My early experiences with shooting off a benchrest involved a friend’s 300-yard hay meadow and a substantial wooden bench located in a little grove of trees. The bags were always there—canvas shot-bags filled with sand and kept under a bucket to keep them dry. In summer, the wasps sometimes managed to build a nest in the bucket for an exciting beginning to a shooting session.

Since that time, I’ve used all sorts of appliances to support a rifle during sight-in or a load testing session, from a lowly shot bag filled with sand to an M14 test cradle running on a Thomson Linear Motion System. The more sophisticated systems are great if you’re up for an extended session, but they’re bulky and heavy. There’s a need for a simple rifle rest that can be tossed in your gear, to be used to reliabably test guns for zero once you’ve arrived at the destination. Such rifle checks occur over the hood of a truck or across a fallen log, but they’re always a vital part of traveling and shooting a rifle.

I recently tested the BenchMaster American Bison Rifle Rest shooting bag. It’s a simple, medium-sized, shooting bag that’s made of top-grain bison leather. The two-tone leather has an antiqued look and the top surface is rough-side-out to better grip the rifle. My medium-sized test bag is about six inches square at the base and six inches high, making it perfect for that last-minute zero check over the hood of the truck with a gloved hand under the butt of the rifle. Both large and small versions are available. There’s a convenient finger loop for carrying the Bison Bag and it has an anti-skid waterproof rubber bottom for keeping the leather dry and to prevent marring the truck hood.

There’s an easy pour spout on the bottom to allow emptying it out for travel or storage. The BenchMaster Bison Bag is a high-quality, lifetime product, that’ll only look better with age. It even comes with a five-year warranty. The medium BenchMaster Bison Bag sells for $69.99.

Image by Dick Jones

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