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PRO TIPS with USAMU - SGT Bill Keever

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Bill Keever - Shotgun Fit

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Gun fit is the most critical aspect in all of shooting. Not only is it important to the world class athlete, it should also be understood by the avid outdoorsmen and shooting enthusiast. 

On today’s pro tip I’m going to show you how to fit your shotgun without the help of a trained professional. The two major factors when talking about gun fit are pitch, which will keep you from getting beat up; and point of impact, which will put you on target.

 

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When we’re talking about pitch we’re referring to the angle at which the stock has been cut. You can check your pitch at home or at your local gun club, providing competent framers have been used, by simply placing the butt of the stock on the ground close to a wall. If your barrels are parallel to wall, then you have either a zero pitch, or what we refer to as a neutral stock.

If your barrels are leaning away from the wall, you have some degree of down pitch or if your barrels are pointing in toward the wall you have some degree of up pitch. 

 

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Now to change the pitch of your shotgun I’m going to recommend we use quarters. I like to use quarters for several reasons, they won’t collapse under pressure, they’re readily available, and if you need a soda when you’re finished you always have change. 

You’re going to need a screwdriver at this point to loosen your butt pad, but then I want you to place the quarters either at the heel or the toe to make sure you achieve a zero pitch. Place that gun back against the wall and make sure it’s parallel. Then let’s take it out to the range and shoot it. You may want to bring a friend along to watch muzzle jump. Now that wasn’t too bad, but let’s see if we can do a little bit better. Lets continue adding one quarter at a time until we get up to four quarters, documenting your muzzle jump each time, and the reason that we’re doing that is because when we get it right we want the muzzle to come straight back and it shouldn’t recoil up in our face. That’s what causes us to get hit here. 

 

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Now that we’ve set the pitch on your shotgun so that you won’t get beat up, lets talk about point of impact so we can hit what we’re aiming at. To do that you’re going to need a few items. First you’re going to need a pattern board. This is the pattern board I’m going to be shooting at today. As you can see, you don’t need anything elaborate. It can be as simple as a piece of cardboard and a hay bale. Also you’re going to need some mole skin. We’re going to place this mole skin on top of the comb to raise that point of impact.

 

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I’ve paced off 30 yards, now let’s take aim at that cardboard and see what we have. As you can see here this gun shoots very flat, or what we call a 50-50 pattern. Meaning 50% of your pattern is above the target, and 50% of your pattern is below the target. 

 

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When I’m setting up a gun I like to have people set it up 60-40. Meaning 60% of the pattern is above the target, and 40% of the pattern is below the target. To raise the point of impact we’re simply going to place this mole skin directly on the comb. Make sure you put it in the same place where your cheek comes in contact with the stock, which is going to raise that point of impact. 

Typically as you aim and place one bead behind the other, you’ll achieve a pattern of roughly 50-50. As you raise your cheek on the comb your point of impact is raised as well. 

Now that we’ve raised our eye by placing the mole skin on the comb you can see that the beads are stacked one on top of the other. This should give us that 60-40 pattern that we’re looking for. Let’s go out and put a fresh pattern board up, and shoot it one more time. 

 

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As you can see I’ve achieved that pattern of 60% high and 40% low just like we were looking for with one piece of mole skin. Now if your pattern is still to low, don’t be afraid of adding more mole skin and, likewise, if your pattern is to high don’t be afraid to use a sander and take a little wood off also. Just make sure you do that in very small increments and do it from the front of the comb to the back of the comb. 

Now you can see that this is a very tedious process but I promise it’ll be worth every minute you put in on the range. Until next time stay Army Strong!   

 

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