Getting The Right Shotgun Fit:
Getting the right fit on a shotgun stock is one of the most important things that you can do to improve your shooting and this is the one thing that most people will ignore. When you really think about it if you belong to a club with a lot of members or hunt with several different friends just look at the difference in their sizes and remember this, shotgun manufacturers have to build one stock for a given model number to fit all these same people. Does it not stand to reason that a shotgun stock will not fit all these different sized people. Below are some adjustments that you can do yourself beyond that you really need to get a stock fitted to you by a very experienced gunsmith.
Does It Fit:
Here is a simple test to give yourself to see if your shotgun stock fits you. Make up a target approximately 2 feet x 2 feet or 4 sq.ft., place it down range 200 yards relax a few minutes, now pick up your shotgun and snap point your shotgun at the target as if it were a grouse or clay bird trying to get out of range. Repeat this procedure 4 or 5 times, now if you had to make any adjustment whatsoever to get on that target, simply put, your shotgun stock DOES NOT FIT YOU.
A Better System:
This was a system that I tried about 1978 to help solve fitting problems on people that had various health issues that prevented them from using better shooting form, what I noticed that these people were able to shoot many times better than the average person that was fitted with a stock that had been done with, by the book measurements. I then adopted this method and blended it with the book tech measurement method.
A Common Problem:
One of the biggest problems with stocks made today is the comb of the stock is really high and people have to scrunch down into these stocks to get on target. While at first you may think a lot of wood has to be removed to correct this generally not, you can sand this area down by hand and keep checking this for fit until it is very comfortable to shoot, a telltale sign of this problem is you keep getting smacked on the cheekbone with the stock.
Shotgun Stock Pitch:
Shotgun stock pitch is the angle at which the shotgun buttstock fits to your shoulder. This is very easy to detect if you have improper fit. When you fire the shotgun if it flips the muzzle up or down the pitch is wrong. With the proper pitch the shotgun will recoil straight back into your shoulder.
Shortening A Stock:
If you feel that you need to shorten your stock never cut off more than a quarter of an inch at a time until you put it all together and check it for fit. This may take more time to get to that perfect fit but its better than trying to lengthen a stock after being cut to short.
To properly cut a stock to keep it from splintering is quite simple:
1. Make a pencil mark around the stock where you want to cut it.
2. Now take a sharp utility knife and cut into the wood all the way around your stock, on your pencil mark.
3. Using a saw of fine kerf cut the stock at the edge of where you ran the utility knife, this method produces a clean cut with no splinters.
Lengthening A Stock:
While not the most appeasing look, you can buy plastic butt plate spacers black or white from brownells gunsmith supply and add these ahead of the butt plate or recoil pad. If you still need more length try adding a slip on recoil pad.