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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:27 pm
Posts: 295
Location: Kentucky
Beretta A400 Xplor might be a good option. That’s what my wife shoots for a few of the same reasons. The Xplor is a field gun. It has a smaller grip and forearm than the sporting model and is lighter. It gives recoil absorption that you won’t get in an O/U. She was ladies 2nd in two states last year with it BTW. Good luck in whatever you decide.


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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:29 pm 
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If you get the green Xplor Unico, it weighs 7# (what my wife uses) it has the Kick Off system and makes target loads easy on the shoulder. With the shims, it is adjustable for LH or RH and a variety of drop

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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:40 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:40 pm
Posts: 111
jmeyers5212 wrote:
1. Especially in summer (but even in winter) the gun tears up my shoulder right above my armpit. One of the guys we shot with today even told me I’m holding the gun wrong and I need to bring it into my chest more but I think this is just him not realizing I have a boob there? Do any other women have this issue or am I really holding the gun improperly? The recoil doesn’t bother me and doesn’t even hurt but now I’m questioning whether I should be positioning the gun differently in general.


Read more below. You should be leaning into the shot, but you're gun clearly doesn't fit. Many women have these issues. If you read my response to #3 it will lead you in the right direction.


jmeyers5212 wrote:
2. I’m 5’-11” so very tall for a woman but I am very thin, only 115 lbs and I have NO UPPER BODY STRENGTH. I have little noodles for arms and after 3 rounds of 25 I am compensating for the weight of the gun by leaning back instead of leaning forward and my shooting suffers as a result

You should start doing gun mounts at home. 50-100 per day. This will make your set-up a lot better but also condition your arms. I usually try to do 5-10 as I walk past my gun safe (requires me to do something as I go to the bathroom, get water, grab a snack, etc. I chose 5-10 as that is the most you will ever do on a post in trap. Eventually maybe work up to doing a few sets of 25 as that's how many you will shoot in a round of skeet/trap. You're gonna probably want to stay with a semi auto if you are weaker. See more below.


jmeyers5212 wrote:
3. I want new & better gun but I don’t want to spend more than $2500ish dollars for something I consider a hobby. I think the O/U is more respected in the sport but am I making the wrong decision if it’s heavier and with more recoil when I already have these issues with my semi auto?? Should I get a “field” in lieu of “sporting” model of an O/U for weight? I’m scared to go with a 20 ga or smaller because I think the 12 ga is more forgivable and increases my likelihood to hit ‘Em

If you aren't able to lift the
Your semi-auto is probably giving you less recoil. If you want to upgrade and keep a semi-auto, I would suggest to look at the Beretta A400 MultiTarget. Contact Cole Gunsmithing in Naples, FL as they are the best Beretta dealer (and top all around clay target shotgun dealer) in the US. There is a Victoria (or something) edition of many Beretta guns made for women where the stock has a major difference in pitch which should eliminate your issue.
jmeyers5212 wrote:
I WANT to kick a$$ in this sport and appreciate any advice you have and any gun suggestions that would suit a young woman like me! Thanks!

- 50-100 gun mounts a day, 3+ days a week
- Look into Terry Jordan's wall chart for a cheap way to get better at your hobby. Look at online reviews to see if you think it will help. It has helped many.
- Maybe try to use 7/8 oz shells or lower the speed down to 1060 or something like that.
- Take a lesson with a top coach in your discipline


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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:11 am
Posts: 4207
Location: Western Tampa, FL
FABARM has the Syren line that is dedicated to women shooters. You are lucky in that in the last few years there has been an expanding line of shotguns from various makers dedicated to women's needs. We have an accomplished woman shooter Mary Anne who will hopefully weigh in with her advice. Good luck and with the right gun and fit there is no reason you cannot kick a$$!

Welcome! IMO, we need all the women shooters we can get.


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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:04 am 
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Location: Dallas, Texas
Well, I'm more enthusiastic than accomplished, but here is my two cents worth.

The first purchase decision is O/U or semi. I'm personally an O/U fan because semis are too complicated for my simple mind and try to eat my fingers. But I have a number of friends who shoot semi, and are very happy doing so. Sporting or field model? If you are a great shot or have the potential to be a great shot, you can use anything. If you are not, or are just learning, if you're shooting sporting, get a sporting gun.

I'm a fan of 12 gauge, and I've owned either guns or barrels in all of the sub gauges. I now have only 12s. I find that with the almost infinite variety of 12 gauge shells, I can find one that does not punish me with recoil. I currently use Fiocchi, 1 oz, under 1200 fps.

If makes no difference what gun you buy as long as it fits you and you are happy shooting it. Try a bunch of guns, ask people if you can test shoot theirs, keep a list of what you like and don't like about each model. Talk to other women shooters, they'll be happy to share their gun journeys with you. At your budget range, buy used; literally more bang for the buck. Remember, every gun is used after it has a round shot through it.

I totally sympathize with the weight problem. Before I bought my current guns, I had a Caesar Guerini Summit Ascent. Beautiful gun, but way too heavy for me, I had trouble holding it steady by the end of a full round of sporting clays. So when you make your list of guns you have shot, write down how much each weighs, info readily available on the manufacturer's website. Get a 9 pound weight bar and do multiple lifts over your head while you are watching TV, etc.

And after you make your choice and buy your gun, get it fitted to you. The fitter can walk you though proper mounting if you don't have access to a good instructor. No matter what gun you buy, it will shoot better for you if it's fitted to you. And yeah, guys are just not understanding about having to deal with "the boob thing."

For what it's worth I saw a kid who did everything I was taught not to do in terms of mounting and stance, who consistently broke 25 in skeet. But he was young with great eyes and fast reaction times. Those fade as we get older, and proper form helps make up for the loss.

Good shooting! Mary Ann

Me, it was 100 in Dallas yesterday and will be at least 100 today. Dumped the pup at the trainer's, where she is being a "very good girl" in her retriever training and off tomorrow to Wyoming. I love road trips!

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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:34 am 
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Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 7:19 pm
Posts: 1901
Location: Indian Head Country Wisconsin
One thing no one has mentioned is shoot 1 ounce loads at moderate velocity such as 1200 Feet per second. Not zippy ones at 1350 fps. Recoil will be much less and still plenty to break clays and will be much more comfortable. I shoot them too. You usually will not find them at a big box store so goto a gun shop. My wife will not shoot 1 and 1/8 ounce as they are too much for her for an extended range time.

Women tend to have longer necks so women specific guns have slightly higher stocks to help with that. They also tend to have more toe out at the stock to help with “clearance.” :) They also tend to have a shorter length of pull. While it will cost you more, I’d look at women specific guns first to see if they fit you better. It will be well worth it not to have a bruise on your arm. Look for a larger registered shooting event or a hunting convention like the pheasants forever, nra, etc. and you will have gun manufacturers there with the women specific guns for you to hold and try out. Good luck. Shooting is hand eye coordination. No reason you can’t beat the boys with some practice!


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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:17 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:46 am
Posts: 830
Location: Nawth Bama
Great sport, isn't it?

Best thing I've done to shoot better has been to get good instruction.

I've been to the Orvis shooting school, and it made enormous differences in my ability to break clays.

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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:05 am 
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Cocker, the Orvis school is awesome; I went to the one in VT, and it was literally the first time I picked up a sporting shotgun. Original poster doesn't say where she's from, but Orvis now has schools in different parts of the country other than the northeast, and Gil & Vicky Ash, in normal times, travel their school; it is a great place to pick up good habits. MAJ

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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:51 pm
Posts: 89
Location: brisbane,australia
try adjusting your pitch first,


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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:38 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:40 am
Posts: 202
Location: Western Jersey
Jen - My wife is a similar build and can barely lift, let alone shoulder my 8.5 lb O/U. We have a 28 gauge semi-auto that is light in weight and recoil. However it does not remotely fit her.

Last summer, on a sporting clays course, we ran into a fairly new women shooter out with a women instructor. We got to observe and then speak to them while waiting to shoot the station. The first thing we noticed was how well the gun fit her. The other was the low key, easy going approach taken by the instructor. It ended up the shotgun was a Syren semi-auto and the instructor worked for Syren. Syren is all women specific stuff. Perhaps worth checking out where you can demo one or better yet book a lesson with one of their representatives. https://syrenusa.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:24 am
Posts: 257
I like your attitude and welcome to the sport. My wife is about your size and started with a Beretta A400 in 20 ga which fits her well and she shoots very well. When she wanted to go up to 12 Ga, we went with the Fabarm Syren semi auto. She is your size and it fits her perfectly. It is the softest shooting 12 Ga I have seen (1 oz at around 1200 fps) and she can shoot it all day. I highly recommend you at least try this gun on for size/fit. If you can get to one of the large skeet or sporting clays tournaments, typically there are enough vendors there to have a sampling of what you might like. where are you located?


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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:46 am
Posts: 830
Location: Nawth Bama
MAJENKINS wrote:
Cocker, the Orvis school is awesome; I went to the one in VT, and it was literally the first time I picked up a sporting shotgun. Original poster doesn't say where she's from, but Orvis now has schools in different parts of the country other than the northeast, and Gil & Vicky Ash, in normal times, travel their school; it is a great place to pick up good habits. MAJ


Well, then we have more in common than CG! I went to their school in West Point, MS, and it was great. Lot of fun, and really set me on this path.

And thanks for the info you've shared about Clenzoil, too.

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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:55 pm
Posts: 3
Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies! I have been reading them all and definitely plan to start shouldering some guns to see what I like and what I don’t. And start lifting some weights ;) I think professional instruction is a great next step for me as well to take my game to the next level.


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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:55 pm
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OH and I plan to check out those 1 oz lower FPS shells. I’ve just been buying whatever 12ga is on sale at Dicks.....ha


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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:20 pm
Posts: 278
You definitely want the gun in you shoulder pocket not on your arm. If you have a some interference with your boob, it is likely you are mounting the stock too low. As a tall woman, you should be able to mount the gun fairly high by holding you or head and neck up straighter. Rollin Oswald, our resident fitting expert, says you can have as much as 1” of stock heel above the clavicle (shoulder blade). If you do that, the gun should be above your breast. And slanting the back of the stock inward toward the bottom (toe in) will make even more clearance if needed. Also if you bring the gun inside into the shoulder pocket, you will need less cast or in other words you won’t need to bend your head over as much to get to it

Honestly, whether I am right or wrong, a professional fit is really what you need. If I were you I would engage a fitter to work with you both as you choose your new gun and get it fitted to you.

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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:20 pm
Posts: 278
And by the way, I fully agree with the light 12 ga loads. I don’t agree that it is hard to find them. All the big stores have 1 oz loads at less than 1200 fps. Academy, Cabelas, Bass, lots of major folks not to mention the ammo suppliers you find on ammoseek.com.

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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:37 pm 
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jmeyers5212-

Have asked around the Club or seen some other Lady Shooters? If so go introduce yourself and let them help you or guide you to someone to help with fit etc and they will probably let you try their guns and see what feels better and at this stage work for you :)

Good luck and Welcome {hs#

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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:47 pm 
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jmeyers5212 wrote:
OH and I plan to check out those 1 oz lower FPS shells. I’ve just been buying whatever 12ga is on sale at Dicks.....ha


Many of us here, including me, think Dick's lives up to its name. MAJ

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 Post subject: Re: Female shooter looking for A LOT of advice.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:31 am 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:46 am
Posts: 830
Location: Nawth Bama
moishepipick wrote:
You definitely want the gun in you shoulder pocket not on your arm. If you have a some interference with your boob, it is likely you are mounting the stock too low. As a tall woman, you should be able to mount the gun fairly high by holding you or head and neck up straighter. Rollin Oswald, our resident fitting expert, says you can have as much as 1” of stock heel above the clavicle (shoulder blade). If you do that, the gun should be above your breast. And slanting the back of the stock inward toward the bottom (toe in) will make even more clearance if needed. Also if you bring the gun inside into the shoulder pocket, you will need less cast or in other words you won’t need to bend your head over as much to get to it

Honestly, whether I am right or wrong, a professional fit is really what you need. If I were you I would engage a fitter to work with you both as you choose your new gun and get it fitted to you.


The clavicle is not a shoulder blade. "Toe in" is the wrong direction.



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