“I’m a Senior Super Veteran sporting clays shooter, and my shotgunweighs about 10 pounds. At times, halfway through a hundred targets my gun starts to feels slightly sluggish in my move to particular targets. Would I benefit from a lighter gun, and if so, whatwould be a suggested weight?”
What you are feeling is a lack of maneuverability. Weight and balance are the two elements of a shot- gun’s maneuverability.What’s the ideal weight? This is highly individualized; however, I talk to many older shooters with 9+ pound guns looking for something lighter.
If you are shooting a shotgun that’s too heavy, you will feel fatigue in the small muscles of the arms and larger muscles at the top of the shoulders. However, weight reduces felt recoil. The lighter your shotgun, the more recoil you will feel, resulting in muscle fatigue at the front of the shooting shoulder and pain in the center of the back between the shoulder blades. The ideal weight for you will depend on your upper body strength and endurance, as well as your sensitivity to recoil.
What about balance? A shotgun’s balance is determined by how the shotgun’s weight is distributed from heel to muzzle. When the weight is moreevenly distributed and balanced be- tween the hands, you will fatigue less quickly than with a shotgun with a lot more weight at the receiver or at either end.
I am 58 years old and have lost a bit of upper-body muscle mass. My Perazzi is 8 pounds 11 ounces, and it started to feel a bit heavy after about 250 rounds in practice. Lately I’ve been shooting a 7-pound 13-ounce Purdey high-pheasant gun (not the Purdey Sporting Clays gun). My lighter Purdey moves really well, but it is not intended for high-volume shooting. I noticed a little sensitivity in my shooting shoulder the day after practice. Since both my Perazzi and my Purdey are exceptionally well balanced, the “suggested weight” for me is probably in the range of 8 pounds 4 ounces to 8 pounds 6 ounces, which is exactly what my new Purdey Sporting Clays shotgun will weigh when it arrives.
You need to determine the ideal weight and balance for you, because every shooter is different, and the ideal weight will vary from shooter to shooter.
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.