1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Need help with shotguns

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by AL0426, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. AL0426

    AL0426 New Member


    I'm getting a gun for christmas and i need to know a couple things. i know i want a shotgun because i like their versitility. i'm worried about the kick of a 20 gauge. im looking at a Remington 870 model. do you think that this will kick a lot. I'm about 5 '5', 5 '4' 114 pounds. any help would be helpful

  2. BridgeWalker

    BridgeWalker Well-Known Member

    Your size makes minimal difference in the amount of felt recoil. The most important factors with a shotgun are stance and holding the gun correctly and gun size and fit.

    The next factors are the loads being fired and the type of action in the gun.

    Then the quality of the recoil pad, if any, either on the gun or worn by the shooter.

    At the end of the day a smaller person may be slightly more likely to have trouble with recoil, but that is probably because shotguns are sized for the average person. A 240 lb, 5'11" acquaintance of mine recently failed to bring the gun all the way to her shoulder before firing a couple of times. She had an impressive bruise for a week. I'm not small (5'8"/170), but I'm smaller than her and I shot six times as many shells as her that day, and 12 gauge (she was shooting 16) and I not a speck of soreness or trouble at all. It is partly the gun, mostly the technique, and a whole lot about fit too.

    A 20 will kick less than a 12, in general, but there are so many other factors to consider. Generally, gas-operated semi-autos like the Rem. 1100 and 11-87 or the Beretta 391 have the lightest recoil. Heavier guns have less recoil too, becuase the weight of the gun soaks up the impact. Single-shots are the harshest recoil because there is no mechanism to recycle some of the force and no extra weight to slow it down. My first gun was a too-small Rossi single-shot 20 and it kicked like a bear. My full-size 12 gauge semi-auto is a walk in the park, especially since I mostly shoot light loads.

    If you want it for target shooting, you can get light target loads that have very low recoil.

    Mossbergs have a slightly shorter length of pull (length from trigger to butt) and so may fit small people better. Personally, I am an average sized woman and I fid the fit of the Benellis much better than either one.

    The best thing you can do is to get it fitted to you, or at least try a couple, including a youth size, and see what fits, but be aware that too small is arguably worse than too large!
  3. BridgeWalker

    BridgeWalker Well-Known Member

    Ok, so I tossed a lot of information out there. This is what I would recommend:

    Try to shoot an 870, a Mossberg 500, and a semi-auto of some kind. At least handle and feel the fit on those three, plus any guns you can get your hands on. See what fits. Don't forget to look at youth sizes.

    Don't be wedded to the 20 gauge, since really there are so many other factors affecting recoil and since you mention wanting a shotgun for versatility, you should remember that teh 12 gauge is the most versatile gauge. Try shooting twelves and twenties. If you don't have access, try just showing up at a range and asking around. People like to show off their guns. I ended up firing a half dozen guns before settling on my Montefeltro.

    Whatever you get, get a recoil pad if you feel like you need it. Most are fans of the Pachmyr, and they are cheap and available at Wally-world. I don't need one, but some find them essential.

    The rest of any advice depends on what you're planning on doing with it. For hunting/target shooting, consider getting the stock fitted to you, which can be very inexpensive if you just need the stock shortened a bit. Get a shooting vest with a pocket for a Browning Reactar pad or similar. Personally, I not much for buying accessories, so I sewed a pocket and recoil pad to a t-shirt. The learn about different loads. A 7/8 or even 1 oz light target load is not gonna kick a lot in most guns.

    For HD, different rules apply, but that is not my area of experience.
  4. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Welcome aboard, ALO426. I suggest you try out different shotguns before choosing. Most ranges have folks that will let a polite newcomer try out their pet for a shot or two, maybe even a round.

    FYI, Rebecca Etchen is the Great granddaughter and grandaughter of trapshooting national champions. She wields her 12 gauge Beretta O/U with 32" barrels like Mehta does his baton, and outshoots Manly Men, including Yr Humble Scrivener.

    She's about your size. Her shotgun fits, she has great form and technique and plenty of empty hulls behind her.

    Kim Rhode, double Gold Medal winner in two Olympics, uses a 12 gauge Perazzi and is maybe one click bigger.

    Size matters in shotguns only in that the gun and shooter have to be somewhat compatible.

    How close are you to MD? I've been known to help a rookie out for the first session or two....
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2007
  5. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

    Hi ALO4...

    You've gotten great advice so far. I'll add...

    If you want to use "form" to mitigate felt recoil there are 37 Points of Form you must remember and observe...

    When you pull the trigger (for right-handers)...

    #1. Have 60-65% of your weight on your left foot

    #2 Have the butt of the gun snug in the "pocket" of your shoulder and your elbows away from your side.

    #3. through # 37 - Have your cheek snug on the stock

    When in doubt - make sure your cheek is snug on the stock. OR

    Plan B - make sure your cheek is firmly on the stock OR

    Plan C - put some Velcro on the stock and the matching Velcro on your right cheek so your CHEEK IS ON THE STOCK.

    There's going to be a test, ALO4... it's called the "Is Your Cheek On the Stock" test. It will be administered in the "Is Your Cheek On the Stock" testing building. Don't be nervous - you'll pass with flying colors IF you KEEP YOUR CHEEK ON THE STOCK.

    Let me know if you need any review. :D
  6. sm

    sm member

    Gun fit to shooter and correct basics are that important.

    Ear Protection lessens felt recoil too, especially with a new shooter.

    Find Muffs that fit YOU and allows proper mounting of gun to face and head onto stock, used with plugs, this allows new shooters to better focus and ingrain correct basics with a gun that fits them.

Share This Page