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Last night I shot a few rounds of skeet before we got rained out.
Range building talk turned to all things shotgun, as you might expect.
The topic of gun fit, custom stocks, adjustable this and thats got pretty heated.
My position was a properly fitting gun, as opposed to a misfitted gun (even one off the rack)will and does make a difference. Only a few disagreed, but they did so adamately. I acknowledge a custom stock won't make a 18 average shooter 23 or 24 overnight. Nor should a casual shooter or newbie spend thousand on such either. My position, simply, was a good shooter will be "consistently-over time" a better shooter and an average shooter increases his chance of becoming a good shooter if the gun fit is correct. The loudest opponent claimed a shooter can adapt to and overcome gunfit.
I can't see where you can continually "adjust" to gunfit while participating in a sport that demands consistency.
 

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i won't say it is impossible for an accomplished shooter, on known targets, to force himself into that scenario------but it becomes a job/work and really demanding on the body/mind---certainly not enjoyable.

where a perfectly fit gun is an extension of the body, you never doubt or think of the barrel/bead/trigger/ or rib.

i have to wonder if the naysayers have ever had a gun-----with which they were...ONE :roll:
 

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First: It's amazing how tiny changes to the drop or pitch can affect the recoil effect on one's cheek.

Second: For really serious shooters getting the gun to put the pattern exactly where the rib suggests is important. Surprisingly to some people, a consistent error of anything much more than 2" at the target distance starts to affect the chances of pellet strikes on the clay. To get this level of precision suggests that gun fit is important.

Andrew.
 

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I think personally you can over come small fitment problems. But NO fit problems are better. I can shoot a gun with the LOP off somewhat and even to a degree the cast(I`m a lefty...used to shooting right hand guns) but something I can`t over come is the wrong drop on the stock. I tend to buy adj combs where possible. I agree a bad fitting gun expecially in 12 ga can be a nightmare to shoot. I hate bad recoil especially after several rounds of skeet or trap.
 

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Grossly overrated, unless the shooter has some kind of physical impediment to overcome.

If a shooter can shoulder a shotgun properly and comfortably and find himself looking straight down the rib at a figure 8 formed by the front and middle bead, that's all the gun fit he should need.

The only concession I make to a stock is the addition of a Pachmyr slip-on recoil pad -- not as a recoil reducer but to add about an inch to the length of pull.

I have one on all my guns and they do the trick for less than 10 bucks per gun..
 

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Those that adapt:
I know of an individual that has been shooting since he was a very young lad. He has many different shotguns and none of them are "adjusted". He is a very, very good shot. Can run 100's with any shotgun in his arsenal.

Those that cannot:
As Case wrote " If a shooter can shoulder a shotgun properly and comfortably and find himself looking straight down the rib at a figure 8 formed by the front and middle bead, that's all the gun fit he should need." I agree with this, but, this is not the case for my son. The modifications we are making to his Remington 1100 are significant.

So here are two individuals at opposing sides of the spectrum.
 

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Gun fit is probably important, but good enough is good enough. We've probably reached the point where the gun fit cult has raised it to religious status with high priest and secret rituals.

I've stolen a few very good, and simple, rules of thumb from some of the best in the game.

Send me a p.m. with your email addy, and I'll forward them to you.
 

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Gun fit is important. Don't believe me, ask Todd Bender or any of the other top shooters, not if it's important, but are their personal guns that they use in competition fitted to them.

Fitting is more important in a field gun or in the international disciplines than in American Trap or Skeet or SCs, because small diviations in fit can be overcome with pre-mounting. Also, most people fall into the average catagory that most manufacturers build their stocks to. It is the reason why people shoot better with some guns than they do with others.

Frank
 

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For me gunfit is important. It is important to me to be confident that the gun is shooting exactly where I'm pointing/looking. So it could be more of a mental thing for most of us. If the gunfit isn't perfect, but it doesn't affect one's confidence it may not make that much difference to the casual shooter. In a shootoff with Paxton, Mayes, Castillo, Bender, Grates, etc. .. I want the gunfit to be perfect (and out of my mind).
 

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Gun fit cannot be discussed thoroughly without considering shooting form - gun mount, stance, body posture, weight distribution.

Over time, particular shooting forms for various disciplines have proven to result in the highest scores. These are the forms that have come to be known as the correct forms. Watch the top shooters in any shooting discipline and their forms will be nearly identical.

When stocks fail to fit the shooter, the shooting form used must be corrupted. The head may lean with the gun mounted, the gun mount may be in the wrong place and/or the stance may have to be altered.

Well fitting guns, in addition to having less felt recoil, promote consistency in all the aspects of shooting. This in turn, makes practice more effective and improvement more rapid. The gun is mounted the same way and in the same place for each shot and the head is more likely to stay in the same place relative to the rib to yield consistent POIs. One deviates from the preferred shooting form at his or her own risk.

Those most likely to say that stock fitting is unimportant are most likely the fortunate minority who is well fitted by off-the-rack guns. They comprise somewhere between 10 and 40 percent of the shooting population, depending on what figures you believe. These are the same people who are likely to say, "I wear size 10 shoes so everyone should be able to wear size 10 shoes comfortably." That type of attitude simply displays an unawareness of the facts and an inability to use simple logic. http://stockfitting.virtualave.net
 

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RedForeman said:
In a shootoff with Paxton, Mayes, Castillo, Bender, Grates, etc. .. I want the gunfit to be perfect (and out of my mind).
If you're reaching shoot-offs with the likes of those folks, spending a couple of grand to have a gun fitted right down to the millimeter is probably a justified expense.

For the average shooter it's not.

Considering everything else involved in reaching that disciplined skill level, most shooters couldn't get there if they spent a hundred grand on a custom shotgun.

Otherwise, there'd be a helluva lot more people in shoot-offs with Bender, Mayes and company.

In my opinion, born out by experience, the average shooter who blames gun fit for the fact he can't hit a bull in the *** with a bass fiddle is just shopping for excuses.

Most shooters simply can't muster up the discipline that's absolutely required to shoot 400 straight.

And I'm betting Todd Bender, Wayne Mayes or any of those top shooters could pick up any gun reasonably stocked for Skeet and shoot a hundred straight with it in any gauge.
 

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Case wrote: "If a shooter can shoulder a shotgun properly and comfortably and find himself looking straight down the rib at a figure 8 formed by the front and middle bead, that's all the gun fit he should need."

Well...pretty much yes, since the purpose of stock fitting is primarily to get the shooter to be able to consistently "shoulder a shotgun properly and comfortably and find himself looking straight down the rib at a figure 8 formed by the front and middle bead". I think this issue is that this cannot be achieved by most shooters with off the shelf stocks due to body geometry (uhhh...that would include me).

I think Mr. Oswald hit the nail on the head...many shooters do not know what a "proper and comfortable" (sic) mount is and many do much to compensate. Most common is crawling too far into the stock, raising your head to get above the receiver with a too low stock, rolling your head into the stock, turning your face into the stock, shrugging a shoulder up to raise the stock, mounting the toe of the pad on your collar bone in order to raise the stock (and bruise the hell out of yourself at the same time...but oh, what wouldn't we do for our beloved sport :) )

All of these "compensations" have a price in form which may impact vision of the bird, mechanics of swing, and the ability to mount and move consistently.

It's my view, however, that to get a good stock fit you need to have that fitting combined with a shooting form that you have choose to use again and again. e.g. if I choose to shoot with my upper body perfectly vertical, the geometry (there's that word again) of a stock that will fit me is slightly different that if I take a more agressive stance with a bend a slight at the waist. The two different positions will give me a different view of the rib if used with the same stock configuration.

Is stock fitting necessary to have fun shooting skeet....no, not in all cases. But I do think that a properly fitted gun combined with a practiced mount/stance will make the sport more comfortable and enjoyable and will eliminate the variable of gun mount from efforts to improve.

For some folks, there is no way without some adjustment (I, for example, am way buried behind the receiver on most off the shelf drop comb configuration stocks). There are expensive ways to fix this (adjustable comb and butt plate for example) and there are easier ways for recreational shooting like an Rapid-comb that you velcro on to the stock. I use one of those on old Mod 12 and 42 I have and whose stocks I will never cut up. But still, its a form of stock fitting.
 

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Rollin Oswald said:
When stocks fail to fit the shooter, the shooting form used must be corrupted. The head may lean with the gun mounted, the gun mount may be in the wrong place and/or the stance may have to be altered.

Well fitting guns, in addition to having less felt recoil, promote consistency in all the aspects of shooting. This in turn, makes practice more effective and improvement more rapid. The gun is mounted the same way and in the same place for each shot and the head is more likely to stay in the same place relative to the rib to yield consistent POIs. One deviates from the preferred shooting form at his or her own risk.

Those most likely to say that stock fitting is unimportant are most likely the fortunate minority who is well fitted by off-the-rack guns. They comprise somewhere between 10 and 40 percent of the shooting population, depending on what figures you believe. These are the same people who are likely to say, "I wear size 10 shoes so everyone should be able to wear size 10 shoes comfortably." That type of attitude simply displays an unawareness of the facts and an inability to use simple logic. http://stockfitting.virtualave.net
Rollin, I could not have said it better... I had my last shotgun fitted. Nothing fancy, just had an expert critique my stance and give suggestions. Elbows, feet, etc. Had the LOP trimmed slightly. What a difference! Feels like my shotgun is an extension of my hand. Confidence went way up too. Didn't realize all the little things that I was doing wrong. Spent the better part of a day with him.
 

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I would have to say that fit is critical in any of the shooting sports. I ran a large PD firearms training program for a number of years. At the time Smith 9mms were the standard pistol. Smaller hands always had difficulty with them. Give them a single stack and they were right on. For me, nothing fits better than a 1911 in pistols.

So it is with shotguns. A gun that fits will always be easier to hit with than one that does not fit. Last month my trusty skeet gun, an Ithaca 51 that shot where I was thinking, without thinking about it took a dump. It parted out for more than it was worth and I could not find an extractor for it anywhere in time for the club league. I figured with parts for it now so rare, it was time to look for something else. My high $$ friends were more than helpful and I realized an O/U was the way to go but a custom fitted gun was not in the budget. I tried Brownings, Berettas, Ruger, and Remington. None fit and my first tries without contortion were misses with all. One newbie at the club then handed me his gun to try. A hit, then another and another. It was like it was alive in my hands. It fit perfectly. It ended up being a $400 Khan. I was at the store by lunchtime the next morning and gave one a good look over. Solid steel, excellent construction, same fit as the one I tried. I substituted a fiber optic for the single dot and was out the door with it. Next shoot, bird after bird was downed. The only miss was on a double with a trap malfunction. I set the safety while it was cleared and forgot to take it off. I gotta say, I was impressed out of the box. I'll likely stick with these and if this one wears out, get another.

Does that mean it will fit for everyone, certainly not. But it worked for me and thats the thing. Not everything will work for everyone. Try before you buy. I think that would eliminate nearly all the complaints people have about gun fit.
 

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The first thing Bender does in a class is to check the gun fit. He adjusted my friends only 1/32 and my buddy saw the targets better.

Yes the top dawgs and many other regular people including myself could run 100's with an illfiitting gun but it wont happen as often.
 

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infanterene said:
The first thing Bender does in a class is to check the gun fit. He adjusted my friends only 1/32 and my buddy saw the targets better.
One thirty-second of an inch?

Exactly how did he do that?
 

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Mole skin. My friend is at the skill level where anything he did in the class was very, very minor. He actually has been in more than one shoot off with the top dogs, Bender included.
 

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Case/Infanterene,

Yeah, I get in the dance with these guys on the rare moment, maybe 2 or 3 times a year. The trick is to shoot your two targets at the station and forget about what they do. If by chance you are wondering, I have gotten lucky a time or two.

Gunfit is important as far as it is on your mind. If you know you are on, its not even an issue. Some shooters like LP check the point of impact before each shoot just to make sure its right.
In his case, he's fairly young and probably still growing - although not at the rate he was 2-3 years ago. Fat guys need to check the POI as well especially if their weight fluctuates 5-10 pounds. Adjustable hardware is the way to go to keep it cost effective.

Most casual shooters may not realize it, but if they shoot a gun that doesn't quite fit right they will adjust themselves to fit the gun. It works, but fatigue and stress in the neck and shoulder will take their toll eventually.
 

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It is hard for me to understand how a gun can be properly fitted to a shooter in 70 degree weather and still be properly fitted in 20 degree weather.

I can see where if one were shooting tournaments, he might want to be making adjustments based on how much clothing he has on, but for us informal shooters, we are not going to go to the trouble.

I suppose it depends on what one's goals are, but as for me, I shoot for fun.
 
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