Q I’m looking to buy my first gun; would you suggest I buy one as close as I can to a perfect fit or get measured first and then look?
Peter Stone, by email
A Believe it or not, this is one of the questions I get asked all the time by new shooters and could probably be the subject of a whole book.
The first thing I would suggest is to buy a good make of gun straight away. Fitting a gun can be costly and isn’t worth it on a cheap gun as you will not keep it long enough to benefit from the alterations. I often see novice shooters with a poorly-made, cheap gun as a starting point, intending to trade it once they have decided which disciplines they want to shoot, but nearly always losing money in the process.
By buying a good-quality gun, secondhand if you are on a tight budget, you will save money as you will not have to make that trade in. It also means if you have the gun fitted, you will keep the gun longer so enjoying and benefitting from the alterations.
Whatever make of gun you decide to buy, I would suggest that you purchase one with an adjustable comb, then go to a competent gunsmith/gun fitter to have the correct length assessed, and possibly fit a Jones Adjuster with a decent pad. With this set up, the comb height, cast and drop can be set for you just by turning a few screws, not by frequent, expensive visits to your local gunsmith.
Don’t forget, as you progress, your style and stance will alter as your experience grows. Later on, once your style is stabilised, if you don’t like the look of the adjustable additions, you can always then buy a non-adjustable stock, but at least you will know the measurements you will need. A fixed stock to start with, may mean that you are held back by poor gunfit. Tim Greenwood