Gun Fit

I doubt you remember but I asked a question of you a while back when purchasing an O\U, you were very helpful and I settled on a Beretta Silver Pigeon II 12 ga which I love.

Anyhow I’m looking to get a SxS 20 ga next and I heard that the gun fitting for a SxS is not the same as an O/U. Apparently something to do with your hands being closer to the barrels. Is there any truth to this? I haven’t been professionally fitted for the O/U I have now, but all the do it yourself tests, and a laser boresighter seem to have it pretty close to an excellent fit. I’ll be attending the Orvis Sandanona 2 day shooting school in September and will have the opportunity for a free fitting with them. I’d like to know if there’s a difference before I get up there.


Dear Brian,

I think that there is a difference in the way a DT (double trigger) SxS fits vs a single trigger O/U. At least there is for me. I tend to stock my DT SxS guns longer and higher. I’m assuming here that the SxS is an English stocked gun that allows more freedom of hand placement.

On any DT gun I like to measure the stock length from the rear trigger, not the front as is the convention. I want to extend my finger forward to engage the front rigger, not cramp it back to pull the rear. Maybe that’s just personal preference. I’ve worked with a number of good British fitters and none have mentioned this approach, but the numbers always come out about 1/2″ or so more with the SxS than the O/U.

O/Us are tougher to measure length on because so much depends on the position and curvature of the pistol grip. Few fitter ever talk about this. An O/U with a tight competition grip, like many target model Beretta’s and Perazzis, will take less length than a gun with relaxed Prince of Wales grip. This is because your hand is forced forward with the Italian grip. True gun stock length is not determined from trigger to butt, but from somewhere on your right hand to the butt. I use the web of skin between my second and ring finger as the starting point.

As to height, I always seem to end up with my SxS guns stocked higher than my O/Us. I like my guns to shoot pretty flat, maybe just touch high, but not much. Definitely not low. The SxS, especially with larger loads, will have a tendency to shoot lower due to downward barrel flip. The O/U’s barrels don’t flex that way. The result is that to get both types of guns to shoot to the same point of impact, the SxS is usually stocked higher.

This is all painting with a broad brush as gun fit is all in the details. Even guns of the same type can often benefit from subtle changes in gun fit. It’s often best to have a particular gun fit, shoot it for a while and then go back for a re-fit if things aren’t perfect a year later. Also remember that changes in your body weight and shooting style can have significant effect on gun fit. Gun fit can change as you age and gain experience.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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