Hunting and shooting shotguns: taking measurements to the butt
In this article we will discuss some aspects about the cylinder head, an important part of our shotgun that causes real headaches to many hunters and shooters, who try to get the right stock for their measurements.
Once the shooting teacher has taken good note of the hunter's way of pulling, it will be time to use a shooting stock with adjustable stock to get the exact measurements that best suit the hunter.
The part of the hunting and shooting shotgun to which most hunters pay the most attention is the butt, since we are always used to blaming it for our failures and successes in the shot.
While acknowledging the exaggeration, we must admit that the butt has its importance, but it is not advisable to give it all the prominence. For me success in the haul is conditioned by a set of factors, among which I highlight the mental control when making our shots in the day of hunting in the shooting range.
The 'ideal' measures of a cylinder head
We could say that the ideal cylinder head for us will be the one that provides us with two different technical points: first, that it is perfectly fitted into our cheekbone and shoulder, forming a compact block with our body, while being able to place our eye always in the same place with respect to the soloist of our shotgun. And second, that the cylinder head has some measures and design that facilitates us to perform the movement of face with ease and comfort.
The dimensions of the stock of our hunting shotgun are equivalent to the regulation we make on the sight of our hunting rifle: while placing our cheekbone on the stock to fix our eye in the correct position on the shotgun, will be equivalent to how we perform the placement of the sight on the rifle , by means of good mounts. We must be very clear that we should never adapt to the cylinder head by varying the way of performing the face, but adapt the cylinder head to our measures after performing a correct face.
Take action according to how we throw
Before we start to worry about what measures we are going to give to our future butt, the first thing is to observe how our way of throwing is, for which we will have the collaboration of a shooting professional who analyzes everything we do when performing our shooting swing.
This is because some frequent failures, such as leaving us low shots, can be solved to some extent by applying to the cylinder head some measures that, although not ideal for our physical constitution, can solve some of these failures.
Once the shooting teacher has taken good note of your shooting, it will be time to use a shooting stock with adjustable stock. With it the teacher will vary the measurements of this until getting the exact measurements and that best suit the shooter.
This work must be slow and thorough, since with an adjustable cylinder head we can move forward and backward in the measures as much as we want, but when we move them to a fixed cylinder head some of the measures will be almost impossible to rectify.
Two methods for how we left the shotgun
One method to know how we have a shotgun is to have the collaboration of a gunsmith shooting teacher, who will be placed in front of us when we have the shotgun facing. From this position you will be able to appreciate how our eye is with respect to the solo of the shotgun.
Then, placing yourself on one side, you will check if the length of the cylinder head is ideal, something that you must also verify by observing how we face and disengaged the weapon.
The other system is very simple: just face the weapon ourselves with our eyes closed, and then open them and see what image we receive from the line of the cannons and, on this image, make the appropriate corrections so that the eye is aligned.
This second system is very interesting and even complementary to the previous one, since it tells us how we really put the face when making our shots, while if the face we do it with our eyes open, in a way, by means of the face, and without wanting to, we adapt ourselves to the butt.
How to make cylinder head measurements?
The length of the cylinder head is the distance from the trigger to the center of the cylinder head. This measure is very important for several technical points of the face, such as raising the cylinder head easily to the face, that the shotgun does not hit us too much in its recoil that our eye is at the correct height. In addition, our arm should be comfortably placed with the approximate angle of about 90º.
By means of the length of the cylinder head we must get our cheekbone, when the shotgun is facing, to be located in the first third of the three that measure the total length of the back of it. The length of the cylinder head will depend on both the length of the arms and the length of the shooter's neck.
In addition, it will be necessary to take into account if with this weapon we are going to practice modalities of previously faced shooting (trap propellers), modalities in which it is requested disembodled, (skeet, hunting routes the hunt itself). And of course, test the size of the cylinder head with a quantity of clothing similar to the one we will wear when we go to use our weapon.
To measure the fall of the cylinder head and its height we will take the distance from the heel of the shotgun to the imaginary line of the soloist of the weapon on the cylinder head, and then measure the distance between the crest of the cylinder head and the imaginary line of the soloist on it.
These measurements will indicate the point of support on the shoulder, which will depend on the length of the neck and the height of our eye on the soloist, which in turn will depend on the height of our shots with respect to the point that indicates our point of view.
Finally, we will measure the deviation of the cylinder head horizontally on the soloist of the weapon. This deviation from the butt is called an advantage, which can be positive for right-handers (cast off), negative for lefties (cast in).
The advantage of our cylinder head serves so that the shooter, making a good face, achieves that his eye is perfectly aligned with the soloist; otherwise, the shots would be deflected to the right to the left, depending on how our eye is positioned with respect to the gun's soloist. The correction of the advantage can be done easily by facing the shotgun with both eyes closed, as we have explained before.
The importance of the work of the gunsmith
All these measures must be recorded on a file, so that with them the gunsmith has enough information to be able to translate all these measures into a piece of good root wood.
In this way, if once finished the cylinder head is not to our liking, we can not reproach the gunsmith that our shotgun is bad that is not what we have asked, since our measures will be reflected in the file, just as if it looks bad and does not keep the information provided, it will be the gunsmith who will be in charge of rectifying his work.
With regard to the work of the gunsmith, it is a task that must be carried out with care and patience, for which it is advisable to let him work without burdens and not to put him in a hurry. It is important to highlight to the gunsmith our desire that the cylinder head is always accompanied by a cantonera that offers us a good cushioning of the recoil and that at the same time allows us to perform the face without uncomfortable hooks in our clothes.