ORIGINAL: www.NRASHARP.com/gear/spec-rest-mechanical-marvel-provides-options-lasorte (used with permission)
SPEC-REST: MECHANICAL MARVEL PROVIDES OPTIONS
Mr. Noir and I were lucky enough to be invited out to a shoot hosted by John Wayne Walding this past weekend involving machine guns, precision tactical rifles and wild rides on a Little Bird. Oh yeah, and the machine guns included a minigun with a cyclic rate of something like 6,000 rounds per minute. Yes, that’s right – around 100 rounds per second, and it runs off of an aviation battery. I’ve wanted to shoot one since before I could say “mama.” Dreams do come true!
However, with all of that excitement, one of the neatest pieces of equipment that I was able to try was the Spec-Rest. It is a precision rifle rest that seems to act like a robotic arm whose movement is controlled by the shooter through inputs on the rifle and, to a lesser extent, the rest itself. Robert Black, the inventor and manufacturer, was there to walk me through how it works.
The rifle sits on a cradle, and the rest sits on an adjustable tripod or quadpod. Through pressure exerted by the shooter, the rifle moves smoothly on the rest in order to get on target. Once on target, the shooter’s off-hand can be used to turn a micro elevation wheel for the last fine adjustments to the target. This is all intuitive and lightening-quick stuff. As Robert explained things, the one thought that continued to roll through my head was how much of a precision machine this thing really was. It seemed like something better suited for a surgical facility than for a range with mud and bearded dudes everywhere.
It is the kind of product that can only truly be appreciated if you actually try it yourself. A 5 Toes Custom .308 was sitting on the Spec-Rest when I stepped up to it. I proceeded to make five consecutive hits on a steel plate at 500 yards while standing. It showed its capabilities right out of the gate, and I was pretty sure that I was going to be about $700 poorer at some point soon. Here is a video of Robert discussing his product at a trade show (note that I’ve told him that he should spend a little less time making amazing products and more time making a good demo video).
When I find a great piece of equipment like the Spec-Rest, the first thing I want to do is tell everyone about it so they have the chance to benefit from it. I immediately emailed a couple of my good friends in the gun/hunting magazine business. Their response was depressing and disappointing to say the least. They have evidently recently degenerated into the elitists who plague the hunting community.
They’re worried that people will start relying on it to hunt big game. It’s either their way or the highway. What they do is hunting. Everything else is cheating or the nails-on-chalkboard “not fair chase” crap. Their reaction hurt my soul a little. Their bias is going to stand in the way of further informing our community.
Personally, I’m all about people having options. I just want more people out in the field pursuing prairie dogs, coyotes, groundhogs, feral hogs and any other beast that requires management, including big game. This is coming from a guy who refuses to attach a bipod to his big game hunting rifles. As I’ve written before in this space, I use shooting sticks in the field, and that’s it. There are too many liabilities that come along with the use of attached bipods. Am I cheating by using the sticks instead of standing and shooting everything off-hand? After my recent exchange, I’d guess a couple of my buddies think so, but I believe getting as stable for the shot as practically possible is something we owe the animal.
Am I going to tote the Spec-Rest into Northern New Mexico’s mountains while I’m hunting elk next month? I assure you that I am not. I’m going to have enough trouble toting my seven-pound rifle and 10-ounce shooting sticks. Does this mean that the brave Marine who was at the shoot this past weekend whose right arm was blown up by an RPG in Afghanistan shouldn’t know about it so that he can? How about the mentor who takes the first-time youth hunter out after Texas whitetail from a ground blind? Of course there are countless others as well who deserve to know about this product so they can choose to use it as they deem appropriate.
One way I will most certainly use the Spec-Rest is for shooting prairie dogs at extreme ranges – one of my favorite pastimes. I get some emotion-laden heat about it from some, but a bullet is better than poison that can head up the food chain; and ranchers out west tend to deliver death to the little vermin one way or the other.
When I shoot p-dogs, I currently do it prone off of a bipod (doesn’t break my personal rule because these animals are a long way from falling into the big game category). Being in this position all day will give you a terribly stiff back and neck. Do this for three or four days straight, and your chiropractor will be a happy person. Also, I am severely restricted to certain locations because of vegetation and terrain features that block line of sight to the little critters’ town.
The Spec-Rest provides the perfect solution to all of my problems. It will allow me to shoot from a chair, keeping my body in a comfortable position and my eyes and muzzle above slight terrain changes and grass. All of this while using a rock-steady rest that is far more maneuverable than my current bipod and butt bag.
I’m a happy shooter now that I’m aware of this remarkable product. I’ll probably use the one I buy for my deer hunts with wounded warriors and very young kids. These, along with p-dog shooting, are a couple of applications that I personally deem appropriate. It’s just too bad that some in our community are too arrogant to educate simply because they see the world through their incredibly myopic perspective. That they are my friends is that much tougher to swallow.
*Photos provided by Lone Star Field Products
LaSorte has been shooting regularly since he was four years old and has grown into a competitive shooter, adventure hunter and NRA Certified Instructor. There is nothing he enjoys more than acquiring and sharing knowledge associated with shooting and self-defense. Empowering others, especially women, through an introduction to what he calls the “beautiful world” of shooting is his passion.