For those hard-to-buy-for gun people on your Christmas list (or when putting together your own “me want!” list), consider a bench rest device for testing accuracy in rifles and handguns.
The more wobble you can take out of things when you’re bench-resting your firearm to check its accuracy or sighting it in to zero with a given load, the better. The Caldwell Matrix rest just came out from Battenfeld Technologies, the same folks who brought you the redoubtable Lead Sled for taking the pain out of “benching” powerful rifles, and it looks as if they’ve hit another home run with this Matrix product.
This modular unit uses knobs to adjust precisely for elevation and is also adjustable for length. Well cushioned at both butt and frame contact points, the forward support part of the Matrix is called a “ram” in the factory literature, and is designed to be locked solidly in place with another knob. My one (small) complaint came from finding that even with that locking knob hand-tight, downward pressure could start lowering the “ram,” and therefore the gun’s position and point of aim.
I call it a small complaint because anyone serious about bench rest testing is going to adjust the gun between shots, anyway. The simple fact is, recoil moves guns. With the Matrix, I found I only needed one or two light adjustments per five-shot string of fire. Hell, most of us do more between-shot adjustment than that when bench resting off sandbags … sometimes we look like insomniacs fluffing and pounding our pillows as we beat the darn bags back into position. By comparison, the Matrix is a convenience and a time-saver.
I like that it has a built-in storage spot, and mine came with an attachment that turns it into a rifle rest, which I haven’t tried yet, though I’ve found it most satisfactory for testing several pistols and revolvers so far. The sixty-smacker asking price sounds high to those of us accustomed to simple plastic gun rests, but once you’ve used a Matrix, you’ll understand why it’s worth the money, particularly if you do a lot of shooting off the bench. Looks cool, too. More info is available through www.battenfeldtechnologies.com.
If you’re worrying about ordering one and getting it delivered in time to get it under the Christmas tree, check the gun shops and sporting goods stores. I just saw one for sixty bucks at a Gander Mountain…saves the shipping, after all.