As I mentioned previously, raising the comb of a field gun with moleskin or a slip-on comb pad makes it work better for clay target shooting–especially trap. The question arose in the comments to that post: Why should guns have different stock dimensions for clays or birds, seeing as how both are flying targets? Good question.

The gun in the picture is a Remington 1100 trap gun. I bought it (for $250. Score!) from a friend who used it as his duck gun for many years. It’s the gun I give to any kid who is having trouble hitting trap targets, especially kids who are struggling to hit trap targets with a field gun.

It has a stock that is straighter than a field stock but not aggressively high (1-3/8″ at the comb, 1-3/4″ at the heel). For most people, it shoots just high enough that you have to see the whole bird over the barrel to hit it. I believe it’s a lot easier to hit birds (whether clay or feathered) when you see them, rather than when you have to cover them with the barrel.

So, why aren’t all guns stocked this way?

I have no answers, only theories.

Here’s one: since so much of target shooting is done with a premounted gun, you have an opportunity to wriggle your cheek down onto the stock of, say, a trap gun. In the field, on the other hand, you throw the gun up hastily and rarely cheek it as firmly as you would on the target field. Therefore a field gun needs a lower comb to compensate for the fact that most people don’t have time to “get down” on it.

The man I bought the 1100 from was a serious sporting clays shooter. He has practiced his gun mounting enough that it was consistent, whether he was shooting ducks or clays with the 1100. For him, a gun with a target stock was perfect for hunting. Your mileage may vary, as they say, but it’s something to think about.