Target Shooting Model 1000 Shooting Rest by Dave Campbell, Shooting Illustrated Magazine
You have to admit that only a certifiable gun nut is going to get giddy over a rifle rest--and I'm that guy. For nigh on eight months I've been using the Model 1000 Shooting Rest from Target Shooting, Inc., and except for some really heavy kickers, I've been using it exclusively for testing guns for this space as well as load development for some upcoming articles. There are a lot of good rests out there, but I may have just found the ultimate one. OK, what's to get giddy about? Well for one thing, it weighs less than many other rests--just a bit more than 15 pounds. But that's for the whole thing--front and rear rests. Once assembled, it is a one-piece unit, so that weight covers both ends. I've used sandbags for the front end that weighed more and were less stable. Another reason I fell in love with this conglomeration of threaded steel, iron and leather is that once it is set up--it takes maybe 30 seconds to put it on the bench and adjust it to the rifle you are shooting--the Model 1000 cradles virtually any rifle with absolute stability. There's never even a hint the rifle is balanced precariously. How many times have you seen a rifle fall off a rest?
A fully-adjustable fore-end stop ensures the rifle rests at the exact same point from shot to shot. To keep the stop screws from marring the threaded rods, a nylon ball is sandwiched between them.
The spirit level mounted on the front rest allows the shooter to quickly level the rest on the bench. Workmanship on the Model 1000 is superb, making it one of the best rests available today.
The Model 1000 consists of a cast iron front base in the shape of a T with threaded bases for adjustable feet and a central recess bored for the front bag assembly. A buttstock saddle connected to the front base by two 1/2-inch pieces of key stock makes up the tail section. Cast iron parts are coated with a silver-vein powder coating and the machined parts are made from stainless steel. The front rest is supported by a 3/4-inch threaded rod in a round, knurled adjusting nut with a roller bearing washer between it and another washer atop the base, making for a glass-smooth rotating action. A 5/16-inch hand screw serves as a stop to prevent the rest from creeping under recoil. At the rear a leather covered piece of angle iron is mounted on a fully adjustable 3/8-inch screw with a knurled adjustment nut similar to that on the front. Another hand screw allows the shooter to fine tune the fore and aft tilt of the saddle to accommodate the toe of the stock. There is a spirit level on the front T platform. The three feet of the rest are hardened stainless steel and come with non-marring vinyl covers which can be removed and tapped into a wood or concrete bench if desired. There are several fore-end variations available from Target Shooting, Inc., but I chose the sandbag because it is quicker and, for my needs, more versatile. A gun vise attachment is also available that can be used for cleaning and maintenance and there is even a rest designed for handguns. The sandbag rest has about 1 1/2 inches of windage adjustment, plenty for any foreseeable shooting need. A nylon friction washer retards it from creeping. Of course, on a premium rest like this, the sandbag's ear tension is adjustable to accommodate a variety of fore-ends. And there is a fully adjustable fore-end stop at the front of the rest. On my rest, the leather sandbag is held in place with two pieces of 3/8-inch key stock and six socket-headed screws, for which Target Shooting, Inc. has supplied an Allen wrench cleverly tucked into a recess in the side of the front base. So how do you test a rifle rest? It's not like I can tell you it shrinks groups. What I can say is it makes wringing out a rifle a lot easier than most conventional rests. Some full-support rests are so bulky and poorly designed that they get in the way of the shooter--especially a shooter who is already to bulky, like me. But this rest was designed by a shooter, Wally Brownlee, and he knew exactly what a shooter wants. It needs to support without being in the way; it needs to be lightweight and portable; and the adjustments must be full range, smooth, repeatable and not wander. After eight months of regular use with a lot of rifles and handguns, I'd say Wally done good...real good.