How do I measure length of pull?


January 13, 2009, 04:28 PM
Like the title says....

How do I get a proper measurement?

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January 13, 2009, 04:31 PM
Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I've always measured from the front face of the trigger to the rear of the buttplate.

January 13, 2009, 04:36 PM
Thanks! How do I know that is the right fit for me? What should I be looking for? Is it a certain "feel"?

January 13, 2009, 04:42 PM
I just go by feel. Does it feel like you're have to stretch out to reach the trigger? That means the LOP is too much. On the other hand, do you feel you're having to crawl up the stock to fit the stock to your shoulder? If so, maybe your stock is too short.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
January 13, 2009, 04:55 PM
I believe you are to put the gun in your shooting hand, with your finger on the trigger (UNLOADED) and put the butt into your elbow which is bent in a 90 degree angle. The gun should just fit with you holding the stock the way you would shoot (with your trigger finger hand) and the gunstock basically touching your arm from your hand to your elbow.

Of course there may be times when a bit longer or shorter length of pull is desired, depending on the person's body and any thick clothing they may be wearing.

January 13, 2009, 05:23 PM
There are several factors that go into determining the correct length of pull (LOP). Arm length, chest thickness, neck length, and shooting style all play a role.

I think that the best "rule of thumb" is to actually use your thumb in helping determine the correct LOP. Shoulder the gun in the shooting position while leaning forward (toward the target) slightly with about 60 to 65% of your weight on your forward foot.

Your cheek should be firmly on the stock with your eye aligned behind the shotgun's rib. Your head should be lowered slightly (but not excessively) and your shoulders should be slightly rounded. Don't stand perfectly erect with a stiff back like a rifle target shooter would do.

While in this "shooting position" the distance from the knuckle (which joins the thumb to your hand) to the tip of your nose should be about 1 1/2 to 2 inches. If it's greater than this, you are either in the wrong shooting position or the buttstock is too long. If it's less than 1 1/2 to 2 inches, then either you are "crawling the stock" (too scrunched over and too forward) or the buttstock is too short for you.

January 13, 2009, 05:39 PM
Get a stock fitter to measure you - remember you also need to consider pitch, drop, and cast as well

January 13, 2009, 06:49 PM
Ive always heard you want it as long as you can and still be able to bring it from the carry position to the shooting position without it hanging up on anything.

January 13, 2009, 08:31 PM
Measure from the inside of your elbow to the first joint on your trigger finger.

January 13, 2009, 11:39 PM
That system of measuring to your elbow is OK for roughing it in but it is not the end all be all. Its just like in archery measuring your draw length based upon your wingspan. Close but not perfect.

At the end of this article they mention that you want your stock to fit so that you can just see the bead and not any rib. I was always taught you want to see some of the rib because of the way the barrel and the rib are regulated this will give you the more accurate shot.

Fred Fuller
January 14, 2009, 08:32 AM
You measure from the front face of the trigger to the midpoint of the buttplate/recoil pad. The LOP essentially measures the length of the STOCK, not your forearm 8^).


You and me and the LOP - Length of Pull
by Bill Hanus

With a world awash in acronyms, society allows us to speak in this kind of verbal shorthand, hence the title of this column. In the hunting biz LOP refers length of pull -- the measurement, in inches, between the curve of the trigger and the edge of the butt stock. The "standard" length of pull for most American-made shotguns was 14" for many years. But, times are a' changing and the foreign-made shotguns now on dealers' shelves often offer LOP's -- seemingly at the whim of the maker -- all the way up to 14-7/8". This suggests two questions for the birdhunter:

What should my LOP be?
The most common of the old wivesí tales concerning LOP is that it can be determined by measuring from the inside of the elbow to the curve of the trigger finger. Utter nonsense.

(Click for details)

The next most common error concerns arm length as the criteria for measuring LOP. Just because you may need a 36" sleeve length on your shirts or even if you knuckles drag on the pavement when you walk, do not automatically conclude you need a longer-than-standard LOP.

The critical dimension in judging the correct LOP for an individual is that there should be about one inch to an inch-and-a-quarter of space between the thumb and nose when the gun is mounted, cheeked and ready to fire. This is a measurement that you can't make on yourself, but is one easily made by someone else. This is the one constant -- in a sea of variables that will be the same if you are measuring your son, daughter, wife or shooting buddy. But circumstances alter cases.

The same guy suited up in a down hunting jacket for ptarmigan at North Pole, Alaska is going to have different LOP requirements than he is for shooting dove on the Mexican border in shirtsleeves. Tall guys with longer necks will probably need more than a 15" LOP. Guys who could play at tackle for the Chicago Bears, with no visible neck, might be perfectly happy with a 13-3/4" LOP. Reaching a decision with multi-variables to work with involves holding your Philosopher's Stone tightly and reaching the first of many compromises life will require of you.

Most hunters need an inch and sometimes a bit more between their thumb and nose.

How do I change it?
Changing the LOP almost always means adding a pad. Getting the appropriate LOP out of a pad is the primary benefit. Recoil absorption is a secondary benefit.

If you think you need a longer LOP, buy one of these slip-on pads. These are great measuring tools. It adds one-half inch to the LOP -- but you can shim it up with pieces of cardboard until you get to that magic inch-and-a-quarter inch measurement between your nose and thumb. Through trial and error you can find the LOP that works best for you. Then it's time to add a permanent pad.

If you are measuring someone who might need a shorter LOP -- a wife or child, for example -- work backwards. If the distance between nose and thumb measures two inches -- for example -- then probably a net three quarters of an inch needs to come off the butt.

Remember the rule -- Measure twice, cut once.

(Click for details)

Now comes the pitch.
This is the point at which you will want to turn the project over to a gunsmith. He will double-check your numbers. He can help you choose a suitable pad. You'll want one that slides easily into the "pocket" of your shoulder, and then stays there so you can score a double when opportunity offers. An experienced gunsmith will avoid the mistake many do-it-yourselfers make, when they try to install a pad themselves and end up inadvertently altering the pitch of their shotgun.

You can measure the pitch on your shotgun very easily. With the butt plate flat on the floor, move the gun so the breech touches a vertical surface -- a doorjamb works admirably. As you can see, the muzzle of barrel is normally about two to three inches from the vertical doorjamb. In practical terms this demonstrates that the butt plate is really an inclined plane meeting the round shape of your shoulder "pocket." A small change here can have large consequences downrange. If you were to mistakenly mount a pad at right angles to the line of sight -- a not uncommon mistake to make -- you'd have a shotgun that shot downhill, thus endangering your dog and giving real meaning to the phrase "shoot yourself in the foot."

In the world of arcane shotgun wisdom, knowing how to tweak LOP's ranks pretty high. Check one out today.

January 14, 2009, 09:42 AM
This is exactly what I was looking for! Many thanks!

January 14, 2009, 10:49 AM
Here's the thing...

I have a few different shotguns, with several different LOPs, and all of them fit (the one that didn't fit is out of here). Fit is a complex relationship between dimensions.

There are different ways to skin a cat.

Also, LOP by itself means very little. Yes, a very tall guy might know a standard 14.5" LOP is too short, no matter what, and a 5 foot woman might know 14.5" is too long. Apart from these extremes, though, you have to look at more than LOP.

Different guns have the trigger in a different location WRT the wrist of the stock. These can even be guns sold by the same company (Remington in the case of the pictures below).

If you have a double trigger, you have two different lengths of pull.

January 14, 2009, 09:09 PM
On that note the correct way to measure the length of pull on a double trigger gun is to measure from the front trigger to the middle of the butt.

January 14, 2009, 09:19 PM
With a length of pullometer

January 15, 2009, 09:51 AM
On that note the correct way to measure the length of pull on a double trigger gun is to measure from the front trigger to the middle of the butt.

...except that I've always seen two numbers listed in the specs for a decent double gun. Front LOP and Rear LOP.

Fred Fuller
January 15, 2009, 10:01 AM
Shotgun 'fit', like patterning, often seems more akin to art than science. But it's important to get 'fit' at least close to right- otherwise shotgunning will be painful at worst and frustrating at best. Usually the easiest 'fix' is length of pull, and the most common problem is too-long or too-short stocks. Thus the amount af attention LOP issues get.


January 15, 2009, 10:33 AM
That's not my point, Lee, per my post farther up.

Let me illustrate my point.

Here are three shotguns, an old double, an 1100, and a 686.

The first picture shows the three of them stacked up with their triggers lined up (front trigger on the double).

The second picture shows where the buttstocks are WRT each other with the triggers all lined up. This is the standard LOP measurement.

The third picture shows the same guns, but with the wrists lined up. This is not easy, since they are all shaped quite differently -- there's the first clue about what this will show. I had to give my best estimate of where the web of my hand sits on each gun, and yours may be in a slightly different spot.

The fourth picture shows the buttstocks again, but this time with the wrists lined up with each other. This ends up being VERY different from the standard LOP measurement. IMHO, this is a much better indication of functional LOP than a measurement from the trigger to the buttplate.

My own experience bears this out. That 1100 feels VERY short compared to the Beretta at the bottom. It feels like a kid's gun to me, and I'm only 5'10", on a good day. It's getting a pad when I get around to it; it's not good for much to me, as-is. The double feels short, too, but the overall geometry of the thing is so different that it fits me, just in a different way.

Trigger reach is something that handgunners think about when they fit a gun. Shotgunners, though, tend to ignore it when they just talk about LOP. Serious stock fitters do not ignore trigger reach! Neither should we.

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