Shooting your gun from a stable position is incredibly helpful when it comes to making an accurate and safe shot, especially when hunting. When hunting, you want to hit your target as dead-on as possible for an easy, painless and quick kill. Many hunters shoot from an offhand position, which is very unstable and should be avoided if possible. Some hunters even try to kneel to the ground and lean against a tree, fence or rock, which helps, but doesn’t come close to a proper shooting rest.
The lack of trees and other structures you could lean your gun against combined with the tall grass made portable shooting rests a really popular option in Africa. While the first ones don’t really look like what you have probably in mind right now, many shooters would use wooden sticks as a shooting rest, which allowed them to hunt animals from up to 300 yards away. However, fortunately we now have shooting rests that are a little more versatile and functional than wooden sticks and there are three options to choose from:
- One legged monopods
- Two legged bipods
- Three legged tripods
The more legs as shooting rest has, the steadier it will be, but a tripod shooting rest will be more expensive and heavier than a monopod shooting rest. Each type of shooting rest comes as a stand-alone piece or an accessory that attaches to your gun. Both have their benefits and downfalls, so think about the intended use and how much stability you can sacrifice for less weight.
Stand-Alone Shooting Rests
Stand-alone, or detached, shooting rests are meant to be carried separately from your gun and can be quickly opened for use when hunting. Stand-alones are optimal for hunting in both mountains and lowlands. You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing monopod, bipod or tripod stand-alone shooting rests. They usually come with the ability to adjust for different heights and shooting ranges through twisting locks or levers on the legs. Your shooting rest should have a V-shaped rest, also called yokes, on the top to hold your gun or crossbow. The yoke should be able to rotate a full 360 degrees for optimal hunting. Shooting rests also come in a variety of colors, but obviously a standard camouflage pattern is the way to go when hunting. Rubber coated legs will improve grip on natural grounds. The more expensive brands will come with the option to quickly change accessory heads for video cameras, DSLR cameras, scope and binoculars. This allows hunters to spot and watch their game and then quickly place their gun to aim and shoot. Definitely a neat option for photographers who don’t want to carry a tripod along with their shooting rest. If you’re looking for a more lightweight shooting rest, choose one with collapsible legs.
Attachable Shooting Rests
Shooting rests that are attachable usually only come as monopods or bipods, and they attach to either the front swing swivel of a rifle or the underside of the barrel. They are great to use for prairie game, such as deer, caribou, coyote and mules. They are also useful for hunting wild turkey. These types of shooting rests are adjustable and can either get low to the ground for kneeling shooters or be tall for standing. Those types normally don’t rotate like some stand-alone shooting rests, but they can be adjusted for uneven ground.
So, how do you decide which type of shooting rest is best for you? You should ask yourself a few questions to determine the answer:
- What type of environment do I usually hunt in?
- What game do I usually hunt for?
- Would a monopod, bipod or tripod best suit my needs?
- What is my budget?
Once you decide if you’d prefer an attachable or stand-alone shooting rest, you can decide what type of hunting you’ll most often use it for. Of course, the more legs your shooting rest has, the more accurate of a shot you’ll make, but you’ll need to decide if you need a lightweight shooting rest to quickly follow after your game or a sturdy shooting rest for standing in long periods. Hunting in prairies or other open spaces means you’ll have more room for a tripod, but if your hunting range has many obstacles, like hills, mounds and brush, you’ll have to consider purchasing a monopod or bipod to take up less space.
After purchasing your shooting rest, you’ll realize how much of a difference in your shooting it makes. You’ll be able to make faster and more accurate shots while at the same time reducing recoil. Check out your local gun shop soon to see what types of shooting rests are available to you.