Article Date: Monday, October 10, 2011
Getting Your Rifle Ready for the Hunt
By Bob Humphrey
I'm not a gunsmith; nor do I play one on television. When I need some serious smithing done I take my guns to a professional. So I don't need a full complement of gun shop tools. But I do handle some of the basics, like properly mounting and sighting my guns, jobs made much easier by having the right tools. Thus, I was delighted when Battenfield Technologies sent me a few of their latest to "test fire."
Shooting - whether to sight in a new scope, check on old one or try some new ammo - requires a solid rest. Sand bags work, but an actual rest works better. Battenfield sent me a Caldwell Matrix ($59.99) to try out. Its remarkably simple and lightweight two-piece sliding frame is made largely of molded plastic (making it more affordable) and adjusts to fit any long gun, and a convenient storage compartment lid doubles as a handgun base.| An innovative spring-loaded elevation system allows for fast, smooth, one-handed, no-wobble adjustment.
The only minor drawback is there's no real recoil reduction, which is why I went out and purchased a Caldwell Lead Sled - to which you add lead or other weights that absorb most of the recoil. I wish now I'd waited because they subsequently came out with a Lead Sled Plus ($159)which now features an adjustable tray that accommodates a variety of weights, and newly-designed precision elevation shaft that eliminates wobble and play - my only criticism of the old Lead Sled.
I work a fair bit with shooting optics, which often requires swapping out, mounting and sighting-in scopes. One of the key aspects to scope-mounting is precise leveling. It prevents a lot of needless extra time and ammo when it comes to zeroing. Over the years I've used every sort of jury-rigged device imaginable, including string levels, bow levels, even carpenter's levels and targets taped to the shop wall, all with mixed results. Thus I was delighted to find the Wheeler Professional Reticle Leveling System ($64.99) among my box of samples. This system consists of two machined aluminum level housings and their integrated levels. A Barrel Clamp Level attaches to the gun barrel. You use the smaller Reference Level first to first level the gun/barrel (in your Caldwell rest), then to level the scope. It's quick, and very simple.
Battenfield also sent along several products from their Lockdown line to aid with organizing your gun vault.
Do you find yourself searching through a drawer or ring full of unlabeled keys trying to find the right one? The Key Rack ($17.99) represents one simple solution. The 9-hook system includes "vampire" clip inserts for carpeted interiors and magnets for metal interiors and nine key rings with nameplates.
As its name implies, the Small Document Holder ($22.99) gives you a place to securely store important papers like passports, birth certificates or other legal documents, or even jewelry and other small collectibles - using the same mounting system as the Key Rack for both carpeted or metal interiors.
Last but not least is the Magnetic Barrel Rest ($17.99). Mount it outside your vault as a staging location while for the "up front" guns while accessing a gun deep in the back of a vault. Inside your vault the overmolded contact points protect your gun's finish while securely holding three guns in position.Check out these products and more at: www.battenfieldtechnologies.com