Machine Rests

Love At First Sight?

My job would be much more difficult without them. The alternative to a pistol machine rest is to shoot handguns from a sandbag rest. Although never very good at sandbag shooting I can do it — for a short period. After a bit my eyes blur, my hands get sore, and I tend to start jerking triggers. Then I never know if flyers are caused by me or by a fault of guns or ammo. My limit for group shooting from sandbag rest is perhaps two score rounds of light to moderate power (.22 LR to .44 Special) and not more than a dozen full-bore loads from magnums.

On the other hand, when using a machine rest I’ve fired several hundred rounds in an afternoon, and figure the results are as valid for the last cluster as for the first. The hitch is changing targets, as in it’s a time consuming 50-yard roundtrip after every group. On my luckiest days I’ve conned Yvonne into being my target changer, but usually can only prevail with considerable whining about my bum knee.

Before I had my own home range, a Lee Pistol Machine Rest was handy. It needs no permanent mounting because the handgun actually isn’t anchored to the rest. It’s a sort of brace affair. The handgun, sans grips, is mounted between aluminum grip adaptors, which are then pushed against stops in the base plate. Although still handheld, it’s aimed the same each time. Back in the ’70s I made up a portable bench out of an old redwood picnic table. Then I would find a suitable backstop on secluded public land and be able to start shooting in a matter of minutes. Too bad Lee Rests have been out of production for decades now. It was a good idea.
By Mike “Duke” Venturino

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