Last month I bought a sporting clays gun with 32-inch barrels, and as a result, my scores have fallen sharply. I started out with 28-inch barrels then moved up to 30-inch, and now, with the longer barrels, I can’t seem to catch up to the target. I’m 6’5” and 250 pounds so the gun does not seem too big to me, but any tips for improving my scores would help.
Answering your question is sort of like trying to conduct a gun fitting by email or Skype. It’s impossible! But allow me to speculate.
First of all, I seriously doubt that a two-inch difference in barrel length is the cause of your catastrophic reduction in scores. At 6’5” tall, you are certainly tall enough, and the length of pull of your gun presumably long enough, to carry the extra two inches. Ballistically speaking, there is no appreciable difference between 30-inch and 32-inch barrels on the same gun. More or less weight at the front end of a gun will affect weight, balance and the dynamics of a gun in a shooter’s hands. I seriously doubt, however, that this slight increase in weight at the muzzle is the cause of the plummeting scores you are describing. There are many other factors that impact your shotgun’s performance to a much greater degree than a two-inch variable in barrel length.
From your question, I understand that you didn’t just switch to a longer barrel on the same gun. You changed guns. More than likely, that’s where the problem lies. My guess is that the new gun doesn’t fit you. Is it possible that your old gun had a higher comb? An adjustable comb, perhaps?
Because you are seeing such a dramatic impact on your scores, I am speculating that you might not be seeing the target when the gun is fully mounted. Shooting with a gun that has a comb that is too low, or a rib that is too high, will sometimes cause the shooter to lose sight of the target through the break point.
Again, this is just a guess based on the information in your question. I would suggest that you set up a short session with a gun fitter and have him look at both guns. Let me know what your gun fitter determines.
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.