Shooting by the seat of your pants
PUBLISHED: 11:28 24 April 2018
Dedicated chair-gunner, Russ Douglas, has discovered another seat of learning for us
Many months ago, whilst lining up Trigger Sticks for August’s review article, fellow GARC shooter, Bob, kindly offered me the loan of a shooting chair complete with gun rest. It included no label or blurb, so I Googled it, discovered the Idleback, and the rest is history. As you read this, the proud new owner, Stuart, should be happily taking advantage of his ‘bling’, fully-equipped Idleback, and enjoying its support and adjustability, but if you Google ‘shooting chair with gun rest’, this more basic chair is usually what pops up first.
I’ve wanted to review this chair for nearly six months, but once other priorities were done I found the weather and Aberdeen’s early dark winter nights were against me, so the chair has sat in my lounge/kitchen/car patiently waiting its turn.
Months later, after many failed attempts, Mother Nature yesterday bestowed good weather, so I toddled up to our outdoor range at Waulkmill, to review this more basic chair/rest properly. I say ‘basic’ because this is no Idleback; it’s more cumbersome and heavy and so less portable. It was originally sourced from eBay, and various searches have shown different sellers, as well as more adjustable versions of this somewhat simple version, but it does give you a stable shooting seat, and a fixed-angle/adjustable-length gun rest.
The rotating, lightly-padded seat attaches to the three sturdy legs with long captive bolt (requires an M24 spanner), whilst the back rest and its ambidextrous side arm rest detach and adjust easily with chunky, knurled knobs. The gun rest arm itself attaches with a bolt and Nyloc nut, so a spanner is also required there – and I needed a seat whilst doing this, especially getting the three washers in the right place on each side of the arm.
This seat does its job pretty well, although I found myself adjusting to suit it, rather than the other way round. No doubt an extended shooting session would leave me with various aches, but that would partly be my own fault for putting shooting before comfort – again. The gun rest easily extends for length, with another knob – take care not to rest the weight of your gun whilst doing this – and the captive, foam rubber–lined gun rest at the end pivots freely.
Where the basic design really shows itself up is in the portability, or lack thereof. The whole chair assembly weighs 8.5kg, so will be more at home in a semi-fixed location, rather than being hefted round fields for use in static shooting, and then assembled.
The legs of this version are not adjustable, and the seat is a wee bit small and sparsely padded, which you’ll feel in your bahookie after an extended session – I’m 15 stone – but the main flaw is the non-adjustment of the gun-rest angle. I’ve seen other versions of this chair with adjustable legs, but first you’d really want a more adjustable rest arm, to make the rest suit you. Bob is planning some modifications, the first of which may well be a quick-detachable gun-rest arm, so he can sit down first, then add the arm and not worry about fiddling with a bolt and washers.
As with the Idleback, I found there’s a knack to getting astride the round chair itself. Again, I approached this as if I had no assistance, and no handy side table to keep everything within arm’s reach. With this in mind, I straddled the seat alone and then reached for the back and side arm, fixing those in position by touch whilst behind my back. The other way is to sit down backwards against the back rest, and then bolt on the gun arm. Either way, you have to ensure that your rifle and pellets are within reach too, to avoid any face-palm moments.
The other downside is the fundamental weight and cumbersome nature of the whole assembly. This isn’t a chair you could throw in a backpack for a hike to your permission. More likely, I can see this sitting in the doorway of a shed or on a covered patio, protected from the worst of the elements and ready for regular shooting sessions.
The seat is perfectly functional, if a bit basic due to the non-adjustability of the three legs, and the fixed angle of the gun rest itself. The latter would be my priority improvement, given the choice. If you have a sheltered patio at home overlooking your garden range, and can setup then throw a tarpaulin over this chair – job done for whenever you fancy a shoot in relative comfort.
Weight: 8.5kg: Price £80 (eBay)
That’s the last of my accessibility shooting equipment reviews for now, so if any retailers or wholesalers out there would like me to review some kit from a disabled shooter’s perspective, feel free to get in touch, send it over and I’ll do my best. Thanks very much to Bob for the loan of the chair and to Teri for her brilliant help at Waulkmill when taking the photos.
Enjoy your shooting everyone.