A Case of the Gun Fits
"If the gun doesn't fit you, you're not going to shoot it well."
"There is no alternative to proper gun fit," says Gary Goodpaster, a retired DU regional director and lifelong wingshooter. "If the gun doesn't fit you, you're not going to shoot it well. It's as simple as that. You can overcome poor gun fit to some degree with practice, but you're never going to be as good a shot as you could be.
"If the stock is too high for you, you will continually shoot over targets," Goodpaster continues. "If the stock is too low, you'll consistently shoot under targets. If the stock is too long, you'll mount the gun incorrectly time after time. A good gunsmith can make most adjustments to stocks. Most stock adjustments on field guns entail changing the length of the stock or raising or lowering the comb. Most hunters should be able to find a gunsmith who will make these adjustments at a reasonable cost."
Even with a properly fitted stock, some shooters fail to make the essential cheek-to-stock connection. "If you are missing chronically, then it's a pretty good chance that you're lifting your head," Goodpaster says. "Raising your head is bad news and will almost guarantee a miss.
"There is a tremendous tendency for shooters to raise their head instead of keeping it glued to the stock," he continues. "If you are keeping your head down, the shotgun will shoot where you're looking. If you raise your head, you'll shoot high. The proper way to mount a gun is to bring the gun up to your cheek, but most shooters bring their face down to the gun. It's a common reason for missing. Many hunters are occasionally tempted to raise their head when they are looking at ducks over their gun barrel, but the best way to avoid the problem is to practice at the range."
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