A well-known instructor told me that a Monte Carlo on a shotgun stock will always cause me to shoot high. I was told by a gun fitter that this is not true. Can you clear up my confusion?
A Monte Carlo has nothing to do with where your shotgun shoots. The benefits of a well-fitting shotgun are two-fold: 1) the gun shoots where you are looking, 2) the gun is comfortable to shoot.
The dimensions of a shotgun stock that will affect where your shotgun shoots, otherwise known as your POI or “point of impact,” are limited to drop at comb and cast. The dimensions that affect comfort are numerous but start with length-of-pull (LOP): the measured distance between the front face of the trigger and the back/middle edge of the butt pad. Pitch, the angle of the butt pad, is the second basic measurement that will affect comfort. Together, the goal of LOP and pitch is a gun that is comfortable to shoot and has equal contact between the shoulder and the butt pad, from heel to toe, when the shot is executed.
Whether or not to specify a Monte Carlo on a gun stock is an important consideration for the gun fitter. This determination depends on three factors. Some shooters, particularly game shooters, do not favor a Monte Carlo on a game gun, as it is less traditional. In this case, we alternatively specify a steeper slope of the comb. Second, the shooter’s natural shooting stance and style is also a factor. A more aggressive stance may eliminate the need for a Monte Carlo, whereas a more upright stance may call for one. Third, and most importantly, the need for a Monte Carlo is determined by the measured vertical distance between the top of the shoulder and the zygomatic arch (the bottom of the cheek bone). A shooter with a longer neck and sloping shoulders may need a Monte Carlo to facilitate good contact between the buttstock and shoulder when the comb is in contact with the cheek and the shot is executed. In isolation, neither pitch, nor length of pull, nor the presence of a Monte Carlo, will affect POI.