My wife is wanting to start hunting birds with me, and I dont have a clue on what to buy as far as a shotgun for her. She is very small but can hold her own with the recoil, her arms are not long enough to hold the gun. any ideas :?
I'd probably look for a 20-gauge semi. If after shouldering a couple they still seem too big, look for a youth version or consider having it modified to fit her. My wife bought her first shotgun last year. We found a used Remington semi for about $300 -- not a huge investment if it turned out she wasn't into it (she is). The semi is nice on the recoil, which helped her to enjoy it, even though I don't think she is very recoil sensitive either. We could have spent less and went with the pump, but I just don't think she would have liked it as much, and that's the point, right?
As the poster above stated. I would reccomend a gas operated semi-auto.
Beretta makes the AL391 Youth, and Browning makes the Gold Micro.
They are 20ga 3". Both are excellent shotguns.
She can use them for SC, doves, quail, and if you duck hunt. Load it with Tungsten Matrix 3", #3's and she will roll the ducks and geese inside 30 yards. I know my wife does.
There is one shotgun that is always overlooked in this situation, i.e., a very small woman, and that is a single shot shotgun.
You could get a Baikal for about $90 or a used Winchester 37 for about the same money. The gun is lightweight, easy to carry, not complicated to operate for a first user, and in this part of the country A LOT of people shoot single shots for grouse hunting....they have them in the back of their pick-up trucks.
I used to shoot one shot at a time, and I got no more birds when I shot a repeater. True.
The most important thing is that she chooses her own gun. My bride's shotgun is an 1100 20 ga. LT Special Field. She chose this gun after a ladies day at a local club where she had the chance to try an 1100 LW in 20 ga. We started shopping the next day and within a couple weeks found this 1100 Special (English stock) that fit her like it was made for her. She is thrilled with this gun and we shoot almost every weekend. In fact, she took it on our vacation to NC and we went to The Outer Banks Gun Club to shoot two days of our vacation.
Prior to getting her own, she had shot my 870's which were just not her cup of tea.
It would be good to hook her up, as Mike suggests, with some experienced women shooters. Check out your shooting range for them. My own experience with my current wife (I like to call her that; it keeps her on her toes) is that advice coming from ME, however wonderful, just doesn't command the respect it does if someone else tells her the same thing. Also, the other women will be friends who will help keep her in the game. My dos centavos, hombre Go with God! (I always say that in women matters)
Frankly, I know a lot of men of short stature who would be well served by youth-model guns. I wouldn't try to stick a big ol' bird gun on a little lady or a little man if he/she didn't feel comfortable with it....especially if they are just starting out.
Most brands make fine youth shotguns that anyone would be proud to own.
I would suggest that you take the little lady to the store, have her shoulder a few guns, and pick one that she is interested in. If you have a chance to shoot one before purchase, all the better. If not, most youth guns are relatively inexpensive and, even if the little lady/little man doesn't like the one you take home, the shorter barrel would make it a fantastic home defense gun!
I shoot a Remington 1100 trap semi auto and Jay had to put an adjustable butt on it for me to fit.....I would suggest go to a shotgun shop and pick up all the guns you can and find your fit......I'm 5'8 and 140.....no youth model .......don't always assume you need a youth model.....go hold the guns and then figure it out....
I bought a 525 sporting and had the stock cut and fitted with an adjustable heel and pachmyer decelerator pad. Then adjusted the gun to fit her. She has shot on our trap team and now shoots with a womens team but is always welcome to shoot with us guys. She is no class A shooter yet, but she can hold her own with an average of 19 from the 20yd line.
Buying the 525 and fitting it to her was only a small investment to insure that I will be able to shoot with my best friend for years to come. What more can a guy ask for.
When my wife expressed a intrest in doing some trap shooting we began looking around at the available shotguns to fit a small framed woman, [she is 5 foot even]. after looking for a while we settled on a Beretta al390 20 ***** witha 24 in barrel. Still had to have the stock cut down to fit her. Well worked with her for a while with it and just could not get it to fit and shoot comfortably, traded it for the Beretta 3901 target model with adjustable comb and spacers to adjust lenght of pull, now we have worked around with the cast and stock to get it to fit her and she is comfortable shooting it, btw the 3901 is 12 ga. Was a little more expensive this way but the 3901 seems to be the way to get a fit for smaller people.
Here is a piece written some time ago that may help.
A well fitting gun allows the shooter to use what is generally understood to be the "correct" shooting form (stance, gun mount, body posture), assuming the shooter is physically capable of using the form. Shooting forms vary somewhat from one shooting discipline to the next but the variations are slight.
A "gun that fits" allows the shooter to:
Stand with the body rotated approximately 23 degrees toward the side of the gun mount
Have the entire recoil pad, top to bottom, make simultaneous contact with the shoulder as the gun is being mounted in the shoulder pocket with the heel even with the top of the shoulder. The shoulder pocket is the slight indentation at the end of the collar bone just inside of the shoulder joint.
With the cheek on the comb, have the head turned very little toward the stock with the neck tilted or leaned forward, even less
Positions the eye, following the mount, so it is aligned horizontally with the rib and at a height along or above the rib that results in the point of impact (POI) chosen by the shooter. (For sporting clays, the eye looks along the surface of the rib and for trap shooting, slightly down onto the rib.)
Have a nose (or glasses) to trigger-hand-thumb separation of between one and 1.5 inches
Have his or her weight evenly distributed on the balls of both feet or with slightly more weight on the forward foot with a slight forward lean at the waist (not that easy to do in a duck blind or when stepping over a log in the woods.)
When a shooter can mount the gun as described above, it "fits" the shooter. The shooting form partially described above is the one that is commonly taught in the U.S. by virtually all instructors.
Rollin makes a good point that is the easiest to do to have any woman feel better shooting. That is the "pitch" of the butt stock adjustment for thier breast tissue. If you hold up most off the shelf guns parallel to the ground you can see that the lower portion of the butt protrudes more than the top. For men this is mostly okay but for women it means heavy recoil into the breast and inadequate contact witht the rest of the shoulder pocket. Picth spacers are available to change this and are not expensive. You will want to see the lower portion of the butt be protruding inside the upper portion for the vast majority of women shooters.
Remember for new shooters who do not have consistent mount technique make your fit adjustments "ugly" (read jury rigged and temporary) before you make them final.
As for gauge, the issue for most women shooters is upper body strength. The lighter guns may be easier for them to handle but there is a balance on recoil issue particularly if you are shooting a lot of calys as opposed to a few shots hunting.
The newer gas operated models have lightened up thier weight with alloy material and have removed some of this issue for thier 12 g models. Handling of a gun can be adjusted using a variety of approaches that make the gun feel more lively and for some people lighter in the hands than the actual gun weight.
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