Stock Length And Balance


Dear Technoid:

I’m thinking of buying a Beretta 682 Gold Clays model O/U.I want to order the 30 inch barrels. The LOP is 14.7 inches and I shoot 13.7 LOP.

That will be an awful lot to cut off. How much will it change the balance and the feel of the gun? Any other suggestions such as different barrel length?

Dale

Dear Dale,

The best suggestion for barrel length is to use the length that BALANCES best for your gun set-up and method of shooting. The Beretta and Japanese Browning screw choke guns of late have tended to have heavy barrels. Removing wood from the rear of the stock will tend to shift even more weight forward in two ways:

1) the rear of the gun will lose the weight of the wood (up to a couple of ounces depending on wood and size of bolt hole), and

2) a shorter stock will shift weight forward as the rear of the gun becomes shorter in proportion to the front.

A 13.7″ stock might well work best with 28″ barrels, rather than 30″. Of course, it is all a matter of your preference for feel. There is no real ballistic difference in those two inches. You would be well advised to at least handle a 28″ gun in that model and form your own opinion.

If you do wish to cut the stock, you might consider that you can add weight back in the rear of the gun by your selection of a recoil pad. The Kickeez brand of solid Sorbothane is the heaviest one on the market. The Terminator brand of “foamed” polymer is one of the lightest. Pachmayrs are in between. Recoil pads are relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of a new gun. A little experimentation could produce the balance you require.

Adding a heavy (or light) recoil pad to balance a gun works if you don’t need too much weight change. It is better than adding a blob of lead as you get some other benefit from the weight. The new recoil pads really do work. If you require a big weight shift, then adding the weight all in one place won’t do it. It will destroy your “moment of inertia”. Weight is always best added throughout the entire stock length or throughout the entire barrel length, rather than just in one place. Still, for a subtle weight change, you can get away it in the stock. Balancing a gun is really rather an art, but properly balancing an gun can pay tremendous dividends by turning clunker into a sweet handling beauty.

One final thought- in my years of shooting I have noticed that more people tend to shoot a stock which is too short for them rather than too long. For some reason, this is especially true in sporting clays. Newer shooters gravitate to shorter stocks because they are easier to handle initially. Later, when their gun handling skills improve, they stay with that short stock. I am not suggesting that this is your case, merely that it is a situation many others have found themselves in. Trust the Technoid, a clay target stock is better a little too long than a little too short. Longer stocks require a cleaner mounting technique, but repay the effort with a more secure mount and less recoil due to a firmer shoulder seating.

Best regards,

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

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