Replacing a plastic recoil pad on a shotgun

Often old rifles and shotguns have broken and cracked recoil pads and butt plates. In this post, I’m going to replace the plastic recoil plate on a side by side shotgun with a new rubber recoil pad. This is a fairly straight forward process. The only specialized tool I use for this conversion is a fixture that mounts to my belt grinder.

Before we get to work, let’s take a look at the following disclaimer…

The contents of are produced for informational purposes only and should be performed by competent gunsmiths only. and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.

Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.

Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.

For this project, I ordered the following items from Brownells:

This is the recoil plate that I am going to replace. It is an old plastic pad that was attached with two screws.

The grinding fixture needs to be matched to the stock. The front piece is secured with a screw. To adjust the fixture, I loosen the screw and adjust the top of the fixture and butt plate angle to match the stock.

I begin by attaching the replacement rubber recoil pad (this one was made by Pachmayr) to the stock with the screws that are provided. In this case, the pad had holes in the same location as the original pad. Once the pad is attached, I secure it and the stock with a rubber-jawed vise and use a marking knife to trace the outline of the stock.

Once the outline is traced, I file some chalk over the pad and rub it. The chalk dust fills the outline. The pad is now attached to the grinding fixture.

I hang the fixture on the belt grinder and grind over to the white line. I like to split the line in two for a precise fit. I’ve found that belts in more coarse grits cut cleaner and faster than fine belts which tend to melt the pad.

Fitting new recoil pads can be tricky; but like most skills, with practice, becomes easier.