Ray’s Technical Corner
Q I would like to inquire about introducing my nephew to skeet shooting who is a new shooter using a .410. He has never fired a shotgun and is 14 years old. How would you recommend I proceed?
Landon Malevich, MI
The idea of using a .410 as a starter shotgun has been around for a long time, and here is my view. If you are simply going to "familiarize" this youngster to shooting which, of course, includes all safety rules, the .410 will be fine. However, I would not have him shooting skeet or other fast-moving targets because the difficulty with this small shotshell might be discouraging to early success. Most 14-year-olds can handle a 20 gauge, and they are much more likely to hit/break more targets. Youngsters can quickly become discouraged and making it fun early on coincides with hitting the target.
Q I have recently started shooting skeet, and after shooting a few rounds, my shotgun's recoil causes me to experience pain in my right cheek. What would you recommend to stop this from happening?
Stuart McBride, GA
Hello, Stuart. You did not mention what gauge or what the configuration of your shotgun is, but I am relatively sure your shotgun simply does not fit you. Just like shoes that fit correctly or adjusting a car seat to your comfort position, the buttstock on your shotgun has a best fit for you. A gunsmith who specializes in stock fitting is the solution, and you will be amazed at the outcome from a properly fitted shotgun stock. Several are listed in the magazine, but you will physically need to meet the gunsmith who specializes in stock work so he can "tailor fit" your stock to your body configuration.
Q I own a Remington 1100 12 gauge, and I have been regularly shooting skeet and sporting clays with it for about two years. I clean the shotgun as I think it should be, but it has started malfunctioning during doubles. What am I doing wrong?
Jim Blair, CT
Hello, Jim. Your question sure "strikes home" with me for I also enjoy shooting a Remington 1100. Considering the fact these shotguns are gas-operated, when cleaning an 1100, it is very easy to overlook a couple of critical areas. Make sure to thoroughly clean the gas coupling on the barrel and also make certain the two gas ports inside are not even slightly clogged. Then make sure your gas rings and O-ring are in good shape. Also, verify your magazine follower inside the magazine tube is moving freely with no binding, and your shell carrier/lifter is freely operating. These areas are often the fix for an 1100 that starts to have cycling problems. Lastly, I can say with experience and confidence that some specific cleaning tools in the Shootin' Accessories line are excellent for cleaning the Remington 1100. Let me know how it turns out. (Editor's note: See Shootin' Accessories for cleaning tools starting on page 33.)
Q I own a Ruger Red Label 20 gauge I purchased several years ago when they first became available. It has started to misfire, and I was wondering what you would recommend to resolve this issue.
Pat Davis, AZ
Hello, Pat. In regards to your Ruger Red Label, unfortunately Ruger has discontinued early models beginning with Serial # 400-410 and no longer carry parts for them. However, there is good news, Pat! You mentioned your Red Label is misfiring. It is very likely this is being caused by a worn/broken firing pin, a firing pin return spring, a weak hammer spring and a few other aspects of the mechanism. This malfunction is easily fixed by a competent gunsmith and should not be overly expensive either. The 20-gauge Ruger Red Label is a really nice shotgun, and like many folks, I like them too.
Q While unloading my shotgun, an incident happened that dented the barrel. I have not been able to get it repaired and would like your advice.
John Robinson, NV
Hello, John. Great question and unfortunately this often happens. In answering your question, keep in mind I am ONLY addressing a dent (inward) on a shotgun barrel, not a bulge, for there is a big difference. Removing a barrel dent is a delicate process, and there are basically two methods. The first one only involves using a fitted mandrel on a shaft, applying a very controlled amount of heat and tapping the metal back into position. The second method (which I prefer to use) is utilizing hydraulic barrel dent-removing tools. These tools are expensive; however, they do an excellent job. They also require skill to use, but they provide good results. There are some dents that require rebluing and even back boring, while others do not require either. John, you will need to seek out a gunsmith who is knowledgeable in removing barrel dents. Hopefully your dent can be easily removed.
Ray Jacobs has been a gunsmith and a machinist for over 40 years and has completed apprenticeships with both Al Timney and Dan King all while attending technical school. For the last 30 years, Ray has pursued his passion of repairing and restoring shotguns while operating a machine shop. In 1986 Ray became affiliated with the Shotgun Sports Shootin’ Accessories product line while also providing technical advice and consulting services that are shotgun related. Having spent most of his life in California, he now resides in Georgia (which has long been recognized as the Quail Capital of the World) with his wife Lisa, a bird dog named Waylon and several cats.