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  #1  
Old 04-29-2010, 11:26 AM
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Default How to shoulder a shotgun properly?

So I was at the range yesterday trying to practice with my new Remington 870, and found myself holding the shotgun to my cheek like a rifle. When I shot, the stock would hit my face. I was wondering what was the proper way of holding and shooting a shotgun
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:31 AM
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Check out Matt Burkett's DVD - Shotgun Mastery. He goes over mounting and proper stance to enable you to shoot accurately and quickly. If you don't want to buy it, you can rent it from SmartFlix as well.
You can even see some of it from his YouTube trailer:

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Old 04-29-2010, 11:40 AM
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There's nothing wrong with getting a cheek weld with your shotgun. With my 590a1 I always get a good cheek weld and never have a problem with it smacking me in my face.

I'm no "expert" by any means. I simply make sure my feet are about shoulder length apart, knee's slightly bent, and my weight distributed a bit more forward than usual. That last part is dependent on what load I'm running [slugs, buck, bird]. Utilize a good push/pull technique, get that shotgun butt nested in your shoulder good. You don't want a death grip, but at the same time you don't want any slack in there. If there's too much slack there that's when it comes and smack you nice and good. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It's not a big deal if you're shooting some #8 bird, but you go for some 3" magnum slugs and you'll have a fun time

The first time I took the shotty out I bruised the hell out my shoulder. To that point I had rented a 870 and a 500. Oddly enough my technique hasn't changed all that much, but I haven't had any bruising no matter how many rounds I put downrange. Maybe subconsciously I made some adjustments. Now I can put 100rds downrange without a problem and I'm small framed at 5'8" and 160lbs.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:49 AM
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Sound like the stock does not fit you properly. I have a similar problem shooting AKs with Warsaw Pact length stocks.
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  #5  
Old 04-29-2010, 11:54 AM
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Aside from videos, get some basic instruction. If you have any kind of clays club around, there will be shotgun instructors and they can get you dialed into the basics. The stances in that vid clip are very much effective for 3 gun / combat / HD, but would not be so good if you are shooting clays or for most types of bird hunting. I note all the guns in that vid are semi-auto which are going to (generally) be a lot easier on the shooter than any pump.

Either way, if you don't keep a decent cheek weld, the stock will knock your face around pretty good. Bring the stock up to you, don't drop your head down deeply on the stock. A firm set in the shoulder pocket and you will be in pretty good shape for starters.
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2010, 1:29 PM
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When I've taught a few guys how to fire my Mossberg and Mosin, I show them a little technique I've picked up on. I have them shoulder the weapon then tell them to push back against their shoulder. If they feel pain, they need to pull the stock up some more, they're hitting their clavicle. If it moves their arm, it's too far out and pressing against the shoulder. If they feel nothing except a little pressure, they're in the right spot. Make sure you maintain a firm grip on both the grip of the weapon and the fore-end or action, depending upon what you're firing, and keep your cheek tight on the stock. I've never had my face scratched or hit from the stock. Had my shoulder bruise due to stock slipping, but never had my face take any damage.
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Old 04-29-2010, 5:56 PM
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Start with your head upright in a comfortable position. Lift the stock up until it's next to your face, without moving your head. Done.

What you don't want is to tilt your head down on top of the stock. Your head should have no sideways tilt whatsoever. The stock should be more beside your cheek, not under it.

P.S. if you have a shorter stock (which is desirable for a HD gun) you're going to want to leave the thumb of your firing hand on top of the receiver, not wrapped around the grip, which will prevent having your thumb hit you in the face. On a Mossberg your thumb should just always rest on the safety.
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2010, 9:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperSet View Post
Check out Matt Burkett's DVD - Shotgun Mastery. He goes over mounting and proper stance to enable you to shoot accurately and quickly. If you don't want to buy it, you can rent it from SmartFlix as well.
I will definitely take a look at Smartflix. It sounds like a worthy investment. Is Matt Burkett's DVD anything like the Blackwater shotgun DVD that's on youtube?

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Originally Posted by jdewolf View Post
I'm no "expert" by any means. I simply make sure my feet are about shoulder length apart, knee's slightly bent, and my weight distributed a bit more forward than usual...Utilize a good push/pull technique, get that shotgun butt nested in your shoulder good. You don't want a death grip, but at the same time you don't want any slack in there. If there's too much slack there that's when it comes and smack you nice and good.
I see. I may have been apprehensive of the shotgun at first, and wasn't pulling the stock firmly into my shoulder. Would it be the same principle as pulling in a carbine into your shoulder to mitigate recoil?

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Originally Posted by CSACANNONEER View Post
Sound like the stock does not fit you properly. I have a similar problem shooting AKs with Warsaw Pact length stocks.
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Originally Posted by BigDogatPlay View Post
Either way, if you don't keep a decent cheek weld, the stock will knock your face around pretty good. Bring the stock up to you, don't drop your head down deeply on the stock. A firm set in the shoulder pocket and you will be in pretty good shape for starters.
Yea, I have no interest in doing skeet shooting or bird hunting (maybe in the future when I'm affluent and my kids are all grown up and in college. For now, I just want to learn how to run a shotgun efficiently) Thanks for the advice about bringing the stock up to my face. I'll keep that in mind.

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Originally Posted by Hayashi Killian View Post
When I've taught a few guys how to fire my Mossberg and Mosin, I show them a little technique I've picked up on. I have them shoulder the weapon then tell them to push back against their shoulder. If they feel pain, they need to pull the stock up some more, they're hitting their clavicle. If it moves their arm, it's too far out and pressing against the shoulder. If they feel nothing except a little pressure, they're in the right spot. Make sure you maintain a firm grip on both the grip of the weapon and the fore-end or action, depending upon what you're firing, and keep your cheek tight on the stock. I've never had my face scratched or hit from the stock. Had my shoulder bruise due to stock slipping, but never had my face take any damage.
So you plant the weapon firmly into the shoulder, underneath the clavical, I assume? If you move the stock up, wouldn't that seat the stock on their clavical? Right now, I'm seating it in the area between my pectoral and deltoid muscle groups. Should I be moving it?

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Originally Posted by jumpthestack View Post
Start with your head upright in a comfortable position. Lift the stock up until it's next to your face, without moving your head. Done.

What you don't want is to tilt your head down on top of the stock. Your head should have no sideways tilt whatsoever. The stock should be more beside your cheek, not under it.

I will be sure to try this next time

P.S. if you have a shorter stock (which is desirable for a HD gun) you're going to want to leave the thumb of your firing hand on top of the receiver, not wrapped around the grip, which will prevent having your thumb hit you in the face. On a Mossberg your thumb should just always rest on the safety.
I have a couple more questions now. In terms of stance, I shoot Modified Isosceles (the one taught in Magpul Dynamic Handgun DVD), would it be okay to continue to shoot in this? Or should I move to whatever is more comfortable? I'm trying to keep everything as consistent as possible between handgun, carbine, and shotgun.

I'll post up links to some sources I feel may help:

Scribd - Alaskan Department of Corrections Shotgun Manual





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  #9  
Old 04-29-2010, 11:50 PM
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I haven't shot enough carbines to say honestly. I can't imagine it would be too different as I've shot an AR15 and I kept the same principal as I always do. When I'm bringing my shotgun up... I plant it in my shoulder and from there I swing it up to the firing position and get a good cheek weld. It comes naturally and I barely have to move to get a good cheek weld.

Stances I don't know. That's all opinionated to be honest. I shoot weaver/modified weaver for everything... I just do it because it's natural. However there is a definite advantage to the isosceles stance when it comes to moving. There's no doubt about that. I just *prefer* to present the slimmest profile possible. I'm not wearing armor or protection other than the clothes on my back. I'm sure if I were 300lbs it would be a different story... but I'm small framed... I'll use that to my advantage.
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Old 04-30-2010, 8:06 AM
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If the intent is to run and gun as the photos illustrate, then what you see is fairly good. I think both shooters are mounting the gun too low and are clearly dropping their heads to the gun. I'm sure it works for them, and thats cool. It is all about fit and comfort to gain a consistently repeatable presentation. I shoot from a more head up placement with the gun mounted a bit higher on the shoulder.

I think the second shooter above is just a little unsafe since he is moving with his booger hook firmly planted on the bang switch. Gun off target, finger off trigger.

Both are shooting from a fairly squared up stance, which is how running a long gun in combat is best going to work. Square the body more to the target, feet shoulder width or so apart with the stock side foot dropped back about a half foot length, knees comfortably flexed, weight up on the balls of the feet. Lean into the gun from the hips as can clearly be seen in the bottom two still photos above.

The original video clip linked up above shows elbows in under the gun, which I think works best. It does for me anyway.

Hope this helps.
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  #11  
Old 04-30-2010, 8:12 AM
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You don't need to go to the range to try your mount. Here's what you do:
mount the gun but rest it gently against your shoulder barely touching it(this is incorrect but it's just for this drill). Then pull it violently back against your shoulder. If it hits you in the cheek, you're doing it wrong.

I definitely like to do a more Magpul style square stance for shooting any gun but especially something that has a lot of recoil. Think of it like this, if someone was to come up to you and shove you back, would you square up to them and push them back with both arms with your hips, knees, shoulder and head all facing forward, or would you turn sideways and try to push them back with your head facing towards them but your hips, knees, and shoulders all facing in a slightly different direction? If you do a bench press, would you turn your head to one side and your knees to the other side? By having a stance that's posturally aligned to absorb recoil well, you can reduce muzzle rise and get back on target faster.

Note, the more square you stand, the shorter your stock needs to be.
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Old 04-30-2010, 8:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDogatPlay View Post
If the intent is to run and gun as the photos illustrate, then what you see is fairly good. I think both shooters are mounting the gun too low and are clearly dropping their heads to the gun. I'm sure it works for them, and thats cool. It is all about fit and comfort to gain a consistently repeatable presentation. I shoot from a more head up placement with the gun mounted a bit higher on the shoulder.
When I took a Magpul carbine class, they explained that the purpose for mounting the gun a bit more inboard inside the shoulder and lower than a lot of other people do, is to get your body behind the gun, so the recoil comes straight back through your shoulder as your body is aligned to resist it.

When it's mounted a little more outboard it would tend to spin you, and when it's mounted a little bit higher, the force of recoil would tend to go back through your shoulder at an angle that's a little too high, rather than against the angle that your skeleton is aligned at. They didn't put it in exactly those words, I'm paraphrasing, so I may be somewhat off base from their intent but that's what I got out of it.
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Old 04-30-2010, 9:50 AM
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I agree with you on point as to the necessity to square up and be positioned to deal with the recoil. But there is also the big difference in performance for a carbine versus a shotgun to be considered.

Bringing the gun inboard and hence lower on the shoulder is going to accentuate the head drop we see in the above photos. At least thats the way I think about it. I mount a carbine very high, being tall and with a long neck somewhat forces it, so I can keep my head straight up and get a good cheek weld while maintaining a solid platform. I'm not really concerned about recoil, particularly with an AR. I don't lean into a carbine nearly as much as I do a shotgun.

What is sound carbine technique is not going to translate 100% to shotgun, IMO. The guns are completely different in performance and I think they need to be run that way to some degree.

Might be interesting to get some pix of our own techniques for discussion, comparison and contrast.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDogatPlay View Post
I think the second shooter above is just a little unsafe since he is moving with his booger hook firmly planted on the bang switch.
Ahahaha totally sig worthy.

Anyways, I just keep it tight and dont get beat up too badly.
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Old 04-30-2010, 3:19 PM
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All this talk about recoil and stance has me wondering now. I'm definitely built more compact but I carry more meat in my shoulders and upper back than anywhere else. So I don't mind my upper body taking all the recoil. Also I have a thicker shorter neck so there's less travel for me to get a good cheek weld.

I almost want to goto the range and test out shooting isosceles with the shotty just to see how it feels. Then again I always feel a bit funny because it doesn't feel natural to me.

Ok I just want an excuse to goto the range.
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Old 04-30-2010, 8:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdewolf View Post
All this talk about recoil and stance has me wondering now...Ok I just want an excuse to goto the range.
Don't we all



Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDogatPlay View Post
I think both shooters are mounting the gun too low and are clearly dropping their heads to the gun. I'm sure it works for them, and thats cool. It is all about fit and comfort to gain a consistently repeatable presentation. I shoot from a more head up placement with the gun mounted a bit higher on the shoulder.
...
Both are shooting from a fairly squared up stance, which is how running a long gun in combat is best going to work. Square the body more to the target, feet shoulder width or so apart with the stock side foot dropped back about a half foot length, knees comfortably flexed, weight up on the balls of the feet. Lean into the gun from the hips as can clearly be seen in the bottom two still photos above.

The original video clip linked up above shows elbows in under the gun, which I think works best. It does for me anyway.

Hope this helps.
THIS is what I was looking for! +1000 to you sir

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Originally Posted by jumpthestack View Post
You don't need to go to the range to try your mount. Here's what you do:
mount the gun but rest it gently against your shoulder barely touching it(this is incorrect but it's just for this drill). Then pull it violently back against your shoulder. If it hits you in the cheek, you're doing it wrong.

I definitely like to do a more Magpul style square stance for shooting any gun but especially something that has a lot of recoil. Think of it like this, if someone was to come up to you and shove you back, would you square up to them and push them back with both arms with your hips, knees, shoulder and head all facing forward, or would you turn sideways and try to push them back with your head facing towards them but your hips, knees, and shoulders all facing in a slightly different direction? If you do a bench press, would you turn your head to one side and your knees to the other side? By having a stance that's posturally aligned to absorb recoil well, you can reduce muzzle rise and get back on target faster.
Your input was very insightful. Thank you for taking the time to explain! It makes double sense to me because I do bench press quite often
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Old 04-30-2010, 9:08 PM
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Ok I used an excuse to goto the range and fire off the shotty. It's been roughly a month... so I wanted to knock the dust off the ol' girl. I used over the head ear muffs this time... as opposed to plugs. I couldn't get a proper cheek weld and I had to adjust how I usually fire. I.e. I shot like crap... so that's something to consider as well. I'm going to have to invest in a pair of slimline muffs and see if they are any better.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:17 PM
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The squared up stance just doesn't work well for MY body.

I find it is far more comfortable to shoot at a slight angle (like the shooters in the video above). I can also point the SG more naturally and get a better cheek weld without craning my neck over like in the squared up stance.

YMMV, as always.

Last edited by Mug; 04-30-2010 at 11:27 PM..
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:34 PM
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I have the same problem with my mossberg. Ends up the aftermarket stock has a slightly different line for the top part of the stock. I put my original stock back on no problem. I eventually got used to the aftermarket one but it took a while. I liked the pistol grip but went back to the original stock
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Old 05-01-2010, 9:24 AM
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If your cheek is getting hit/hurt your face is not against the comb (top of the butt stock) firm enough. When I teach "the mount" I have my students make a knife hand and place it under their cheek lightly, then start bumping their face. After a little bit of this they see even light taps will get uncomfortable. I then have them place the hand firmly against their cheek and a again try to tap their face. With the firm pressure their entire head moves and there is no "hit or strike" only a nod. Same goes for the actual cheek weld on the stock. With a firm cheek weld, when the gun fires your head should move with the gun in recoil (no jump, no hit, no bruise)

Body build, stock length and sight type also play a part in how the stock is mounted in the shoulder. Mag-puls low mount (DeCosta) method works on his carbines well because of sight height and it may work well for others with the SG. I personally train a higher stock placement that does not require the head to lower any more than normal in an "agressive stance" (shoulders ahead of hips, ears ahead of shoulders).
We all have to remember, there is no "The Way" to shoot any gun. There are just ways that work better than others to get it done. Your job is find the different ways, try them, find what works best for you and use it. Define your use for your SG, then go where the gun is used or taught for that purpose and get trained. (i.e. don't go to a clays club to learn tactical use).

And last but not least....there is the "buyers way out". Purchase some "Cheek-Eze" from Midway or Cabellea's
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:45 PM
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ok, I know this is an ancient thread, but recently I got an argument on how to shoulder a tactical shotgun.

I currently use a method that leave the top 1/3 of stock above my shoulder, which I was told that it reduce the feel of recoil.
and the other side claims this theory is complete BS.

So what do you guys think?
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  #22  
Old 11-13-2012, 2:21 PM
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Once you learn to load fast, a sports shooter will do well on a Tac course

A Tac shooter will not do well on a sports course.

Just an observation.

Most of the shotgun stuff like mounting, shooting with minimal recoil, reflex shooting, transition on different targets are all rooted in sport shooting.

Last edited by Thefeeder; 11-13-2012 at 2:32 PM..
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