Thumbhole Stocks

Dear Technoid,

I’ve read a great deal about stocks and fit (I have slap problems), but don’t ever recall seeing any commentary on ‘Cochise’ or ‘Thumbhole’ stocks, as are currently offered on BT-100’s. When I came across the idea, I figured I could see how the fuller, more complete hand grip could improve control, not to mention looking pretty damn good.

I mentioned the idea now and again to gauge opinions and get feedback, and I was surprised at how little anyone knew, and what they did have to say was not encouraging. Yet today, I read your input on how important a consideration of the pistol grip can be to good control of the gun.

So…I still think I’d like to work with the idea, but I’ve been told they (thumbhole stocks) can kick like the proverbial mule. Do you have any practical knowledge of handling characteristics of this stock design, or it’s effect on perceived recoil?

Furthermore, if I choose to experiment, can you suggest any way to test this sort of configuration affordably? I’d hate to have to pay for a quality stock, only to find I don’t like it.

Lastly, on the off chance, could you suggest anyone convenient to our area (NY Tri-state) that might have a proper understanding of this design and can work with me effectively?

Thanks in advance…


Dear Tony,

I remember John Satterwhite experimenting with a thumbhole Lujtic Bi-gun for International Skeet back in 1972. John made the US team and shot in the ’76 Montreal games, but not with that gun. Recently I shot one of the Browing BT-100 trap guns with a thumbhole stock. It didn’t to much for me as I don’t’ like to hold my wrist that vertically.

Thumbhole stocks have been around for a long time and have never caught on. There has to be a reason. It may be a good reason (like they don’t work) or it may be a bad reason (like they look non-traditional), but there is always a reason.

I look for a pistol grip which permits me to get a decent hold of the gun without bending my wrist into an uncomfortable position. Since I tend to crawl my stocks a bit, I like a wrist position which angles forward at about the same angle as my neck. I am very uncomfortable with the vertical pistol grips on many Italian guns. The Italian shooting style is more “heads up” and a vertical pistol grip goes nicely with that. People with longer necks tend to crawl the stock more and vertical grips are less comfortable for them. The pistol grip and angle should really suit your style, not dictate it. The thumbhole stocks I have tried have had vertical grips and that’s why I don’t like them.

Also, with a thumbhole stock, if you tend to shoot a shorter length of pull, there is always the risk of taking a lot of the recoil in the web of your hand. This would not be good, even though it would be easily cured by adding the proper length to the gun.

As far as face slap goes, I don’t see how the thumbhole stock would affect that one way or the other. Face slap really isn’t a pistol grip problem. It has more to do with comb dimensions, length, cast and pitch.

I dunno about the “fuller, more complete grip” of the thumbhole stock. It might work that way for you, but for me it seemed that I was taking a bit more recoil on the heel of my right hand. This pushed the stock into my face a bit more than I liked.

Of course, in all this the bottom line is what YOU like and what YOU feel comfortable with. You shouldn’t care what fits me any more than you care what size hat I wear. I wish that there was an easy and inexpensive answer, but the only way to know if the thumbhole is for you is to try one out. Perhaps you could borrow one for an afternoon. If not, Wenig seems to have taken the place of Fajen in stock making. I am sure that they can supply you with one if you contact them at Wenig Custom Gun Stocks, 103 North Market Street, P.O. Box 249, Lincoln, MO 65338, tel: 660-547-3334, <>.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck

The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC

This entry was posted in Shotgun related, Shotguns and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Thumbhole Stocks

  1. Bill E. says:

    First try reducing pitch on your current gun to eliminate “face slap”. I have no experience with thumb hole stocks so won’t comment.


    • Bill B. says:

      The grip hand is for pulling the trigger and keeping the gun on your face and in your shoulder. The fore hand is controlling the move to the target. Thumbhole stocks will not improve your score.


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