You’ll shoot better and experience less perceived recoil if you’re shooting a gun that fits, and finding a gun that fits two of my kids has been particularly challenging. My oldest daughter at the tender age of 13 is already 6-foot 4 inches tall but too willowy to hold the weight of a gun with the 16-inch stock she needs. My youngest son, on the other hand, is positively tiny and strong as an ox, but almost unable to reach the trigger even on a “youth” model shotgun.
When my kids were really little, I had a 28-gauge side-by-side cut down and scaled to toy gun proportions and it worked great, but they’ve since outgrown it. It used to be easier to make a stock shorter than longer because there were plenty of gunsmiths who would slice off as much as necessary and fit a new recoil pad. Good gunsmiths are harder to find now, so these days it’s easier to make a stock longer by adding aftermarket slip-on pads or spacers between the stock and the recoil pad.
Lately, gun manufacturers are really taking stock fit seriously and you see that in the abundance of new guns with adjustable stocks. I recently switched the kids over to a Mossberg 500 FLEX because I can change the stock on it instantly so that the boy has a 13 ¼-inch, and the girl a 16 pull. Because there is no gas handling components inside the fore end, it’s light enough that they both handle it with ease and without getting tired.
If you’re having trouble hitting clay targets, or think your gun kicks too much, go to a gunshop where they understand length of pull, get measured and use the correct length. Your scores will improve, and you’ll be more comfortable shooting.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”