My single biggest pet peeve with bolt action rifles these days is the height of the cheek rest. There was a time when iron sights on bolt action rifles was the norm, but with the price of optics so incredibly low these days, it’s damn near impossible to resist slapping one on your gun. And then there are the scads of higher end rifles that don’t even have a front sight, making a scope is the only way to go. And yet the cheek piece on so many of these rifles seems to have been designed to put your eye in line with the nonexistent iron sights — too low for a scope by far. That doesn’t make sense. Thankfully, there’s a solution.
A proper cheek rest is essential for precision shooting. The ability to line up your eye in relation to the scope the exact same way every single time will make you more able to put each round through the same hole. A proper cheek rest gives you that ability by giving you a definite reference point from which to index your face in relation to the gun. Without a good cheek rest, your face — and your eye — is floating around and will never be in the exact same spot twice.
I’ve tried various cheek risers in the past, but none seem to work well for long range rifles. Plus, they all seem to use cloth or other fabric material combined with some sort of shoelace system to keep the whole thing in place. The end result is usually that your cheek rest goes sliding all around the stock and isn’t in the right place when you need it.
That’s where Bradley’s cheek rest comes in. Made out of what feels like the same kydex material as most good holsters, the cheek riser attaches to the gun using velcro straps and includes a rubber non-slip pad to keep the rest from moving or scratching your stock’s finish.
In terms function, I’d say its just about perfect. Three minutes to install the cheek riser, and it put my eye exactly at the right level. I’m using the 3/4″ riser with a 30mm scope tube, and putting my cheek on the pad brings my eye to the perfect height.
Also, because the material it’s made from is much more rigid than the older fabric models, it doesn’t move. At all. Which is fantastic. You will have to make sure you get the right design for your gun though, and while the Rem 700 model will fit most bolt action rifles, there’s also an M1A / M14 design available.
The only problem I have with the Bradley rest is that the edges are a little rough. Not so much that you’d cut yourself on them, but enough to be annoying if you’re carrying the gun around for a while. Not even close to a dealbreaker, but its the only issue I had with the thing.
All that said, this cheek riser isn’t cheap. At $90 it’s well above any of the usual competition, but from where I’m sitting, it’s worth the price.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ease of Use * * * * *
The velcro straps make putting the cheek rest on the gun an absolute breeze.
Utility * * * * *
Um, yeah. Just about perfect.
Overall * * * * 1/2
A touch high in terms of price, and the edges are a tad rough, but I’m actively looking for faults. Moral of the story: this is now a permanent fixture on my rifle.