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Article 9 – 2021 (October)

Australian Shooter Magazine

Question and Answers

Article 9 – 2021 (October)

Question: I am very confused about how long the stock of my shotgun should be. I have watched a few videos and checked on the internet, but there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer. I am of a reasonably normal built guy and my height is one hundred and eighty centimetres. Any help would be appreciated.

Perry Rose, Mornington VIC

Answer: The reason there is no definitive answer is simple. There is no definitive answer. The required length of your stock has many variables. Your height and arm length are certainly one of them, but this just one of many issues you need to factor into the equation.

The length of pull is measured from the middle of the trigger to the back of the recoil pad in three different positions. At the top of the pad the length of pull is called length at the heel, the centre of the pad is called length at the mid and the bottom of the pad is called length at the toe. The difference between length at the heel and toe will form the pitch of the shotgun.

You mention your height is one hundred and eighty centimetres and this height is probably considered very normal amongst the world’s firearm manufacturers and their stocks are made accordingly. As a general rule , and it’s very general, but a standard stock “out of the box” will roughly cater for someone of your height and the length measurements are likely to be around 375mm at the heel, 372mm at the mid and 380mm at the toe. This forms a good starting point, but there is much more.

What you are going to use the shotgun for will be by far the most determining factor. If you are shooting Trap for instance, or any discipline that has the shotgun pre-mounted to your shoulder when you are calling for the target to be released, then you can generally have a longer length of stock because you have the advantage of not having to rush your gun mount. This can make you more precise in your mount and sometimes a longer stock can aid this. If you are solely using your shotgun for field shooting where the firearm will have to be quickly pre-mounted from a starting position where the stock may be down around your hip bone, then a much shorter length of stock will greatly aid this.

Another very general rule you should try to follow is regardless of what you are using your shotgun for, when the shotgun is mounted onto your face at the position you will ultimately pull the trigger at, your nose should be about 25mm back behind your thumb that is holding the firearm at its pistol grip. Again, I stress these are general rules of thumb, but are good starting points.

Sadly, there just are no standard sizing charts for shotgun stock lengths as the way everybody mounts their shotgun, the length of your arms and of course the guns intended use are so widely varied. I always ask a new shooter that needs a custom-made stock built to get its length of pull measured with an 18mm recoil pad fitted, therefore giving some flexibility to try a 13mm pad or a 23mm pad as their technique evolves over time. The shorter pads always come in handy during the winter months where you tend to apply a few more layer of clothes to stay warm which will in effect make the shotgun feel longer.

A separate topic altogether is the measurement of the shotguns grip which has nothing at all to do with the length of pull. The grip will determine where your hand and more importantly your trigger finger positions itself. For shooters that have very large or small hands then purchasing a shotgun that has an adjustable trigger can be very beneficial to help aid the perfect gun fit. There are a multitude of custom shotgun grips being offered on the market now, but to enter into that discussion now will open a whole new can of worms, but again as a general rule the grip is measured from the middle of the grips palm swell to the middle of the trigger. For a typical male with average size hands this measurement is usually around 100mm, but remember what they say about guys that have large hands. They need bigger stocks.

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