Which Beretta Monte Carlo Stock?

Dear Bruce:

I bought a Beretta 391 RL Parallel Trap 28″ barrel for my 13 year old daughter. It is just perfect for her as she is now trying to master the trap game. I am so impressed with the 391 that I am willing to retire [not get rid of] my 390 super trap for a 391 Black/Gold Trap gun.

I noticed that Beretta has two types of Monte Carlo stocks on their trap guns…a Parallel Trap and a Trap Monte Carlo stock. Can you explain the difference?

To help YOU make up MY mind I prefer a flatter shooting gun e.g. 70-30. I had to put on an adjustable stock on my 390 to bring it down even after changing the shims [it was 90-10…not exaggerating].

Thanks for the help.


Dear Fred,

I’ve only shot the standard 391 trap gun with the downward sloping Monte Carlo, not the parallel comb SL. Frankly, I never saw the point of a sloping Monte Carlo. That Beretta would use one merely fans the fire of my ongoing discontent with Italian target stocks in general and Beretta’s in particular.

The whole idea of a Monte Carlo stock is to provide a lower shoulder mount in relation to the cheek position. The more heads up you shoot, the more the Monte Carlo makes sense because it makes up for the large distance between the low shoulder and the elevated cheek bone. The more you crawl your stock, the more a conventional stock makes sense because the shoulder of a stock crawler is raised up to the level of the cheek. If you look at the photos of the Olympic winners on the ISSF site, ALL shotgunners photographed were crawlers~ men, women, skeet, trap and double trap. You’d think that Beretta might just make a standard non-Monte Carlo stock for the 391 available for this world standard of shooting, but nooooo. Their other trap guns get conventional trap stocks, but not the 391.

So, you get to choose from three Monte Carlo stocks for the 391. The “RL” is the Reduced Length one for kids and smaller ladies. The “SL” is a parallel comb (traditional Monte Carlo configuration) with a tighter (smaller) pistol grip. The third variant, the standard 391 trap gun has a Monte Carlo in name only as it is only very slightly elevated and slopes rearward in the conventional manner. I think that they would be better off if they just filled in the Monte Carlo “notch” on the standard trap gun and passed it off as a conventional trap stock. You’d get a larger shoulder “patch” for the pad and it wouldn’t look so ugly. Remember, if Olympic champions are any criteria, the better shooters crawl their stocks and this almost always means an elevated elbow and thus a high shoulder. A Monte Carlo detracts from the pad area on the shoulder when the shoulder is held high. If the Monte Carlo notch were filled in and larger pad used, the gun would be more comfortable.

For trap shooting, I like a parallel comb as I feel that it can reduce face slap. I have less faith that it promotes consistency of gun mount, but that really isn’t a problem with a premounted game like trap.

It really all depends on how you shoot your trap. If you tend to crawl the stock, the standard 391 MC trap stock might work best. If you shoot with a more erect head (often due to a short neck), then the SL with its raised Monte Carlo might be better. Neither configuration has much to do with point of impact height all by itself. An inch or two back from the nose of the comb, both stocks will be about the same height. And they are both shim adjustable. Remember too, the SL is supposed to have a tighter pistol grip more suited for smaller hands.

I don’t know what else to tell you. The usual advice is to say “Try them both out and buy what feels best”, but I also realize that your chances of being able to try out both stock styles at the same time are pretty slim.

Like I said, I’ve never been at ease with Beretta competition stocks.

Best regards,

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

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