Low Shooting SxS

Dear Technoid:

I have a SxS I own that is shooting low. The patterns of both barrels had the same point of impact but were well below where I was aiming (I do realize I’m supposed to point and shoot and not aim, but I’m looking for a point of reference). About 95% of the pattern was below my point of aim at 40 yds.

Shouldn’t the barrels shoot dead center to the point of aim relative to the rib? If not, what point of reference does a barrel regulator use when he/she is regulating the barrels?

Why even have a rib at all if it cannot be used as a point of reference either consciously (aiming) or subconsciously (pointing)?

When I am shooting, the gun does shoot higher because I am not cheeking the gun as hard. But it seems to me that the gun should shoot “spot on” relative to the rib. Am I wrong in this assumption?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Dear Clark,

Part of point of impact (POI) is objective and part is subjective. Unless you are shooting birds that are always dropping, a low POI is not a good thing. With the exception of trap, most manufacturers like to set their guns up so that the POI is centered when viewed right along the rib. If you rifle-sighted the shotgun, the pattern would be 1/2 above the aiming point and 1/2 below. This is called a 50/50 pattern impact.

Some field shooters and sporting clays shooters prefer a gun with a 50/50 POI. Others prefer one that is perhaps 60% high, 40% low. Some shooters, like trap shooters, may like it even higher.

For modest vertical changes of POI, nothing needs to be done to the rib or barrels. They continue to be set up to shoot 50/50 when rifle sighted. The raised POI is obtained by increasing the height of the stock so that the shooter sees a bit of rib and the gun shoots a bit higher.

If a great deal of increase is required in the POI (such as trap), the rib itself is often raised at the rear, but kept low at the front so that the view down the rib will be closer to rifle-sighting, but the POI will be high.

SxS guns a somewhat special. When they are fired their tend to flip their barrels downward slightly. This is called “downflip” and causes SxS guns to shoot slightly lower than O/Us. To overcome this SxS guns are normally set up very slightly higher than O/Us.

Should your SxS shoot spot on relative to the rib? I dunno. Without seeing the gun and the rib, I can’t really tell, but I would think that it should be close. I see a fair amount of rib on my SxS guns, but they shoot dead on. A SxS with a normal swamped game rib really is shot “off the muzzle” not off the rib anyway.

For a practical fix, just layer some duct tape on to the top of your stock until the gun’s POI is raised to where you want it. Then get it bent at the stock maker. Yes, you will end up seeing more rib than you do on your O/Us, but that is the nature of your particular beast. In the field, you will never notice the difference.

Best regards,

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

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