Low Profile Receiver

Dear Technoid,

Several manufacturers of O/Us with “low profile” receivers make claims like “low profile receivers place the barrels in an optimum position for straight line recoil” implying that such a design produces less recoil than a “high profile” receiver O/U. Is this marketing hype? Is there any validity to this?

Thanks, and keep up the good work!

Dear Ken,

I think that the “low profile” vs “high profile” argument is like the discussion about barrel porting in shotguns. Maybe It DOES work and maybe it DOES make a difference, but it is so very slight that it is hard to tell. So, it may be true, but it also may be hype. Clear enough?

Low profile receivers (like Beretta O/Us) have bifurcated trunions located roughly along the centerline of the receiver. High profile guns like Belgian and Japanese Brownings have the full width hinge pin across the bottom of the receiver. This necessitates that the Browning barrels be placed higher in the action by about the width of that hinge pin.

In theory, the more you can align the barrel bores with the stock, the straighter back the recoil will be and the less muzzle jump and face slap you will experience. This sounds good, but if you look at the geometry of the high profile receiver vs the low profile one, it doesn’t matter. The rib is on top of the barrel and the stock is lined up with the rib just the same in both guns. The only difference hangs down below. The relationship of the butt plate to the bores is what counts and that is the same in both designs. I have never noticed any difference in recoil between the two types. The Winchester 101 (high profile) and the Beretta SO series (low profile) are to two hardest kicking guns I know of that claim to be usable for targets.

Some people assert that there is a mechanical advantage to having the Beretta style bifurcated trunions pivot in the center of the monobloc. That also may be true, but there isn’t a Belgian Browning Superposed made that won’t outlast two boxlock Berettas.

I think that it all boils down to looks. Some people consider the low profile receiver more svelte and attractive. There is no doubt that it can be made slightly lighter. Whether it is stronger of makes the gun easier to shoot is another matter. I don’t think that it does.

Best regards,

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

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