Gun Fit Again

Oh wise one:

I recently got an old Fox double that centers the patterns from both barrels about 6-inches high and 6-inches to the left at 20 yards. I was going to have it restocked to more modern dimensions but I realize this will probably raise the impact point even higher. It is currently choked Mod/Full. I don’t want choke tubes but wouldn’t object to opening it to IC/Mod. Could a competent ‘smith move the impact point while opening the chokes?

Many thanks,


Dear Lou,

“Oh, wise one”! I love it! If you only knew the truth…., but thanks anyway.

A competent gunsmith can work chokes to amazing angles, BUT that isn’t what you want. When BOTH barrels shoot to the same place (very good, you are lucky- not all SxS or O/Us do this), but that place isn’t where you want it to be, the adjustment is always made in the stock.

If your are right handed, it sounds if you need a little more cast off (bend the stock away from your face) and a little less height. However, since those old Foxes usually had dog leg stocks anyway, I doubt if height is the problem, so my guess is that something else is at fault.

How did you test for point of impact? Did you aim the gun like a rifle or did you start with the gun down at your waist and snapshoot they way you would when hunting? I would suggest doing some tests in the latter manner.

Try this: Using the same 20-25 yards, put up one piece of pattern paper with a visible black mark in the middle. Starting with the gun in butt-on-hip hunting position (or butt-under-armpit sporting clays position), but with the muzzle on the lower edge of the paper, mount the gun and swing up through the bullseye as you fire. Next, with the SAME piece of paper, start with the muzzle above the bullseye and fire as you come down through it. Next, start the muzzle to the left and fire as you swing to the right and through the bullseye. Same thing starting from the right. You don’t have to start real far to the side of the bullseye, a couple of feet or the edge of the paper should be enough.

These four shots superimposed on the paper will give you a pretty good idea where you gun shoots dynamically, not statically. If the gun does not consistently strike in the same place so that the shots overlap, then the stock is probably too low and/or too short and/or your gun mount is not consistent. Remember, when a stock is very much too low or short, you will lift your head and often shoot high. The first thing that I would do then would be to tape on some stuff to the butt to get the length right and start in again. The first thing that I do when adjusting a stock is to get the length right. Another good stock fit test is to shoot a bunch of Low Seven skeet targets. With all that choke, you can read your breaks pretty clearly. That will also tell you where you shoot.

IF (big IF), your shooting style has solidified over the years and you know that you are mounting the gun consistently, then you should consider having the stock bent in the direction you want to move the pattern. The usual Churchill rule of thumb is to measure exactly 16 yards from the aiming eye to the pattern paper. At that distance a stock movement of 1/16″ where the cheek meets the stock will correspond to a 1″ pattern movement. By the way, most people like their game guns to shoot just a little high.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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