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What "a gun that fits" really means

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Rollin Oswald, Oct 6, 2007.

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  1. Rollin Oswald

    Rollin Oswald Active Member

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    What

    The importance of a stock or gun 'that fits' is fairly well known in the trap shooting community. However, I can't help wonder if its meaning is understood.

    A well fitting gun assumes that the gun allows the shooter to use what is understood as the "correct" trap shooting form (stance, gun mount, body posture) assuming the shooter is physically capable of using the form.

    A "gun that fits" allows the shooter to do the following:

    Stand with the body rotated approximately 23 degrees toward the side of the gun mount

    Have the entire recoil pad, top to bottom, make simultaneous contact with the shoulder as the gun is being mounted

    Mount the gun in the shoulder pocket with the heel even with the top of the shoulder

    With the cheek on the comb, have the head turned very little toward the stock and tilted or leaned forward, even less

    Positions the eye, following the mount, to align horizontally with the rib and at a height above the rib that results in the point of impact (POI) chosen by the shooter resulting in the distance of the POI above the point of aim (POA) to eliminate the need to cover trap's rising targets to provide forward lead.

    Have a nose (or glasses) to trigger-hand-thumb separation of just over an inch

    Have his or her weight evenly distributed on the balls of both feet or with slightly more weight on the forward foot when using a slight forward lean at the waist

    When the shooter can mount his or her gun as described above, the gun "fits" the shooter. The shooting form described above is the form that is nearly universally taught in the U.S. There is no significant variation taught by trainers or instructors here in the U.S.

    Rollin
     
  2. hubcap

    hubcap TS Member

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    Rollin - Thank you for the description. That makes more sense than anything I have ever read or heard.

    Hubcap
     
  3. eric

    eric TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    What

    To those who haven't purchased his book - do so! Its a wealth of information and will put many things into perspective (but you will have to read it more than once).

    Eric
     
  4. Big Az Al

    Big Az Al Well-Known Member

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    What

    I bought an old copy of a Winchester Press book, written by Missildine.

    I read the same thing in it.

    AL
     
  5. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    Means very little unless it hits where you are looking. HMB
     
  6. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    I must say, Rollin, hmb has made an important point. Gunfit surely not only includes

    1. putting the aiming eye vertically where it belongs relative to the front bead and

    2. putting the aiming eye horizontally in such a place that it is a straight line from the eye, directly and straight down the rib, ending at the front bead.

    Gunfit _starts_ there and until those two requirements are met, need go no farther.

    Neil
     
  7. Rollin Oswald

    Rollin Oswald Active Member

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    What

    Hmb & Neil:

    You bring up valid points. I chose to avoid saying where the eye should be relative to the rib because the height of the eye that relates to the gun's vertical POI is a choice made by the shooter. I should have mentioned the horizontal eye and rib alignment, though.

    I don't like the phrase, "shoot where you look". The majority of trap shooters don't want their guns to shoot where they look (the point of aim.) Rather, they want their guns to shoot above the POA, i.e. above where they look.

    I will edit what I wrote and add something about eye position relative to the rib.

    Rollin
     
  8. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    I've never liked "shoots where you look" either, Rollin. "Shoots where you point it" sounds stupid but is more like what's actually needed, especially since so many, many shooters are driven from the sport by guns which, unknown to them, don't.

    Your amplification brings up another big problem. All the people who shift the comb horizontally to center the shot cloud. Do you think they then are not looking straight down the gun? I seems impossible to me that anyone would put up that but who knows.

    Neil
     
  9. J. Ashley

    J. Ashley TS Member

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    "Your amplification brings up another big problem. All the people who shift the comb horizontally to center the shot cloud. Do you think they then are not looking straight down the gun? I seems impossible to me that anyone would put up that but who knows."

    You really lost me here Neil. Moving the comb over horizontally (as a substitute for stock cast) is the thing that lets you align your eye with the rib without having to lean your head over or cant the gun.
     
  10. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    J., that's the way it should work, I agree. But many times I've read here about shooters who either pattern or worse yet shoot and shift the comb depending on the result. Say the pattern board shows it to shoot to the left. The write that they move the comb and get it shooting straight.

    I then wonder:

    1. If they were looking kittywampus down the gun when they went to the pattern board, why didn't they notice that before or

    2. If they were straight and shifted the comb, are they OK now with looking not-straight down the gun?

    Neil
     
  11. J. Ashley

    J. Ashley TS Member

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    Neil, I think it all depends on whether the shooter has a proper gun mount to begin with. The correct way is to bring the gun to your cheek (not your shoulder) and keep your head mostly erect. If you do that, then even if the gun doesn't have a mid-bead it's pretty obvious you're not looking straight down the barrel and it will also be obvious on the pattern board.

    If you have a good mount, and go to a fitter with an AC try gun, then they'll do exactly what you describe--have you shoot the board and make adjustments until the pattern is centered (without having you try to "aim" by lining up the beads or looking down the barrel).
     
  12. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    J., I don't know about that bring the gun to your cheek stuff. It's near a foot, vertically, between my eye and my shoulder and I've never seen a gun (Kuhner excepted) with that much drop. In fact, I've found anything with even two inches of drop unshootable from a recoil standpoint. Oh I know, I've read that everywhere, but when I watch people shoot, they push their heads right down, both novices and All Americans. In other words, if you are going to require a "good mount" by your specifications, you won't get one, or hardly ever.

    So the fitter uses a try gun - and still has to test pattern placement. Let's go back to what I asked Rollin. The fitter sets up the gun so I am looking straight down the gun before we start. Now we go to the pattern plate. (I'll specify that the gun shoots mechanically straight.) There are two possible outcomes.

    1. The pattern is in the center right where I wanted it. We can duplicate that in real wood, and if the gun we put it on shoots straight too, we are very close to right.

    2. The gun shoots "off" laterally. That's the heart of my question. What now?

    Neil
     
  13. JerryP

    JerryP Active Member

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    What now? The gun does not mechanically shoot straight. Fix it or most likely pass it on. Neil has repeatedly warned us about testing used guns before buying. Moving the comb horz. is only to accomodate the shape of the face to see straight down the rib.
     
  14. J. Ashley

    J. Ashley TS Member

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    Neil, first notice I said "mostly" erect. I have a long neck and like a relatively short LOP so I understand when you talk about increased recoil/face-slap. Porting can be really helpful here.

    As for mount/fitting, the fitter initially makes ballpark adjustments by standing in front and seeing if you're looking "straight" down the rib. Then you go to the plate and there may be several rounds of fine-tuning (the "what now").

    I highly recommend a video called "Mastering the Double Gun" with Bruce Scott and Chris Batha, a master fitter based in England. There's a segment on gun mount and fitting that shows the whole process. Batha says that he actually spends more time teaching a correct gun mount during a fitting session than doing the actual fitting itself, since proper gun mount is so critical to getting a good fit.
     
  15. Hipshot 3

    Hipshot 3 TS Member

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    As usual.....solid advice you can take to the bank from Rollin. If I didn't already know all there is to know about Trapshooting, I would buy his book. Seriously..... buying it is a GOOD move for anyone aspiring to shoot trap well.
     
  16. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    I must in part disagree with Neil about "bring the gun up" to your face rather than your face down to the gun. Certainly, after the gun is up to your face it is necessary to push down a little with the cheek but this downward movement should be minimal. Unlike Neil, most of the All Americans I have watch have very little downward movement of their head after they mount their gun. This is because they have a rather short neck and slightly rounded faces. The distance between their shoulder and their eye is much less than found in most of us. Yesterday, I spent some more time with my coach. His name is frequently mentioned with something other than great respect but there is little doubt during his time on the All American Team he was one of the best singles shooters around. His gun mount involved moving his head into position and then brining the gun up to his cheek with nearly no head movement. I could not duplicate his style.

    Consistent gun mount is another problem for many. The gun mount determines the position of the eye and that is the rear sight. If we change the position of the rear sight from shot to shot, we will have problems.

    My personal problem is that when I mount my gun just a little off, I think I can still break the bird and I do not want to change the rhythm of the squad. I am dumb.

    Pat Ireland
     
  17. Rollin Oswald

    Rollin Oswald Active Member

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    An earlier reply to Neil did not get posted.

    Neil wrote: "Your amplification brings up another big problem. All the people who shift the comb horizontally to center the shot cloud. Do you think they then are not looking straight down the gun? I seems impossible to me that anyone would put up that but who knows."

    Horizontally adjusting the comb can be the only alternative when cast at the comb is needed and is not available independently. Moving the comb itself will sometimes do the job. Ideally, the cast at the comb and heel should have independent considerations but that often means a custom stock.

    You are probably right when you say that prior to adjusting the comb, shooters were not looking down the center of the rib, either initially following their gun mount or at the end of their swings.

    JerryP: And how right Neil was.

    As was pointed out, there are a number of ways to mount a gun. Raise it and pull it back to the shoulder pocket, either sliding the comb along the cheek or with a forward nod of the head after the butt has made contact with the shoulder, put the toe of the stock to a point on the chest and pivot the gun upward into position and placing the heel of the stock onto a point on the shoulder and pivoting it downward, to name a few.

    Hipshot3: Thank you. If you order a book, I will be sure to choose one that was written just after my crayon was sharpened.

    Equally important as a good, consistent mount in my opinion, is the position of the head. That is often the key to its remaining stationary during swings to targets. This in turn, is responsible for the gun's shooting where expected or... putting the pattern in the preferred place relative to the gun's point of aim.

    Neil: When the gun shoots off, laterally, the cause must be determined. Was the cheek and therefore the eye moved unknowingly? Is there a flinch involving the forward or trigger hand? Is there a rotational body flinch? Is there a problem related to the barrel or choke?

    Any of these would be difficult to isolate and identify but if the pattern were much more than an inch or two off, it would be worth video taping or whatever else to find out.

    To expand on head position, it affects several things. Thrust it too far forward and it is likely to move during swings and change the eye's position relative to the rib and the POI right along with it. Pull it back and the same will be true.

    With too little drop at the heel for the length of the neck and the head must be put into a very unnatural posture to place the cheek on the comb. (Multiply the problems created by 4 if the gun mount is too low)

    As a result, head movement during swings is much more likely because the concentration is on the target. The subs conscious mind is able to "correct" things independently of the conscious mind's dealing with the moving target.

    The same thing is true when it comes to flinches. It is Freud's good 'ol id, that part of the mind that deals with impulses and pleasure, that is involved. That is why most instructors recommend dressing comfortably, shoes included to improve concentration on targets and relieve the mind from making changes in posture to increase comfort when the conscious mind's concentration is elsewhere, on targets.

    The eyes are strained by having to look "up" to look along the rib. The eyes are not looking though the optical center of prescription lenses, which can lead to visual distortion.

    Regardless of the type of mount used, consistent mounting and placement of the eye relative to the rib is very important.

    Rollin
     
  18. J. Ashley

    J. Ashley TS Member

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    Are there any professional gunfitters on this site that would care to comment? If someone mounts a gun low to their shoulder and drops their head quite a bit, cants the gun, etc., will you just go ahead and try to fit them, or will you stop and try to teach a proper mount?
     
  19. Rollin Oswald

    Rollin Oswald Active Member

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    J. Ashley:

    Geat question! Yours is one of the things that seperate a so-so fitter from a excellent one.

    In addition to a low gun mount, there are other form flaws that a custome may suffer for reasons other than ill fitting stock dimensions. These should be discussed before stock dimensional changes are made.

    Rollin
     
  20. Satch

    Satch TS Member

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    J. Ashley, I'm not a pro gunfitter but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night and...

    Seriously though, I haven't seen the Mastering the Double Gun video, but I do have Batha's Breaking Clays book and he says the same thing there. He won't even try to fit someone until their gun mount is "correct" which to him means bring the gun up to the cheek with as little head movement as possible, while shifting weight forward. I think Rollin and the others here have pretty much nailed the two main reasons for doing it that way--not compromising your vision (especially if you wear prescription glasses) and being able to consistently hold cheek to stock thoughout movement to the target.
     
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