Gun Fit

Dear Technoid:

I’m left handed. Primary sporting clays gun is a Beretta 682 Sporting. Currently shoot about 65- 70%. Bought the Beretta with a right handed stock…I know it doesn’t fit perfect…what improvement could I expect if I had the gun fitted…5%, 10%, ?.

Thanks. C.

Dear C.:

First a definition of terms. We will use the British terminology because they are the people who fool around with this the most, although the Italians cast just about everything too. Most of the American gun making trade uses these terms also.

CAST OFF: a bending of the stock to the right when viewing from the rear of the gun. This is away from the face of a right handed shooter and towards the face of a left handed shooter.

CAST ON: a bending of the stock to the left when viewing from the rear of the gun. This is towards the face of a right handed shooter and away from the face of a left handed shooter.

Cast off always bends to the right whether you are talking to a left or right handed shooter. It might better be described as “cast right”, but that term is not used. Cast on is always bent to the left, regardless of the handedness of the shooter. Confused yet?

How do you know your Beretta doesn’t fit? Just because it is cast off for a righty (and thus bent towards the face of a lefty), does not automatically mean that it does not fit you perfectly. One of the best right handed shooters in the East (an Englishman) uses a stock cast on for a lefty. I am right handed and shoot both stocks with no cast and stocks with some cast on for a lefty, but never a stock cast off for a righty. It all depends on your shooting style and facial structure.

Many of the right handed shooters I know take a terrific facial pounding when they shoot “right handed” stocks that contain cast off such as the Citori GTI, 325 and 425. Beretta target stocks are often thicker and, while cast, it is not as pronounced. Stocks bent away from the face do work for some shooters, especially those who shoot with a fairly erect head, but they are absolute death to others.

The whole reason for casting a stock is to permit the shooter to align his eye over the rib. If you are looking right down the rib when you naturally cheek the gun, that stock is correct for you no matter how it is bent. If not, then not.

One advantage of having the stock bent inward towards the face is the virtual elimination of cheek slap. The more the stock is bent away from the face, the more slap you get. Think about the geometry for a moment and it will make sense.

You should check your gun for point of impact before you start bending anything. If normal mounting and shooting centers your aiming point, stop there and go have a beer. If your pattern is to the RIGHT of the aiming point, you probably will have to have the stock straightened out or even bent away from your face (thus making it more of a left handed stock). I doubt that your pattern will be to the LEFT of the aiming point with the current stock, but if it is you need to get it bent even more towards your face.

Most common American guns do not have any cast at all. The popular Remington autos and pumps are a good example. Both lefties and righties seem to have no trouble setting records with them.

I have no way of knowing how much your scores will improve (if at all) with a properly fit gun. A well fit stock is very important to some people and not at all to others. For example: some time ago, Andy Duffy won the NSCA national championship of sporting clays for his second year in a row. His Citori 325 was set up fairly high- probably 1 3/8″->2″. After the Nationals he switched to a Browning Gold semi-auto and proceeded to win the Pan-American FITASC Championship and the NSCA All Around shotgun championship. That semi-auto stock was very much lower than the 325’s. I shot both of his guns and I mean VERY much lower. It just does not matter to some people.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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