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Stock fitting and being a shooting coach

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by tcouch, Oct 28, 2011.

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  1. tcouch

    tcouch Member

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    I have been shooting trap and skeet on and off for 10 years or so. None of my guns have fit and most of them leave my cheek swollen. Lately I have been on a mission to get my guns to fit, and it’s become a very enjoyable hobby to learn about stock fitting. I would like to learn more about it so I can help others, because I know of frustrating it can be. Are there any stock fitters out there? How did you learn? I have learned a so much try trying different pitch spacers, adjustable combs settings, changing LOP all that fun stuff.

    Another thing I would like to learn is how to teach people to shoot. I enjoy this sport so much and I would like to share that with others. I don’t want to teach or show others without knowing the correct way. Are there classes or seminars available?

    I see so many shooters at the range with horrible form and guns that don’t fit, and I want to help. I don’t want to make things worse by giving them the wrong information.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    Tim
     
  2. gun fitter

    gun fitter TS Member

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    Good Question! Most are self taught after attaining a certain level of proficiency.

    In my case It started when I was about 14. I was Shooting for a few dog trainers over Field Trial English Springer Spaniels. I thought I needed a gunfitting to shoot better so I sought out the best Gunfitter of the time; Rex Gage the Head shooting Master and Gunfiter for Holland & Holland. After my first Fitting-Lesson; I went looking for stockmakers and found that even back then in the 70's a good stockmaker was charging around $2000 for a custom stock with custom dimensions.

    I decided to build a stock myself since my 3200 Remington trap only cost me $549 from Ron Shirks. After I completed the stock carved and checkered it I went back to Rex for a second lesson-fitting session. Rex told me what I was doing correct and also told me what was wrong. At our second meeting John Remuto from Griffin & Howe was present; John was a stockmaker for Griffin & Howe during the fifties and sixties then he was the gunroom manager. John told me where I had the fit to close in the back of the action and that I should relieve some wood to prevent cracking. At the meeting I also found out that Rex wintered in North Eleuthera Bahamas just a water taxi ride from my uncles resort Valentines Yacht Club on Harbor Island. Well for the next 5 years I would build a new stock and see Rex and John each spring in New York and Rex in the Winter in the Bahamas. I owe them for their great help and encouragement.

    As time progressed I ended up building quite a few stocks for friends mostly pigeon shooters or field trial people.

    When Sporting finally made it to the USA I Started Shooting it a bit and went to NSCA's Level 1 and 2 instructors courses. I also shot Olympic Archery when I was in College and had 5 Olympic coaches whom I worked with. I became an NAA level 1 instructor and taught at the World Archery Center each summer for 4 years. I learned more about athletics and coaching from the Archery than any of the shooters or shooting instructors I've worked with with possibly the exception of Dan Carlisle whom I had the pleasure of working with for about 2 years when he was living in Pennsylvania around 2000 or so.

    Then as my reputation grew I ended up being asked by Doc Rively and Harlan Campbell Jr. to go on the road with them and be the gunfitter for the trap shooting clinics. I happened to replace Dennis Devault in their clinic.

    Now on to what it takes to get there. You need some good people who are willing to help you. A lot of money I would figure that my shooting experience has cost me at least $ 100,000 If you were to add all the shells and guns over close to 40 years I wouldn't be supprised if the cost is over $500,000

    If your really interested in doing this right take lessons from as many of the top instructors you can get a few gunfitting sessions as well That's how I learned.

    One parting piece of advice given to me by Rex and John over 35 years ago "Don't make this a carrier you'll never make much money but if you do you'll have a lot of fun."

    Good luck joe
     
  3. Dr.Longshot

    Dr.Longshot Banned Banned

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    Gunfitting is the first thing a person should do or have done. I do it this way. I have the shooter close his eyes mount the gun like they would shooting,

    I have them do this several times, with the gun empty of course, and then I stand in front of the have them open their eyes, I have the Bbl pointed at my eye I look at the position of the PUPIL it should be in the middle of the rib and setting on top of the rib.

    I get this adjustment first, by moving the adjustable comp as necessary.

    I then have them mount the gun again and look where their cheek is on the comb
    it should be about 1 inch from the front of the comb, if it is more the stock needs to be cut or shortened, if too close a spacer or spacers, or thicker recoil pad.

    After this has been accomplished I have them again mount the gun w/eyes closed and I look at the PUPIL placement, pupil should be in center of rib and bottom of pupil shuls de resting on the rib, then ask the shooter how the beads line up

    Have him or her mount the gun several time and you watch and see if the shooter
    is crawling up on the comb or moving and shifting his head,he should not be doing this if the stock and comb are adjusted correectly.

    If you ar doing this alone sight your gun into a mirror on the wall and look where your pupil is.

    My sight picture is middle bead is buried deep into the front sight, some shooters like a figure EIGHT.

    If all is well proceed to the pattern board, use a piece of cardboard minimum 36"x36" with a felt point marker draw a flat broad line in the center of line draw a 1 inch circle, hang the board and walk back 38 Paces approx 38 yards.

    From a rest have shooter mount the gun and put front bead on the CIRCLE on the above the line, in otherwords the rib should be on the line and bead in circle, shoot 3 shells this way at Board. Then walk out and fetch board.

    W/ board lying flat on counter take a tape measure and draw a verticle line through the round circle from top to bottom, now look at the patterns, draw a horiz. line at the top and bottom of pattern, you should have a few BBs above and Below this line,

    The pattern should be in the center of the verticle line, if not Bbl is not straight.

    If it is is the middle measure from the bottom line to the top line.

    Now take half of this measurement and draw a Horizontal line, now from the center of bead to that line is how high in inches your gun is shooting.

    If it looks good to you shoot some targets from the 16yd line, you should be smoking them, if not are the targets breaking down or up, if down you are shooting high on them, but some down breaks are good as long as it is a hard break.

    Gary Bryant
    Dr.longshot
     
  4. Dennis DeVault

    Dennis DeVault Well-Known Member

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    To tcouch,

    I have started to schedule a fitting clinic that will be given in different parts of the country in the coming year. We have one scheduled for DeWitts Game Farm in North Carolina the first week of November and I will be there helping and fitting shooters for a week. If this is something that is interesting to you contact me and I will give you details. You can reach me at the shop 330-456-6070 thank you and I wish you all the best in your new adventure.

    Dennis DeVault
     
  5. MTA Tom

    MTA Tom Active Member

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    Tim, if you're interested in teaching, you should look into becoming an NRA Certified Instructor at

    http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/instructor.asp

    and an ATA Certified Shooting Coach at

    http://shootata.com/content/Youth_Trapshooting_MM.aspx.

    "Gunfitting: The Quest for Perfection for Shotguns and Rifles, 2nd Edition" by Michael Yardley is excellent (as are all of Yardley's books).

    http://www.amazon.com/Gunfitting-Quest-Perfection-Shotguns-Rifles/dp/0811702235/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319816745&sr=1-1#_

    [​IMG]

    Tom Stewart

    NRA Certified Shotgun Instructor

    NRA Certified Range Safety Officer

    ATA Certified Shooting Coach
     
  6. tcouch

    tcouch Member

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    Joe, Gary and Dennis,

    Thank you very much for responding. I'm glad I caught the attention of experienced fitters. Joe, I’m not looking at making this a career, I have spent a lot of time learning computers so I’m going to stick with that, but as a hobby I think I would really enjoy it. I've wanted to learn this for several years and now that I'm having my first child, a boy, I want to learn how to teach the sport even more. I would love to get involved in teaching 4H or a high school team.

    I don’t know if I have the talent to make my own stocks. I cheated and bought a Wenig stock and fitted and finished it myself. It feels so much better than a Remington stock. I just did the same thing for my wife and her scores improved.

    I was looking at Rollin Oswald's book, has anyone read it?

    Are there any fitters in Kansas on the board?

    Dennis, is your clinic coming to the Midwest?

    Tim
     
  7. Dennis DeVault

    Dennis DeVault Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tim,

    Yes I will be in the mid west next year after the weather gets better. For this winter I will be heading South first. This first clinic in North Carolina will let me know if this is going to be something that takes off and shooters are interested in doing. Thank you for the question and I hope to meet you someday.

    Dennis DeVault
     
  8. blade819

    blade819 Well-Known Member

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    I have Rollin Oswalds "original" book for sale if you are interested. Very hard to find. As for your thread, I believe that you got replies from the experts. Good luck.

    blade819
     
  9. ouch

    ouch Member

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    Rollins book is great. It will teach you everything you need to know about stock fitting. Even if you decide to have it done you will understand the process better. And Rollin is good to answer questions. Richard
     
  10. tad houston

    tad houston TS Member

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    I will also recommend Rollin's book. I have read my copy at least 6 times now and probably looked at specific chapters dozens of times.

    One of the first things we work on with our youth shooters is getting whatever gun they shoot to fit them as best we can. And of course with kids, that is a constant process as they seem to grow a bit from time to time.

    Best money I have spent.

    Then add that to lessons, clinics and any other chance you get to work with stock fitters in person and as mentioned, you will have a much better understanding of what they are doing and working toward.
     
  11. Rollin Oswald

    Rollin Oswald Active Member

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    blade819,

    Your comment is the reason that I rewrote the book and had it professionally edited. The current book is the "Second Edition."

    Richard & trapdady,

    Thank you.

    Rollin
     
  12. gun fitter

    gun fitter TS Member

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    Books are great and you can answer many of your questions with them but you will need some real world experience taking lessons and working on your own. Maybe Dennis's stock fitting clinic would be a second step after the books.

    Be open minded take lessons from as many different reputable people as you can.

    Watch everyone when their shooting.

    Remember No one knows everything! Not I, Dennis, Rollin, or the many fine shooting instructors out there.

    I learn something new almost every time I meet a new customer. I learn what works best for them. Gunfitting and Shooting instruction are not exacting sciences there are a few constants and many exceptions to the rules.

    Again good luck it's nice to see that there are some people out there interested in learning how to help other shooters.
    Joe
     
  13. CalamitySJ

    CalamitySJ Member

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    DeVault, you'd BETTER be planning on coming to the midwest next spring--Baby Boy and the dogs are missing you! I've got two coaches who have contacted me about gun fit for specific youth shooters so you know you're needed in MN.
     
  14. Dennis DeVault

    Dennis DeVault Well-Known Member

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    Hello Sally,

    Yes I plan on being in MN this coming spring as long as I am able. If it is fitting that is needed I will do that with a group that you have. Let me know when and how many and I will be there. Have a great day and tell everyone hello.

    Dennis DeVault
     
  15. tcouch

    tcouch Member

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    Thank you to everyone who posted here. I really appreciate everyones input. I purchaed Rollins book and I cant wait to get it.

    I will continue to post questions about fitting and form and my battle with a sore cheek.

    I shot today after installing a pitch spacer. I put the 1/4 inch at the toe and nothing at the heel. I believe that It made a difference. I'm going to try a 1/2 next week to see how that feels. The gun mount felt much better, i'm not sure why, but I just seemed to come up to my shoulder easier. This was on my 1100.

    On my 870, which would normally leave my cheek swollen, I tried the same spacer. I did notice a large imporvement, normally after a round my face hurts. I could still feel it, but nothing like before. I am also going to try a 1/2 inch spacer next week.

    Have a good weekend,

    Tim
     
  16. EuroJoe

    EuroJoe TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    what you did with the spacer on the toe is reduce or eliminate down pitch. A gun set up that way comes up very nicely for driven birds, or duck and goose hunting, where the birds are mostly incoming. Don't do it on a trap gun unless you are skinny, because the gun is pre-mounterd, and you want the whole pad to fit your chest evenly for comfort.
     
  17. miketmx

    miketmx Well-Known Member

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    OK I have been shooting Trap since 1961 and I am quite familiar with the traditional dimensions of stock fitting the kind of things that you could read about in Bob Brister's book "Shotgunning the Art and Science" or in Rollin's first thesis which I have. What I still don't understand are a couple of new things mainly 1) How do you get the head up gun mount ?? I think too much drop at the heel would make the comb kick up into your cheek because the axis of the bore is too high ?? 2) What does a lot of "Offset" do for someone with average body build ?? I have a field gun with 'offset' and when I put it up it does not fit right and I have to fiddle around with my mount because the beads do not line up ?? 3) "Twisted Sister" I don't understand this concept at all - I have a pad adjuster that I can rotate to fit my shoulder pocket without canting the gun ?? Help Me out here !
     
  18. Rollin Oswald

    Rollin Oswald Active Member

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    Mike,

    An upright shooting posture can sometimes be achieved with a gun mount that has the top of the recoil pad extending about an inch above the collarbone. If that doesn't allow an upright posture, the recoil pad will need to be lowered, (increasing the drop at the heel dimension), often using a pad adjuster.

    You are correct when you wrote that lowering the recoil pad using a pad adjuster can cause enough additional barrel rise to cause cheek slap. Lowering it that much is usually not necessary, however. Lowering it an inch is usually enough but if it isn't, try another half-inch and be on the lookout for cheek pain. You may need to compromise.

    The above assumes that the stock's pitch is correct for you. If the toe of the pad protrudes too far, the gun will pivot upward on the toe of the pad during recoil instead of pivoting on the top of the pad. When the gun pivots on the toe of the pad or butt plate, barrel rise increases and can cause cheek slap.

    Rollin
     
  19. miketmx

    miketmx Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Rollin, I have reached that compromise amount of heel drop at 1 inch lower with the pad adjuster and any more than that seems to cause muzzle jump. I think my 2 trap guns fit me quite well with fairly conventional stocks. The guys that I know with a lot of "offset" and a "twisted sister" type of stock are heavy set shooters and their guns don't fit me and my guns don't fit them. Is this what "twisted sister" is all about ?? I suppose that if I bought a new trap gun with a real high rib and a serious drop at the heel of the stock, I could get that head up gun mount but I fear that it would be easier to crossfire with such a gun and it is a lot cheaper to stay with my 30 year old guns.
     
  20. gun fitter

    gun fitter TS Member

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    Toe out varies but the bigger shooters particularly those with some muscular development seem to benefit by it.

    Casting the rear of the stock away may help a few but it is my contention that the pad is best located along the center line of the stock bolt and rotated to fit the shoulder pocket.

    Pitch will either help or hurt the point-ability of the stock and muzzle flip.

    The heavier shooters or more upright shooters as a rule benifit from more down pitch than many previously thought.

    Joe
     
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