Gun fit is a big issue in shotgun shooting, but people forget it’s important for rifle shooting too. Your cheek needs to be resting nicely on the comb, so your head is always in the same place in relation to the scope for the best accuracy and consistent groups. 

That’s a problem where rifle stocks haven’t kept pace with developments in telescopic sights, night vision and thermal, explains Marcus Simpson of Simpson Brothers, a family-owned gun shop in Cambridgeshire.

Marcus Simpson compares comb heights on rifles in his shop

“A lot of the older, traditional rifle stocks are low in the comb,” Marcus says. “They were designed to be shot with iron sights. With modern sights, like night vision and thermal, it’s lifting up the line of sight.” Another factor is your shooting position, he points out. Your head position will change depending on whether you are shooting prone, in a high seat or off sticks. “It means you do need an adjustable comb raiser, and perhaps lengthening the stock to fit you.”

The height of optical day scopes has been growing in recent years too. Scope objective lenses have become bigger, and 30mm tubes are now commonplace. “A few years ago everyone aspired to putting a 6×42 Zeiss, Swarovski or Pecar on their rifle. Now everyone wants a 56mm. So the height is creeping up,” says Marcus.

Some rifles nowadays come fitted with an adjustable stock as standard

Marcus says that a lot of stock designs haven’t yet caught up. They’re still too low in the comb to shoot comfortably with a modern scope. It’s only in the last 15 years or so that iron sights have been removed, so that many of the rifles sold in the UK don’t come with iron sights now.

So what can you do if your comb is too low for your choice of scope? A replacement stock is an option of course, but Marcus says he can fit an after-market comb raiser to an existing stock. “We see people putting all sorts of foam padding or fitted units to their stocks. The main thing is that your head is going to the same place each time, so you get consistency. Without that, you just won’t get consistent results.”

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