I admit it. I’m a sucker for impulse purchases. I resist. I fight. I hold back. And then one day I give in to those urges and come home with something new. So this morning I’m in Academy – remember when it was Academy Surplus and they actually had military surplus gear? Sorry, old fart moment. Continuing … I’m in Academy, walking past sports bras and hydration bottles to get to the guy stuff. As I’m browsing ammo I see the Caldwell Handy Rest NXT. Next thing you know I’m pulling out the plastic card and taking it home.
And then straight to the range, with it still sealed in the box. Yeah, I know, rookie mistake. But, how hard can it be to set up? Actually, not very hard at all. Since Dirty Harry opined that “a man’s got to know his limitations”, I handed it off to my 14 year old son to set up. That left me free to peruse the instructions, snap pictures, take notes, and generally observe the overall process.
At least that’s what I intended. Then a phone call from the wife (minute and a half), rooting around in the glove box for a Phillips head screwdriver (minute), then a cease fire prompting me to set up a few targets real quick (two minutes) before I could get back to watching the boy. And … He’s already done. Less than five minutes, and he spent part of that waiting on me to get a screwdriver. So let’s give ease of assembly a 5 star rating. Just remember the Phillips head screwdriver and you’re good.
First impression? Well, it’s plastic. I make my living off the chemical industry, so I’m okay there. It’s really light (weight). This is good since I already have about 250 lbs of gear to haul around already. But it’s really light, which is bad since heavy weight lends stability to these types of things. It does appear sturdy, not flimsy, and has soft touch rubberized components wherever you’ll set your hands or your rifle. Rubber feet keep it from sliding (much). So no scratches on your stock and easy to handle. Overall it’s a pretty good impression.
There’s a large green adjusting wheel to change elevation and a set screw to lock it in. Switching places with my son, it only takes a few seconds to adjust height and I’m good to go. Switching back, it only takes him a few seconds to return to his setting. Remember to tighten the set screw; the top is a little wobbly until then. We were both able to quickly get the right height, a good sight picture, and snap off rounds on target with no problem. Excellent.
I’d like to say I tried it with all calibers, .22 up through .338 Lapau, but I don’t own all calibers (yet). Plus, have you priced ammo lately? Damn. But it worked fine with the Henry and would most likely handle your every day deer rifle with no problem. I also didn’t get a chance to test the handgun attachment. As for long term durability, I’ve had it for one day. So far so good. Are you ready for the best part?
Less than twenty bucks! Wow. I’m still in shock. And no, it wasn’t on sale, that’s the normal price. Heck, at that price it’s a perfect last minute stocking stuffer. I just hope I didn’t preempt anything my wife bought.
Final verdict – a damn good value for the money, and a good addition to my range gear.