Stuff On Pitch


I will mount two butt pads this month, one on a Win M42.410 and one on a Red Label 28. The 42 book/spec is 2″ pitch which I will maintain. You might be thinking, why is he putting a pad on a 410? Someone took a coping saw to a beautiful vintage 1946 M42 which I rescued. The R28 needs a little more stock length for me and has about 4″ pitch which I feel is extreme for my shooting style. By the way, both are 28″ bbls.

Should I be able to see the difference in pitch performance/ point of impact if I set up a pattern sheet and dynamically mount the gun and shoot at the center for a few shots?? In other words it seems that more pitch down = lower the point of impact?


Dear Michael,

When you pattern test or test for point of impact with a carefully pre-mounted gun, I doubt if pitch will have any effect on where the pattern is placed.

Adding pitch sort of lowers the point of impact, but perhaps not the way that you would first think. A heavily pitched gun causes the shooter to mount the gun with the muzzle a bit lower than usual. This is because when he pulls the gun back into his shoulder, the down pitch can only push evenly against the chest when the muzzle is pointing slightly down. This doesn’t affect point of impact in the mounted gun games of trap or skeet (or when pattern testing) because the shotgun is mounted and then carefully lined up with the eye to get it right. Any effect that pitch would have to lower the muzzle would be readjusted before the shot.

Hunting, International skeet and sporting clays, are different. In these games the shot is often delivered the moment after the gun touches the shoulder. There is no chance for readjustment, so the gun is fired with the muzzle very slightly down, causing it to “shoot low”.

At least that’s the theory. In practice I never found pitch to affect where my shoots very much. What I did notice was that positive pitch kept muzzle rise down and affected face slap. The more pitch there was, the more face slap. You can see how the angle of the butt would cause the stock to ride up into the face on recoil. That’s why most trap guns are zero pitch. On the plus side, positive pitch does keep the gun up in the shoulder instead of letting slip down off the chest.

It’s all really a balancing act. I never found normal amounts of pitch to be much of a problem one way or the other. You have to have a big change in pitch (several inches) in order to really notice any difference.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC

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1 Response to Stuff On Pitch

  1. Bill E. says:

    As usual the Technoid is spot on! I used his guidance to cure the issue of “cheek slap” on 4 different guns that really “punched” the shooters. 2 were my guns and 2 belonged to shooting friends. Added the quarters/washers per The Technoid’s directions to the toe of each gun first and then when that stopped the “cheek slap”, made a permanent fix via angled pitch spacers sold by Brownells.

    It really is amazing how a slight reduction in pitch, totally eliminates the terrible beating induced via “cheek slap”. If you have a cheek slap issue you really need to try that before getting rid of the gun or paying for an expensive gun fitting.


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