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Article 10 – 2019 (November)

people posing and smiling with shotguns

Russell Mark

Australian Shooter Magazine, Question and Answers

Article 10 – 2019 (November)


Question: I decided to lose a lot of weight on my doctor’s advice and eventually lost over fifty kilograms. I have a Browning Sporter that used to fit me pretty well I thought. It is probably eighteen months since I have shot the gun, but now I can’t hit anything with it and all of a sudden the shotgun recoils more and it kicks me in the face like crazy. Have you got any suggestions how to fix this? It is a standard out of the box shotgun without an adjustable stock.

Ben Carney, Coffs Harbour NSW


Answer: I am assuming Ben that the last time you shot the firearm was eighteen months ago when you were over fifty kilograms heavier. That is a lot of weight to lose and no doubt your body shape has changed significantly. One of the first places you will notice your new body shape will be in your face. Less fat on your face generally means less “cast” needed on your stock to align your eye down the centre of the barrel. If I also made the assumption that you are right handed then the cast on your stock will be known as cast “off”. The fatter your face the more cast off you need. If you were gaining weight you just keep adding cast to keep your eye centred. If you haven’t got an adjustable comb on the stock of your shotgun you can add cast by either thinning the comb (taking wood off the side of your stock) or actually getting the stock bent. This is commonly done with the aid of heat and weights and has varying degrees of long-term success.

Because you have lost weight adding cast won’t apply to you. I would assume you need less cast because the fat you once had on your cheeks has now gone. Filing off the wood on the side of your comb is obviously not an option. You can try getting the stock bent, but the best solution is to go and get an adjustable comb put into the stock.

You mention the shotgun has all of a sudden starting kicking you more. This is actually a myth providing you are not using faster ammunition or shot shells with more shot in them. The shotguns “perceived” recoil though would no doubt be more. Bigger people absorb more recoil. The less you weigh the more recoil you will feel, but the “actual” recoil of the firearm will not have changed. If you are feeling recoil in the face then the adjustable comb I advice you to get may go a long way to solving the problem. Less cast will mean you can put your face firmer down on the stock, which will help. If you select an adjustable comb that can also adjust the amount of “drop” in the comb (the angle the comb falls from front to back) then this will also help alleviate some “cheek slap” that you are describing. Sporting shotguns generally have about twenty millimetres of slope difference between the front to the back of the comb. Try adjusting this to fifteen or even ten millimetres and you should start to feel the difference.

Finally the “pitch” of the shotgun may now need adjusting. If you were a big guy then you probably needed lots of pitch. Pitch is the angle the recoil pads sits on your shoulder. If you have lost a lot of mass in your shoulder/breast bone area then too much pitch will cause the shotgun to recoil downwards making it hard to keep your face and therefore your eye aligned down the centre of the barrel.

Well done on being proactive and losing the weight and no doubt extending your life. These adjustments cast and drop are very easy to apply once you have your adjustable stock. The great part is if you put all that weight back on you can simply move the comb back in your “fat” position. Sadly you may not stay alive long enough to enjoy it!

It’s a no brainer. Keep the weight of and enjoy many more years of shooting with your Browning Sporter.

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