« Pink Remington 870 | Main | Picture of the Day: Will Herald's Muzzleloader Buck »

October 19, 2008

This page has been moved to http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/gun-shots

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Gun Shots at its new location: www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/gun-shots.

Natural Shotgunners

There is a certain portion of the hunting and shooting fraternity who can pick up a shotgun—any shotgun—and hit what they are aiming at. This isn’t necessarily surprising, because shotgunning really isn’t that difficult, or rather the idea of it really isn’t difficult. People are, after all, predisposed with good hand-eye coordination and we have a natural, almost instinctual, ability to track things in flight with our vision.

So for some folks this means they can grab a shotgun and, no matter what its stock dimensions are, knock the snot out of their target.

I would like to go on the record here to say two things. First, I hate these people. And, secondly, I am not one of them. Is there a relationship between these two points? I leave that to you to decide.

I was thinking of this because of a comment on this post by someone who shall remain nameless (you got that Jim in Mo.?) about how well all model 870s seem to fit him, including his son’s youth-sized 20 gauge. His point being that adjusting the length of pull on these shotguns doesn’t seem necessary as a shooter grows and gets older.

His point is well taken, in that some shotgunners certainly over-think the whole business and twist themselves into balls of anxiety every time they step up to the line to shoot. (Personally, I find it hard not to groan out loud every time someone swaps chokes between stations on a sporting clays course. I doubt that one shooter in twenty has any clue at all about how their pattern actually changes when they exchange an IC for an LM.)

But for me at any rate, the fit of a shotgun does matter. I didn’t find this out until relatively late in the game that I have a rather long length of pull (15.5 inches), especially for being only 6 feet tall. The first time I shouldered a shotgun that was properly fit to me it was a revelation. Mounting was easier, the shotgun didn’t bite my cheek and I was more relaxed. So this is what it’s supposed to feel like, I remember thinking.

Because of that I’m now much more sensitive to how a shotgun fits. I don’t know how many targets an ill-fitting shotgun causes me to drop during a round of skeet or sporting clays, but I know it costs me some.

And with shotgunners like Jim in Mo. out there I need all the help I can get.

—John Snow