Real Length Of Pull

Dear Sir –

I have a Browning 425 that comes with one of those fancy adjustable triggers. Would it be possible for you to comment on what effect increasing or decreasing the length of pull has on alignment to the gun?

Many thanks,


Dear Steve,

Great question and one of my pet peeve points. Moving the trigger back and forth adjusts length of pull just about as well as porting lowers recoil. Technically, both work. Practically, they are both sales hype.

Here’s the real deal:

Gunsmiths love to measure length of pull of a stock as being from the center of the front of the trigger to the center of the rear of the recoil pad or butt. Fair enough. Everyone likes this measurement because it can be made precisely.

Unfortunately, this measurement doesn’t mean much, certainly not much as to how the gun fits you. The best and most accurate measurement of stock length would be from where the web between your second and ring finger on the right hand stations itself on the pistol grip to the center of the rear of the pad.

This is a better front measuring point than the center of the trigger because the trigger can easily flex forward or backward 1/2″ without the slightest problem. You won’t feel any difference in the length of the stock when you mount it by just moving your finger only a bit forward or back.

You will feel a significant difference in stock length if you move your hand up (forward) or down (backward) on the pistol grip. Try it. Hold your gun in the normal way and mount if a few times. Now hold it exactly the same way, but move your right hand up a good bit on the pistol grip. This will bring it forward, increasing your “real” length of pull. Now mount the gun a few times and see how much longer the stock seems. The standard length of pull from butt to trigger hasn’t changed the slightest, but the practical length of pull sure has.

Same thing if you move your right hand down the pistol grip to the very bottom. Since most pistol grips (except Perazzi trap guns) slope rearward, you are effectively shortening the “real” length of pull. Now mount the gun a few times and see how short it feels. Distance from butt to trigger hasn’t changed but, again, where you place your right hand has altered the way the stock length feels.

I do think that moving the trigger forward and back can be helpful in obtaining a comfortable finger bend. This is a very typical and useful adjustment on Olympic match rifles and pistols. That said, it has nothing to do with what the length of the gun feels like.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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2 Responses to Real Length Of Pull

  1. Bill Eddleman says:

    I had heard or read this method of determining LOP by the Technoid in the past. Surprisingly, in all the readings I have done over several decades, including some on gun fitting, I do not ever see it mentioned by any other gun makers/authorities. Yet the Technoid is spot on! The “real” length of pull is from that web of the forward hand to the middle of the butt of shotgun. As he says, try it. It is almost eerie how this has only been disclosed by the Technoid! No one else has regardless of their position or experience in the industry. Well done Technoid!


  2. Parker says:

    For me, it also tends to alleviate my flinching in a straight forward manner. Moving my trigger forward requires my trigger finger tip to grasp my trigger less aggressively. I also lessened the trigger pull to 3#. Now a flinch is still possible but now most often caught in time to only incur a (FF)…..


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