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Brittany Man, builder, HomelessjOe, Ithaca5E, lonesome roads, Shotgunjones, Stanton Hillis
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Original Post (Thread Starter)
#604306 10/08/2021 4:58 PM
by ksauers1
What makes a shotgun perfectly balanced? Is it in the eye of the holder? What feels perfectly balanced to me may not for you? How can you pick up a gun at the Southern and say, wow, this feels great. Then pick up dozens of other shotguns , best guns, and none have the same feel. Wouldn't you expect a Boss or Purdey to have the same feel or is it all just individual?
Liked Replies
#604342 Oct 9th a 12:17 AM
by Carl46
Since different makes have different action lengths, I fail to see the value of balancing on the hinge pin. The question is how it works as a dance partner when you and the gun and the bird are in motion. If you struggle to get the gun moving, it is too heavy forward. If you struggle to keep it moving, it is too light forward. The guns that work for me tend to balance about 4.5" ahead of the front trigger for walkup shooting, and 5" for pass shooting, but that's not a hard and fast rule.

Trigger(s), balance, and fit. The stocker is the person to see for two of those.
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#604479 Oct 11th a 07:14 PM
by eightbore
I think I know a little about shotgun handling, but I won't beat my drum here. However, let me give you an example. The 3200 Remington has been described for decades as a heavy, ill balanced, eight and three quarter pound slug of a gun. However, in a game that requires the ultimate in gun handling, International Skeet, the 3200 was used to win the 1984 Olympic Gold Medal in International Skeet by an American shooter using this gun, straight out of the box. This shooter could shoot any gun on this planet, but he chose the 3200. There is a lot that can be done to change the balance of a "slug of a shotgun", but changing the position of the off hand on the forend is number one. Nothing else can be done unless you change the gun you are shooting. This winner of the Gold Medal probably didn't even think about changing shotguns. He went to the store and spent $400 on a standard 3200 skeet, just as I did when I became serious about International Skeet. Some guns feel better than others for various purposes, but there are many purposes, and bird hunting for quail and grouse is only one purpose. Dove or duck hunting from a blind is another purpose. However, as I have stated before, learning to shoot is the biggest factor in gun balance.
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#605328 Oct 29th a 02:01 AM
by Rocketman
Time for one short point today. Balance (teeter-totter point/Center of Gravity) can be related (measured to) any other point in the universe. However, the most relevant point is distance from the front trigger. Since the (front) trigger dictates back hand placement, measuring CG to trigger and center of each hand's placement to trigger allows a quick and easy calculation of % of gun's weight in each hand. Some shooters are surprisingly sensitive to this factor. Example: CG to trigger = 4", Trigger to back hand = 6", and trigger to center of front hand = 9". Hand spread = 15". Back (trigger) hand % weight is calculated from 9" / 15" = 0.6 = 60%. Front hand distance divided by over all hand-to-hand is correct for the rear hand (the closer the hand center to the gun CG the higher % of weight it holds). So, front hand has 6"/15" = 0.4 = 40% = 100% - 60% . For a 6 1/2# game gun the back hand holds 0.6 X 6 1/2# = 3.9# (3# 14.4 oz) and the front hand holds 0.4 X 6 = 2.6# (2.6# = 2# 9.6 oz).

The difference in weight per hand is linear as the CG and/or hand placements change. The change in MOI is a square function (1X1 = 1, 2X2 = 4, 3X3 = 9, etc.) of mass X radius about/around the CG of the mass (lowest possible) any other defined point. Lengthening the radius by 3 has an effect of 9 times on the MOI.

Pivot pin has been the go-to location for "balance" for a long time. The truth is that there is so much variation among guns for trigger to pivot pin length that it simply is not a useful measurement.

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#604313 Oct 8th a 06:13 PM
by Stanton Hillis
Stanton Hillis
Originally Posted by PALUNC

That's hogwash. All that to-do about English guns balancing on the cross pin when, if you put two loaded shells in the chambers it will no longer balance at the same spot. What good is it to brag on a gun "balancing at the cross pin" when it's empty?

Empty guns break no clays, nor do they kill birds.
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#604346 Oct 9th a 12:33 AM
by Shotgunjones
This subject can be over simplified or made needlessly complex.

I've found a lght gun benefits greatly from a bit of weight distribution towards the ends - thus my preference for a long barrel set and a long pull on a small bore double. It of course would 'balance' the same place as one with a shorter barrel and stock.

Most of it is what you get used to. Many people shoot a K-80 very well and that's about as dead a gun as can be found. Even Kriegoff finally came to their senses and came out with a model with a lighter barrel set.

Yes, I've had the good fortune to shoot a Purdey. I looked stunning behind it in my blue jeans and T-shirt, at least so I was told. It's a gun. I could learn to shoot it.

Same guys who tell me my Model 50 is so butt heavy as to be useless admire a 'lively' Perazzi.

Stan, I like my automatics to balance someplace along the ejection port. That gives me a about a 3" range so I'm never disappointed.
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#604371 Oct 9th a 01:35 PM
by SKB
Differing balance for differing disciplines? I like an upland gun to be much livelier than a gun for dedicated target shooting.
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#604489 Oct 11th a 11:40 PM
by Shotgunjones
Except that the right hand really can't 'go' back. Pull length is determined by the geometry of the shooter within reason. What would seem to occur with weight spread out as you describe would be the action mass going forward. = deader gun, not livlier.
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#604485 Oct 11th a 10:23 PM
by eightbore
My good friend Stan and I agree that a multitude of guns is the preferred method for successful shotgunning, but, in the absence of a bunch of guns, hand position on the forearm is another way to change the balance of your gun. Neither Stan or I need Ed's assistance in adding to our stash of shotguns.
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#604486 Oct 11th a 11:00 PM
by Shotgunjones
Originally Posted by ed good
...what you really need is about a dozen different gons

Why should we cut back?
1 member likes this
#604539 Oct 13th a 11:54 AM
by HomelessjOe
You guys should get a hobby
1 member likes this
#604545 Oct 13th a 01:27 PM
by lonesome roads
lonesome roads
Originally Posted by HomelessjOe
You guys should get a hobby

Maybe start a revolution. Play some golf.

1 member likes this
#604454 Oct 11th a 11:51 AM
by Stanton Hillis
Stanton Hillis
What Powell said "the Sidelock spreads its action and locks over almost twice the area of a Boxlock, hence it feels more alive in your hands.", does not jive with how I understand what Don Amos explained, concerning the moment of inertia, to me. I equate "alive in the hands" with the ability to move the gun easily about, at will, almost as if there was nothing in your hands and you were just pointing a finger, so to speak. This is accomplished by doing exactly the opposite of what Powell suggested. Concentrating the mass of the gun nearer the balance point has the effect of taking mass away from the extremities of the gun. It creates less resistance to the muscles moving the gun. In extreme cases it can lead to what one person may call "whippiness", or the quality that may cause one to wave the muzzles all about before they settle down on target.

The opposite scenario, lessening the mass at the balance point and moving it towards the ends (the muzzles and the butt), causes the gun to have greater resistance to moving from a static state, or changing direction. This can be a bad thing ........... or a good thing. I have a little 28" barreled .410 S X S that only weighs 4 - 14. Ordinarily one would assume it would be nearly impossible to shoot well, yet I found I could shoot it very well. I was a bit puzzled until Don (Rocketman) spun it for me on his turntable device and did some measurements. He told me that it even surprised him that the MOI was what it turned out to be, and that it was very close to that of a 12 ga. English game gun that would weigh considerably more. This was accomplished by using an aluminum alloy for the action frame, which lessened the mass near the balance point, and by leaving the barrels thicker nearer the muzzles, and also by stocking it for a full sized man, at roughly 14 3/4" LOP ............. thus shifting much of the mass from the center (balance point) towards the ends (muzzles and butt).

There is no disputing the numbers. The physics of this are not up for correction. The problem, IMO, comes when we try to assign terminology to how a gun feels. "Alive", "lively", "whippy", "quick", "alive in the hands" ........... as opposed to "sluggish", "heavy", "clumsy", "dead". Two people may never be able to agree on the proper adjectives to describe gun handling characteristics (because no two persons have the same muscle memory with shotguns), but to argue that dynamics are not greatly affected by internal weight distribution is akin to denying the sunrise. I consider my time spent with Don, and his MOI machine, at the top of the most enlightening times I have ever had in understanding gun handling. I've shot lots of shotguns in my life, at targets and game, including English best. I can find nothing "exclusive" about the way an English "best" handles, nor does it break targets or kill game any better than another make of gun. If beauty is where you find it, then I would advance that the perfect match for any one person, in a gun, is where you find it, too. Understanding the numbers can help you narrow that search, but ultimately it is how well you bond with that gun, and how much you shoot it. Once that "pearl" is located, one would be well advised to sell off whatever is necessary to acquire it, and then never let it go. The more you shoot it, the better the gun will "become".
1 member likes this
#605190 Oct 26th a 10:00 AM
by Salopian
Don ( Rocketman) ,
As usual you are spot on and talking a lot of sense .
It really is all about comfort to shoot and our own personal 'feel' .
I am now in my 'later' years and beginning to find mobility slow and cumbersome ( as well as sometimes breathless).
Recently I have suffered a loss of shooting form at clays and all the 'experts' have expressed their opinion that I am too old and too short to weild my faithful 32" barrelled shotgun , listening and taking heed of their self opinionated expert advice I have taken out both a 28" barrelled gun and a 30" barrelled gun that years ago did suit me perfectly as I made my progression through my dealers shotgun stock ,at the expense of my wallet .
I am glad to report that the 'experts' can keep their opinions to themselves , there is little wrong with my 'long gun' it is just the lazy user.
On another note last week upon meeting a friend at a shoot he bemoaned that he maybe had made the wrong decision in hastily buying himself a new Beretta DT11 Carbon Black . " Why what's wrong? " I asked , he replied that although lighter than his usual DT11 due to the substitution of various carbon fibre components the gun felt 'DEAD'.
I asked to try , and yes it was heavy and unresponsive . He then volunteered the knowledge that using the factory supplied weighting system he had removed 30 grams of weights from out of the buttstock, I noted that the gun was very muzzle heavy and weighted well forward of the hinge pin . With his permission I removed the two most forward barrel weights from under the forend weighing a total of 20 grams . Very unscientific I know but we can only try when our backs are to the wall .
The owner tried the gun and instantly was beaming from ear to ear the gun in his words " Was transformed, I love it ."
Now let us not get carried away , it is not always that easy and I suggested that when he got home he should fit ALL the standard supplied weights ( 30 grams back in the stock etc.) Then check the weight and balance carefully and make INFORMED decisions which way to go . If it involves reducing all weights and balancing on or around the hinge pin , between the hands or what ever , so be it . Remember most 'Pigs on a Shovel ' can be catered for .
1 member likes this

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