Varmint shooters have long known that shooting bags are a great way to stabilize rifles for peak accuracy. The best shooting bags I’ve ever used are made right here in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, by lifelong shooter Don D. Scott. I recently purchased one of Don’s “Dog-Gone-Good” bags and can now report to the armed intelligentsia.
I’ve known about Dog Gone Good shooting bags for many years, because they have a strong following amongst varmint shooters. Guys who own them swear by them, but I never saw them in stores. A few years ago, I bought a Caldwell Shooting Supplies Tack Driver shooting bag because they were cheaper and more readily available. Big mistake.
The Caldwell bag is an unlicensed copy of the DGG bag that uses cheaper nylon materials. In my case – the Caldwell bag soon ripped where the carrying handle is sewn into the bag. Also, the Caldwell bag was filled with fine media that tended to leak from both the fill hole and from a rip in the fabric. Even the plastic handle broke. So basically it’s junk. In the photo below, you can see where fill material leaking out of the hole created by a rip in the fabric (I used some duct tape as a temporary patch):
You can also see how the Caldwell front bag started to sag because it lost so much fill material:
So a few months ago, I did what I should have done from the git-go: bought a Dog Gone Good bag. As it turns out, the owner, Don Scott, is a frequent visitor of a LGS where I spend way too much money. I ran into him one day and we talked for a while. I ended up ordering the Large Shooting Bag and the Wedge Bag for $130.00.
These bags are made from 1000 denier Cordura, ballistic nylon and black upholstery leather. According to Don, it takes an employee roughly one hour to sew each bag. As tested, my bag weighed in at 24 lbs., which is one pound over the factory’s stated weight of 23 lbs.
The bag’s deep, cavernous clamshell design cradles the rifle from the sides, which really helps keep it steady. The suede leather is soft and prevents the rifle’s stock from getting marred or scratched.
One really nice thing about the large DGG bag is that it can be used to help absorb recoil. I have a Ruger M77 Mk 2 Safari chambered in .375 H&H Magnum which I hope to take to Alaska one day. I call it my “moose gun” in the finest wanna-be fashion (I’ve never even been moose hunting…sigh). In the meantime, I bring it out occasionally to let my friends shoot it just for S&Gs.
Shooting it from a standing position is manageable — and feels like a 12 gauge firing 3 in. magnum slugs. For some reason, the .375 H&H is much more uncomfortable to shoot off the bench, however. Well, Don told me that I could tame the recoil of the big Ruger by using two pieces of non-skid rubber shelf liner. Place one piece under the bag and another to cradle the rifle in the folds of the bag. (See image below).
Although I was skeptical, I tried it with some success. Did it take out all of the recoil out of the big .375 H&H? Well, honestly…no. I’m not sure anything would do that. But it did make it more manageable. When shooting the hard-charging Federal 300 grain Nosler Partitions, I would say it turned the kick of the .375 H&H into something similar to a .30-06 or 7.92×57. In other words – much more manageable.
This bag will really come in handy during squeakie season (i.e. Belding’s ground squirrels). Report to follow. In the meantime, if you shoot off bags a lot, I think Dog Gone Good Shooting bags are a good way to go. They get a solid “do-buy” recommendation.
Length: (shooting bag) large (16 in.), medium (12 in.), and small (8 in.)
Height: holds barrel roughly 8 inches above the bench
Weight: large (23 lbs.), medium (14 lbs.), small (10 lbs.)
Colors: tan camo, timber camo, black, forest green
Fill material: polypropylene re-grind
Price: (large/medium/small shooting bags same price): empty: $90, filled: $95; wedge bag – empty $30, filled: $35
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ruggedness: * * * * *
Better materials, better thread, and double stitching translates to longer service life.
Performance: * * * * *
Unlike other bags, the DGG does a better job of cradling the rifle, which can reduce recoil.
Value: * * * *
Not the cheapest, but this is a case where you will “buy once and (only) cry once.”
Overall: * * * * *
As the name suggests, it’s a dog gone good shooting bag.