Gun fit - how is it done and why is it important?
- Credit: Archant
Why is gun fit important? Will gun fit make me shoot better? How often do I need my gun fitted? West London’s Mark Heath answers all these and more
Gun fit... What’s it all about!? Instructor Manager at West London Shooting School, Mark Heath, explains why good gun fit is an integral part of ensuring you are performing at your best: “A good gun fit incorporates the correct relationship between eye and muzzle; consideration of eyesight and build along with consistently correct gun mounting – combining all of these aspects mean that the gun will work for you and not against you.
“Gun-fitting is as much an art as a science. It requires the astute and acute observation by the gun fitter and also requires the guaranteed availability of a suitable try-gun, of which West London Shooting School has an unrivalled selection to suit every requirement, size and shape.
“Once correctly fitted, a gun will last for years although occasional checking with regard to changes in eyesight or build is recommended. West London Shooting School are proud to provide a bespoke gun fitting service for fine London names such as James Purdey, Boss & Co, William Evans and William & Son amongst several others at home and abroad.”
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 however, everyone can benefit from some fine tuning to their gun.
Why is it important?
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Shotgun shooting is a hand eye coordination sport; having your gun fitted is important for comfort, but also, if the gun’s not shooting where you’re looking it’s not going to work and frustration will set in. A well-fitting gun means the gun will shoot where you look!
Will the type of shooting I do have any bearing on the fitting?
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 difference does 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 entail?
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 and a variety of clay targets to ensure that the gun is shooting where you’re looking and 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.
Once you have established the ideal stock 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.
How do they alter a stock?
There are 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.
How often should you have your gun fitted? Is it a one-off thing?
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 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 futher information, visit West London Shooting School’s website