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Gun Fit Fact or Fiction


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To kick this topic off it would be interesting to get an idea of how many Forum members have had a gun fitted to their requirements. Clearly, we can't put our hands in the air but if anyone would like to share a gun fitting experience that would be great. The subsequent question,  just how much did a fitted gun make to their shooting? Would anyone  like to share their experience?

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I have never had a gun fitted to me. It would be a good idea, and my shooting may improve if I did. However, most of my guns fit well enough not to worry too much about it.

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I have had guns ‘fitted’ by RFDs and an ex Olympic shot shooting coach. I would not constitute this a a gun fitting however as they were not gun fitters or had access to a try gun etc. My guns have been adjusted to fit by me by dry mounting and tinkering. What I was amazed by is that I did it separately by feel on guns years apart and when they have subsequently been laid next to each other the measurements were within millimetres.

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My two english made side by sides are both fitted. The old BSA was 'bent' to fit and the Army & Navy was made measure. Yes I feel both just feel like a hand made to measure suit, there is just that little difference. Now my O/U 410 is straight off the shelf but it just felt right the first time I raised it to my shoulder although it does not have the very slight cast the s/s guns do.

The working tools, pumpers and semi autos seem to shoot well for me and are as the factory made them. There again I have some 70 years of shooting various guns so have learned to adapt over the years.   I had a trap gun back in the 1970s which had a wonky rib but I learned to adjust on the DTL stands and was usually in the running.

My view basically, if you can afford to have it done then it is well worth while but get a known reputable stocker to do it for you.

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8 hours ago, motty said:

I have never had a gun fitted to me. It would be a good idea, and my shooting may improve if I did. However, most of my guns fit well enough not to worry too much about it.

Same here of the shelf guns have been fine for 55 years. Pointed in the right direction no problem.

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Fact, in my case hugely better. I went from a very poorly fitting sbs which was all I could afford when I purchased it which was not checked for fit by the gun shop to a Miroku sbs which John Forsey did take the trouble to check mount and approximate fit out of a selection of around 6 possibles. Added 20% to my clay score overnight. 

If you have a gun that nearly fits and you shoot in the 90's then even a 1% improvement is going to be significant.

One difficulty we have in the UK is the weather and so the different clothing we wear affects gun mount, possibly enough to make the gun fitting out of true.

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I think, rightly or wrongly, that gun fit is more important when using a side by side than an O/U. No doubt many will disagree. Perhaps in the clay world, fit is equally as important, I don't know.

The O/Us that I've had have been used without any alteration, but being left handed with a right master eye I find I need some 'cast on' on my side by sides and shut my right eye when taking the shot. Seems to work OK for me.

Perhaps when one considers the cost of driven game shooting (something that I have very little experience of and now is beyond my means) it is false economy, in my view, not to have a gun either fitted or the knowledge that it shoots where it's pointed.

I do 'pattern plate' my guns to make sure that they shoot roughly to point of aim, but confess to not getting too wound up with chokes etc in the multi choke O/Us. Pointed in the right direction, they seem to do the job.

My side by sides now have very similar dimensions regards LOP, cast, drop at comb and heel. My O/Us have the same LOP but slightly differing other dimensions, but I adjust accordingly to how I shoot them.

May I ask Balotelli, as he raised the question, what guns he uses and whether he has had his guns fitted. 

OB

 

 

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Five guns with stocks made, with the same wood used for their fore-ends, to a fitting. Earliest fitting in the 1990s by Ken Davies at Holland's ground near Northolt for a Webley 700 to be fitted and a Powell sidelock. And before that at Powell's a boxlock 3" ejector. And I've had fittings done by a number of supposed people that ought to have known what they were doing but didn't so I've always gone back eventually to Holland's re-visiting them for that in 2004 when I had my late father's gun re-stocked to me and then in 2015 when I had my Boss re-stocked to me.

Holland's are the best. West London a waste of time as were Powell's (done in the shop at Carr's Lane by Peter Powell) and a fitting done by Westley Richards when they were at Bournbrook. Westley's at least did it using a pattern plate at the standard sixteen yards. But you cannot correctly fit a gun in a shop (as I found to my cost at Powell's) or just simply using a pattern plate. You MUST at sometime during the fitting actually "try" the gun on clays. All my fittings were for side by side guns and all, except the Boss, with double triggers.

Edited by enfieldspares
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9 hours ago, motty said:

I have never had a gun fitted to me. It would be a good idea, and my shooting may improve if I did. However, most of my guns fit well enough not to worry too much about it.

Yep. I have had one done and it did make a difference, but the best gun fit method is practice, practice and then more practice as the bottom line is the fact that the human body is an amazingly flexible bit of kit.

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36 minutes ago, Smokersmith said:

Not having a gun fitted isn't a problem ...

… as long as it fits ...

What he said all day long.

And good post @Enfieldspares.

I bought a secondhand Holland and the vendor was an ex England team clay shooter who offered to fit me for it. I declined as, with experience, I realised it was “near enough”. And anyway I wanted to take it to Holland’s shooting school to have it fitted. I can not recommend them enough, and cheaper than you might think. The best money you can spend on a shotgun.

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32 minutes ago, London Best said:

And anyway I wanted to take it to Holland’s shooting school to have it fitted. I can not recommend them enough, and cheaper than you might think. The best money you can spend on a shotgun.

Yes. I'd add this which is IMHO the best advice for anyone going to have a gun fitted. If you are driving there then come what may, come hell or high water get there a full one hour before your fitting is arranged. My mistake with Powell's was to walk straight in to Carr's Lane after negotiating Birmingham traffic and Birmingham parking. Your mind and body just aren't, literally, in correct usual "shape". Arrive well before time so as to relax them.

Why? Because you need to allow your body to get back to recover and regain its usual posture from the contorted shape that it has morphed into to enable you to drive your car or motor vehicle there. You need to allow your shoulders to regain their normal posture, your neck the same and to relax your arms, elbows and wrists. After all how many times after a long drive when you get out of your car or vehicle do you flex your back and stretch your shoulders back? 

So when you do arrange a fitting ask if you can arrive that whole sixty minutes early (which in itself knowing you've a time "cushion" will allow you to relax mentally that you're not going to be hurrying there worrying about being late) and just then sit down or walk about or relax in a comfy chair.Or even just put the seat back and unwind in your car. Fitting a gun to you if you've arrived and got parked up with seconds to spare after a frantic fifty mile drive won't work.

Edited by enfieldspares
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I had my o/u fitted over 10 years ago and had the stock altered as a result. The gun felt totally different and my scores actually went down initially until I had got used to it.

One thing the gun fitter said to me at the time (how true this is I don't know), is that you should get your gun fit checked every 3 or 4 years as your body shape changes over time. Needless to say I haven't had it checked since as I'm happy with the way I'm shooting.

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1 hour ago, Old Boggy said:

I think, rightly or wrongly, that gun fit is more important when using a side by side than an O/U. No doubt many will disagree. Perhaps in the clay world, fit is equally as important, I don't know.

The O/Us that I've had have been used without any alteration, but being left handed with a right master eye I find I need some 'cast on' on my side by sides and shut my right eye when taking the shot. Seems to work OK for me.

Perhaps when one considers the cost of driven game shooting (something that I have very little experience of and now is beyond my means) it is false economy, in my view, not to have a gun either fitted or the knowledge that it shoots where it's pointed.

I do 'pattern plate' my guns to make sure that they shoot roughly to point of aim, but confess to not getting too wound up with chokes etc in the multi choke O/Us. Pointed in the right direction, they seem to do the job.

My side by sides now have very similar dimensions regards LOP, cast, drop at comb and heel. My O/Us have the same LOP but slightly differing other dimensions, but I adjust accordingly to how I shoot them.

May I ask Balotelli, as he raised the question, what guns he uses and whether he has had his guns fitted. 

OB

 

 

Like most on the Forum, I have a shed load of shotguns some relatively cheap and one at the higher end and yes, I did have the pricey weapon"fitted". For the most part the Benelli semi-autos come out for pigeon shooting, as you may have guessed. However, I love my O/Us which I do use from time to time. Just for interest, and not relevent to this post, I have an  ancient double barrel .410 of unknown make. Apart from the last mentioned, my guns are all 12 bores and range from an Ultralight to lumps. 

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When I arrived at Holland’s for my fitting the fitter asked me to leave my gun in the car and come in for coffee. As I drank the coffee and looked around he stood weighing me up and setting a try gun. Then he said, “how does that feel?”  “Pretty good,” I said. He watched me mount it again and made one tiny adjustment. “I think that may suit, let’s see how your gun fits before we shoot.” I fetched my gun inside and when he measured it he laughed and said, “those are the exact same measurements I have just set on the try gun.”  We went outside after a few mounts with my own gun and did not need to shoot with the try gun at all. The fitter told me he didn’t think they could improve on the fit of my gun at all. All in all, a big confidence booster.

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2 minutes ago, Smokersmith said:

Given the stated aim of improving scores … coaching will in my experience deliver a much cheaper and quicker improvement, than bumbling along making the same structural mistakes.

I would go along with that as long as the trainee puts the right amount of time and effort in.

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