Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gun fit... for today, and from the past..

As we all know, there were many old wive's tales and use of the "black arts" in fitting a gun in the past. Or, maybe one should say non-fitting a gun in the past. Old fashioned stock dimensions were just that; old fashioned, and it seems that they were designed to fit no one!
I'm sure we've all seen shotguns with excessive amounts of drop of up to 4 inches. Has the modern homosapien changed that much physically that we now get by with little more that 2 inches of drop? Absolutely not!
I may be dating myself here, but I recall when length of pull was measured by placing the buttstock into the crook of one's elbow. If the first joint of the trigger finger fell upon the trigger, the length of pull was deemed to be correct. But, does that arbitrary dimension have anything to do with where the shooters thumb falls in relation to his (or her) nose when the gun is mounted? Being an old stock crawler myself, and having my nose bitten by my thumb on numerous occasions, I would consider it infinitely more important to have the space of two fingers between my thumb and my nose.
Which brings us to the age-old wisdom of extended length of pull for a shotgun with double triggers. Why?? Does the shooter move his entire hand when going for the rear trigger? The relationship is from the grip to the triggers. Length of pull has little to do with it. I can support slightly extended LOPs, because I believe that most shooters shoot a stock that is marginally too short anyway. Unless one's knuckles scrape the ground while walking, I would leave 15 inch and longer LOPs alone.
Now, as for the current darling of the clay target world, the severly curved pistol grip. It's proponents clain that it adds control. I've never found that, but I have found that it makes my wrist sore and tired. I much prefer the gentle arc of a Browning Superposed, with a long tang and round knob if you please..

Well, you have all just wasted fifteen minutes of highly productive time reading this useless and highly subjective rant, that in the great scheme of things, means absolutely nothing.
So, I will leave my readers with a useful thought to ponder for the day.. This one of great signifigance from the Hopi Indians of the American Southwest...

"Lose your temper and you lose a friend; lie and you lose yourself."

~Hopi ~


  1. Bill: most folk will shoot a longer LOP on a double-triggered, straight-wristed gun because the heel of their trigger hand isn't locked in the more forward position that is the product of a pistol or Prince of Wales grip. The amount of hand movement required for double-triggers is relatively slight -- but especially if you have a gun without an articulated front-trigger, the looseness of the grip on a straight-wristed gun makes switching from trigger to trigger a little easier.

    And you're right, there's a lot of witchdoctors out there claiming to be gunfitters. And you can't have fit without form.

    Incidentally, British author John Brindle has suggested that older guns had more drop on them to accommodate a more heads-up style of shooting that was the product of high, stiff collars for gentlemen.

    Keep up the good work!


  2. What took me a number of years to discover is that me being a thin long necked individual means that I need more of that old fashioned drop, since there is more distance between my eye and the pocket of my shoulder than some of you gentlemen missing a neck.
    Seeing too much rib is manageable on clays where there is some time to adapt to the shot, but all bets are off on the quick snap shots that I most encounter on wild birds coming from nowhere and going to the same place.
    What a wonderful discovery. I am on my way to having an old Fox that will actually fit me.
    Oh the joy!