Choke Chooser™

Choke Chooser™ now available.

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Yildiz Pro 20 Ga.

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A Good Start

Click to access CTN0917_FG_GoodStart.pdf

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Balancing Your Shotgun

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Heavy Recoiling Benelli

Dear Technoid,

I love my Benelli ME field gun, but it kicks the devil out of me! Not that I mind the pain, but I have been told that a combination of forcing cone lengthening and “lazerporting” would substantially help. Someone recommended “the Shotgun Shop” in California.

Do you know of anything else I could do for recoil control, and have you heard of the Shotgun shop? Is lazerporting any different than Pro-porting from Magnaport?

What would you recommend?


Dear DH,

What you are trying to do is like trying to take the kick out of a mule by reasoning with it.

The Benelli kicks an entire ton because it is

1) fairly light and

2) is basically an inertially operated system, not gas operated. Gas operated guns seem to space out the recoil pulse better. Add to that the fact that you are probably using sturdy field loads in it and there you go.

I haven’t measured the cones in the Benellis, but if they are short then long cones will indeed help very, very slightly. I have seen long cones done by The Shotgun Shop and their work in this area has been very impressive. That said, if the gun does come with short cones and you lengthen them, you might be altering the recoil pulse just enough to make the Benelli even crankier on marginally light loads than it already is. Benellis are right on the edge with light stuff and any barrel work can effect that.

As to porting- why on earth do people keep on thinking that porting a shotgun barrel that is 80 to 100 thou thick can have any practical effect on recoil? Yes- porting does work to reduce recoil on high powered rifles. I once shot a 7# (all up weight) .338 mountain rifle with a KDF muzzle break that had about the same recoil as my .308 M70. I was amazed. AND amazed by the noise too.

Muzzle brakes work on high power rifles (and tanks and field pieces) because

1) the gas pressures at the brake are extremely high. 55,000 CUP (copper units of pressure) is not unusual for a high power rifle. A .338 runs that pressure for a relatively long time too. A rifle bore is relatively small, so a great deal of that pressure is left at the muzzle.

2) A muzzle brake, like that KDF on the .338, is THICK. The metal was at least 1/4″ thick. This gives plenty of forward surface for the gas to push against. It is the gas pushing forward against the walls of the brake that reduces the recoil by pushing the gun forward. Vectoring the gas out to the sides does little to push the gun forward.

The thinner the recoil brake the less well it works because the gas has less to push against. Also, the less gas that is doing the pushing, the less well it works. Now lets look at a ported shotgun with that in mind.

First: Shotguns generate pressures so far below those of high power rifles that they have to be measured (old style) by crushing lead pellets, not copper. There is very, very much less gas pressure for the shotgun to work with.

Second: A shotgun barrel is very, very much thinner than a rifle muzzle brake. Your barrel, in the area where it would be ported, is probably .080″ to .10″ thick. The effective rifle brake is at least .25″ thick.

Third: The area for gas expansion in a shotgun barrel before the gas gets to the ports is many times greater than that in a rifle. Even assuming that the effective length of the barrels is the same, a 12 gauge shotgun has more than four times the interior area. This means that the comparatively low initial gas pressure of the shotgun is even more “diluted” by the time it gets to the ports.

Don’t get me wrong (as if that would be a first). Porting shotgun barrels DOES technically work. My point is that it doesn’t work ENOUGH to make a noticeable difference in rearward recoil. Porting is slightly more effective in reducing muzzle jump, but even then its effect with standard target loads is minimal.

Bottom line: porting and coning your Benelli is not going to work well enough to make any real difference and it may cause problems. If you want to reduce recoil enough to notice, shoot lighter shells or get an auto that runs on gas, not inertia.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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World Record Clay Shot

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Get The Most From A Coaching Session

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Slowing Targets Down

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Syren Julia Sporting

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Fitting A Recoil Pad

Dear Technoid,

I have been experimenting with the stock length on my Browning 425 Golden Clays by using spacers and am now ready to make a more permanent change. I need to increase the stock length 3/4 of an inch. The new recoil pad with conceivably spacers will need to be 1 3/8 inches thick. I’d like to do the job myself. I’ve been considering using the Pachmayr Sporting Clays pad as I almost always shoot low gun.

My questions are two:

  1. What is your recommendation for a new pad? The appearance of the gun is very important to me.
  2. How exactly does one go about “grinding ” down a pad to fit the stock? I am an amateur furniture maker with a well equipped woodworking shop. What type of a sanding tool is usually used, what grit paper, etc.?

Thanks for your time and great web site.

Piedmont, CA

Dear Jack,

Installation of recoil pads is the kind of thing that looks simple and really is quite simple IF (can I make that “IF” bigger?) you have the right tools. With the wrong tools it is a filthy task as likely to ruin a stock as it is to do anything else.

Since you are an amateur furniture maker, you probably have some of what you need and the expertise to avoid any major mistakes. I have a number of friends who do a very nice job of installing their own pads. My pad installations are strictly “ten footers” (they look adequate if you see them from no closer than ten feet).

Do yourself a favor and call Brownell’s at 515-623-5401 and request their catalogue of gun maker’s supplies. They have an exhaustive inventory of pads, spacers, grinding jigs, pad bolting systems and the like. Every home gun tinkerer ought to have this catalogue. Note: if you give Brownell’s an outdoor sports related business name, they will put you on the list as a wholesale customer and you can save about 25%.

When you call Brownell’s to place an order, you might also try asking their advice as to what grit of sand paper and speed of belt sander to use. They most definitely know their stuff.

As to what to get- If appearance is “very” important I would probably go with the old style Pachmayr “Old English” pad in all black. (NO white line, thank you). Since you need length and it is a working gun, I guess that I would get the 1″ pad, though they sell them in .6″ and .8″ also. The Old English pad is made from a choice of two materials- standard resilient rubber and a new Sorbothane material called Decelerator rubber. I find the latter a bit too flexible and sticky in the 1″ models and would go with the more traditional rubber compound. The traditional rubber compound glosses up nicely with use. You will want the large size.

I am not too big a fan of the plastic insert sporting clays model of the Pachmayr Decelerator bad, especially from an esthetic point of view. After some use, the plastic insert visually clashes with the rest of the rubber, the plastic can cause the gun to slip out of a gun rack, the early plastic inserts cracked and you don’t see plastic insert pads used on really nice English guns. I have them and also the standard pads on various guns and I do not believe that the plastic heel piece helps gun mount. If it does help gun mount, you are doing something wrong! A little bit of use and time in the sun will slick up the ordinary pad just fine. In my experience, the Decelerator material stays sticky for a long time. You will also find that the standard rubber pads, as opposed to the Decelerator rubber ones, will be MUCH easier to grind. If you get that Decelerator rubber too hot, it turns into goo. Same with the Kick-eez brands.

As to spacers, I recommend standard hard rubber ones if you are going for good looks. The new “100 Straight” foamed light weight spacers never shine up right. Standard hard rubber spacers finish out beautifully, but they are HEAVY. Make sure to glue them together in a stack, mount and finish them properly and then remove and skeletonize them before reinstalling. If you don’t you are going to pick up several additional ounces at the rear of the gun (which you may, or may not, want).

I also like the Kickeez brand of pads very much and think that they do a better job of reducing recoil than the Pachmayrs, but they are extremely heavy and don’t look quite as good to my eye. You can buy a shiney coating product for them called Slick-eez, but I have never used it.

As to installing and grinding the pad, Brownell’s sells a couple of jigs for use with a belt sanding machine. That is really the way to go if you are going to do a few pad installations. If this is just a one shot affair and you are REALLY careful, you can do it hand held on a disk sander held in a vise. Just make sure to put some masking tape on that stock and tape that shop vac nozzle in place so that it picks up at least some of the tons of black soot that it going to spew out. This stuff is messy in a way that sawdust just can’t dream of.

It would be dishonest of me not to confess what I do as far as recoil pads go, now that I am older and wiser. I layer on the pad and all the spacers I need full size, without grinding anything. It looks simply awful sticking over the edges of the stock. Then I shoot the gun for a while to make sure that I have what I want. THEN I take it to my local gunsmith who grinds everything perfectly in about ten minutes. Some times a bottle of ardent amber liquid changes hands. It is worth it.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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Yet More On Center Beads

Dear Technoid,

You are right on (again) about center beads. As an older (56) shooter, wide vision on the trap house and a grey smudge for a barrel will always produce a smoke ball if I maintain my concentration on the target. I do think there is a use for the center bead however. When I am practicing indoors I carefully mount my gun using a target spot on the wall. Indoors I concentrate on a perfect mount. In this respect I use the center bead to ensure that I have mounted th gun correctly. I concentrate on bead, rib and barrel relationship. The goal is to mount the gun effortlessly dead on the target spot in the minimum amount of time. Also I change the placement of the target spot frequently to vary the mount position.

This all changes outdoors. Outdoors I only concentrate on wide vision and target acquisition. I rely on “muscle memory” whatever that is, to correctly mount the gun. Any thought in my brain not directly related to target acquisition and destruction when I call pull will result in a lost target. The key to good scores in Trap (or Skeet) is to practice at home on the basics so they become automatic and concentrate on the target on the Trap or Skeet field.


Dear Gene,

Your point about using the center bead to assure correct line up when dry mounting the gun at home is well taken. My only reservation is that if we use dry mounting at home to build in muscle memory, won’t constant reference to the middle bead build in an undesirable eye “memory” at the same time? You play as you practice.

The reason that I practice at home is so that I can do something subconsciously when I am shooting for real. I sure don’t want to subconsciously look at the center bead when I am out shooting. Perhaps you are more disciplined than I am and can manage the switch. I think that I would have trouble doing that. Perhaps that is because writing this column has turned my brain to mush- or made it even mushier, depending on whom you talk to.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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