Some people have recently asked me what shotgun they should buy for waterfowl hunting. I always reply, “buy the one that fits best”. I would much rather have a gun that fits properly than a gun that looks pretty or has a fancy feature. I typically do not get hung up on brands or origins of the manufacturer. It is always preferable to have something reliable of course. I feel that most major manufacturers have that piece under control.

The reason I emphasize proper fit above all is simple. If the gun doesn’t fit, your pattern won’t hit! “Drop at comb”, “drop at heel”, and “length of pull” are some terms that describe the way a shotgun measures and fits. An improper fit can result in a bruised cheek as well as ego. Few things are more frustrating than drawing a bead, pulling the trigger 3 times, and then watching a bird fly miles away untouched.

When shopping or fitting a shotgun I recommend this simple process. Check gun to make sure it is completely empty. Hold the gun as if preparing to shoulder. Close your eyes and then raise the gun to your shoulder relatively quick. Open your eyes and take a close look at the site picture. Do you see the entire bead? Do you see rib before the bead? Is the site angled to left or right? If you are not looking directly at the bead, with little or no rib showing, the gun may not be a good fit for you. If you see rib before the bead, your pattern will hit above intended point of aim. If the bead is covered by the rib, your pattern will hit below point of aim. If you see the side of the rib, the stock would need to be adjusted or padded to correct. Length of pull is fairly obvious and easy to fix. If you feel you are reaching too far, you will need a shorter butt pad or maybe even need to trim the stock. You will know the stock is too short if your nose touches your thumb at the strong hand.

Fortunately, many new shotguns are being sold with shim kits so that many of these imperfections in fit can be easily adjusted without the expense of a gunsmith. If your gun did not come with a shim kit or you have an older gun, be sure you hire a gunsmith that has experience with this sort of work.

All in all, a shotgun is like a woman in my opinion. Find one that fits you well and you can spend some quality time with her. Don’t waste your time with one you feel you have to change a lot. Get the right fit from the start when possible.

For more info just contact us. I am happy to answer any questions.