Chipmunk Cheek


I have a story to tell and a problem to solve. A few months ago I bought the Krieghoff I always wanted, a nice used K-80 Sporting (why buy new when used is cheaper), it was early model, 1985 manufacture w/K-32 30″ light barrels, threaded and choked by Rhino for Sporting Clays. I really tried to like this gun, but, I kept seeing a pig grinning at me from the end of barrel. But anvil like handling and port holes on the chokes (reminiscent of a Buick Electra) where only the minor problems. The major one was mondo face slap. Slap so bad that within 100 shells I developed severe “chipmunk cheeks” (K-munk??) i.e. swollen face.

I rounded up all the usual suspects; I lengthened the stock, installed a negative 1/2″ to 1/4″ pitch spacer (to bring it up to only 1″ of down pitch), and installed a 1/8 ” Cheek-eze pad (to take off the cast). Well, 1,500 shells later, it was a little better, but I still had swollen cheeks after 200 or so rounds shot at my local five stand in an afternoon.

After many mutterings and much soul searching, I found a kind and willing soul (who wanted the K gun more than I now did) to take the pig, port holes and all, off my soiled hands and sore cheeks. I then tried numerous other used guns ( usually “borrowing them” for a try-out 3 or four day period). I even tried several 30″ Browning Superposed Trap guns (all w/Broadway rib and beavertail forend), an “approved” Technoid favorite, but I still got slapped after a hundred rounds or so (now not a bad as with the K-gun, but cheeks still sore if not swollen) and I just couldn’t warm up to that fat forend.

Then my local gun emporium called (I keep a want list at all the shops in the area) to inform me about a used (only one careful owner) Perazzi MX 8 he just took in on trade. Now this gun was originally bought as a “Live Bird Gun”. Its former owner just couldn’t live without a new Piotti or such (wish I had that problem, not to mention the cash) to whack away at pigeons.

Anyway, the critical dimensions of the gun, are as follows:

– Perazzi MX 8 Trap, Serial number in the 92XXX range
– Flat Rib, w/ 1.70 Kg barrels, 31.5″ long
– Slim Forend
– Trap stock, 14 1/2″ over the glued-on Perazzi Sporting Clays type pad
– 2.5″ down pitch
– Cast off 6mm at toe, 10 mm at heel (yeah, I know it’s metric, but the
Technoid knows everything right?)
– Removable trigger 3.5/3.5 lb. pulls, internally selectable switchers
– Perazzi flush chokes tubes in both barrels
– Matched .725 bores, 2 3/4″ chambers
– Eye popping dark chocolate and black marble cake wood
– and 24 line per inch (or it’s metric equivalent) checkering

My critical dimensions are:
6″ in stocking footies
205 lbs soaking wet
33″ sleeve
slim face with high cheekbones
this gun is for sporting clays!!!

Technoid want details, he gottem details.

Now I haven’t yet bought the thing yet (but I am weakening by the minute) and I shot 400 rounds through it on Sunday at Five stand. Cheek was swollen and sore, but at least it took 4 times the number of rounds to do the same or less damage that the K-gun did.

Being the Technoid, and an expert in gunfitting via the ether (ethereal gun fitting??) what are my options to exorcising the dreaded K-munk cheeks. Do I; 1) Buy it and have the gun fitted? 2) Buy it and have that gorgeous wood violated and have a soft adjustable comb put on? 3) all of the above? 4) none of the above? 5) Something else, maybe?

Please advise, boots on, beer in hand, breath baited,


Dear Bob,

As JTOP(3), your question goes directly into the “Priority” pile.

You definitely have a gun fitting problem- or a shooting stance problem. Yes, I know it is always easier to blame the equipment (I generally do), but consistent chipmunk cheek requires traveling down other avenues. Stock crawlers get cheeks pounded more than “heads up” shooters.

Have you ever had a gun that didn’t beat you up? If you did, what were those stocks like? Perhaps you could copy those measurements.

Like you, I have high cheekbones and am simply savaged by guns that have any cast off at all. Installing a pad on the side of the stock really doesn’t remove the cast off in the sense that the angle of the inside of the stock doesn’t change. It is the angle of the cast off stock that gets you, not the absolute measurement vis a vis the rib.

Same with the angle of the comb. More drop at heel compared to drop at nose is bad, less (closer to a Monte Carlo) is good. Ideally, the stock would have reverse drop a la Weatherby rifles, but in a shotgun that would make cheek placement too critical. I tried it. Don’t do it, especially on a sporting gun where your cheeking point may vary with different types of presentations. Forget about porting and the other gimmicks like backboring. That won’t help face slap one tiny bit.

Pitch can be a factor, but those B-25 trap guns that you shot are close to zero pitch if you get rid of the hook butt pads. Hook pads are very critical as to shoulder placement and can easily produce positive or negative pitch depending on the mount. The closer you get to zero pitch, the better the face slap situation will be.

So, the standard stock fixes for face slap are 1) zero pitch; 2) parallel comb; 3) zero cast. Finally, you must make sure that the stock is long enough. A short stock sort of builds up speed and rearward movement during recoil because it isn’t as solidly placed on the shoulder. This is never good. Try a stock that is just a little too long- perhaps one approaching 15″ for your 33″ sleeve length- and see if that helps. By the way, proper stock length really depends on the distance from pistol grip to butt, not from trigger to butt as is commonly assumed. You can easily flex your finger forwards or backwards an inch. It is harder to move your hand forward and backward a full inch on the pistol grip.

You may be tempted to try a Soft Touch or G-Square hydraulic stock. Just be aware that these don’t work very well in situations where the gun is not firmly placed on the shoulder. They are great for American-style skeet, ISU and ATA trap, but not so hot for International Skeet or low gun sporting clays. You mount has to be perfect and solid to the shoulder to derive their full benefit. If it isn’t they will kick just like everything else until the butt comes to rest in the shoulder pocket.

Adjustable comb: Well maybe. If nothing else works, that would be worth a try. Just make sure that the comb is adjustable laterally too. Like you, I just hate to hack of a pretty stock with one of those gizmos.

One last thing to remember: your problem is face slap, not pure recoil. Anything that you do to lower recoil may lessen face slap, but it won’t cure it. Spongey recoil pads actually increase face slap by causing more movement along the cheek as they collapse. Light loads only hide the problem of a poorly fit gun.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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