Balance Point


I have a question about the balance point of 32 in 0/u barrels and a 34 in unsingle barrel. I have a Beretta 687 trap combo. The 32in o/u barrels balance about 3/4 inch in front of the hinge pin. In order to get the 34 in unsingle barrel to have the same balance point, I need quite a bit of lead added near the muzzle. Is this normal and something I just need to get used to or should I figure out a way to permanently affix additional weight?


Dear Frank,

Two barrels heavier than one? Not surprising. When manufacturing barrels for a modestly priced gun, it gets really expensive to radically change barrel wall thickness to accommodate balancing. Of course, the longer single barrel will pick up a little weight due to the added two inches. Ditto the high rib on the unsingle barrel. That ought to be heavier than the low rib on the double barrel. But it still isn’t enough to balance things out and make them both feel the same.

Yes, you could add weight to the unsingle to even things out. But watch it. I’m not an engineer, but it seems to me that if enough weight to balance equally were added at the muzzle of the unsingle, rather than all along the barrel, the gun might balance in the same place with both barrels, but the longer single barrel would “feel” heavier. Maybe not. I don’t actually know and am just guessing. The nice thing about adding weight is that you can experiment to your heart’s content.

I’ve used this analogy before, but this is a good place to try it again. Say that you have a broomstick and two bricks. Pretend that the broomstick is your gun. Put a brick on each end and the “gun” weighs a certain amount and balances in the middle. With the weight at both ends, it has high inertia and is harder to start swinging and harder to stop. Now move those two bricks to the center so that they are just touching. Gun weighs the same. Gun still balances in the middle. But the “handling” is now very different. The gun is quick to start and quick to stop.

So, the balance point matters, but how the weight is distributed along the barrel matters too.

But I’d also ask yourself whether or not this is all necessary. You will probably use the 34″ barrel for singles and the 32″ for doubles. You might be quite happy with them balancing differently for the different events. I don’t know. Reflexively, it would seem that you might want the lighter faster gun for doubles and the heavier barrel for singles, exactly the opposite of what you now have. But that’s up to you.

Bottom line: how you balance your guns is really up to you and your preferences. Try playing with some barrel weighting and see how you like it. You can always take the weights off.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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