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Figure 70, fiat on the bottom and flaring very full on the sides. Quite often such a forend is made wider at the forward end than at the receiver; sometimes the widest section is in the center, at the normal hand grip. Both of these patterns I believe to be wrong —I think the forend, regardless of its type, should taper slightly toward its tip. This for the reason that the left hand will in-

variably exert some backward pull on the forend; and the firmer hold is possible when the hand has an increased thickness of wood behind it to pull against See also Figure 64D.

Fte. 70

Most of the light -22 ealiher repeaters «re very poorly stocked; and while their actions place a good many limitations in the way of the stock designer, it is nevertheless possible to greatly improve their handling qualities. A longer stock with larger buttplate; less drop at heel; a higher and thicker comb; a pistol grip if the action permits; and a thicker, better shaped, and possibly longer forend, will often make such an arm handle like a real gun instead of like a toy«

The 99 model Savage is another that may be re-stocked to good advantage. Figure 71 shows a special job on one of these rifle, which resulted in at least 100% improvement in its handling. A higher comb is the thing most needed on this rifle as turned out by the factory, with a thicker grip, larger buttplate, and larger forend next in order of importance.

SHOTGUN STOCKS: Thus far I have said little about shotgun stocks. Fitting in the lock action of a double gun. cither box or side locks, is a job beyond the reach of any amateur workman until he has had considerable experience and spoiled a few stocks. Vet some consideration of the essential points of shotgun fit will be of value to the man having a gun stocked to order, or who through courage and perseverance will eventually stock his own gun.

The author lays no claims to being an expert with the shotgun. Thr rifle i* "my dish". I don't even like to stock shotguns, as the work, in my hands progresses far more slowly than the work on a rifle stock, and becomes irksome. I have my own ideas on the subject of shotgun stock design and fit, which I will give for whatever they may be worth; and the reader is referred to the more extensive and comprehensive views of Charles As kins, Paul B. Jenkins, E. C. Crossman, and others, as expressed in their various books and fre-Quent magazine articles. ^^

The shotgun stock should invariably be longer and straight«1 than the rifle stock; and the gun intended for use at the traps both longer and straighter than for field use.

Shotgun shooters are as a rule, somewhat superstitious in their beliefs as to the way their guns perform. A straight stock with a higfh comb will not make the gun itaclf shoot one bit higher; but it will make the owner shoot it higher, by forcing his eye higher above the rib, which amounts to the same rhing as raising a rear sight.

Another thing the straighter stock will do, is to absorb recoil better, and eliminate much of the "jump" of the barrel when fired, which jump, while it does not occur until the charge is out of the barrel, usually causes the shooter to believe it is responsible for wild shots.

Due to its triggers placed an inch or more apart, the double gun must always be stocked on a compromise. I thoroughly concur in Charles Askins' belief that the left banrel should he the more open bored of the two, so that th« rear trigger will be fired first. Since 90 per cent, of one's shooting will be singles, the stock which is dimensioned from the rear triuger as a starting point can be (riven a more comfortable shape for 90 per cent, of one's shooting. When the front trigger is used for the first shot—which is to say, for most of the shots taken, the sloping rear portion of the guard often punishes the second fingeT severely, and a habit of flinching develops.

Despite the usual practice of stockcrs, there is no good reason for making the grip of a shotgun 90 thin and fragile that it is easily broken. The shotgun grip should be comfortably handfilling, the same as a rifle grip, and it should be a full oval in cross section, not diamond shaped, as many foreign stockers make it.

The comb is set much further back on most shotguns than is necessary—no reason that I know of why it should not be of some use in supporting the thumb, the same as on a rifle stock. True, the shotgun is handled more quickly, as a rule, than is the rifle;—all the more reason why it should be fitted so perfectly that the same hold would become automatic.

Shooters argue a lot over the value of a pistol £np on a shotgun. What most makers call a pistol grip is nothing more than a pimple about the ccntcr of the stock's bottom edge. As to provide a steadier bold, it certainly does not. But if we design a full pistol grip similar to our ideal rifle grip, and place it in the proper relation to one of the triggers, it will be largely useless when we are using the other trigger. For this reason it is generally conceded that the straight grio is preferable on a double crun: while giving more racy lines to the stock, it also permits a ciuick shift from one trigger to the other, without altering the feel of the grip.

When using a gun fitted with single trigger, or a single barrel trap eun, pump gun, or automatic, the pistol grip can. if desired, be worked out so as to be of real use—and my personal preference is for such a grip.

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