New shotgun kisses me in the face!


October 1, 2006, 06:15 PM
Just got my hands on a new 12 gauge Remington 870 Express and was able to take it to the range for the first time today. Due to some arcane state noise-abatement law (the range is state-owned), they wouldn't let me trap shoot with a 20" barrel. Would've helped if that rule had actually been posted somewhere, but anyway . . .

They were nice enough to let me run a couple of shells through the gun at the patterning board. The patterning went well, except for one thing: the gun hurt to fire! Not at the shoulder, mind you, but the stock tended to tag me in the cheek bone, regardless of the cheek weld.

My first problem is easy to solve: there is a private range nearby I can go to where they'd let me trap shoot with an AA-12, if I was somehow able to buy one. The solution to the second problem is a little more elusive. Is this a matter of gun fit or shooting technique? Does being left-handed make a difference in stock fit?


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El Tejon
October 1, 2006, 06:25 PM
Sounds like incorrect thumb placement to me. Your thumb should NOT be draped over the back of the weapon, keep it on the port side and you will not jab your face.:)

Give it a try, just my guess.:)

October 1, 2006, 06:29 PM
El Tejon,

The top surface of the stock actually hits me in the cheek bone, not my thumb. This has been a problem for me with other shotguns, no matter how much I press the butt into my shoulder.

October 1, 2006, 06:49 PM
I have the same problem, often wish for more drop in the stock, but that's just the way they make 'em now days and I ain't got the kind of money it takes to have a custom fit gun. :rolleyes: I'm quite used to coming home from a duck hunt looking like I went 15 rounds with George Foreman. :rolleyes: It often cuts my face and draws blood if I get a shot off to my right (left handed).

I read about a rubber stock comb you could have installed into your stock, once, but never got any details on it. I'd like to know about that little item, myself.

October 1, 2006, 06:57 PM
I have the same problem, often wish for more drop in the stock,

I hope that it's only a matter of drop at the comb. I've been poking around ebay these last few days looking for an 870 Wingmaster or Police stock. These come with a nicer, seemingly thicker recoil pad. My hope is that this might lengthen the trigger pull and act as a de facto stock drop.

Somehow I get the idea that most shotguns weren't designed for lefties with long monkey arms.

October 1, 2006, 07:04 PM
Try a Knoxx Specop stock. About $100.00

Panthera Tigris
October 1, 2006, 07:31 PM
I just discovered information on the Specops stock. It looks like the way to go.

October 1, 2006, 07:37 PM
You may try to add length to the stock to make the LOP a bit longer, may bring your face more in line with the stock, of get some moleskin (Dr. Scholls) and stick to the stock to seeif building it up may help you. It is all a gun fit problem, there are little things that can be done to tweek fit. Possibly a small shim on the right side of the stock to reciever surface to move the stock a bit to the left for cast-on.

Fred Fuller
October 1, 2006, 07:43 PM
Maybe a bit of spacer at the top of the stock where it meets the back of the receiver? Some folks use aluminum foil, folded to a taper, to increase/decrease drop or add cast off/on. Doesn't take much to make a difference... .

Moleskin on top of the stock ( a layer or two) might help a bit also. A little padding without adding too much thickness to the comb might help.


October 1, 2006, 10:02 PM
Good info and worth a try. I don't wanna restock my arms, personally, but adjusting things by shimming could be the answer. I think I need a little more drop, personally. Old shotguns had a lot more drop at the stock than modern ones, don't know if you ever picked up an old gun and tried it. I have an old single barrel that was discontinued in 1947. That thing has a LOT of drop, weird if you ain't used to it. But, it don't hurt my face.

Dave McCracken
October 1, 2006, 10:41 PM
With A SHOTGUN KNOWN TO BE EMPTY, mount the shotgun. If you can get two fingers in between schnozz and thumb, you're about right on length. Drop is more crucial, but drop and length are interlocked.

With a standard stock without a Monte Carlo comb, my cheek weld is more of a jaw weld. Do some dry mounts with that KTBE shotgun and note where it touches each and every time.

KickEez makes a thin stickon pad to added height to the comb. It adds a little to the width but the padding may ease the pain.

Shotguns that fit do not kick nearly as much as those that do not. Some time spent getting things right can pay dividends.

October 2, 2006, 01:36 PM
Great advice once again, folks. I'll try that longer stock and see if it helps and perhaps add a Kick-Eez to the comb.

October 3, 2006, 05:13 PM
I have this same problem with stock 870 stocks unless I am shooting with a rifle-sighted barrel that requires a higher (lower?) mount.
With any sights that are low, like a plain-barrel-bead or VR w/bead, I was killing my face.
I spent a ton of time lengthening the stock in different ways but it really came down to simply putting a spacer in between the receiver and the wrist at the top. It only takes a small spacer to drop the comb enough for me.
I've been shooting hundreds of rounds weekly with no damage and no pain.
It's simple and quick to test.
I did need to trim just the slightest bit at the bottom of the wrist where it was pressing against the receiver but is was very very little. It probably would have been fine but I was worried about cracking the stock if that sopt was under pressure.
It does not look very nice, IMHO, though but I am so pleased to no longer go home bruised that I care not.

October 3, 2006, 05:47 PM
It does not look very nice, IMHO, though but I am so pleased to no longer go home bruised that I care not.

Yeah, I don't give a flip what it looks like on the Mossberg. It's a camo model 500 that I trash in the salt marsh anyway, didn't buy it for looks, bought it to use. Danged inconvenient stopping to wipe the blood off my face. :rolleyes:

My Winchester M1400 doesn't do this to me. Glad 'cause I really don't wanna mess with it. Slightly more drop, I think, but main thing is it's my bird gun and I'm not shooting 3" in it, it doesn't take 3". It's a semi auto, too, and soaks up a lot of the recoil. I recently put 4 1/2 boxes of high velocity field loads through it on a 3 day dove hunt and never gave me a problem one. :D It's a Ranger model and just dyed birch and machine cut checkering and the wood fit is sloppy anyway, but it looks better than that old Mossberg. ROFL! It's got decent bluing on it, absolutely no rust, and one little dent on the stock. Where that came from, I don't know. But, not bad for having used it for probably 20 years now.

October 3, 2006, 09:44 PM
I agree with the length of pull:comb height ratio. If you have the two thumb length of pull clearance I would guess that it is the height of the comb.

I used to have headache problems with an AL 391. I switched from a 45mm to 60 mm shim; problem solved.

Good luck and make sure you report back on your progress.

October 5, 2006, 11:59 AM
I think it's length of pull and drop at comb also. I've had some issues with this and benefited from the research a close buddy performed back when he would come home from the skeet range with a bloody cheek regulalry. Some research on the net revealed many people have this. Try to shoot the longest straightest stock you can. Add a recoil pad or a boot. Shoot lighter loads and or make the gun heavier. Shooting 7/8 oz loads or 1 oz loads when shooting just targets should calm that gun down to 20 ga style recoil. Adding shot to the stock and/or a Graco magazine weight will tame it further. Cut the comb down and add the kickeeze stick on pad recommended in an earlier post. Replacement stocks for rem 870 are pretty cheap through Cabelas. Buy one and cut it down, saving your originals for when you potentially sell the gun one day. Gun fit is most of it. Hope this helps. I switched to 20 ga's for most of my shooting, and only shoot the 12 at ducks, or a few warm up skeet rounds prior to season.

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