Moving Forward

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Federal Game-Shok 28 Ga. Loads

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The Opportunity

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Nine Trap Athletes Solidify World Championship Selection at National Championships | USA Shooting

Source: Nine Trap Athletes Solidify World Championship Selection at National Championships | USA Shooting

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Stock Bending

Hello Technoid.

I wrote to you about fixing up a Remington 3200 for sporting clays vs. buying a new gun. What I did was sell the 3200 and buy a Browning Citori Lightning Sporting. I’ve shot about 600 rounds with it and I really like it. However, (I guess there is always a however when someone is writing to you) I’ve repeatedly tested my point of impact, by the method you have described, and I consistently hit 5 to 6 inches to the right.

I’m a left handed shooter. I also require more lead on right to left crossers than on left to right crossers but I can only really notice this beyond 30 yards and when the target is moving fairly fast. Looking at my gun I notice the stock has a very slight cast off. Therefore, I think I need a little stock bending. I’ll bet you’re thinking how much better off I’d be with an auto-loader.

Anyway, my problem is there are no stock benders anywhere near me. I’ve contacted a few stock benders I’ve located on the internet and in magazines. I’ve heard several different methods of determining how much cast on I would need. I wanted to know what your opinion is on getting a stock bent without having access to a try gun and doing it by long distance.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and opinions.


Dear Clint,

Guesstimating the amount of bend you need is sort of like self-dentistry. It is convenient and quick, but the results may not please you.

Yes, if you had a Beretta gas gun you could fit the gun properly with just a wrench and a few shims, but gas guns aren’t for everyone. The gun you chose is an excellent one. To bad for you as a lefty that Browning and Beretta are casting so many of their guns these days.

The way I see it, you have a number of choices. I list them in increasing order of desireability.

1) since the gun is curving into your face too much, you could sand and refinish.

2) you could send it off and have an adjustable comb installed (which would not cure the position of the butt on your shoulder)

3) you could send it off to a stock bender and tell him how much you want it bent.

4) you could send it off to a stock bender and let him decide how much to bend it.

5) you could travel to someone who could give you a fitting and do the work.

The standard Churchill method of determining point of impact change by stock movement is to measure 16 yards from your shooting eye (when the gun is mounted) to the pattern plate. That is eye to plate, not muzzle or toe to plate. Pacing is no good. You must measure.

Now install your fullest choke and shoot at the aiming point on the pattern plate. Note how many inches the center of the pattern falls from the aiming point. The stock must be bent at the place on the stock under your eye where you put your cheek 1/16″ inch for each inch you are off on the pattern plate at 16 yards. The point of impact will move in the direction you move the stock.

Obviously, it would be best and easiest if you could journey to a fitter to get a fitting and perhaps take a lesson while you are at it. No shooter, no matter how good, is so good that they can’t use a little outside opinion from a pro every now and then. Dame Margot Fontaine took dancing lessons every day of her career.

If you can’t journey to a fitter, give the man you select a call and ask him what information he needs to do the job by mail. He will probably tell you that he needs the divergence of point of impact from center at a certain distance and he can work back from that. He will probably be using the formula above.

Best regards,

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

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Ithaca Model 51

Dear Mr. Technoid,

I noticed in one of the Technoid Volumes that you mentioned using an Ithaca Model 51. My local dealer has a brand new, unfired Model 51 Magnum on the rack for $375. I’m currently dragging my beloved Beretta 686 Silver around in the duck marsh because I can’t bear to leave home without it.

Would the Ithaca 51 Mag be a good buy, so I could retire the 686 to clay birds and grouse?

This particular 51 has a fixed, full-choke barrel. If it won’t pattern as-is with steel, I figure I can get it drilled for tubes, and still be doing good money-wise. What do you think of this gun? I’ve never read a word about it, heard of it, nor can I find any info on the web about it. I e-mailed Ithaca, but they haven’t got back to me.

Thanks for any assistance.


Dear Bob,

I shot an Ithaca 51 at International Skeet for almost two years and knew a couple of others who shot them even longer than that. I even talked to the designer, an old German named Tollinger, a couple of times. I never did fool with the magnum model.

I felt that the Ithaca was superior to the 1100 (its most direct competition at the time) in every possible way except one- you had to carry a wheelbarrow full of parts to keep the Ithaca running. Remember, I am comparing it to an 1100 and you had to carry at least a satchel of parts to keep that running. You can keep the Beretta gas guns running with a shirt pocket full of parts. Get the drift?

Parts breakage was so bad on the 51s (the action bars were the weak point) that we would inventory broken parts and send them back in a batch to save shipping. At that time the 51s had a “lifetime” guarantee, so it was all free but the postage was killing us.

Hunters don’t put anything near the rounds through their guns that clay shooters do, but by the time you get that choke fooled with you will be well over $400 and still have an out-of-production gun with questionable parts supply. Since that gun was made the Ithaca Gun Company has gone through two reorganizations. While it is still up and running making the Model 37, I have no idea as to Model 51 parts. This is definitely one gun that you don’t want a parts supply problem with. Also, you would be stunned to find out what that action bar costs when you find one. A couple of those and any savings you realized from buying the 51 are out the window.

I am sure that there are tons of happy Ithaca 51 owners out there who have shot their guns for “100,000” rounds (the usual guesstimate from the twice a year hunter with an old gun) and “never had a malfunction”. They probably didn’t inhale either. That may be so and perhaps I and my friends just had bad luck with the guns, but we shot those suckers flat to death.

You never go wrong with a Remington 870 pump in the duck blind. With an 870 you carry no parts, just shells.

Best regards,

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

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Patterning Steel

Dear Technoid:

My buddies and I are trying to pattern our hunting guns for a trip to Texas for some geese. I have a Remington 870 & want to pattern my mod & full chokes to see the difference in steel shot sizes as well as the performance of other non-toxic shot.

Will each manufacturer actually shoot different or will just the shot size make a difference or both?

Is there a place that I can go and look up how many pellets of steel shot of a certain size actually make up a certain weight load?

Any & all information would be helpful.


Dear John,

Yes, different makers may well pattern differently. I would start with Federal, then try Winchester and then Remington. No need to buy all three. Do the first and if you like it, stop there. If not, buy the second. That stuff gets expensive.

As to pellet counts, NEVER rely on the charts. Each maker sizes his shot slightly differently. Cut three of the shells apart, count the pellets and average the results. That’s the only way to do it right. If you work with inaccurate total pellet counts, it throws your percentages off across the board.

The “Lyman Shotshell Reloading Handbook, latest Edition” has a few pages of very good information on steel shot, pellet count per ounce of the various sizes and also the number of hits of various pellet sizes within a 30″ circle needed to bring down game at various distances. They also have extensive reloading recipes for steel. Also, Ballistic Products in Corcoran, MN specializes in reloading material for non-toxic shot. Their printed material may be of interest to you.

Best regards,

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

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