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 Post subject: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 12:25 pm 
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Location: Brillion, WI-25 mls S of Green Bay
New shooters and those who are just getting into competitive shooting are usually unaware of both the importance of gun-fit and how to determine just how well various guns actually fit them, especially if no test firing is involved.

"Fit" describes how well the five basic stock dimensions (length of pull, cast, pitch and drops at the comb and heel) match the shooting style, size, and shape of the shooter.

Manufacturers choose the stock dimensions during the design of their guns to fit as many shooters as possible. They come close only about half the time. (Shooters come in too many shapes and sizes for one set of stock dimensions to fit more than half of us.)

Stock fit determines how well a shooter will ever be able to shoot a gun even with years of practice, the amount of felt recoil that will be experienced, and if the shooter will ever be able to shoot up to his or her highest potential.

Following are a few tips that will help you find a gun with stock dimensions (They vary from gun to gun.) that come closest to the ones that you need to shoot well.

When the gun is mounted with the eyes closed and with firm pressure by the cheek on the comb, opening them should allow looking down the center of the rib and seeing the amount of top surface that will allow the gun to shoot at a height you desire. Usually, that means that very little of the top surface of the rib is visable but that varies with what the gun will be used for.

The combs on some guns are parallel with the barrel (common on trap guns) and some rise in the front. The popularity of parallel combs is growing because the cheek can be placed anywhere along it without changing the height of the eye relative to the rib.

When mounting the gun, the entire recoil pad should make contact with your shoulder at the same time; the bottom of the pad (toe) should not make contact well before the top (heel.)

The stock should be long enough to allow placing the cheek far enough forward on the comb to be comfortable and still have the eye at the proper height, at or just above the rib.

In this position with the gun mounted, there should be between an inch-and-a-quarter and and an inch-and-a-half between your nose and your trigger-hand thumb.

As was mentioned, the neck should feel no strain and should not feel scrunched too far back on the comb.

Your head should be turned toward and leaned onto the comb as little as possible to align the eye with the center of the rib.

Although the list is incomplete, it will offer an indication of how well the stock's dimensions fit your size and shape. Although all stock dimensions can be changed either by yourself of better yet, by a good stock fitter it is best to avoid the extra expense when possible.

If a gun does not fit very well and you like it for other reasons, plan to invest additional money to have the stock dimensions changed to make it fit. Gun fit should be one of if not the top prioritiy when choosing which gun you buy. Failing to consider it will set you up for many disappointing shooting experiences. They can be avoided only if you plan ahead and buy the best fitting gun you can find.

If you aren't adverse to investing $14 for being better prepared to buy a gun that fits, click on the following link.
http://stockfitting.virtualave.net/

Rollin




Last edited by Rollin Oswald on Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:38 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 10:43 pm 
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Mr.Oswald,
It's obvious to me that you're a man with a good deal of knowledge on the subject of shotguns. I believe that I recognize the name from one or two other sites. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for frequenting this site and imparting some of that knowledge on others.Personally, I find this a very down to earth and friendly place, and while I still check other forums, I find I spend most of my free time here.
Thanks Again,
Jim


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 4:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2003 9:24 am
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Rollin, I have copied and pasted some of your excellent advice on stock fit into a word document. Will it be ok to share this info with newbies from time to time? I would, of course, give you full credit and direct them to your web site.

Thanks,

_________________
<~~ detail from Andrew Wyeth, "The Coot Hunter," Watercolor (1941)

Jeff23
Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen
National Rifle Association


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 6:07 am 
If you will notice, Rollin has a link at the end of his post. He has spent a great deal of time compiling information on stockfitting. I bought his work and he emailed me the book and I in turn printed it off. I have it in a 3-ring binder. I cant remember how many pages is is but you will learn a great deal about shotgunning from this compilation.


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 8:39 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2003 9:24 am
Posts: 1221
Yes, perhaps my idea, above, would not be beneficial to Rollin, which is why I asked in the first place. Then again, there is the fact that he posted it here for all to see at no charge, a gesture that I find to be in the very best traditions of shotgunworld.com. Nevertheless, I think I'll await his reply, either here or by PM or at my email address (if you prefer Rollin): [email protected] before giving out any of his excellent and unique information. Rollin, you may rely upon my discretion. If you'd prefer just the link over continual repostings, I'll simply give the link and not the info--no postings of "Rollin Oswald only wants the link posted" or other such nonsense.

I await your answer.

_________________
<~~ detail from Andrew Wyeth, "The Coot Hunter," Watercolor (1941)

Jeff23
Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen
National Rifle Association


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 12:39 pm 
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Location: Brillion, WI-25 mls S of Green Bay
REM396;
Thank you. It is 39 pages.

Jim;
You are very welcome.

Jeff23;
Thank you for your concern. I'm not sure to what you are referring but I'll try to comment.

If you are referring to the material in the guide, it is copyrighted but of course, that can't be enforced. I let each recipient's conscience be his guide (no pun intended.) Naturally, I would prefer that everyone send me $14 for their own complete copy, but realized when I was writing it that some would share it and that that could not be prevented.

Regarding the guide material, the above is not what bothers me. With one stock dimension affecting others, (their interrelationships,) my concern is that in providing relatively short "cures" for others' problems, new ones could be created as a result of those interrelationships. Unless your recipients are aware of the principals of stock fitting, they could be flying blind in their attempt to solve problems.

This is also true when shooting form is involved (as it is with virtually all stock dimensions.) Without the realization that form is the basis for all stock dimensions, and your knowing what form is presently being used, offering suggestions for changing stock dimensions could be misleading and in some cases, actually harmful. There are few "short" answers in stock fitting.

If you are going to copy the guide material and send it to others, please, for their sake as well as mine, take care to provide all the information that relates to their particular situation. If you choose to avoid providing all the pertinant information, please do not credit me as the source. I have established a reputation over the past years and would like to avoid damaging it.

On the other hand, anything that I have posted here is available for anyone to copy, cut and paste, or send. Feel free to use it in any way you wish. Please bear in mind however, that my comments or suggestions have used as a basis, a literal translstion of the information provided in the original poster's question or comment. Please avoid using all comments as generalizations.

Regards,

Rollin


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2003 9:24 am
Posts: 1221
Well, Rollin, you make an excellent point. I of all people understand that there are few short answers to ANYTHING in the world of shotgunning. I was considering copying your post, above, and giving it out to new people with your permission, of course. But in light of what you say about the interrlationships of stock dimensions, I will not do that--it might create more problems than it solves! Besides, you have given us a sticky which is more than enough help.

Instead I am just going to direct newcomers with serious gun fit questions to your web site.

Thank you very much, Rollin, for your kind and very gentlemanly answers to our questions. You have helped me much--I'm off to send you the $14--and I know you'll help many more.

Best Regards,

_________________
<~~ detail from Andrew Wyeth, "The Coot Hunter," Watercolor (1941)

Jeff23
Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen
National Rifle Association


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 10:57 pm 
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Location: Brillion, WI-25 mls S of Green Bay
Jeff:

As I mentioned, feel free to copy and distribute the material written here but be aware that there may be more information that is needed for a particular situation or problem. Read the questions that I replied to and try to avoid taking my comments out of context or turning them into generalizations that may not be warrented.

Try to qualify or further explain things you copy when you can, before generalizing to decrease the chances of someone getting a misleading answer, suggestion, or impression.

Rollin


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:49 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2003 9:24 am
Posts: 1221
Will do Rollin. What you say makes perfect sense and I thank you, both for sharing your wisdom and for offering your guidance.

All the best,

_________________
<~~ detail from Andrew Wyeth, "The Coot Hunter," Watercolor (1941)

Jeff23
Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen
National Rifle Association


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 5:53 pm 
tried to reach http://stockfitting.virtualave.net/ but had no luck. is this the correct address? thx
[email protected]


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 6:20 pm 
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Yep. Worked fine for me, even just clicking your link.

-- Sam

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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 11:09 pm 
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Location: Brillion, WI-25 mls S of Green Bay
Jay:

Yes, the site is available. I may have mistyped the site adderess when I sent it to you; it not impossible that my son was trying to get the visit-counter working again when you tried to access the site.

Rollin


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 11:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 11:52 pm
Posts: 80
Location: bay area, ca
Rollin--- my experience is that each gun is different. Some feel good and have a nice comfortable fit, and others are just plain awkward. If they are awkward, they wont break clays or drop birds, so why bother. Therefore, I've picked guns that felt right, and stayed away from the awkward guns.

But reading your post makes me rethink!

Have I dismissed guns that could work wonderfully just because they weren't adjusted to my body shape?

Do you think that *any* gun can be adjusted to fit well? Could I basically buy a gun based on mechanics, action, and any other measure or whim, and then no matter how bad it fits, get that fixed so it has a perfect fit? And if it fits well but has too much "cheek slap", can that be adjusted too?

-- Quackster


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2003 10:34 pm 
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Quack.;

You've discovered the primary reason that shooters trade guns nearly as often as they change their shorts.

Although shotguns designed for a particular disciplines have similiar stock dimensions, they are just that, only similiar. Some feel better than others because their stock dimensions are better fitting for whatever shooting form has been adopted, not necessarily a correct form but the one that is used.

You have done the right thing in my opinion when you chose guns that felt good. They were the ones that were better fitting for your shooting form.

With the exception of a stock's grip which is difficult to make fit better than it did originally, all other stock dimensions can be changed. A second exception can exist when cast is involved. Automatics have spring housings that run well into their stocks that can make bending a stock to create cast difficult to nearly impossible.

With the exceptions mentioned above, any gun could be made to fit you. Incidently, no gun whose recoil results in cheek slap, fits (given a correct shooting form.) The dimensions most often involved in cheek slap are pitch and the drops at the heel and the comb. And yes, cheek slap can be eliminated either by changing the stock's dimensions or your shooting form; (some invite slap.) http://stocdkfitting.virtualave.net/

Rollin


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2003 12:55 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 11:52 pm
Posts: 80
Location: bay area, ca
Rollin Oswald wrote:
Quack.;
You've discovered the primary reason that shooters trade guns nearly as often as they change their shorts.
Rollin


I think a whole new world has just opened up!

But unlike my shorts, my gun doesn't have a telltale stripe that appears automatically when its time for a new one! :wink:

But all seriousness aside, how much can truly be adjusted? Will a quarter of an inch of pitch or drop-at-comb make a huge difference? Comparing specs online, I see 1/4 to 1/2" difference in drop at comb and heel. even between similar models, like between the 3" Winchester SX2 and the 3.5".

I'm kind of tempted now to take apart the gun and try out all those spacers that came with it. But on the other hand, I can see clearly that the adjustments available by just changing the spacers would be limited to the angle of the stock vs the barrel. With a wooden stock, and a big wad of sandpaper, a lot more would be possible. Reminds me of woodshop ages ago--- I cut it off twice and it's still too short.

-- Q


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2003 10:27 am 
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Location: Brillion, WI-25 mls S of Green Bay
A change of a quarter-inch of pitch (using the common way to measure pitch) or drop at the heel won't make much difference; that amount of change in the drop at the comb will make a huge difference.

Using spacers to change dimensions is a questionable attempt for dimensional change at best. That method doesn't allow just one dimension to be changed. Even when just changing cast, it is changed at both the comb and heel when only one may be needed. Angling the stock up or down changes the pitch, drop at the comb and drop at the heel.

Before going the sandpaper route, be sure you know what wood removal is going to do with all affected dimensions. As two examples of many, lowering the comb will affect the drop at the heel dimension and changing the pitch will effect the length of pull.

I would suggest that you consider investing $14 for an e-mailed copy of my stock fitting guide. It is guaranteed so you would get your money back if it doesn't aid in fitting your stock. Click on the following link to get to my Website.
http://stockfitting.virtualave.net

Rollin


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2003 11:46 pm 
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Location: Brillion, WI-25 mls S of Green Bay
Q;

The small changes you mention in the drop at the heel and the pitch will make little if any noticeable difference. A quarter-inch difference in the face drop at the comb however, will make a huge difference.

On field stocks, the difference in the two dimensions indicates the angle of the upward slanted comb. The lesser of the two dimensions is usualy measured from the forward nose of the comb and the other, at the heel.

Somewhere in between is the portion of the comb on which the cheek will make contact, hence the name, cheek drop. It must be correct for your facial features (primarily the distance between your cheekbone and your eye) to allow correct forward head placement on the comb and an adequate distance between your nose or glasses and trigger thumb.

When such a distance is not present, the thumb can make contact with the nose during recoil, the eyes water, dust is blown in the eyes and hardens, making the eyes unable to be opened. The victim is then likely to trip over a stump, wander out into traffic and be run over by an 18-wheeler, or fall over the gunnel of a duck boat and drown. Although it can be tragic, it can make a memorable outing and annual drinking outings in memoriam.

Think long and hard before abusing your stock with a handfull of sandpaper. (If you use 40 or 60 grit paper, the time of destruction can be shortened.) Unless you know what you're doing, with the interrelationships of stock dimensions, you are very likely to ruin a good stock when you change a dimension. That change is very likely to affect at least one other dimension. It's not all that dissimiliar to using spacers to change dimensions.

Rollin


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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2003 1:34 pm 
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If I may put in a plug: Go ahead and purchase Rollin's Stockfitting Guide. It is the best $14 I've spent in a long time. http://stockfitting.virtualave.net

I'm not affiliated with Rollin, just one very satisfied customer.

For those who aren't aware of it from my other zillion posts on the subject, I recently picked up a Browning BT-99 Plus with adjustable "everything". Rollin's guide, as well as his online comments and emails he's exchanged with me, have done wonders to help me figure out what all these adjustments do.

-- Sam

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 Post subject: Re: How to tell which new gun fits you the best
PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 11:28 pm 
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SamL:

Thank you, Sam. I sincerely appreciate your comment.

Rollin




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