Bad Back Guns


It is very pleasing to see other shooters who have an affinity for the 42 like I have. I am 35, shot my first 42 at the age of 9, and now own two of my own. Boy, what a terrible gun to learn how to shoot. There are a lot of ducks that survived those first few years. I think they too are fans of the 42.

I don’t have the original one I learned to shoot. My cousin has it. I have one that is a skeet grade, 1951 model. The other is a 1951 “field grade” in the original box, original papers, in grease and never fired. On rainy days I like to pull it out just to look at it. I also like to show it to my true shotgun appreciating friends.

Also, I am a physician who suffers from a cervical disc herniation. I read the article written by the gentleman needing advice for a certain gun to help his aching back.

I shoot skeet and sporting clays. For skeet, I shoot a heavy(> 9 lbs) 682 and only shoot 20 gauge. For sporting I shoot a tricked out 390 with weight in the forend cap as well as in the stock. It took me some time to get the weight right, but now I am used to it and do not feel it has cost me any targets. Plus I only shoot 2 3/4 dram 1 oz. loads.

A local shooter who had similar problems called me to ask for advice. He was shooting a Montefeltro with 3 dram loads. Ouch!!! He followed my lead and is doing much better.

No pain and I have been able to escape surgery thus far. The weight of the gun doesn’t bother me. It is the constant recoil. Plus, I have less problems if I shoot from a low gun.


Dear John,

I certainly share your affection for the 42. They are marvelous little guns and I wish that I owned a whole bunch of them instead of just one.

As to shooting with spinal disorders, here are a couple of extra ideas you might add to your arsenal. When possible, try to shoot with BOTH knees very slightly flexed and weight centered initially. This is especially helpful with lower back problems as 1) it takes stress out of the back and 2) increases lateral flexibility by causing rotation from the knees, not the waist. It also avoids shooting while balancing on one foot, which so many do.

Secondly, people with upper spine and neck problems have reported recoil relief when using a pneumatic-style stock, such as the ones made by G-Square, Soft Touch and the others. They will fit on a Beretta 390, but obviously offer the most noticeable improvement on an O/U. They work better at the fully pre-mounted games of American-style skeet and trap than at sporting because firm contact with the shoulder is required to optimize recoil reduction. If your mount is good at sporting, they can help. If it is a soft or slack mount, they won’t.

As to actual recoil reduction by shells and gun weight, here’s a handy vaguely sort-of-accurate general rule of thumb: Altering the weight of the gun will change free recoil by about the same percentage. Altering the payload or velocity of the shell will change free recoil by about 2x the percentage. Clearly, the biggest recoil reduction bang is in the shell.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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