The Perfect Gun Fit
3rd January 2020 by Schöffel Country
The Perfect Gun Fit
We speak to Mark Heath, Instructor Manager at West London Shooting School about gun fit and why it plays such an integral part of making you a successful shot.
Mark has a wealth of experience in both game and clay shooting and was a member of the GB Police Team over many years. Mark has worked as an Instructor Manager at the West London Shooting School since 2011. Mark’s calm professionalism and leadership skills continue to help drive the success of the school. Mark is part of the team that works to help find customers find the best-fitting gun for them, to enable them to shoot comfortably and effectively.
- Should everyone have their gun fitted?
People can shoot well with an off the shelf gun provided that they’re a suitable height and size for the gun they’ve bought. Everyone can benefit from some fine tuning to their gun.
- Why is it important?
Shotgun shooting is a hand eye coordination sport, having your gun fitted is important for comfort, and if the guns not shooting where you’re looking it’s not going to work, frustration will set in.
- Will the type of shooting I do have any bearing on the fitting? (i.e. walked-up versus driven, grouse versus pheasants)
Not necessarily, your gun just needs to fit and be comfortable. If you’re a clay shooter you may have different drop measurements for different disciplines.
- How much of a difference can having your gun fitted make?
If the gun does not fit you’re not going to enjoy shooting it, and if you’re not shooting where you’re looking, then you’re not going to be successful, and it becomes a game of skill and chance combined.
- What does a gun-fitting actually entail? (i.e. how does it work?)
A gun fitting tends to take one hour. The process includes setting up a try gun and then a combination of using a pattern plate on a variety of clay targets to ensure that the gun is shooting where you’re looking and it feels comfortable so that the pattern is having maximum impact on the target. If you are an inexperienced shooter or struggle with a consistent gun mount, we would suggest a lesson before the fitting to make sure that your gun mount is consistent.
- Is it expensive?
A gun fitting costs the price of a single lesson, plus the clays and cartridges.
- And once you have established someone’s ideal stock measurements and dimensions, what happens next?
If you have an off-the-shelf gun, we will send it to a stocker to be adjusted. Obviously if it’s a bespoke gun being made, then West London Shooting School will send the relevant measurements to the manufacturer.
- How long does it take to have a stock altered?
Depends on how busy the stockers is, somewhere between 2 - 6 weeks depending on how much needs to be done.
- And how do they do it?
There is a whole range of ways to shorten and lengthen the stock using a variety of skills such as refitting a pad, lengthening with matching wood, using ebonite, finished in either a pad or chequered butt plate etc.
Alterations to drop and cast, can be done by heating the wood at the neck of the stock, bending it and then setting it in a jig.
- Is having your gun fitted a once-off thing? Or is it something that you should have done intermittently? And if so, how regularly?
If you change your weight or build then you should probably have your gun re-fitted. If you’re losing form, don’t assume it’s the gun fit, it may be the operator - if in doubt see an instructor and have you your faults looked at by a professional.
Many people change their gun instead of having it fitted, thinking that the new gun will be a wonder stick that will ensure they shoot amazingly. There is no substitute for a gun that fits and sound knowledge together with regular practise.
For further information about West London Shooting School, please visit www.shootingschool.co.uk or call 020 8845 1377.
Image credit to George Gunn