Field Guns And Adjustable Butts


Having used my old Trap Gun (Remington 870 with adjustable comb and Stock Plate) in the field, I have grown accustomed to a good mount (most of the time).

My new field gun (a Benelli Super Black eagle) is not so equipped and I have missed more than I care due to mounting errors, trying to maneuver into the ‘sweet spot’.

I am looking for an adjustable stock plate, but can’t seem to find out who makes them. Any suggestions ?

Thanks in advance.


Dear Stuart,

You sure you want an adjustable stock plate on a field gun? That Benelli is nice and light. It handles well. Most of the adjustable stock plates are quite heavy and will move the balance back. Your 870 trap gun is front heavy to start, so adding the weight to the rear probably wasn’t too noticeable. On the SBE it will be.

Though you don’t mention what adjustments you require, if it is just increased length that you want, you can do that with spacers. My guess is that you have also gotten used to a good amount of pad offset or twisting. Many target shooters like that, though you see as much of it in the field. Some field guns may be set up with up to 1/4″ more cast off at toe than at heel, but that’s about it.

You can approximate a bit of toe-out twist by simply cutting away some of the inside lower edge of the pad. It looks a bit funny, but no more amusing that a field gun with a big chunk of aluminum hanging off the back.

If you do want to go the adjustable butt route on your SBE, you will find what you need at Brownells, 200 South Front Street, Montezuma, IA 50171-1000, tel: 515-623-4001, .

All of them will add weight to the rear of your gun and all of them have the potential to come loose in the field. Anything that adjusts can unadjust at the worst possible moment.

Personally (since I AM the Technoid and thus the source of superfluous shooting solecisms), I’d skip the adjustable butt part and go with some sort of pad arrangement. The adjustable butts have their places on trap guns for some people, but I’m not sure that you will be happy with it on a field gun.

Those Benelli stocks are ridiculously short. I find the effective length of the stock (by “effective” length I mean from center of pistol grip to butt, not trigger to butt) to be dwarfish compared to other guns on the market. You may find that simply adding some spacers under the pad will give you a better gun mount without messing around with anything else.

Best regards,

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

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1 Response to Field Guns And Adjustable Butts

  1. Thomas Wyse says:

    Bruce, have you used an adjustable butt plate on a field gun? I have. It’s great. My gun fits and I kill more game. I also use a red dot sight with great success for upland and waterfowl hunting.

    Your arguments against the butt plate are weak, and I suspect, rooted in the myth and mythology of shotgunning rather than practical application. There’s something about it that offends your sensibilities. A fellow told me he didn’t care how bad he shot, he’d never, “do that” to his shotgun.

    Butt plates are not heavy. The one I have is about 8 ounces, which is less than 10% of the weight of my empty shotgun (Fabarm L4S). I don’t notice it changing the balance, and most other normal people wouldn’t either. A person could add that amount of weight out front in a semi auto in shells. I’m sure missing follow up shots isn’t related to upsetting the delicate balance of the shotgun by having one fewer shell in the magazine.

    As for the plate coming loose, it’s never happened to me. The whole shotgun is a jumble of mechanics waiting to fail. At least the butt plate doesn’t have to move to do its job.

    My guess is that the fellow won’t be happy with a “pad arrangement”. He’s used to his trap gun. Why not try to have both guns fit similarly? We’re told that consistency is key to shotgunning. I’d rather adjust the gun to me than adjust myself to the gun. I imagine you approve if he said he was going to go to a professional for a fitting and gun modification. Shotgunning is stuck in the past in many ways. If fit is so dang important, why aren’t shotguns adjustable like a good target rifle? Aesthetics and tradition. Sure, it looks goofy. I’d like to shoot well and look good, but I’d rather kill more game and have silly shotgun traditionalists scoff at me and my goofy looking gun.


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