Article 5 – 2023 (June)
Australian Shooter Magazine
Question and Answers
Article 5 – 2023 (June)
Question: What are your views on the new type of “ergonomic” shotgun stocks that I see appearing more and more around the shooting ranges? I looked at the price of one and I was amazed they are around three thousand dollars. What am I missing here? I think you would agree that they look ugly, but my question is do you think they are worth trying?
Peter French, Mornington VIC
Answer: If you are a “purist” then I agree these stocks are not for you. I was given one to try when they first appeared on the market around fifteen years ago. I was in Europe at the time and had only been using the new ergo stock for a few months when I turned up at the Beretta factory in Italy to have my gun serviced. It was actually Beretta’s gun not mine; I was using it on their behalf. They took one look at the stock, duplicated it in walnut and handed the gun back to me minus the “ugly” skeleton that was attached to the mechanism. They certainly were not keen to see one of their beautiful firearms “defaced” in this way. I never saw that ergo stock again, but they assured me that if I put it back on their shotgun, I would be waking up with a horse head in my bed remanence of a scene from “The Godfather”!
Times have changed and the ergonomic stock has certainly made an impact on the market with multiple Olympic and World Champions adopting the new technology.
In essence, the ergonomic stock is just a glorified “try gun” stock that has been used by the worlds leading firearm companies for a very long time. Today many of them come with the option of a custom made grip or a variety of “glove grip” sizes to choose from. Virtually every dimension of the stock can be adjusted and even the balance can be personalized.
It is fairly easy to adjust the stock to gain a perfect stock fit. Of course, the challenge then becomes a battle of resistance to avoid making tiny changes to the shotguns setup every time you miss a target. My experience tells me that many people are losing this challenge. The ease the pitch, cast, drop, length and balance can be changed is just too much for many to resist and instead of correcting the mental and technical problem that caused the poor shot they see the solution in their set of “allen” keys. Ninety nine times out of one hundred, providing the stock was set correctly to begin with, changing it is not the answer. This is of course why Beretta fifteen years ago duplicated the ergo stock I brought into the factory so this temptation to adjust it every time I missed was taken away.
Three thousand dollars seems a lot of money, but if you get two quality walnut stocks made it won’t be far short of this price. Not too many competition shooters that have been in the sport for a few years have only had two stocks made so I guess this is the argument about the price.
In saying all of that I am still in favour of the ergonomic design stock for many people as it can be adjusted so much that it can turn almost any shotgun into an “all round” firearm capable of being used from the competition arena all the way down to recreational hunting. Once you know the stock set up required for each discipline of shotgun shooting you are using it for then in no time you have a perfect set up. I admit I do cringe a little when I see these stocks on some of the higher grade shotguns as they certainly look ugly although I do see many of these ergo stocks on the competition circuit painted with national colours and flags, but for my eye they will never replace the beauty of a dark piece of walnut with a lengthy grain running through it.
Sadly, they do not give points at the Olympic Games based on how beautiful your shotgun looks as they only pay how accurately you can point it. For that reason alone the ergo stock is here to stay.