Custom gun fitting at Ian Coley

Gun fitting at Ian Coley

Fit is checked by the specially trained Ian Coley fitting team - Credit: Drennan Kenderdine

Drennan Kenderdine is lucky enough to sample the custom Krieghoff fitting service at Ian Coley, which also offers general gun fitting services

Custom gun fitting at Ian Coley

A match made in heaven... or rather, the Ian Coley gun room! - Credit: Drennan Kenderdine

There are three main things in my opinion that make a gun feel like a part of you, and that allow you to perform to the best of your, and its, ability. These are: 

1) The pilot (you) driving the gun. It’s pretty obvious, but some people forget it is them operating the gun, and that blowing thousands of pounds on a gun doesn’t mean it will take over and make all the decisions for you via some form of advanced AI!  
2) The design, make and quality of the gun. A bored-out knitting needle doesn’t cut the mustard. As the saying goes, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. That doesn’t mean you have to blow the debt of Liberia on a shotgun, though. Just that quality and design do make a difference. 
3) The fit of the gun. You wouldn’t try and wear size 6 boots on size 9 feet! Having a well-fitting gun isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, just like wearing shoes that match your foot size.  

Yes, there’s more to it than the three points I have chosen above, but these three represent the main elements that help shooter and gun achieve a harmonious marriage, and avoid the possibility of divorce... AKA, selling your gun. 

Only you know your desires, wishes, and levels of dedication and drive. There are many layers of mental and physical skill that go into making you the shooter you are, whether you’re a beginner or someone representing their country. I’m going to leave this point here for now, but I will be writing later in the year about the mindset and abilities of shooters. For now, I want to concentrate on the gun, and on the fitting of the gun in particular. 

Custom gun fitting at Ian Coley

Every stock dimensions and length can be altered to achieve the perfect, bespoke fit - Credit: Drennan Kenderdine

The extra edge 
There’s a reason why certain manufacturers’ guns often feature on the podiums of international competition; it’s because they are well put together guns! Makers such as Beretta, Caesar Guerini, Perazzi, and Browning all fall into this class, and Krieghoff is no exception with its Parcours range. I got to test drive the Parcours X last year, supplied by Ian Coley, which featured in the November 2021 issue of Clay Shooter magazine. It was a marriage that ended in divorce... but only because I had to give it back! 

So, why was it such a harmonious, if fleeting, marriage? The answer is simple. Firstly, it was very well made and put together, which ticks one of the three boxes, and secondly, it was fitted to me. Ticking the third box (pilot/shooter) was done before we started. So, with that gun I had achieved the Holy Trinity! 

Custom gun fitting at Ian Coley

Tiny adjustments are made until the stock fits you like a glove - Credit: Drennan Kenderdine

Choices, choices and more choices! 
All this sounds simple, and it was, but not without a team behind me to help achieve this. Ian Coley is the only shooting ground and gunshop in the UK to offer a custom fitting service for Krieghoff, boasting a “Try Gun” for the 12g K80 range to the 20g K20 range. They have the only Try Gun in the UK fitted to a Krieghoff action. All credit due here to Colin Wiseman Gunmakers and gunsmiths for achieving such an outstanding piece of engineering and craftsmanship. The Try Gun allows the following necessary features to be altered; stock dimensions, comb height, rib height, trigger pull distance, cast on or off, and the various lengths that can be altered – from butt to trigger, and palm swell to trigger. 

You can have a Krieghoff fitting at Ian Coleys whether the gun is new or secondhand, from the clay range or the game range. Fitting costs £180, and it takes roughly two hours. This is refundable if a new Krieghoff is purchased afterwards.  

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Stocks are available in both left- and right-handed configurations, with a range of stock styles from Monte-Carlo to Trap to Standard. Grades of wood vary from 0-4. These are the grades of wood found already fitted on Krieghoffs. Custom stocks which are of higher-grade woods to start with range from grade 1 to grade 3. You can go to the Krieghoff website and choose your barrel length, the engraving on your action and the kind of stock you would like.

For me, this is like being a kid in a sweet shop, and my advice (due to the number of options available to customise your new or secondhand Krieghoff) is to go and see the team at Coleys. They have such vast knowledge in this area and also a vast array of guns on display, and this is also where you get to discuss your budget and assess the different wood grades in “real life”. This, in my opinion, is the best way forward! 

Custom gun fitting at Ian Coley

Once adjustments have been made to the try gun, it is patterned on the pattern plate - Credit: Drennan Kenderdine

The fitting process 
You can choose to have a stock altered that is already fitted to a Krieghoff or have a bespoke one-of-a-kind stock made for you. A lot goes into taking the measurements of both new bespoke stocks and existing ones. You will undoubtedly learn quickly that having a gun fitted is an in-depth process, and why those shooters at the top of the tree have custom stocks made for them, or a ready assembled gun fitted to them. Once the Try Gun has been adjusted, you will try it out to assess the initial fit. The gun is mounted into the shoulder and inspected to note any adjustments necessary, and the gun fitter will look directly down the barrels (empty, of course) to check the cast. The gun is then tried out on the pattern plate once the adjustments appear to suit you.  

Results from the pattern plate will give the stock fitter guidance on making further adjustments (if necessary) and you will then move on to shooting a few stands on Coley’s brilliant Sporting course. Adjustments are gradually made depending on the results... it takes time! I will wager £20 that this would be an experience like no other if you’ve never had a gun properly fitted to you. You’ll be amazed and want that custom-fit stock made, NOW! 

All the adjustments are recorded as measurements, which are then given to the gunsmith to create a new made-to-measure gun or, if you are buying a secondhand or off-the-shelf gun, to alter the cast, stock length, trigger, comb or rib to suit.  

A custom-fit stock takes around 6-8 weeks to make. This is achieved from receipt of the measurements from the gun fitting session. The chequered (for grip) and lacquered (for protection) stock is then sent back to Ian Coleys, final finishes are made to the wood (would you like a satin finish or a lacquered finish?), the gun is assembled, and the customer is invited along to a final 
appointment to check all is well, with help from one of the gun fitting and instructor specialists. Coley’s team will spend as much time as necessary to help you achieve the perfect marriage between you and your Krieghoff. 

CONTACT
iancoley.co.uk to enquire
Ian Coley also offers a general gun fitting service with over-and-under, side-by-side and Trap Try Guns available