Bad Barrel Regulation


Just bought a new target sporter and have found the following from the pattern board: The bottom barrel is “spot on” but the top barrel prints 7″ high at sixteen yards. As best as I can tell at 40 yds. the top barrel is shooting 21-23″ high. My view is this is unacceptable in a target o/u. Could you help with your insight?

Thank you,


Dear John,

Well, there it is.

Yes, I would say that 21″ high at 40 yards is unacceptable. Especially when you figure that most effective 40 yard patterns are considerably less than 21″ wide. It’s depressingly common for O/Us to shoot the top barrel high. A surprisingly high percent of O/Us do that. That’s always the risk you take when you buy a new gun. You can’t test it for barrel convergence first like you can with a used gun and a 5 day trial period. It’s not a price thing either. I’ve had Perazzis and Belgian Brownings that shot the top barrel just as high as your gun.

So, what’s the fix? First, check 40 yard point of impact of both barrels so that you eliminate as much human error as possible. Use the tightest choke tube you have and use the same choke tube in each barrel when you test. Also, try a borrowed Full choke tube if you can so that you can eliminate the possibility of one faulty choke. Shoot off a bench and also shoot free standing. Be certain of your numbers. Save the sheets just in case.

Then take the gun back to your dealer and ask him what he can do. He should offer to send the gun back to the maker for you. Write a clear, concise letter telling the manufacturer what the problem is. Be aware that gun manufacturers know that O/Us want to shoot the top barrel high and will accept some divergence. One of the majors will accept 8″ at 40 yards as “within factory specs”. I wouldn’t accept that myself.

It isn’t economically feasible for the maker to fix improper barrel convergence on even fairly expensive guns, so they will either offer you new barrels/gun or stonewall you. Either way it will take a while. Don’t be shy about calling to ask how your gun is coming. The squeaky wheel…. Remember, this isn’t your fault. It’s their fault.

If the company doesn’t make good, you have two practical choices.

1) send the gun down to Briley Manufacturing <> and have them make up some eccentric chokes for that top barrel, or

2) sell the sucker.

Me, I’d go the latter route. Life is too short.

If your gun was not screw choked (I’m assuming that it is since you said that it is a “new target sporter”), life would be simpler. You’d just send it down to Briley with your pattern sheets and they’d screw choke it for you, cutting in the threads of the top choke at a slight angle and curing the problem forever. It’s a great service, but I don’t think that they can do it to a gun that already has factory screw chokes. You might ask though.

I wish I had better news, but I don’t. Hey, you can still get a cold beer on a hot day. Life isn’t all bad.

Best regards,

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

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