What’s The Pitch

Dear Technoid,

I want to ask you about pitch and how does it affect stock fit. Why guns for live pigeon shooting have even less pitch than trap guns and whether a gun with little pitch would be a good choice for dove hunting.

Thanks a lot ,


Dear Mak,

I’m not at all sure that live pigeon guns have less pitch than trap guns.

Pitch is simply the angle of the butt vis a vis the rib. A prefect right angle is zero pitch. Less than a right angle is positive pitch.. Untimately the idea of pitch is to adjust the butt of the stock so that it pushes equally against the chest at the top and bottom of the recoil pad. If you shoot from a very erect stance, then you will probably need a good bit of pitch. If you lean forward or shoot off your biceps, then you will need very little, if any, pitch.

Pitch will also help control muzzle rise to some extent. Many people find that positive pitch 1) keeps the muzzle down under recoil, and 2) increases face slap. This is because positive pitch causes the butt to ride up the chest into the face, but also forces the muzzle down as the butt rises up. A pigeon shooter might be quite concerned with keeping the muzzle down on the first shot because he has to fire a second shot at the same target. He is less concerned with face slap because he will only be shooting 25 birds in the entire day.

On the other hand, an ATA down the line trap shooter could care less about muzzle rise on 16 and handicap yardage because he only will fire one shot. However, he may well fire several hundred shots in the course of a day, so face slap is of great concern. Hence the ATA down the line trap shooter would be much more interested in a zero pitch gun than the pigeon shooter would.

Standard pitch is something around 2″ (measured in the American way). This pitch is adequate for most forms of hunting. Pitch is less important in dove shooting if the birds are flying high because the gun is mounted quite high on the chest in those situations and pitch has less effect because the butt pad is less likely to be in full contact with the chest.

Best regards,

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

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

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.