For a little over three years now, I have been using Wally Brownlee’s Model 500 rifle rest. Wally is the chief of Target Shooting Incorporated located in Watertown, South Dakota. The Model 500 has enabled me to do a much better job of testing rifles for Gunblast than I could do using sandbags and makeshift rests. To see how good a rifle will shoot, it must be held steadily. If I can’t hold the gun consistently for every shot, I can’t precisely report on the accuracy of any given gun, scope, or ammunition.
Since buying my Model 500, I have had occasion to shoot from other rifle rests. While some were good, none enabled me to hold the rifle as steadily as I can with Wally’s rest. I even tried one high-dollar rest that strapped the gun down to the rest, with the rest strapped to the bench. Still, it could not hold the gun in the same position from shot to shot, without unstrapping the gun and starting over for every shot. Also since purchasing my first Model 500, there have been other rests introduced on the market that are built from cheap materials with poor third-world craftsmanship, and imported here at a low price. I have tried some of the lightweight cheap rests, and have found that if you buy junk, you get junk. All of the products from Target Shooting Inc. are American made from the best materials. With the model 500, I thought that I had the best rest available, and I did, until the introduction of the Model 1000.
Wally Brownlee is a shooter, and like many shooters, he is always looking to improve things. The Model 1000 brings to fruition many ideas that are improvements upon the original Model 500. The 500 is still being built, and it still has its place in the field. It is a very versatile rest for target shooters and varmint hunters. However, for the serious target shooter, the new Model 1000 offers several very useful features that greatly improve the shooter’s ability to hit the target precisely, every time. The most noticeable feature is the front rest. It consists of two dense polymer blocks that are naturally slick so that the gun can slide with recoil, and can also be coated with silicone spray for additional lubricity. Some shooters want a rest that holds the gun to the device without allowing it to slide during recoil. This is a mistake. The rifle needs to slide within the rest or over sandbags consistently for each shot, to achieve maximum accuracy. The two blocks can be adjusted in width to accommodate any rifle forearm, using the supplied Allen wrench, which stores in a hole in the side of the front base. If a shooter prefers a sandbag up front, a holder for one is available as an option. However, I think that anyone who tries the adjustable blocks will never go back to a sandbag again. The front is adjustable for elevation by using a knurled wheel, which rides smoothly on a roller bearing. The front is also adjustable for windage by turning a knob on the right side of the front rest, easily making minute windage adjustments without disturbing the base of the rest. In front of the forearm rest is an adjustable forearm stop guide, that allows the shooter to precisely set the gun in the rest consistently for each and every shot. Another really nice feature of the forearm rest is that the blocks allow sling swivel studs to slide between the blocks, eliminating the need to remove them for shooting. The buttstock rest on the Model 1000 is covered with leather, and the angle is adjustable to fit any rifle. As an option, an elevation wheel is also available for the rearrest, to make small adjustments at that location for elevation.
The base of the Model 1000 has square section rails, which are much stiffer than round rails of the same size. As can be seen in the picture of me standing on the rails of the rest, they are indeed strong. I know that it is hard to believe looking at my slender frame, but I weigh 230 pounds, and the rails supported my weight easily. The base also has a bubble level attached, and the feet of the rest are independently adjustable, to accommodate for an out-of-level shooting bench. The feet of the Model 1000 are covered with a rubber cup, for use on metal surfaces. However, for use on a wood or concrete bench, the rubber cups can be removed and the hardened steel points can be hammered into the bench top by hitting the plate above each foot with a mallet. This sinks the steel point into the wood or concrete surface to prevent the rest from moving. The points are very durable and should hold up to years of use. For use on other surfaces, the points are easily retracted and the rubber cups replaced. Each foot also has a locking wheel to lock the position after leveling the rest. One thing that I really appreciate about both the Models 500 and 1000 is that the rails of the base are separated enough to allow the use of extended magazines, as can be seen in the picture. This same feature also allows a lever action rifle to be cycled without removing the gun from the rest; a very well thought-out feature. Like the Model 500, 1000 is adjustable for length, to accommodate any rifle. The Model 1000 weighs 14 ¾ pounds and is very stable in use.
After unboxing the model 1000, taking photos and measurements, and setting it up on my bench, I laid in a new Savage .308 bolt action into the rest. I bore-sighted the rifle, fired a couple of shots to get it on paper at 100 yards, and proceeded to fire for accuracy. The first three shots went into a ragged hole measuring just ¼ of an inch. That not only attests to the accuracy of the gun and ammunition, but to the precision of the rifle rest. It allows the gun to fire the same way, every time.
The Model 1000 is built of high-quality materials by American craftsmen and is very easy to set up and use. It enables a shooter to achieve the best accuracy possible from his rifle and ammunition. It does no good to buy a quality rifle, bolt on an expensive scope, and use the best ammunition, and then shoot the gun from an improvised or cheaply-built rifle rest. A woods hunter getting ready for deer season might do alright sighting his gun off the hood of a truck. It would get it close enough. However, every serious shooter and handloader needs a good stable rest from which to test his gun and ammunition. In the Model 1000, Wally Brownlee has built the best that I have ever used, and I highly recommend it. For pricing information and to purchase the Model 1000, go to www.targetshooting.com.