Kill More Predators With Solid Rifle Support

Making an offhand shot is cool and fun, but a solid benchrest or other gun support can increase your success rate on varmints and predators.

Kill More Predators With Solid Rifle Support

Whether you're at the range zeroing a riflescope and dialing in ammunition or in the field pursuing predators and other game, having a solid rest for your rifle can give you greater chances of success.

The big dog coyote was picture perfect, sitting nonchalantly on the irrigation ditch bank soaking up the warming rays of the early morning winter’s sun as my partner and I cruised slowly past on the gravel road without getting a second glance.

At 500-plus yards across a willow-choked creek bottom and 400 yards of open pasture, he wasn’t too concerned by a pickup going past non-stop on the road. 

I drove half mile up the road, made a U-turn and switched places with my partner. I got my .220 Swift unlimbered and when we got opposite the still unconcerned coyote, I slid out of the truck completely hidden by the plowed snow bank. I crawled into position at the top of the four-foot wall of snow while my compadre continued down the road. I had a clear shooting lane through the willows bordering the creek and quickly had a perfect rest hollowed in the plowed, shoved up snow.

The crosshairs of my Nikon 10x scope were rock steady about a foot above the unsuspecting coyote’s head. At the crack of my super-accurate Shilen-barreled Model 70 I saw snow kick up behind the coyote and figured I missed. Then he toppled over without a twitch. It was my longest shot ever at 541 yards, and the only reason I was able to make the shot with relative ease was having a super, almost machine-solid rest in the snow to maximize the capabilities of my superbly accurate predator rifle.  

Several years ago, I had worked over a Kimber .22-250 for a fellow predator hunter. That involved lapping the barrel, glass-bedding the action and free floating the barrel along with developing an accurate load with my favorite Sierra and Hornady 52-grain boattail hollow-point match bullets. All that combined to make the rifle consistently group 1/2-inch or less. Not many predators are gonna squeeze through that group.   

We were on the range when the owner stated he could shoot almost as accurately offhand as he could from shooting sticks. I challenged him to a shootoff with his newly accurized outfit, just to prove a point. My five-shot group at 100 yards utilizing a three-legged Bog Pod from sitting was just under 3/4-inch and his offhand group was over 6 inches. Multiply that by two or three and you have some serious gaps for a predator to slip through.

I can’t remember the last time I took an offhand shot at a predator even in “up close and personal,” short-range calling situations. I would much rather take a standing shot at a predator from a solid rest at 200 to 300 yards than an offhand shot at 50 yards, especially if the critter is running all out in escape mode. Patience and a solid rest have put a lot of prime predator pelts in my fur room over the years.  

I can’t count the number of times I have moved quickly off a road to get a rest on a fence post, tree or rock, while a coyote or fox was running all out to put distance between us. Invariably, when nothing happened after a short time, the critter gets curious and slows down, glancing back over its shoulder.

Be patient! When still nothing happens, curiosity often will get the better of them. They’ll stop to look back and, in most instances, turn broadside for a perfect shot for the patient predator shooter. 

A simple, cheap and effective set of shooting sticks can be made from a couple of aluminum tubes, or or 1/2-inch hardwood lathes or wood strips approximately four feet long. Bolt them together 3 to 4 inches from the top. Use a piece of inner tube or rubber tubing fastened or glued over the upper ends of the sticks to slide over the rifle barrel and stock for ease of carrying and quick setup. Simple, lightweight, inexpensive and exceptionally adaptable.  

There are myriad quality commercial shooting rests on the market today, many of which work well off the bench but are impractical for most situations in predator calling and hunting. My favorite and most used all-around shooting and predator hunting rest is the double-legged Bog Pod rest. Bog Pod also has single-leg and triple-leg models I also have made good use of over the years. Those shooting rests are lightweight, sturdy and height-adjustable with dependable leg locks. Another top-quality rest is the Primos Trigger Stick rest, which is quickly height adjustable by simply squeezing the trigger to instantly adjust the height from 26 to 52 inches and lock it into position.  

The Caldwell Dead Shot Field Pod is an extremely solid rest that supports forend and buttstock, is fully adjustable and actually makes a darn good portable bench rest. It’s ideal for shooting from a blind or hide. Several years ago, I killed two coyotes feeding on a carcass behind the camp house from inside the back porch using that rest with my Kimber .22-250 — one at 401 yards and the second at 440 yards.

Predator shooting doesn’t get much better than that.  


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