Stock Dimensions And Fit


I have a half dozen upland field guns that I use interchangeably depending on my whims and the weather. All are production guns with factory stock dimensions. Curiosity got to me and I set them up in my studio (I am a commercial photographer) and photographed a very precise silhouette of the receiver and stock. I then overlaid the images, indexing them off of the top of the rib and apex of the trigger curve.

While the length of pull and drop at comb where close, the location of the trigger height and pitch of the pistol grip really varies. So the question is: Does this variable not make a significant difference in the fit of a shotgun or is this an overlooked issue when it comes to proper fit?

I have long hands, (but not broad) and so a thin, but long Prince of Wales grip is my favorite. Shooters with the opposite morphology must be hampered with other grip issues. Is this just an aesthetic choice, or is fitting the trigger hand as important as the other common dimensions listed in shotgun fitting. (Do try-guns have this as an option?)

I can send you the overlay photos if you are curious to see the graphic version of my long winded question.


Russ Dodd

Dear Russ,

I’d love to see that photo overlay of the stocks.

Although it is just personal opinion, I think that the placement and angle of the grip of a stock is very important to fit, even though it is not discussed very often. That’s probably because it is hard to change once a grip is built into a stock. But when I ordered a gun from Perazzi and had complete freedom to spec out my own stock, I was very specific as to grip size and angle.

To demonstrate just how much the grip matters try this test: Hold the gun normally in the low gun position and mount it. Now do the same thing again, only move your hand as far up the pistol grip as you can. When you mount the gun, it will seem that the stock is longer. Now do it again, only this time slide your hand as far down the pistol grip as possible. The stock will seem shorter when you mount it.

Due to the above, I’ve always felt that the correct measurement for the length of the stock was not from the trigger to the center of the butt plate, but from the center of the pistol grip to the center of the butt plate. The trigger finger is very flexible and can easily move and inch or so, but the distance between the pistol grip and butt is more fixed.

Another area that is important is the angle of the pistol grip. Current target gun fashion dictates an almost vertical pistol grip as originally found on the Italian target guns. Now it is being inflicted on all of us. But there is a problem with a vertical pistol grip.

Here’s another Technoid test: Pretend you are holding your gun in the mounted position with your right elbow tucked in at your side. Observe the angle of your trigger hand. Now raise your elbow as though you were shooting with both elbows out (as you do on most crossers to keep from twisting the body). Note the angle of your trigger hand. Very different, isn’t it? It shows that a vertical pistol grip works nicely if your shooting position involves tucked-in elbows, but that the wrist must be bent uncomfortably if you shoot with elbows out and a vertical pistol grip.

Of course, all of this is just more stuff to worry about. But that’s half the fun of it.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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