Article 2 – 2016
Question: In an earlier article you briefly mentioned the amount of shotguns that were now currently available with a raised rib above the barrel. I have felt a few of these and they point very nice. I am interested in your thoughts about an adjustable rib? Can you explain how they work as it very confusing to me?
Ralph Hutchinson, Perth WA
Answer: Certainly one of the most recent trends we have seen in the development of shotguns used for the clay target sports over the past decade is the raised and adjustable rib. The raised rib has the huge advantage of helping acquire the target by allowing the front hand that is positioned on the forend of the shotgun to be further below the sighting plane (rib) thus not causing and blind spot that the front hand position can contribute to. The discipline where this is a distinct advantage is in Trap where many competitors call for the target to be released when their shotgun is positioned between the trap machine and the target breaking point. In saying that there certainly has been a trend in the United States in Sporting Clays where many of the top competitors are also using these types of ribs on their shotguns. Americans like gadgets and hence the adjustable raised rib was born.
The advantage of this type of rib is once your stock is fitted and you are comfortable with it then it will never need to be moved again if you want to shoot a discipline that requires the shotgun to place its payload in a different position. Some companies are now promoting shotguns that truly are an “all round” clay target shooting firearm. A practicable example of this would be a 75 cm barrel shotgun with adjustable chokes and that was set up initially to shoot Sporting Clays. I would set the shotgun up initially with the rib in its mid position (halfway between its highest and lowest point at the front). If it was set up to throw its shot pattern at about sixty percent above its point of aim for the sporting discipline it would only need the front of the rib to be wound down a couple of millimetres to make the gun shoot higher so it would be well suited for shooting Trap targets that are constantly rising. Many Skeet competitors or even hunters like their shotguns shooting very flat (fifty per cent above the point of aim) so the adjustable rib would need to be lifted slightly from its original position in the middle.
I know this sounds like the opposite of what you need to be doing. Where this becomes confusing is simply by the fact that by lowering the rib your sight picture along the barrel becomes very flat because you have left the back of the rib fixed ii its original position and you are now virtually looking down the ramp. By lifting the rib above the mid position your sight picture along the barrel will be looking “up the ramp” which you may think makes the firearm shoot lower, but it really is an optical illusion. As long as you do not adjust the stock of the shotgun in any way what I suggest is correct. Lowering the adjustable rib will make the shotgun shoot higher and lifting it will make it shoot lower. You really need to do this whilst using a pattern board to truly understand how this works, but if you can resist the temptation to wind the rib up and down between missed shots then the adjustable rib is a great tool to work with.