For many women, their first hunting experience is done with a borrowed firearm. It makes sense for women hunters to give it a try without spending a lot of money. However, if you’ve fallen in love with getting outdoors, building new skills, and enjoying time with friends and family, it’s time to make an investment. A shotgun that fits you and your style of hunting can make a great outdoor experience even better.
Buying a shotgun comes with a host of decisions, such as what action you prefer and what gauge you need. Each option has its pros and cons. Your choice will depend on several factors, such as what game you’re going to hunt and your expectations for performance.
When you’re ready to go shopping for a shotgun, make sure you check out a firearms store that offers a big inventory and knowledgeable associates. Take your time and don’t just look. Mount a variety of shotguns and see what feels right. Use your experience with borrowed shotguns to understand what you did and didn’t like. And before you go shopping, talk to other women shotgunners to get their opinions.
How to Fit a Shotgun for Females
An important aspect of this new purchase is making sure you end up with a firearm that fits YOU. A firearm that doesn’t fit right will prevent you from becoming the best shooter you can be, thereby chipping away at your confidence.
Tip: Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun - 12 Gauge this gun is easy to handle under pressure, for competition or a fast-paced hunt.
There are three main factors to consider when it comes to proper gun fit: length of pull, drop at comb, and cast. While some hunters would have you believe this is rocket science, it’s not. These terms are measurable dimensions that ensure when your shotgun is mounted correctly, you can look down the length of the rib and shoot where you are looking. Honestly, it’s not much more complicated than getting a bra that fits correctly.
Tip: Resources like Shoot Like a Girl have mad it easy for women shooters to learn from other women shooters.
Length of Pull
When you mount the gun, the space between where your thumb knuckle rests and your nose shouldn’t be more than 1 ½ to 2 ½ fingers wide. If you’ve got more gap than that, a gunsmith can adjust the stock to ensure a perfect fit.
Drop at Comb
When you mount the gun, your eye should be able to look directly down the length of the rib. If you have a center bead and a front bead, they should line up. If there’s too much drop, you may end up looking at the back of the receiver, and you’ll wind up shooting low. If you’re looking down onto the rib, the stock is too high, which will cause you to shoot high.
Cast Angle of the Gun Stock
Cast refers to how the stock is angled to account for your body, face and eye dominance so you are able to shoot where you look. Often, right-handed shooters have the stock adjusted to the right (cast off) while left handers may need it adjusted to the left (cast on). Cast also factors in chest width and facial width as well. The correct cast will keep you shooting straight.
Having a professional gunsmith who can make the necessary adjustments for your perfect gun fit is important. However, to ensure these measurements are spot on, you must be able to mount your shotgun correctly and consistently. Spend some time with a friend who can watch you mount your gun and offer pointers. Then practice in front of a mirror until it’s second nature.
For more information about gun fit, check out this video from the National Shooting Sports Foundation:
Reaching your potential as a hunter takes having the right tools. So make sure you kiss a lot of frogs before you settle on a shotgun. For more tips on buying a shotgun, visit Choosing a Shotgun at Bass Pro Shops.