Face Slap

Dear Technoid,

I’m a lefty and my SxS game gun has cast-on for a righty. It has a lot of recoil to my face. The stock is a bit short for me. I’m not sure what changes to make to cut the recoil down. Maybe this gun is just a kicker. Any suggestions?


Dear Bart,

It sounds as though your problem is gun fit, not recoil per se. Any time you take facial abuse, it’s a gunfit deal. If you notice shock in the shoulder area which radiates up the back of neck to the head, then it’s pure recoil. Obviously, lowering recoil will lower face slap, but it won’t cure it. It just postpones it.

As to your 1/4″ cast-off for a righty. Since you are a lefty, this is cast-on for you. If you think about the geometry of the situation, cast-on should reduce face slap, not increase it. Think about a gun which was heavily bent AWAY from your face by an extreme amount. The gun recoils straight back and that will push the angled stock into your face and cause face slap.That’s why very, very few trap guns have any cast-off. A stock which is bent INTO the face (such as a gun cast off for a righty, but being shot by a lefty) actually recoils away from the face as it comes back.

Obviously, incorrect cast affects eye alignment, but that’s an entirely different problem. Bottom line: I don’t think that having your stock bent towards your face will cause face slap. I would look elsewhere for a solution to the problem.

Check your stock length. A stock that is too short is often the cause of face slap because it permits the gun to build up a head of steam as it comes back. Most game gun combs are higher at the nose (top front of comb) than they are at the heel (top rear of the comb). Since the gun recoils more or less straight back, but the comb slopes downward, the comb has to kick INTO the face. Has to. Got to. Again, think about the geometry. It’s just like cast-off.

A down sloping comb is virtually standard equipment on all game guns for a number of very good eye-alignment reasons, but it does contribute to face slap. To forestall this, you should shoot a stock which is as LONG as you can comfortably handle. A long stock has a better chance of being firmly seated against the shoulder and will thus move rearward less on recoil. It’s the rearward movement of the stock along the face that causes face slap. As you limit rearward movement along the face, you limit face slap. The best way to limit rearward stock movement is by increasing stock length. Holding the gun more tightly in the hands also helps, but this often isn’t a practical solution.

On my game guns I measure my length of pull from the REAR trigger (I assume your SxS gun is a double trigger gun). I know that gunsmiths measure the LOP of a double trigger gun from the front trigger, but I don’t . If you have a single trigger gun which is comfortable for you, translate that length of pull to your SxS’s REAR trigger. This will probably increase your LOP by 3/4″ to 1″. You will find that you can still flex your trigger finger forward enough to pull the front trigger. I think that you will find that the added length goes a long way towards reducing the face slap you feel.

A good way to increase length on a temporary basis is simply to remove the pad/butt plate (I’m assuming you don’t have a checkered butt) and insert the required number of raw/uncut hard rubber spacers. You’ll just need extra long mounting screws. Don’t bother to trim the spacers. It will look awful, but it’s OK for testing. The spacers will also add a lot of weight to the butt. Once you get the length you want, you can get things fitted up correctly by a stockmaker. He can hollow out the center of the spacers to reduce the added weight and can pull weight out of the wood inside your stock if necessary.

If you have a checkered butt, one way to test length is to use a slip on pad. These aren’t all that great as they have too much compression and squash back on recoil. On checkered butt guns, I’ve often had better luck extending temporary length with cardboard and masking tape.

The bottom line on fitting your gun length is to shoot the LONGEST stock you can comfortably deal with. Make it a bit TOO LONG and then shorten it until it is perfect and you feel comfortable. Trust me on this one. Most people shoot stocks which are too short, especially on double guns with double triggers. It’s easy enough to shove in some spacers and experiment. If it doesn’t work, just take them out and you are no worse off than you were.

Best regards,

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

This entry was posted in Shotgun related, Shotguns. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.