Changing Sides


Dear Technoid,

I’m writing to say that I have shotgun shooting right handed for 25 yrs + (I’m currently 46 yrs old). My right eye has always been worse than my left but I could correct it to +/- 20/20. I’m also slightly left eye dominant but have been able to overcome this fairly well.

I now have a medical condition in my right eye that cannot be corrected with current medical technology (Coat’s Disease) and my vision is POOR with my right eye. I think my alternatives are switch to left handed shooting or get a cross-over stock. I currently shoot a Browning 425 (30″ barrels) which I really like and have bought Briley tubes for it as well. It has been slightly bent for the right-handed shooting (1/8″ I believe).

Given that there is not fix for my eyes, what are your thoughts on my choices? If it’s a cross-over stock, any ideas where to have one built? I live in Houston, Texas. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your consideration

Terry

Dear Terry,

This is always a tough call and really depends as much on the flexibility of the shooter as it does on the efficiency of the technique.

Personally, I have never known anyone who shot a cross-over stock, though I have seen examples and photos of some. I have not seen anyone actually shoot the cross-over stock.

Switching over from right handed to left handed can be very difficult if you have been shooting right handed for a long time. That said, it is clearly the preferred way to go in the long run. I have known a number of “seasoned” shooters who have accomplished it successfully. It’s hard, but I would recommend trying it before going to a cross-over stock. The cross-over is tempting because you can substitute money for time and effort, but in the long run just switching sides is the way to go.

The key to switching sides is to stick with it. For the first week or so, it is going to feel awkward. Perhaps for the first month or so. You will have to practice mounting and swinging your gun at home a lot, in addition to plenty of shooting practice. Plan on spending six months in the transition to give it a fair try.

Much of the conversion will depend on how right handed you really are. Many people, while not ambidextrous, can do some things from either side without too much trouble. I’m right handed, but I was trained to play lacrosse using either hand. Being ambidextrous was a real advantage in that sport and we were simply taught how to do it. I have a right handed friend who lost his right arm in middle age and now writes normally with his left hand. Writing is one of the most difficult motor skills to transfer. Shooting is a lot easier.

The small bit of cast off for a righty that most 425s come with really shouldn’t make too much difference. It can easily be bent out if it matters. I’m right handed, but often shoot a cast-on for a lefty gun a bit better because I have high cheek bones and crawl my stocks. Left handed stocks often fit me better. It’s cast-off for a righty that kills me. If you try switching sides, shoot the gun the way it is for a little bit until you get the feel for it. Once your mount and swing are consistent, then you can fine tune for cast. One bonus of a gun that is bent into the face is that they kick less. Stocks bent away from the face always increase face slap. Your cast for a righty stock may not fit perfectly, but it will be softer.

You can switch over. It is just a matter of time and effort. Whether it is worth that time and effort is up to you. If you are a casual shooter, the cross-over stock is the short term easy way out and will meet casual needs. If you are a dedicated shooter, try switching sides first.

What ever you do, don’t give up. Realize that switching eyes is a major deal and be ready to invest some time and patience in the process. Hang in there. You may actually find that finally shooting with your left master eye will actually improve your shooting over the long run.

Best regards,

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

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