How do you determine the proper fit of your shotgun stock?
There are three specific measurements important in any shotgun stock. The measurements are "drop at comb," "drop at heel," and "length of pull."
Since exhaustive research and experimentation have shown that these three measurements can greatly affect shotgun shooting success, Browning takes special care to meet the most desirable measurements in each stock produced.
Length of Pull is the distance from the middle of the butt (recoil pad) to the trigger. A stock that is too long may catch under the arm pit, or drag on the lower shoulder. It will feel uncomfortable and awkward, and can markedly delay the fast execution of a shot. On the other hand, a stock that is too short may deliver more recoil to the shoulder and cheek.
Since most shotguns have no rear sights as do rifles, the shotgunner sights along a plane from breech to barrel muzzle to target. In effect, the shooter's eye is the rear sight. Thus the amount of drop at the comb is extremely important in its effect on good or poor shooting. Should the comb be too low, the shooter's eye will be too low when the gun is properly cheeked, and the gun will throw the charge below the mark. If the comb stands too high, the impact of the charge will consistently be above the target. In addition, the shooter must place his cheek against the comb of the stock at the same spot and in the same manner on each successive shot. Otherwise, the shooter will be erratic, sometimes shooting under his target and sometimes over.
The drop at heel measurement is just as important to good hunting as is drop at the comb. It contributes a great deal to proper gun alignment and, if excessive, will cause the recoil to be more noticeable. A 1 5/8 inch drop at the comb, a 2 1/2 inch drop at the heel will prove correct for at least 95% of the shooters.
For trap and skeet guns, a straighter stock is provided which means less drop at both the comb and heel. This is because the target is small and generally taken while rising. With a straighter stock there is less risk of shooting under the bird -- even though the shooter holds dead on without blotting out the bird with the muzzle as the shot is fired.
The shooter of average physical characteristics should use a stock of standard dimensions. The drop at both comb and heel will generally fit well. Any minor adjustments in the length of the stock should come after some shooting has been done.