Straight stocks vs. pistol grip stocks


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Chairman Meow
December 19, 2005, 04:06 AM
I've been looking at the Browning BPS Upland Special and I'm curious how others here feel about straight stocks as opposed to pistol grip stocks. Is the difference simply cosmetics and personal preference or are there more functional differences? For example, is there a difference in how the gun points or recoils? Thanks in advance for any insight you have to offer.

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Dave McCracken
December 19, 2005, 04:38 AM
I've owned and operated two SxS shotguns with English grips. Both shot well for me. So have any number of semi PG shotguns.

Some folks get downright fanatical about them, but I see no great advantage to either style over the other.

They do look spiffy.

BozemanMT
December 19, 2005, 11:57 AM
I always wondered about this myself
the semi-pistol grip feels more "normal", but I could easily get used to a English stock.
the English (straight) stock definately looks better. (must purchase old straight stock for over mantel)
usually you see double triggers with straight stocks, although not always.
I think it's mostly look and personal feel.

Hawk
December 19, 2005, 12:51 PM
The first SxS I fell in love with was in a catalog back in the late '60's, early '70's.

'Twas a Winchester 21 Grand American. Because it had a beavertail forend and pistol grip stock, that configuration is somehow burned into my subconscious as the one I have to have someday.

But I could likely get over it in a hurry if I ever tried a straight stock.

I've seen reference to a "modified Prince of Wales" stock but lacking a picture I have no clue what it looks like. For that matter, I don't know what an unmodified Prince of Wales stock would be. Anybody know offhand if it's a pg or not?

Chairman Meow
December 19, 2005, 01:22 PM
I drool over this one every time I go to the gun store:

http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/firearms/images/013055m.jpg

But I'm not sure how I feel about that english look on a pump:

http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/firearms/images/012216m.jpg

Browning has 22" and 24" barrels available for the BPS, so I can get a nice short barrel with or without the straight stock.

Decisions, decisions...

- CM

EghtySx
December 19, 2005, 01:28 PM
Found a pic of a Modified Prince of Wales Stock here (http://www.gunblast.com/Stevens411.htm).

Down a little on the right side of page.

halvey
December 19, 2005, 01:28 PM
I prefer the straight stock on shotguns with double triggers.

Generally, I butt my hand up against the pistol grip and then reach for the first trigger. Usually, this is just a bit too long for me. On a straight stock, I seem to be able to adjust my hand forward better. Then, when firing the 2nd trigger, I am able to adjust my hand back easier. In reality, it's probably just my technique, but a straight pistol grip seems to just solve it.

For single trigger guns it seems to make no difference to me.

9mmMike
December 19, 2005, 01:40 PM
The lovely Mrs. 9mmMike shoots an 1100 Special Field in 20ga. with an English stock. It is very cool, good looking and handles well. I have an English stock that I swap onto my own 1100 12 ga. once in a while but I am undecided about the handling. It just seems better on the light weight 20 ga. for some reason.
My '55 Marlin 336 has a straight stock and it handles much like the wife's Special Field 1100. This is also a short and light carbine so perhaps that has something to do with it.
YMMV
Mike

Dave McCracken
December 19, 2005, 07:57 PM
A couple things.....

Some of the folks that are the most vocal exponents of the straight stock say that it helps when moving from one trigger to t'other. I never moved more than my trigger finger on either of my straight gripped guns.

Straight grips and small forends go together. The theory is that it keeps the hands in the same plane and aids the point. This may be more effective on a SxS than a pump.

I'd like to try both an English grip and a forend of smaller diameter on an 870 just to see how it shoots. Will advise if I do.

A Prince Of Wales grip is almost a straight grip with just a little bump.

Hawk
December 19, 2005, 08:41 PM
A certain semi-domestic producer was building up a fair amount of cred with me until I saw "Prince of Whales" on their web site.

One should never have a Moby Dick grip on a 5 figure gun.

huntsman
December 19, 2005, 11:39 PM
I saw "Prince of Whales" on their web site.

One should never have a Moby Dick grip on a 5 figure gun.

sounds better than king of england grip ;) I liked the "prince" grip, it's the in between. easier to carry than straight,sleeker looking a full pistol grip which is a target shooter invention.

Kingcreek
December 20, 2005, 12:13 AM
straight grips are classy but not right for everyone. Best if you could try both and compare.
I had a straight upland gun but my technique suffered. It was a dream to carry and I could shoot it OK but not as fast as I thought it would be. I found my front hand doing alot more work to bring the gun snug into my shoulder and to control canting. really noticed more of a problem on the skeet range than in the field.
They look sexy but I don't want another one.

usmarine0352_2005
December 21, 2005, 03:22 PM
Pistol - Bad Weather / Straight - Good Weather

All of my shotguns except one have a Pistol grip. It is better for regular shooting like geese, and ducks when your in bad weather you have slippery hands or gloves.

However, I have a SKG in side by side 20 gauge and it has a straight stock.....which is really nice. I use it for grouse. It's nice with that stock. But like I said, I like a pistol grip for everything else.

Hawk
December 21, 2005, 04:33 PM
Hmmm.

Rather refreshing to have an entire thread where "Pistol grip" or "PG" is a style of full stock rather than a pistol grip ONLY.

How untactical.

JohnBT
December 21, 2005, 05:56 PM
I think most of it depends on what you're used to, how big your hand is, and how flexible your wrist is. For that reason among others I do NOT like the radical tightly curved pistol grip on some of the Berettas I've tried.

I like straight-hand stocks, but don't have one now.

A friend of mine hunts with a pre-1984 870 Special Field - straight light stock, 12 ga., 21-inch barrel, MOD choke. This has to be one of the finest carrying guns and it's easy to shoot as well.

I think I need one.

John

SRYnidan
December 21, 2005, 06:00 PM
Chairman Meow

I have a S&W 3000 (basically a metric 870 by Howa of Japan).
I have short arms and about eight or nine years back took it to a gunsmith to have the butt stock shortened and a softer recoil pad installed. I still donít know how you mess up something that simple but he did. So I did what I should have done in the first place I asked my dad (a retired part time stock maker) to make a very cheap plain stock for my social shotgun.

Never ask an artist to make something ugly unless you like surprises.

My father promptly went out an found a piece of walnut and asked if I minded if he tried something different.

What I got was a short perch belly English style no pistol grip stock. When I first tried it, it was a little different but I love it now and everyone who tries it seems to as well (even some of those longer armed folks). I will try to include a picture when I get home from work.

Oldnamvet
December 21, 2005, 06:26 PM
I have the Browning BPS Upland with 22" barrel and the straight stock. I tried both the pistol grip and the straight stock. For some reason the straight stock just felt a little more natural. To me it is all personal preference. I have several shotguns with both styles. With some models, one of the other just feels more comfortable. And the more comfortable the gun fits you, the better you are going to shoot.

ArmedBear
December 22, 2005, 01:32 PM
Every single shotgun I've ever shouldered feels different. So, depending on LOP, drops, and other more subtle measurements, any gun, PG or straight, might feel comfortable, usable, terrible, wonderful, etc. So, it's got to feel right, and it's got to go to a cheek weld in the right spot, quickly and comfortably, either way.

So what's the straight grip really for?

If upland hunting, to you, means driving around in a 4x4, finding a field that's full of quail, doves, or whatever, hopping out of the car, and marching into that field, the straight grip offers little inherent advantage. It might look cool, it might feel better, but it's all subjective and totally up to you.

If, however, you often find yourself tromping a few miles over hills and bushwhacking through chapparal, you'll love the straight grip. You can hold the shotgun low and across, in front of your stomach, safe but ready to shoulder quickly, for a long time. With a PG, you end up contorting your wrist, which gets really uncomfortable within the first mile.

That's my $.02

ArmedBear
December 22, 2005, 01:51 PM
Hmmm.

Rather refreshing to have an entire thread where "Pistol grip" or "PG" is a style of full stock rather than a pistol grip ONLY.

How untactical.

+1

Perhaps we need two different categories for shotguns.:)

scubie02
December 22, 2005, 02:14 PM
I think straight stocks look nice. But I had a BPS 20 gauge upland and didn't seem to shoot it as well in general with the straight stock for whatever reason. I remember reading Jack O,Connor or somebody once saying that many people like the looks of straight stocks, but the majority of people shoot ones with a pistol grip better. I would suspect its mostly a personal preference thing.

ArmedBear
December 22, 2005, 02:24 PM
I think straight stocks look nice. But I had a BPS 20 gauge upland and didn't seem to shoot it as well in general with the straight stock for whatever reason. I remember reading Jack O,Connor or somebody once saying that many people like the looks of straight stocks, but the majority of people shoot ones with a pistol grip better. I would suspect its mostly a personal preference thing.

Jack O'Connor said a lot of things.:rolleyes:

It's important to remember that there are different kinds of shotgun shooting, as well. A light, short 20 gauge straight stock SxS might be a wonderful flushing dove and quail gun, where you shoulder it quickly and snap-shoot but frustrating as hell on the trap range, where a long, heavy 12-gauge pistol-grip O/U with a high comb will do far better. But you wouldn't want an 8.5 lb. 32" O/U 12 gauge to snapshoot doves flushing around you in heavy brush.

What's a better vehicle, a Jeep or a 911? Depends what you want to do with it... Shotguns are the same way.

SwampWolf
December 22, 2005, 06:08 PM
IMO, aesthetics has a lot to do with ones preference between a straight (English) or a pistol grip style stock. In my eyes, with few exceptions, O/Us look best with pistol grips. S/Ss with beavertail fore-ends look best with pistol grips or Prince-of Wales variations. And the only shotguns that look "right" with straight stocks are S/Ss with splinter sized fore-arms. To show you how narrow my thinking is, I believe that a S/S has to be a 20ga. or smaller to ever really good.

In terms of performance between the two stock designs, I don't think anyone would dispute the fact that most clay target games are not won with S/Ss nor any shotgun with a straight stock. Even so, though I own a lot of different types of shotguns, the one I shoot best with and like the most (there might be a connection there!) is my little Merkel 20 ga. S/S, having a straight stock and double triggers.

By the way, as Mr. McCracken seemed to imply, in spite of what much of the "literature" has espoused over the years, I don't believe there's any relationship between double triggers and straight stocks. The notion of using an English style stock to slide your hand from one trigger to the other is mostly time-tested bunk.

Dave McCracken
December 22, 2005, 07:00 PM
About Mr O'Connor.....

Jack's favorite wingshooting shotgun was a Winchester Model 21 SxS with full PG, Beavertail forend, and a weight of close to 8 lbs.

He didn't like English style shotguns, and with the loads he used, we wouldn't either.

O'Connor was quite recoil sensitive, which is why he championed the 270 over the various mags for things like Elk.

O'Connor did some research for John Olin, head of Winchester at the time, and got lots of loads to try out. Most of these were made to work in the autos of the time, and had enough kick to hurt in a light shotgun. One early XX Pheasant load was 1 3/8 oz of lead at 1275 FPS.

Also, few straight grip shotguns are seen used by top clay shooters of any discipline, but they are common among live pigeon shooters. Live pigeons are hard enough to hit that running 10 may get you the gold(literally) at a match.

Since folks that shoot live pigeons can afford any shotgun, depend on that shotgun to make a living and are not hindered by rules to only use shotguns of a given pattern, it would seem that a straight grip is not a major hindrance and may, to some folks, offer an advantage not obvious to us here.

huntsman
December 22, 2005, 11:06 PM
Also, few straight grip shotguns are seen used by top clay shooters of any discipline, but they are common among live pigeon shooters. Live pigeons are hard enough to hit that running 10 may get you the gold(literally) at a match.

Since folks that shoot live pigeons can afford any shotgun, depend on that shotgun to make a living and are not hindered by rules to only use shotguns of a given pattern, it would seem that a straight grip is not a major hindrance and may, to some folks, offer an advantage not obvious to us here.
Today 06:08 PM


Yep it also fair to note most replies here list easy carry as a straight grip attribute, yet the straight grip splinter forend game gun was used primarily as a driven shooter i.e. stationary from a shooting butt so carry was not the primary reason for the straight grip I would guess.

ArmedBear
December 22, 2005, 11:39 PM
The British straight grip splinter foreend SxS gun was essentially a cartridge conversion of a muzzleloader design. Sidelocks are a percussion (even flintlock) carryover. No long gun had a pistol grip when the design came to be, and tradition kept things the same in Britain, for a long time. The pistol grip is primarily a 20th-century feature, though it may occasionally appear in earlier guns. Note the 1903 Springfield, made with both a straight stock and a lumpy little PG. The splinter foreend SxS shotgun is a 19th-century design, first in percussion, then in break-action form.

Anyway, it's true that the original straight grip wasn't chosen for easy carry. It wasn't really "chosen" at all, since most or all long gun designs at that time, and for the previous few centuries, had straight grips. But it's also true that modern "Upland Special" guns from Browning and Remington, are designed with straight grips for that very reason. Easy carry just happens to be an advantage of the design.

huntsman
December 23, 2005, 12:24 AM
While the britts are probably more hung up on tradition than us, I think there is more to keeping the straight grip than tradition. after all they were in the business to sell guns and like todayís gun companies are finding out some times doing something simple like changing the stock configuration could sell more guns.

For me if were talking about grips on an auto or pump I'd say go with what you like looks wise, the difference in carry really only comes into play with a break open gun.

One also needs to define "carry" as it means different situations, is it used to describe a one handed carry of muzzles up threw thick popple cover?
It can also be long distance carry to and from bird fields; in this case a break open gun (unloaded) with some kind of pistol grip can be balanced on your shoulder quite comfortably. It can also be a casual carry, gun open shells in tubes hand in pocket gun hung over wrist, again a grip of some type fells better to me than a straight grip does.

ArmedBear
December 23, 2005, 01:01 AM
WRT carry, any gun over the shoulder is comfortable enough.

I'm talking about carrying a fully-loaded gun, especially a semi or pump, ready to take off-safe, shoulder and fire whenever the birds flush. That's the situation I find myself in around here. The brush is thick, and I have a split second to shoulder the gun, acquire the target, and fire, or the bird is gone behind the next bushes again. So I have to carry the gun in "condition 1" for long periods.

For doing that, a straight grip is superior, because with a PG, my right wrist can't just comfortably hold the gun. I have to flex it to hold the pistol grip. Soon, this gets uncomfortable.

If I were merely carrying an unloaded gun to the field, I'd use a sling.:)

Chairman Meow
December 23, 2005, 01:04 AM
I handled some shotguns at Sportsmans Warehouse the other night, including a BPS upland special. I found that the extra control offered by a pistol grip is very useful when cycling a pump. This is not an issue with autos or doubles, and I very much enjoy shooting the straight-stocked 20 gauge 1100, but I think I have decided I prefer a pistol grip on a pump.

That being said, I am currently in the market for a Browning BSS 20 gauge for my father, and I think a straight stock would be just about right.

Thanks for all the insight! As usual, the THR community proves and invaluable resource.

- CM

crackerjack
December 23, 2005, 03:14 AM
I have for years shot both pistol grip and straight stock guns. To me fit is everything on a shotgun. I shot doves for years with BPS 22"/ with straight stock and shot it better than any gun I ever owned . I normally shoot a double for quail with straight stock, just works for me . My suggestion is to hold and shoulder the gun like you would be shooting the game intended for, taking it up fast to see if it comes "on" a prechoosen target . I think the straight stock comes up better on very fast shots for me but do not perfer it on all guns . I perfer a pistol grip on Citori over straight. Again I stress find what fits, shotguns relate like spouses choose them carefully.
Hope it helps,

Cascade Hunter
December 23, 2005, 11:27 AM
But I'm not sure how I feel about that english look on a pump:

http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/firearms/images/012216m.jpg

Browning has 22" and 24" barrels available for the BPS, so I can get a nice short barrel with or without the straight stock.

Decisions, decisions...

- CM
If you are interested in a .28 ga like that, let me know. It's still in the box and it comes with BOTH stocks.

huntsman
December 23, 2005, 01:22 PM
now if browning lost the rib and swapped out the forend with a corncob type that would be swwwwweet:)

ArmedBear
December 23, 2005, 03:14 PM
Looks, shmooks. Feel matters.

Remington's 11-87 makes more sense than Browning's pump, though, IMO.

I can shoot a pump pretty fast, but if you're talking about a snap-shooting gun, a double or semi just make more sense.

Furthermore, a double makes the most sense, because the length of the gun per barrel length is shorter, the gun weighs less, and the balance is better suited to this kind of gun.

Check out the CZ SxS in 20 Ga. GREAT straight-grip gun for a tad over $600 new. My choice over all of the above.

MarshallDodge
December 23, 2005, 09:03 PM
My Browning Citori has an English grip. The pistol grip would feel better but it really doesn't bother me especially for the price I paid.

Nathaniel Firethorn
January 7, 2006, 08:28 AM
Wrong thread. Sorry. -NF

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