Gun Mount to the Cheek
A friend who only shoots skeet questioned the amount of drop on my gunstock. Both of the guns I shoot have parallel combs with 2 inches of drop. His thought was that if I mounted the gun securely under my cheekbone, I would not need as much drop. My thought is that as long as I mount to the cheek, my mount is consistent and my eye is above the rib, the comb does not have to be pressed into the cheekbone. I would appreciate your thoughts and comments.
You are correct! With a practiced and consistent mount to the cheek (not the shoulder), your eye will always come to rest at the same place above the rib for every shot. As for the height of your comb, here are my thoughts.
Traditionally, we gunfitters like to see the iris (eyeball) centered on and immediately atop the shotgun rib when the gun is fully mounted, similar to a marble on a table (as seen by the gunfitter positioned at the muzzle end of the gun). With that said, some guns shoot a bit higher or lower than others. Also, some shooters “float” the target above the barrel more than others and therefore favor a higher-shooting gun. For others, this is not the case. It is for this reason that my gun fittings always include a visit to the patterning board and watching my clients break actual targets.
As you correctly point out, it is not necessary to “lock in” the comb to the lower cheek ledge as long as your mount is consistent. Many excellent shooters use a “soft mount,” with the cheek ledge quite a bit higher than the comb and eye higher off the rib. One might think this would result in a higher point of impact; however, in this example, the shooter’s brain has adapted to this higher float, and a higher comb is perfectly fine and perhaps preferable. As long as the gun patterns to the point of focus and the mount is consistent, the gun will always shoot consistently and will shoot where the eye is looking.
Don Currie is NSCA’s Chief Instructor, an Orvis Wingshooting School instructor, and Master Class competitor. To get free shooting tips and videos, sign up for his monthly newsletter. You can also see more tips from Currie at www.doncurrie.com.