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Cheek Pressure

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What Is DTL?

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Gun Fit Vs Barrel Work


The pull on my Beretta 390 Trap measures out to 14 3/4″ including the solid Beretta pad which I think is a little too long for me. My face is a little sore after only 100 rds. and my shoulder is tender. The length is forcing me to position the gun out too far almost into my arm. what is your recommendation for a pad?

Reading your responses to similar inquires indicates you a not a fan of back boring especially with the chrome. I intend to put a lot of registered targets through this thing and am not into the macho pain thing.



Dear Terry,

Waddaya mean “not into the macho pain thing”? Pain is good! Well, pain is good for the poor guy that you have to compete against. It sure is no good for us.

Gunfitting over the ether is always tough. I would really have to see you shooting the gun to get a proper idea. To give you an idea of length, I am 6’1″, somewhat barrel chested and my shirts have a 35″ sleeve. I shoot a 15″ to 15 1/4″ gun for sporting and feel best with about a 15 1/2″ stock for mounted gun games like trap and wobble. I tend to crawl my stocks a bit and set them up so that I have about 1″ between the lower back part of my right thumb and my shooting glasses. I do NOT like to shoot with any part of my hand touching the lens of my glasses, though I have seen some good shooters do it that way.

It is always tough to measure gun length as so much of it depends on the shape and position of the pistol grip. The measurement from trigger to center of the butt really is not all that meaningful, though it is convenient for gunsmiths because it is consistent. A far more meaningful measurement would be made from the web between the 2nd and 3rd fingers when they are grasping the pistol grip thence to the center of the butt. That is what really determines practical length. I have gone over this more in some depth in other Technoid letters. Root through the archives using our semi-reliable search engine.

At any rate, the best way to come up with the right length is to experiment. If you feel that the stock is too long, then remove the recoil pad and TAPE on a thin rifle recoil pad. Test and add cardboard spacers and the like until you get what you want- all slathered up with tape and festooned with clay target boxes. Cart if off to the local pad installer and have him do what is necessary to stick on a Kickeez or Terminator.

You will know that the installation will be correct because you will have spent some time shooting the gun with that length stock. Using the tape/cardboard method, you can also make minute changes in length until it is just perfect. If necessary and if you want your stock much shorter, you can always pull off the pad and just put some protective masking tape over the raw wood end. This will give you the idea of proper length and you don’t have to shoot it very long like this.

As I say elsewhere on our site (probably ad nauseum), proper gun fit is not an ingredient in the Free Recoil formula, but it probably has more to do with perceived recoil than anything else. If it were my gun, I would not perform any barrel modifications until I was sure that the gun fit me correctly. No amount of reaming and drilling will help a sore cheek bone. Fit the gun right first.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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Beretta Ultra Leggero 12 ga.

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Perazzi High Tech S SC3

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Beretta 686SP1 Vittoria

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Yildiz Pro Sporter

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7 1/2 Shot At Sporting

Dear Guru of Gear:

Last weekend my buddies and I did some practicing on a really tough, long-range teal shot on the 5-stand at Sporting Clays. It is a standard target, with the entire top side exposed to the shooter at a range I would guess to be 45 yards. It angles lightly to the right, which makes it deceptive. I was shooting with modified chokes and no. 7 1/2 shot, but a AA shooter was breaking it with IC and no. 8 shot.

I have noticed that some sporting clay shooters use no. 7 1/2 shot at every target that is beyond arm’s length, while others almost never use them. In Gary Phillips’ video, he says he relies chiefly on no. 8, only occasionally using no. 7 1/2. When I checked my “Choke Chooser” for recommendations on chokes and loads for a few selected target presentations, I found that no. 8 shot generally gives better results than no. 7 1/2, even at fairly long range. It appears that the greater number of pellets in a charge of no. 8 gives it an advantage in effective pattern size. Still, there must be some range beyond which the greater retained energy of the larger shot becomes an advantage.

What is your recommendation on when to switch to the larger shot?


Dear Jim,

While I have great respect for Warren Johnson’s “Choke Chooser” (it is one of the all time great desk reference tools), I prefer a bit more pellet energy than he finds necessary. Warren has set his parameters to accept the use of #9s out to over 30 yards, but not at 35. Unless I can see the full bottom of the bird, I seldom use #9s much beyond 20 yards.

My standard rule of thumb, which I have stated often in the Technoid archives, is to use skeet choke and #9s to 20 yards, light modified choke and #8s from 20 to 35 yards and full choke and # 7 1/2s beyond 35 yards. Shot and choke are always paired up and selected by distance.

Obviously, there are exceptions to the above, such as edge on rabbits and the like, but on the usual targets the above selections seem adequate without getting too complex.

If I only had one pellet size I would pick #8s, but I don’t have only one pellet size. That is why my vest has four pockets- three for different shells and one for my extra two chokes.

Remember this little bit of a factoid: #9s at 20 yards, #8s at 32 yards and #7 1/2s at 40 yards all have the same pellet energy. Don’t ask me where I read that (Lyman’s Shotshell Reloading Handbook???), but I did and it sounds about right.

As to your 45 yard teal, the fact that the experienced shooter broke them all with IC and #8s just goes to show you that putting the shot where the bird is counts more than having the exactly correct choke and pellet size. On a teal of that distance I personally would have picked Full choke and #7 1/2s. Andy Duffy and I have often chatted about teal. He noticed that it usually paid to choke up for teal. He is right and I think that there are some sound technical reasons for it: 1) visually one measures the distance to the teal MACHINE, but you are actually shooting the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle. A squared = B squared plus C squared (remember 5th grade math?). If the teal machine is 45 yards away, the chances are that the bird up in the air is closer to 50+ yards off. 2) If you have ever trapped teal targets, you know that your really don’t want them going straight up and then straight down- right on top of you, the trapper. Usually teals are “leaned” back a bit so that they don’t hit anyone when they land. This means that if you decide to take one of your teal dropping, it is likely to be a loooong way off. Yet another reason to choke up.

And remember too, the fact that a good shooter can whack them all with IC and #8s does NOT mean that it is the ideal combination with the largest possible killing pattern. You can break targets at amazing distances with Cylinder Bore and #9s if you can center them. The reason that you use the proper choke and shot is to maximize your chances. It is definitely not a “use this or miss them all” deal.

If you play the percentages, you will choke up for teal. Trust the Technoid. Honest.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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Trap Vs Sporting Guns

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