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Old 09-24-2013, 12:23 PM   #1
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Default experimental method of fitting a stock - need help

I was fiddling with skeet shooting a year ago and I hit one!... out of 40.
So I was wondering, why is it that I can't shoot for poo, and I've come to the conclusion that there are three keys to accuracy while shooting;

- the fit of a gunstock to the body
- the balance of a gun relative to the hands of the shooter
- the expectation of recoil and jerking (which is made worse by way of a poor fit)

note I didn't say anything about shot patterns, or spread or chokes, etc. These seem to be more popularly discussed issues simply because they are cheaper to fix than having a gun fitted to the shooter, which is just more time consuming and costly that buying off the rack. (economics... blah blah blah)

I couldn't find any resources for fitting a stock other than the most basic things, such as LOP, DAC and DAH, so I came up with my own way and experimented with it by creating a pine mockup with the dimensions I came up with. To test it, I stood 15 yards from a target coke can, closed my eyes and brought the mockup to my shoulder and opened my eyes. Success! the mock barrel was on point!

But, I have only used the method of fitting on myself, and need independent results to see if the experimental method is universal or just a fluke. If anyone has a big piece of cardboard, a ruler and a pocket knife, or is otherwise more experienced with gun fitting then could you tell me if the method works?

length of pull - bend your elbow 45 degrees and outstretch your hand, take the measure from the crook of the elbow to the middle of the index finger. this is the measure of LOP, which is defined as the length from the trigger to the heel of the butt.

length of wrist - measure across the palm of your hand, from the heel to the knuckle of the index finger. this is from the trigger to the drip of the comb

diameter of wrist- the diameter is equal to 2.5 times the diameter of the index finger.

drop at heel- take the width of the hand, with thumb kept at side. This fits the 'heads up' type of shooting, but for those more accustomed to the 'heads down' type, take this measure and multiple by 0.6. Go with heads up by default. I have the suspicion that the heads down style was popularized by manufacturers so as to make stock blanks narrow and thus cheaper.

drop at comb - this is a hard one. Measure from the center of the bridge of the nose, right between the pupils of the eyes, and base of the nose.

length of comb flat - this area gives a curved comb, with was common on some kentucky rifles. the width of the index finger x 4.

width of buttplate - width of index finger x 3.

height of butt - same as drop at heel

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Old 09-24-2013, 12:53 PM   #2
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Sounds like an awful lot of work on your stock when you should have been working on your shooting. 99% of the time people miss clays because they don't follow through with their swing. If your gun isn't still moving after you shoot you're doing it wrong. The other 1% miss because they pick their head up to see the hit.

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Old 09-24-2013, 01:29 PM   #3
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Sounds like an awful lot of work on your stock when you should have been working on your shooting. 99% of the time people miss clays because they don't follow through with their swing. If your gun isn't still moving after you shoot you're doing it wrong. The other 1% miss because they pick their head up to see the hit.
that's a good notion, but it doesn't explain the rifle shooting. I can shoot fair with a rifle, but not without much contortion to get a good sight picture.

Have a big sheet of cardboard?
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:40 PM   #4
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Having a proper fit for your firearm does make a difference but it certainly isn't the key factor. Length of pull and comb height do effect you a bit but in terms of a rifle the barrel is far more important. You may want to research rifle bedding and barrel harmonics.
Sorry no cardboard.

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Old 09-24-2013, 01:57 PM   #5
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Listen to mountainman13.
If someone knows how to shoot a shotgun(which is totally different than shooting a rifle) they can borrow a shotgun from anyone and still shoot good.
You need practice and instruction with a shotgun.

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Old 09-24-2013, 03:03 PM   #6
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First, make sure you're using your dominant eye. Since both eyes are generally open for shotgunning, this is important. If you're shooting right handed, and are left eye dominant, you will miss most of the shots.
With a rifle, the off eye is generally closed, so the problem is mostly taken care of.
Next, the shotgun must fit at least real close. As you did, close eyes and quickly shoulder it. It should be pointing right where you're looking. If not, thats a problem too. A rifle gives you the chance to AIM before you shoot, the shotgun needs to point correctly, fast.
As was mentioned, keep your head on the stock when you shoot and make sure to follow thru after the shot.
Keep in mind that moving targets require some lead. Its moving and it takes time for the shot to get to it. Faster its moving, angle its moving, will determine how much to lead it.

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Old 09-24-2013, 03:17 PM   #7
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First, make sure you're using your dominant eye. Since both eyes are generally open for shotgunning, this is important. If you're shooting right handed, and are left eye dominant, you will miss most of the shots.
With a rifle, the off eye is generally closed, so the problem is mostly taken care of.
Next, the shotgun must fit at least real close. As you did, close eyes and quickly shoulder it. It should be pointing right where you're looking. If not, thats a problem too. A rifle gives you the chance to AIM before you shoot, the shotgun needs to point correctly, fast.
As was mentioned, keep your head on the stock when you shoot and make sure to follow thru after the shot.
Keep in mind that moving targets require some lead. Its moving and it takes time for the shot to get to it. Faster its moving, angle its moving, will determine how much to lead it.
any gunstock must fit close to the body, shoulder, cheek, etc., but what I'm looking for is feedback on the method of stock fitting. An off the rack shotgun will rarely fit the off the street customer (btw, starting my business this winter so this is about more than me hitting something) and I see no legitimate reason to twist myself into a pretzel to get a good rifle shot.

This whole thing is more about gunsmithing than the practise of shooting. I've done the whole close the eyes thing with this method and it has given me (one person), good results with a mockup stock and faux-barrel, but these results are not scientifically sound without input from other sources, as the control is too limited. I'd expect 10 references would prove this method true or false.

If you have a big piece of cardboard and a ruler you can really help.
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Old 09-24-2013, 03:36 PM   #8
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I have better than that: I have several shotguns. I have shimmed a few of the stocks so that they fit the way I want and point where I want. Shim kits are out there, or you can make your own.
A Charles Daly auto that I have would always point high and right for me, letting me miss most quick shots. Now it dont miss. None of my Winchester pumps required anything. Only 1 of 3 SxSs needed attn.
Are any of them 'properly' fit? I doubt it as not all the stocks are the same, some have recoil pads and some dont. But they all point right where I need it to, without having to try to change technique on any of them.
I very seldom shoot clays. Usually I shoot birds. And yes, I will admit to a miss now and then. But I cant blame it on the shotgun.

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Old 09-24-2013, 04:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bntyhntr6975 View Post
I have better than that: I have several shotguns. I have shimmed a few of the stocks so that they fit the way I want and point where I want. Shim kits are out there, or you can make your own.
A Charles Daly auto that I have would always point high and right for me, letting me miss most quick shots. Now it dont miss. None of my Winchester pumps required anything. Only 1 of 3 SxSs needed attn.
Are any of them 'properly' fit? I doubt it as not all the stocks are the same, some have recoil pads and some dont. But they all point right where I need it to, without having to try to change technique on any of them.
I very seldom shoot clays. Usually I shoot birds. And yes, I will admit to a miss now and then. But I cant blame it on the shotgun.
The ultimate goal of this is to build a shotgun, or rifle, from the plank which will point or get on target the second it comes to the shoulder, and shimming on a handmade gun just kind of spoils the look. To do this I will need a surefire way of measuring a stock to fit to fit the customer, one which is applicable to all people.

Surely someone must make a piece of cardboard laying around.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:42 PM   #10
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Nobody is going to go looking for cardboard. You're looking to re-engineer a process that has been around hundreds of years. Skip the cardboard and buy a gunsmithing book. I would recommend gunsmithing tips, tricks and projects (if you can find it) . The book will walk you through all the basics in making a stock and how to take the proper measurements for fitting.
You've gotten all the input you're going to get from knowledgeable members here. Many of which who are gunsmiths and have built firearms.

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