Shoot­ing for All

Russ Dou­glas finds a cou­ple of ‘sta­ble’ mates to make his life eas­ier

Airgun World - - Contents -

I’m al­ways on the look­out for kit to help me as a dis­abled shooter, and I saw a brochure photo of the ‘MTM High-Low’ heigh­tad­justable, bench-rest ta­ble a month or so in the shoot­ing me­dia, ac­com­pa­ny­ing an ar­ti­cle on a Ger­man Gun Fair. One on­go­ing is­sue I have with bench-rest shoot­ing – i.e. sta­ble shoot­ing to con­trol vari­ables and see­ing which pel­lets pro­duce the tight­est groups in a par­tic­u­lar ri­fle – is not be­ing at rest. The prob­lem is ad­just­ing my­self to hunch down over a fixed ta­ble, which I find very un­com­fort­able. I’m never sure whether to be jeal­ous, or cringe in back-re­lated sym­pa­thy when I see my fel­low shoot­ers adopt­ing such a po­si­tion at the range.

Last night’s last range re­view ses­sion was an­other ex­am­ple of me over­do­ing it. I got there early to give me time to set up the High-Low ta­ble for my fel­low club mem­bers to of­fer feed­back, and then moved a few lanes along to com­plete my chrono’ and group test­ing on the SIG P320. The prob­lem with ar­riv­ing early is that there are no friends handy to help me to un­load the car, so four trips up and down the stairs later, I was set up, but dread­ing the aches pains the next day.

ROCK-SOLID

I’d con­tacted the US sup­pli­ers, MTM, and from their web­site was redi­rected to John Roth­ery Whole­sale where the ever-re­li­able Claire ex­plained that the first batch wasn’t due in this coun­try for sev­eral weeks, so I had to be pa­tient – very re­luc­tantly.

Once I re­ceived the kit, it was very sim­ple to un­pack the mon­ster box: a light­weight (4kg) al­loy sur­vey tri­pod, and hard-plas­tic, benchrest ta­ble (1.6kg), with a non-slip up­per sur­face and raised edges. I was a di­men­sional con­trol/en­gi­neer­ing sur­veyor in a for­mer ca­reer, so have trekked up many a hill and down nu­mer­ous dales, as well as over nu­mer­ous oil rigs whilst car­ry­ing a stan­dard sur­vey tri­pod, or three, so the ad­justable part of this kit was in­stantly fa­mil­iar.

Each tri­pod leg has a wingnut-style bolt to tighten/se­cure it, as well as a quick-re­lease lever for rapid ad­just­ments. The ta­ble fits into the re­cess atop the tri­pod, and se­cures with the cen­tral han­dle. Once in place, fine-tune the ori­en­ta­tion/height by mov­ing the tri­pod feet, or ad­just­ing the in­di­vid­ual leg lengths. Ig­nore the op­tion to hang a sta­bil­is­ing weight from the hook on the han­dle, it’s a pa­per clip for sus­pend­ing plumb bobs over sur­vey pegs.

The tri­pod is nat­u­rally most at home with the legs pressed into the ground, and is rock-solid once this is done.

AP­PAR­ENT LIM­I­TA­TIONS

In­struc­tions can be found on two stick­ers, on the un­der­side of the tex­tured plas­tic shoot­ing ta­ble it­self. They ex­plain that the tri­pod legs must only be used on soft ground, and not on

“I was set up, but dread­ing the aches and pains the next day”

a hard sur­face be­cause there’s noth­ing to pre­vent the feet slid­ing. From ex­pe­ri­ence, I’d sug­gest that an im­pro­vised ‘spi­der’ – as it’s known in the sur­vey world – could be used here. That’s a three-legged strap or chain link­ing the feet, to pre­vent the legs from

splay­ing out ac­ci­den­tally. Pro­vid­ing one of these is used, I’d say that the tri­pod/ta­ble is per­fectly sta­ble on a hard sur­face, and all four friends who tried it with their ri­fles last night agreed with me. Thanks to Bri, Alec, John and Tony for your feed­back and thumbs-up.

Please note that the ta­ble is not in­tended to be leaned upon, but purely to hold the ri­fle, although you nat­u­rally rest upon or against it to a cer­tain de­gree. Also, if in­tended for long-term static use, you could per­haps sub­sti­tute the light­weight, por­ta­ble tri­pod with a heav­ier, com­mer­cially avail­able sur­vey tri­pod. This would be less por­ta­ble – they can weigh 10kg-plus – as well as more ex­pen­sive to source. The fe­male con­nec­tion un­der­neath the ta­ble ap­pears to be a stan­dard 7/8” Whit­worth sur­vey in­stru­ment, im­pe­rial thread, so any UK sur­vey tri­pod should also fit the ta­ble.

USES:

1. Bench-test­ing: Wher­ever you may be, you have the knowl­edge that you can fine-tune your bench-rest to match you, not the of­ten un­com­fort­able other way around. There’s plenty of room on the ta­ble for mag­a­zines, pel­lets and note­books, per­haps also a com­pact chrono’ like the R2A from BAR. This ta­ble could be used all day, ad­justed to suit a relaxed shooter.

2. Field-work: Used within a static hide, I can ab­so­lutely see this ta­ble pro­vid­ing a sta­ble rest for an ex­tended ver­min-shoot­ing ses­sion. The down­side would be that the al­loy tri­pod is slightly noisy to trans­port when slung over the shoul­der, and the sling is on the short side. Plus, when seated, the ta­ble can be ro­tated, but this and your field of fire are lim­ited by the ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity of your cho­sen seat.

CON­CLU­SIONS

I tested this ta­ble with a sport­ing ri­fle and a bullpup, off bean­bag and bi­pod, on hard and soft sur­faces, stand­ing and seated, and it’s in­cred­i­bly sta­ble. Ev­ery­one who’s since tried it at the club has agreed with me on this. ‘Looks like an iron­ing board’, is the ini­tial jokey re­ac­tion, then eyes widen and ‘Oh, it’s sur­pris­ingly sta­ble’ is the re­peated, in­stant fol­low-on feed­back. It’s also sym­met­ri­cal and so fully am­bidex­trous.

When stand­ing to shoot tar­gets at longer range, with my in­ner-right el­bow hooked over one cor­ner of the ta­ble, I did find that my pulse was caus­ing the crosshairs to ‘jump’ rhyth­mi­cally, and this shows how sta­ble the set-up is other­wise, and it would not have been no­tice­able if I’d worn more than just a T-shirt.

THANKS:

Thanks to fel­low GARC mem­ber, Craig, and small­bore shooter, Maria (a shoot­ing coach: www.tar­get-tech­nique.co.uk) for kindly tak­ing the pho­tos for this ar­ti­cle.

Spe­cial thanks to Claire at John Roth­ery Whole­salers for not only lend­ing me the ta­ble, but also do­ing so for an ex­tended pe­riod, to give it a thor­ough test – very much ap­pre­ci­ated.

UK SOURCES:

MTM High-Low shoot­ing ta­ble and Cald­well bench rest bags RRP £169.95/£39.95 re­spec­tively: John Roth­ery Whole­salers.

Oh, yes please! That’s so much more com­fort­able.

Lug­ging this lot around was ‘fun’, the tri­pod sling is also short.

Amer­i­can-sourced kit, so cov­ered in dis­claimers.

Crosshairs steady at 40m.

Ten­sioner nut for the quick-re­lease.

A DIY ‘spi­der’ sorted the legs for hard sur­face use.

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