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Blackhorn Powder
Rifle Magazine
January - February 2005
Volume 37, Number 1
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 217
On the cover...
From the Winchester Custom Shop comes a stainless Model 70 with full octagonal barrel featuring a Burris 3-9x scope in Burris rings and mounts. Also featured is a Doug Turnbull restored Winchester Model 1892 lever action. Rifle photos by Gerald Hudson. el
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Inventive Technology Sharp Shooter Bench and Rifle Rest

I sometimes stumble across interesting new shooting gear in the darnedest places. A few months ago I was dropping some film off for processing at the same time Kent Roberts, a local manufacturer, was making arrangements to have photos taken of some new products he was about to market under the Inventive Technology trade name.

When he brought his products in from the truck, I did a fast double-take. The first was a flat piece of wood with a pair of sturdy steel legs folded snugly against it. The legs unfolded to create a shooting bench similar to the light, portable bench I’ve used for several decades now. That super-handy bench has long since been out of production, and I can’t even remember who made it. Like my old, faithful shooting bench, the new Sharp Shooter bench took up practically no space in a car trunk or the bed of a pickup truck.

The other product was a sturdy steel shooting rest with several useful features. The lower assembly consisted of a T-shaped base made of miniature closed-sided girders 1 1/2 inches thick. The rear of the T rested on a square rubber foot, while the T’s crossbar featured screw-adjustable legs. The base supported a 24-inch steel arm with a rubber rear yoke slotted to fit a rifle’s butt. Another yoke at the front of the arm consisted of a wide-mouthed vise with rubber-padded jaws. This vise could be adjusted to firmly grip anything from a trim, narrow forend to the wide beavertail stocks benchrest target rifles sport.

An opposing pair of knurled wheels allowed the forward yoke to be locked at a particular height. Finally, a separate wheel 8 inches to the rear allowed precise adjustments in elevation.

I introduced myself to Roberts and made arrangements to pick the samples up after the photographer had finished with them. When I headed to my desert shooting range to test rifles a few days later, the Sharp Shooter bench and Magnum Sharp Shooter rifle rest came along.

Folded perfectly flat, the bench took up even less space than my old favorite portable bench did in my Honda’s trunk. The rifle rest also took up very little room. When I unloaded the car and set up shop, the 24-pound shooter’s bench was light enough to be carried one-handed to the shooting site. It took only a couple of seconds to fold the legs down and lock them in place. The top of the bench – a laminated shooting platform 36 inches wide and 24 inches long – was scalloped at two corners, allowing me to snug up to the rifle without a sharp corner poking me in the ribs. The platform was edged in protective PVC plastic.

A folding three-legged stool was an optional accessory I passed on. I already had several folding camp stools in my collection, and any of them would work fine. A pistol rest accessory was also available. The Magnum Sharp Shooter rest tipped the scales at an even 10 pounds – a pound lighter than listed in the specifications.

My battered, old-faithful shooting bench had three legs, which provided rock-steady tripod support. The new bench was four-legged, so a little shifting around was needed to find a stable position. Once I had the bench stabilized, I placed the Magnum Sharp Shooter rest on top and mounted a rifle in the cradle. A few spins of the adjusting wheel snugged the forend firmly in place.

Once I had a target set up downrange, I adjusted the front cradle to the proper elevation. I was pleasantly surprised at how steady the whole assembly was. Once I began shooting, the auxiliary elevation wheel midway along the supporting arm was used to make fine adjustments, ensuring the crosshairs remained exactly centered on the bullseye after every shot.

Two of the rifles I tested that day turned in sub-.5-MOA groups, so the bench and mechanical rest were both doing their job. Another nice thing about this rest was that it helped dampen recoil. The most potent rifle I fired that day was a 6-pound .308 Winchester. While .308 recoil isn’t terribly potent, even in a lightweight rifle, the rest made a noticeable difference.

I’m still fond of my aging, much-used shooting bench, but the new Sharp Shooter bench has pretty well replaced it. It’s even easier to pack into a car trunk and is considerably easier to set up and take down. And while I’ve long favored plain, old sandbags over mechanical rests, the Magnum Sharp Shooter rest has me reconsidering this preference.

The Sharp Shooter bench lists at $64.95, while the Magnum Sharp Shooter rifle rest retails for $79.95. So far distribution has been limited, but both should be available by now in selected sporting goods stores. They can also be ordered online.

For more information, contact: Inventive Technology, Dept. R, PO Box 266, American Fork UT 84003; or you can visit them online at: www.inventivetechnology.com.

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