I have recently been faced with a conundrum. In the past, I have done the majority of my hunting in dense enough forest that range never tested my marksmanship. As I’ve been expanding out into the plains, this has become more of an issue. I am not a bad shot by any means, I think I’m actually pretty good, but I’m no marksman either, and I can certainly use any help I can get.
Enter the BOG-POD Rapid Shooting Rest. This is a little tripod with a rubber cradle for your rifle. It is light enough to carry all day, weighing in at about a pound and a half; it is cheap, at around $34 on amazon; and it is a whole lot more adjustable and stable than trying to rest your rifle on your backpack for long-distance shooting.
The downside to this device is that the height only ranges from 7-11”. It will only function for prone shooting. But that’s why it is so cheap. I read a lot of reviews before purchasing this and considered whether it would be better to get a full-height shooting stick that I could use from a standing position, but those are both much more expensive, and they seem to be unreliable in their setup. Every product I looked at had many bad reviews about the telescoping rods collapsing unexpectedly. This little rest is very sturdy and very stable.
So far I have mostly just deployed the shooting rest and glassed for critters–haven’t had a whole lot of opportunities to test it out–particularly not at extreme distances. But I have tried it once.
It was my first day in the field with the tripod and I was about to hike back to the car to eat lunch, feeling a bit frustrated that I hadn’t seen anything all morning. So I set up a small piece of scrap metal I’d found on a cut bank in a dry wash and hiked out 100 yards. 100 yards is not a particularly long distance, but it is about three times as long as my typical shooting with my .22. The rifle felt good and steady on the rest, and I was free to focus on the rest of the process: controlling my breathing, keeping the crosshairs steady, and squeezing the trigger slowly, letting the rifle surprise me.
When I hiked back out to the cutbank I was pleased to see that the bullet had struck dead center.
I didn’t bring home any meat that day, but I could go home feeling good about my marksmanship at least. Now all I need is to figure out how to find the plains cottontails.
But I’m curious what you think about shooting rests. Do you carry a shooting stick or do you have a bipod on your rifle? Or maybe you just lay it across your backpack for long-distance shooting.