How long should your gunstock be and how much does stock length really matter?

The Beretta 391 in the picture came with spacers allowing me to alter the length. I made it 15 inches for shooting in T-shirt weather back in dove season, intending to remove a spacer to accommodate bulky waterfowling clothes. Instead, I left it and never noticed the extra length.

As long as you mount the gun by pushing it out toward the target, you can shoot a longer stock than you might think you can without tangling it up in your hunting coat. The advantage to a longer stock, I think, is that it makes a gun mount smoother. If I mount this gun correctly, bringing it to my face, the stock just meets my shoulder without my having to pull the gun back into my shoulder pocket, possibly pulling the muzzle off target as I do so.

On the other hand, sometimes I wonder how much stock length matters. I could always shoot my son’s 13-inch youth stocked 1100 pretty well. As long as you aren’t punching yourself in the nose with the thumb of your shooting hand, maybe stock length doesn’t matter.

It was, and may still be, a trend among some sporting clays shooters to shoot absurdly long stocks. I have seen people my height (6 feet) shoot guns with a length of pull as much as 17 inches. I could sort of shoot their guns if I mounted them first, but I couldn’t mount them from a low gun start at all.