A tale of balance
A tale of balance

Shotgun balance. Any experienced and understanding gunner knows that the balance of the gun is an extremely important parameter that has a huge impact on the "hit".

My friends, hunters! Let me tell you, many people simply ignore this characteristic of the gun. This is done for a variety of reasons. Someone does not even bother on this score, preferring to shoot from a purchased gun without any modifications and refinements "for themselves." Someone considers the balance of the gun to be a completely insignificant characteristic, giving preference only to the main indicators of the battle: accuracy, sharpness and uniformity of the debris.

Meanwhile, any shooter who is experienced and understands a lot about weapons knows: the balance of a gun is an extremely important parameter that has a huge impact on such an important characteristic of it as "hitting." This term was coined by the Olympic champion in clay pigeon shooting Evgeny Aleksandrovich Petrov.

There are two types of balance: horizontal and vertical. Almost everyone knows about the first one. Alas, only a few of the advanced stand-up shooters who have reached the level of a master of sports in trap shooting and strive to squeeze the maximum possible out of their brainchild in order to obtain a perfect tool in all respects to achieve the highest results know about the second.

I would like to offer the readers my way of adjusting the balance, which I would strongly recommend to stand-ups in the first place. It allows you to make a very fine adjustment of the horizontal balance of the gun, in which, alternating different settings with shooting and evaluating the convenience and comfort in handling the gun during the process, it is possible to end up with a perfectly balanced apparatus!

Do I need to carry a knife with me? Knife use methods
Do I need to carry a knife with me? Knife use methods

What you need to pay attention to when balancing

• Considering that the butts of expensive sporting and hunting rifles, in turn, are also very, very expensive, in order to avoid the risk of damage to them, be sure to stock up on a good tool before starting work.

• Perforated drills should be used, since they have a guide that protrudes strongly forward from the level of the cutting plane, which does not allow the drill to wiggle away from the axis of the hole. Particularly good are the American Du Valt drills. They have two types of drills: with and without a chip evacuating spiral. Naturally, the drill must be flawlessly sharpened, which will minimize the risk of pinching or splitting the stock.

• Fixing the stock with the shock absorber removed and the receiver attached should be done as follows. The stock should be wrapped in thick hard leather and clamped in a vice with the comb of the stock upwards so that the fixation is absolutely secure.

• If the vise is small (this is the most preferable option), then the toe of the butt should rest on the table surface and only then clamp the receiver.

• On the drill, turn on the highest revolutions and, resting on the point on the axis of symmetry of the butt end in the right place, the drill guide, start drilling the hole, orienting the drill strictly along the vertical plane of symmetry of the butt. This will prevent the drill from piercing the sides of the stock through. The hole depth is 100–150 mm, depending on the severity of the balance situation. The hole diameter is chosen according to the same situation, namely 16–22 mm. It meant that the more weight to be added to the butt, the larger the hole should be.

Do I need to carry a knife with me? Knife use methods
Do I need to carry a knife with me? Knife use methods

• I first filled the drilled holes with weights - cylinders of different heights, turned from steel or brass. Playing with the height of the set of weights, it was possible to easily and simply achieve the desired result.

• Fixation of the column of weights in the hole is made with a conventional plastic monolithic cork from a wine bottle, which was cut in diameter to a size that ensures it fits snugly into the hole, followed by pressing it all the way.

By the way, if you need to readjust the balance later, there will be no problems with removing the cork. There must be a corkscrew in any home! In my opinion, plastic wine corks are much better than natural corks, because they have a significantly higher coefficient of friction and do not collapse even with repeated abuse of the aforementioned corkscrew.

Balancing fanaticism

Some people divide this process into several separate stages.

• First, the block of barrels with the forend is balanced relative to a point on the lower part of the forend, which lies in a vertical plane passing through the zone of constant grip of the forearm with the shooter's left palm, namely: somewhere through its (palm) middle, that is, through the center of the fossa on her.

• Then the assembly is balanced (receiver plus butt). The balance point should be in a vertical plane passing through the area of coverage of the neck of the butt with the right hand.

• And only after the two above-mentioned operations are done, they begin to perform the already final stage: the horizontal balance of the gun as a whole.

Do I need to carry a knife with me? Knife use methods
Do I need to carry a knife with me? Knife use methods

* * *

It is very important to balance the shotgun with the cartridges inserted in the chamber!

And in the case of the balance on the butt, everything is solved easily and simply: one or several holes are drilled in the butt end of the butt, which will reduce its weight to the required value.

Now about the balance point. Numerous experiments and practice of shooting this point is prescribed to be 50–55 mm in front of the plane of the junction of the breech section of the barrel block with the “mirror” of the receiver. But here, too, there are nuances that directly depend on the length of the arms of the shooting individual. For shooters with long arms who hold the fore-end closer to the fore-end, the balance point should naturally move forward from the coordinates recommended above. Conversely, for short-handed shooters who hold the forend almost to the receiver, the balance point should be shifted back.

For shooters whose right hand is much stronger than the left, the balance point should be moved back from the coordinates recommended above.

Here's another thing: the best support that I can recommend for shooters and hunters when balancing a gun is a regular hex pencil, which should be placed on the corner of the table at an angle of 45 degrees to its sides, and already on it, in turn, put the lower part of the receiver.

That is, in fact, all about the horizontal balance of the gun.

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