Today I went to see Dale Tate, a master gunfitter and gunmaker who learned his trade at the famous J. Purdey and Sons in England. Dale is a wondeful English gentleman with a warm outgoing personality. We exchanged greetings and got to work.
He wanted to know what I was going to be using the gun for primarily and if I was premounting the gun. We discussed how the main use for the gun is for Skeet and that I will be premounting the gun. I also let him know that I would very likely use the gun for Trap and Sporting Clays and that shooting unmounted would happen.
At this point we got out the gun, made sure it was unloaded, and he looked over it to see how much cast was in the gun stock. He checked how much length of pull there was and what the drop at comb and and heel were.
Dale had me mount the gun and point at an object. He corrected my head position so my head was more level and made sure that my cheek was firmly pressed against the comb. He then had me point the gun at his face (that's a weird feeling) and he looked to see how my right eye was lining up with the front and middle beeds. He also looked to see how high my eye was compared to the rib.
A couple of things were apparent to him immediately. The gun did not have enough cast off and the the comb was too high. The length of pull was a little short. The pitch of the recoil pad was fine
To fixing the cast, Dale removed the stock from the receiver and filed some wood off the right side mounting surface. He beveled both sides to allow the received to fit flush to the wood. This gave the stock 1/4" cast off at the heel and 3/8" at the toe.
Fixing the comb height was going to be relatively simple since my gun has an adjustable comb. Dale removed a little more than 1/8" of material from the bottom of the comb and modified the mounting hardware a bit and that problem was solved.
The length of pull was fixed by installing a KICK EEZ recoil pad that was a little thicker than stock.
After all the changes were made, we went through the mounting the gun and evaluation of the fit process. Everything looked really good at this point. He did move the adjustable comb to right a little and that made the fit just about perfect.
Apparently, I have a very square jaw so less comb height and more cast off than most people. The gun felt a little different but not as mush as I expected. The big difference was in my head position. All these years that I have been shooting, I have been rolling my neck to the right to get a good sight picture. I don't have to do this now and it really feels strange.
We went out to the Skeet field and I shot a few boxes of shells. I shot horrible. Dropping the comb height also dropped where I need to place the target. Having my head level changed how the targets look to my mind. Well, I didn't shoot horrible, but I had a big problem with stations 3, 4, and 5. Dale said this did not surprise him. In a way, I need to relearn how to shoot. I definitley need to relearn how to shoot this gun.
Tonight is my first night shooting a Skeet league. I guess shooting not so well to start will be good. I will get a better handicap!!
Not trying to pry into your personal business, but could you give us some idea about the gun fitting costs you incurred? The reason I ask is that we are trying to decide whether we can afford to do the same thing. Thanks for any insight.
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