With tons of great options on the market, there’s a steady rest for every hunter’s needs. These shooting sticks are sure to improve your field shooting skills.
It was a hunting experience more than 25 years ago that made me realize I needed a tall shooting rest or shooting sticks. I stalked a mule deer buck over some very rugged terrain and was carefully scanning the mountainside below when I discovered the buck was watching me from above. Standing, I tried to take aim but couldn’t steady the rifle. I tried kneeling but had no luck, and when I went prone I couldn’t see over the brush and grass. Fortunately for me, the buck stood and watched until I could get my breathing under enough control to take the shot. Before the next trip, I fabricated a shooting rest for myself to deal with similar conditions since there was nothing commercially available at the time.
Most shooting rest designs (bipods) on the market are focused on the military or police markets and are designed for low-to-the-ground shooting positions. Hunters typically shoot from higher positions, however, and need a taller rest. For review, I collected rests ranging from the extremely lightweight to those built for heavy duty use. Each design has advantages and disadvantages; selection of the right rest depends on the application and personal preferences. Some manufacturers offer add-ons that increase versatility. I have my own favorites driven by my needs, but they may not meet yours. As you do your research, you might find you need more than one—I certainly do.
The Bipod Shooting Sticks bipod is made of fiberglass rods with steel connectors that use shock-cords to hold them together. A rubber tubing loop serves to mount the bipod to the rifle, thus keeping it in the same location shot after shot. The bipod comes with a neoprene “sock” that serves as both a storage case and holster. When mounted on a waist belt, the holster supports the ends of the bipod for both off-hand and sitting positions, creating a surprisingly steady rest. The legs can also be spread on the ground in the same manner as a conventional bipod with a range of heights from 10.5 to 33.5 inches. ($39.95; bipodshootingsticks.com)
Bog Pod | CLD-3s
The Bog Pod Camo Legged Devil (CLD-3s) tripod weighs approximately 32 ounces. It is primarily composed of aluminum with three, three-section, high-strength, lightweight aluminum legs. Leg adjustments are secured with rapid-adjust lever locks, while the middle leg sections of each leg feature inch markings that help to quickly adjust each to the same height. The CLD-3s has a range of adjustment from 5.5 inches up to 42.5 inches. A carry bag with an Allen wrench for adjusting leg tension is included with the rest. ($159.99, boggear.com)
The HD-3 weighs approximately 56 ounces. Like the CLD-3s, it is primarily made of aluminum with three beefed-up, lightweight aluminum legs. The legs have 5mm larger tubes than standard Bog Pod shooting platforms. Having a range of adjustment from 20-65 inches as measured at the bottom of the “U” form rest, the HD-3 can be used for sitting, kneeling or standing shooting positions. Bog Pod also offers a selection of accessory mounts that will accommodate binoculars, spotting scope, cameras, etc. A carry bag with an Allen wrench for making leg tension adjustments is included with the HD-3. ($179.99, boggear.com)
Cabela’s 3-in-1 shooting rest can be used as a monopod, a bipod or a tripod. It is made of aluminum and polymer and features a “U” shaped rest. The rest is rubber coated and has rubber “blades” similar to a windshield wiper that help to steady the firearm. The lowest position possible is when used as a bipod, which puts the bottom of the rest at 25.5 inches. At full leg extension the rest is 58 inches in height as either a bipod or a tripod. When used as a monopod, the range of adjustment is from 28.5-63 inches. The rest weights 35.2 ounces ($74.99; cabelas.com)
Cabela’s Bi-Pod Shooting Sticks can be used as not only a bipod but as a monopod as well. The sticks are made of aluminum and polymer with a matte black finish and have a rubber padded “U”-shaped firearm support. What is unique to Cabela’s Bi-Pod is the addition of an adjustable strap connecting one leg to the other. The connecting strap prevents the legs from sliding apart when the bipod is used on hard surfaces where the feet cannot get a grip. The Bi-Pod has a range of adjustment from 20-61 inches and weighs 17.5 ounces. ($38.99, cabelas.com)
Kramer’s SnipePod V2 is meant for extreme hunting situations where gear weight is of the utmost concern. The V2 is a highly advanced version of the original model with a range of adjustment from 7.5-27 inches and weighs an incredibly light 5 ounces. Each leg is mounted in a ball joint and allows almost unlimited three-axis movement. A small aluminum mount is attached to the firearm utilizing a standard QD sling swivel stud. The bipod is quickly attached and removed without the use of tools. Kramer offers an accessory third leg that turns the bipod into a tripod for use with a spotting scope. ($125.00; kramerdesignscorp.com)
Primos’ Jim Shockey Edition Trigger Stick tripod is easily adjusted with one hand by pulling the trigger. The grip is held at the desired height while gravity causes the legs to extend to the ground. The tripod weighs 46 ounces and can be used as both a gun rest and an optical gear mount. The rest has a range of height from 28-62 inches as measured from the bottom of the “V” rest. As an optics support, the “V” rest can be removed to expose threaded fixtures for mounting optical gear such as cameras, spotting scopes, binoculars and laser range finders. ($195.95; primos.com)
The Steady Stix Magnum has a rubber padded “V” form rest and is designed for quick setup and use. Although the Magnum has increased the tube diameters of the Magnum to .515-inch versus .340-inch for my old Steady Stix, it is still a very light rest (8 ounces). The leg sections are connected with a pressure-fit ferrule and extreme-duty shock cords. Packed, the overall length is 15 inches, and when the three-section legs are fully extended the rest is 45 inches long. It features usable shooting heights ranging from 26-34 inches. ($44.95; primos.com)
The Pole Cat Monopod from Primos is made of three sections of seamless tempered aluminum and utilizes patented Posi-Lock adjustments. Weighing 10.9 ounces, the monopod is easy to transport and can be adjusted from 25-62 inches. Not only is the monopod a shooting rest, it can also double as a hiking aid. Primos has fitted the monopod with a very usable hand strap in the style of a ski pole strap that helps reduce hand fatigue on long treks. For non-hunting use, the shooting rest can be easily removed and replaced with a nicely finished wooden knob available as an accessory. ($44.95; primos.com)