Having a Beretta 391 stock fitted for my wife...


May 15, 2005, 11:11 PM
We bought my wife a Beretta 391 today, 20 ga. THe youth model was way to small, but the full size seems a little to big.


How does one measure this? Any suggestionsas to where to go in southern louisiana, specifically in Baton Rouge? I really want the gun to fit her perfectly. She humors me with pistols and what not but I think she could really enjoy shotgunning... so I want to get this right!


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May 15, 2005, 11:36 PM
pangris - Kudos to you for taking the step of fitting a gun to your wife. Shotguns are lots of fun, but an ill-fitting one can be enough to turn someone away for a good long time.

Unfortunately, I don't know anyone that far south... the work I've had done has been by Kolar Arms in Racine, WI. When my wife recently decided to switch from her autoloader to an O/U, she picked the gun she liked (a Beretta 682 Gold E) and shot it a few times. The stock was too long and forced her into a higher-than-normal mount, which happened to place the stock recoil pad against her collar-bone in an uncomfortable fashion.

A quick trip to Kolar fixed that. They spent about an hour fitting her, suggesting a couple minor changes to her stance and gun-mount (which were all helpful corrections), cut the stock down and installed a Kick-Eez recoil pad. While there, we also had them do some other work... forcing cones and (shhh -- don't tell Dave) porting.

For me, with my own guns (ie. I'm wholly responsible if I screw up), I'm OK with messing around with fit. However, for someone else, I would recommend a professional. Look for someone who has a lot of experience fitting shotguns. Pretty much anyone can cut down a stock and install a recoil pad. Not everyone can judge the correct amount of pitch and ensure that the gun points and shoots where it's supposed to when all is said and done. Simple things like choosing the correct recoil pad can make a big difference.

In your case, I'd call around to some of the shotgun clubs in your area, and maybe contact someone at the state-level for one of the larger shooting organizations (ATA, NSSA, NSCA, etc) and see who they would recommend.

BTW, one big advantage of having a gun custom-fit by a professional is that you have confidence that it's done right. Once Kolar made the modifications to my wife's gun, she felt that she really "owned" it. It is her gun and her gun only, customized just for her. She takes pride in that and I think it's helped her get more confident on the course.

One last thing before you start on this. Have her check her eye-dominance. Many women (and a fair number of men) are right-handed but left-eye dominant (or vice versa). The best way to overcome this (especially with new long-arm shooters) is to have them shoot from their dominant-eye side. This can affect gun fit to a degree (cast on would become cast off). If you're kind of starting from scratch, it would be best to address this issue from the get-go.

In any event, good luck! :)

Jim Watson
May 15, 2005, 11:38 PM
Where will you (she) be shooting?
My trap and skeet club has a couple of guys who do stock work, to include shortening and installing a recoil pad as she would need. An experienced shooter can advise her on the length. One school of thought says the stock should be as short as possible without bumping her nose with her thumb on recoil. The other school of thought says the stock should be as long as she can swing smoothly. They seem to come out with about the same answer for most people.

Somebody in a store or range will tell her to place the butt of the gun in the crook of her elbow against the bicep and her hand on the grip; and that she should be able to reach the trigger comfortably with the elbow bent 90 degrees. That is a VERY rough rule of thumb, you don't shoot a shotgun off your elbow.

May 15, 2005, 11:52 PM
We shot at Hunters Run in Port Allen today...

I want to do everything to the gun we can to make it hers once we establish she really likes shooting shotguns. At that point, all bets are off as to the level of customization!


May 16, 2005, 08:52 AM
I agree with Trapper, and his wife has exquisite taste in shotguns.

pangris, look for a real pro, and if they have a 'try gun' it will be even better.

May 16, 2005, 05:05 PM
once we establish she really likes shooting shotguns

You have little to worry about. I've yet to see ANYONE not like shotgunning, providing that they gun is a decent fit and they are using a tolerable (ie. light as possible) target load. Once they break that first clay, they're hooked.

This past week, a colleague of my wife was experiencing a low point at work. We took him out to dinner and just chatted. When he found out that our major hobby was shooting, he was taken aback slightly... what with being a fairly liberal urban-type guy who'd never even handled a gun before. We offered to take him out, and he accepted (at least he has an open mind about some things :) ) We took him out for a round of sporting clays, after grounding him in the basics of safety and the operation of a shotgun. He shot my Beretta 391 with Federal 1 oz value-pack loads and transformed from jittery and nervous around the unloaded gun to reasonably comfortable. In just 50 targets, he came to realize that shooting is fun and a great social activity. Tomorrow, he's got himself set up for a full-blown lesson from one of the local instructors.

Resistance is futile................ and foolish.

May 16, 2005, 05:42 PM
Congratulations pangris, :D

I will second getting a pro to fit the gun to your wife. Most guns are set up so the average man is able to shoot them without too much messing around, but women take a bit more fitting to be comfortable with the gun.

Now to get your own 391. he he he ;)

May 16, 2005, 07:17 PM
Dash of warts, one chicken foot, three rattlesnake rattles...stirs cauldron

Maybe this Professional Doing the Stock fitting has a 28 ga Try Gun. :D

I'm sure the lovely Missus would appreciate a second gun - you know when she is letting other ladies shoot her 391 to appreciate craftsmaship and how getting a Pro to fit a gun is beneficial.


May 17, 2005, 01:47 AM
I can't decide between a 391, 1100 classic trap, or an O/U... decisions, decisions. I used to have an 1100 I loved... but the 391 I rented did very for me over the weekend. I will rent a o/u this weekend and see where that gets me...


May 17, 2005, 02:01 AM
In my humble opinion, you can't beat a Beretta 391 Sporting for an all-around clay-busting machine. I've got one in 12ga, and it has just plain worked. In all honesty, I probably shoot it even better than my Browning 425, which is my primary gun now. In fact, about the only reason I don't shoot the Beretta more often is that I'm reloading a lot and it's nicer to not have to bend over to get the hulls.

May 22, 2005, 12:21 AM
Do you mind if I ask what the fitting at Kolar cost? Did she shoot it on a patterning board while you were there?

May 23, 2005, 09:01 AM
ysr_racer - I've had similar work done there, and a fitting session has been included in the cost of cutting and installing a new recoil pad. IIRC, that is about $125 if there is a pitch change involved. My wife and I also had some other work done at the same time. It was around $500 for her gun, which included the new pad (and the stock work), lengthening the forcing cones and porting the barrels. When I had my 425 done a few years ago, it was a couple hundred dollars cheaper, since it already had porting.

They didn't use a try-gun and there wasn't any patterning (until after we brought them home). They just spend a half-hour to an hour watching you mount the gun, trying some different things and then discussing the options. In my case, this got things very close, but not quite perfect. They had gotten the LOP just right, but I needed to shave the comb down an 1/8" or so. In my wife's case, they got her absolutely spot-on.

I think a full-blown fitting with them is more expensive (maybe $500-600), but that's usually done when you're having them make a gun for you. I'm not sure how they would work it if you were having them do it for another gun.

May 23, 2005, 08:34 PM
She had a great time and tookl to it very well! She missed the first four birds but smoked 5,6,7,9, and 10 from the low house station... after three rounds she can hit about 15-17/25 from either house station. We'll start working on moving around the other stations after she can reliably hit doubles from the house stations...


Dave McCracken
May 24, 2005, 10:08 AM
Great, pangris. Keep us posted on her progress. Thanks....

May 25, 2005, 06:47 AM
Quick rule of thumb for finding length of pull for any given shooter. Crook the dominant arm at a right angle and place the butt of the scattergun resting on the bicep as the upper arm is help paralell to the floor. The trigger finger should be to crook in a natural manner and the pad should make contact with the trigger. Excessive lenght or shortness in the buttstock will be evident if length of pull is off.

May 28, 2005, 06:24 PM
Have you tried Jim's Firearms off of Seigon(sp) Lane. They have a gun smith there. If he doesn't do it himself, he will know who will. I can't think of the name or location, there is also a top drawer sporting goods place that specializes in duck hunting. They have a lot of nice shotguns there and I am sure they know someone who fits them. Give me a day and I will get the name and location. What places have you tried.


May 28, 2005, 06:30 PM
Bowie outfitters is the shotgunning place you speak of -

I haunt all gun related palces in BR!|


May 29, 2005, 08:45 PM
Bowie Outfitters...yep, that's the one! Perkins Rd. right?

May 29, 2005, 10:19 PM
Thats them! I may be there tomorrow...

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