I shoot DTL trap pretty much exclusively and like most trap shooters I eventually started to look at my shotgun as a possible cause for missed targets. I shoot the same Perazzi SC3 trap gun that I had purchased new through Reloader’s Supplies at the start of 2000. The gun was custom ordered and remains unchanged since that time. It is a flat rib, straight stock, 32 inch, fixed choke gun, very similar in general specification to any number of other trap guns of that era.
Around the end of 2012 I had managed to convince myself that there must be something in the high rib shotgun trend that seemed to be showing up in most clay target disciplines. When Scott (Reloader’s Supplies Managing Director) offered to let me shoot his Perazzi MX10 which he had up for sale I jumped at the chance. The MX10 model has a medium high (around 15mm tall) adjustable rib and Scott had ordered the gun with no factory stock and had fitted a German made Ergosign Evocomp adjustable stock to it, a much more modern set up to my own Perazzi.
I collected the MX10 from Reloader’s on a Wednesday afternoon and spent the following two evenings tweaking the stock until I felt like I had a good fit. On Saturday morning I was at an ATA Trap Shoot at the Thames Clay Target club where I made use of the pattern plate before the days competition commenced. I adjusted the rib and the comb height to give me the same 100% high pattern that my own gun had but with a sight picture looking along the rib rather than seeing a lot of rib like I did with my SC3.
I’d like to be able to say that the MX10 experience was a huge success but that is simply not the case. The high rib just didn’t gel with my style of shooting and I felt totally lost with that gun. The stock sure interested me though with its cool “glove grip” and top quality manufacture.
I talked to Scott that evening and he graciously agreed to let me try his Evocomp stock on my gun. That night I removed the stock from the MX10 and fitted it to my SC3. The next couple of hours were spent fiddling with the stock settings to get what felt like a good fit. I set the stock up with the same comb height as my old stock but with much more drop at that pad to allow a more upright head position and, theoretically at least, improved vision as a result.
Sunday morning and I am down at a local club shoot at the Auckland Met in Pukekohe, full of anticipation ! Into the shoot and man that was more like it ! It was like a whole new gun but similar enough that I got on with it straight away. The lower pad set up meant I wasn’t hunched over the gun like I had been with my old straight stock which made for a more natural head position which in turn made seeing the targets a good deal easier. By days end I had won the small club shoot with a score of 100 straight with just one second barrel break. I was stoked with the result and anybody that shoots clay targets would know that after a day like that it was inevitable that I was going to have my own Ergosign Evocomp stock !
On Monday I dropped the MX10 back down to Reloader’s and got the information that I needed to order an Evocomp stock for my gun. Scott gave me an order form which I filled in with details of my current stock dimensions, details of the gun to which the new stock would be fitted and my own dimensions in respect of arm length, chest size etc. This obviously allows the guys at Ergosign to ensure that the stock would be set up to suit the gun and could be set up to suit the shooter. They even want the weight of your factory stock, so they can confirm appropriate final balance I assume.
Having a nicely engraved SC3, and being rather partial to nice looking guns, I ordered my stock with upgraded wood and sent a couple of digital pictures of my SC3’s forend to Scott, along with the scanned order form, so that they could match the wood. Luckily for me a medium grip size was a good fit so I went with that and saved a few buck on not ordering a true custom fitted grip that is also an option that is offered.
It took a couple of months for my stock to arrive over which time I took a break from shooting altogether. By late summer 2013 I had my new stock on my Perazzi and was itching to get back to shooting some trap. I set the stock up similar to the borrowed Evocomp and experimented from that point. It did take some time to get the fit to the point that I was comfortable that I had it “right” but that ended up being a good thing. I learnt a lot about the subtleties of shotgun fit over that period of experimentation.
I thought I understood stock fit, at least for my own trap shooting, but having used the Evocomp for a year now I realise I didn’t know near as much as I thought. The Evocomp allowed me to easily and repeatably try different settings of stock length, comb height, comb offset, comb angle as well as the pitch, cast, and angle over the Kick Eez recoil pad to ultimately get a far better fit than my old stock ever provided.
Just recently at the World DTL Championships at Waikato Clay Target Club, and after a week of shooting every day, I made one final little adjustment that I would not previously have thought of, and which would not have been possible without the easily repeatable fine adjustments of the Evocomp. I noticed that on a hard left angle target off lane 1 I was canting the gun to the left as I swung. This just didn’t feel right and I knew it was probably responsible for the odd missed target as well a few second barrels that can cost you so dearly in a point score match. I did some thinking about the cause of the cant and made a small adjustment to the angle of the pad and a small adjustment to the pitch angle. Neither adjustment made the stock feel a great deal different to test mount but the combination freed up the inside bottom edge of the pad where it contacted my shoulder and stopped that cant. That little tweak made those hard lefts that much more certain feeling which inspired that little extra bit of confidence on those angled birds. That little adjustment helped me finish up on a very pleasing 297 broken targets out of 300 for the three day event, a result that I know the Evocomp, and the gun fit that it allowed, played a big part in.
With the stock fit set up well the whole shooting experience has become so much more enjoyable. The gun just mounts much more easily, recoils less, swings more freely and, like I said before, the more upright head position makes it easier to see the target and maintain a good visual lock on the target. It has been said, if you can’t see it you can’t shoot it, and I didn’t previously understand just how much proper gun fit affects vision.
I haven’t mentioned the “glove grip” or “anatomical grip” as Ergosign call it. That rather unconventional looking grip probably looks odd to a traditionalist but makes a great deal of sense in practice. It offers so much more control over the gun than a conventional pistol grip, I don’t know why it wasn’t done years earlier. Have a look at any recent world cup shotgun events on You Tube and you will see that a very significant number of some of the best shooters in the world are using similar style grips. I suspect they know something at that level of competition.
I experimented with the balancer kit that can be bought as an accessory for the Evocomp. As it worked out I preferred the balance of that the Evocomp provided without the balancer installed, which in fact perfectly matched the factory balance of my gun, good balance being something that Perazzi are famous for. The option is there however if one wants to fine tune a gun that is perhaps not quite as well balanced. Also available are different height comb blocks and posts, different pad plates to allow more cast to be achieved and I understand there is even a hydraulic recoil reducer in the works.
As a bit if an experiment I not so long back put my old stock back on my gun and shot a round of trap with it. I couldn’t finish those 25 targets soon enough ! I felt so awkward with the gun, all hunched over the straight stock, I couldn’t maintain a good visual lock on the target and the recoil induced by the cast off banged me in the chops and felt like a train wreck every time I pulled the trigger ! I couldn’t believe I had shot my gun that way for 13 years !
In typical German fashion the Ergosign Evocomp is extremely well designed and manufactured. Every adjustment has a rock solid feel to it. You just loosen the screws a little, make the adjustment and pinch the screws back up, no slop or slack in anything. You can clearly see and feel the result of the very precise machining and close tolerances that the various parts are held to. Other little details also highlight the undoubted quality of the Evocomp. All the adjustments have reference lines so you can see where the adjustment is currently then make small incremental and repeatable changes, a feature I found to be indispensable in experimenting effectively and methodically with my stock fit.
I mentioned earlier that I ordered my stock with wood to match the factory Perazzi forend. Well, with a bit of stock oil applied to the Evocomp, even a fussy bugger like myself could be forgiven for thinking that the stock and forend where made together for that gun not 13 years apart in different countries. Scott tells me that it seems pretty common for the guys at Ergosign to get such a good wood match.
Overall I am very pleased with the Evocomp and the positive benefits it has had on my shooting