I have recently begun to get a bruise on my cheek from the recoil of my new gun. I am a mid-level shooter, and I have a smooth move and mount, but probably once per 25 rounds I will feel myself getting whacked. Can you help me?
My guess would be that one of two things is happening (or a combination of the two):
1) Your cheek might not be in contact with the comb of the stock during shot execution, thus the comb might be impacting your cheek as the shot is executed and the recoil causes the gun to jump into your cheek.
2) Your shotgun might not have enough pitch. Pitch is expressed in degrees of angle. It is the angle of the butt pad as compared to an imaginary line that runs perpendicular to the barrel rib off the back of the gun. Most guns off the shelf have a pitch of about 4°, meaning that the butt is angled with the toe a bit closer to the front of the gun (angled away from the shooter) as compared to the heel. It also allows the recoil from the gun to be more evenly spread across the entire butt pad. Everyone is built differently, so some may need a bit more or a bit less pitch. Weightlifters and ladies tend to need a bit more pitch than others. If a gun does not have enough pitch for the shooter, it might cause the toe of the butt to absorb more of the recoil than the heel, resulting in excess muzzle jump.
First, make sure your lower cheek ledge is in good contact with the comb through your shot execution. Often, shooters can’t tell when they are missing the cheek with the gun, so have a buddy take a few close-up videos of you shooting your gun. If this doesn’t reveal anything, you might want to have a good gun fitter check the pitch on your gun and watch you shoot.
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.