Review: Vehicle Shooting Rests

Shooting off the back of a ute on private property is something many hunters grew up doing. Sometimes, however, circumstances reflect the need to shoot from the cabin.

Smart Rest Door Pro II
Smart Rest Door Pro II

While it’s much warmer and comfortable in the cabin on those blisteringly cold evenings, the reduced angle and confinement of the seated position to engage our target animals presents its own set of challenges for both driver, spotter and shooter.

Throughout the years we have seen a variety of different off-the-shelf and custom, homemade contraptions built to help shooters steady their rifles while shooting from the cabin. Each option has its own range of advantages and disadvantages.

Pool Noodles

One of the simplest (and by far the cheapest) options is the humble pool noodle.

At around $3 for a 1.5m length, this will fit two windows. Simply cut it down to size to fit the width of the window and cut down one side to slip over and protect the glass. It does require the window to be raised to a minimum height to fit properly.

Pool noodles are easy to setup/install and are incredibly inexpensive. Rubbing and friction from the rifle stock, however, can wear them out quickly and the pool noodle foam deteriorates when stored in hot environments for long periods. The added height of the window can be uncomfortable for long periods of handheld or externally mounted spotlighting operations.

Off-the-Shelf

Other off-the-shelf window and door mounted rest designs allow for the barrel and stock to extend further out of the window, as compared to the pool noodle. These may allow for a more comfortable and stable body positioning. Some designs allow for the firearm to be held and fixed in position out of the window whilst driving, a potential added benefit for the professional or contract shooter who operates independently.

Consideration should be given to the expected terrain and environment you’ll be shooting in if selecting one of these options. Some protrude further than the door, beyond the mirrors. This can pose an issue in thick scrub. Those in which the firearm can be fixed, whilst driving, could damage the firearm.

SMART REST DOOR PRO II

They have been around for quite some time, but it wasn’t until very recently that I had the opportunity to try out the Smart Rest Door Pro II from Eagleye Hunting Gear. The slip over door sill, magnetic fixtures and dense foam design make this a must have in the hunting tool kit.

The slip-over design allowed for quick adjustment to a comfortable position whilst the magnetic base plate enabled swift pivoting action to acquire the targets easily. The depth of the foam Mini MaXbox provided extra stability for a steady holdover. Combined, this made for an exceptional shooting platform.

Do you have a preferred setup for your vehicle? We’d love to see it. Send photos through to nswshooter@nsw.ssaa.org.au along with your permission to publish your images.

This is in no way a paid advertisement and the opinions expressed herein are that of the author only.

Guy is the hunting and program manager for SSAA NSW.