I recently purchased a Beretta 686 O/U in 12ga. I patterned the gun using the figure 8 bead alignment and found that the POI was exactly at the POA, a 50/50 or at least close enough to be called this. In order to obtain a slight lead while shooting 16 yd. trap, I space out the figure 8 to have a slight gap and not a perfect, tangent contact of the mid-bead with the front bead. By doing this I have been obtaining some real decent scores. My question is: If I installed an over size (larger diameter) mid-bead, and then lined up a perfect figure 8 without any gap, wouldn’t this give me the same results? It would be much easier to line up the figure 8 than estimating a slight gap. I’m assuming that the oversize mid-bead diameter would require some experimenting with different diameters to obtain what I am looking for. This seems like a simpler process than making any radical changes to my shotgun? My shotgun does not have an adjustable comb, and I really do not want to install one. Thanks!
I guess that in theory using a larger middle bead and still maintaining a figure eight would indeed raise your point of impact. But I really don’t think that is the right way to do it. Here’s why: Your stock is set up for 50/50 POI the way that you normally shoot with standard cheek pressure and good “wood to wood” contact. Visually aligning the beads to obtain a figure 8 requires you to very slightly lift your head. This is not good. The visual picture may be fine, but the cheek pressure is lighter than what you are used to. If you use a very light cheek pressure, it is hard to remain consistent, especially on the angle shots.
Ideally, you want to be able to have the right POI and your normal, firm cheek pressure. The only way to do that it to lower the rib or raise the stock. Replacing the rib is probably not an option, so you have to raise the stock. There is really no other way. Since you don’t have/want an adjustable stock may I suggest the Technoidal approach which, like the Technoid himself, is quick, dirty and cheap. Layer on some masking tape.
Put some thin strips of masking tape on the top of the comb to build it up. Don’t run it down the sides or you will decrease your cast and make your gun shoot to the left if you are right handed. Just put the masking tape on the top. Experiment by adding and subtracting until you get exactly what you want. Yes, it’s ugly, but it is very effective, infinitely adjustable and definitely priced right.
Once you get your stock exactly right and your scores have skyrocketed you can: take it, with the tape still on, to a stock bender and have the stock bent to suit, (my favorite) leave it just the way it is. If you want to fancy it up, you can get better materials than masking tape, but just make sure that they don’t extend down the cheek side of the stock and change your cast. Those stick-on rubber pads do that.
And remember, with masking tape, if you want to use the gun for sporting clays, skeet or hunting, the tape is easily removed and can be replaced at any time.
Don’t worry about the looks. If you get the stock to fit you correctly, people will look at your scores a lot more than they will look at your gun.
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)