I have fired rifles and handguns from card tables, end tables and even – one time – an ottoman (long story). Each of these ‘rests’ could be charitably referred to as subpar. In particular, when I need to see how well a firearm can perform, for hunting or a review, none of the above provide the stability I need.
In my search for a good solution, I ran across Stukeys Benches in the list of exhibitors at the Dallas Safari Club convention. I checked their website, and the various reviews/videos, to see what they offered.
What was described – a portable yet incredibly firm foundation from which to shoot – sounded too good to be true. However, with nothing to lose, I got my hands on their Expert Package which includes a bench, stool and leg caddy.
The opportunity to give the Stukey bench a thorough test came soon after it arrived from their manufacturing facility in Wyoming. Frances and I were heading to the Government Training Institute‘s facility where I had taken their Precision Rifle Course.
We would be shooting two rifles that would require a secure rest, both for sighting-in and then firing at targets located out to 700+ yards. We would be able to test whether the Stukeys Bench would allow us to 1) achieve small groups while zeroing the rifles and 2) strike 12 x 18 inch metal targets at long range.
The first thing to say is that the bench and legs are NOT lightweight (bench top and legs weigh 72 pounds). Making transport much easier, though, the bench top and one leg bundled in the leg caddie have handles that make the bench easily portable.
The weight, in conjunction with the specially-designed leg socket . . .
…and nut plate . . .
…are the basis for the bench’s stability. In terms of the bench’s hefty leg socket/nut plate, the company’s website notes the following:
Answer: Yes, in fact we tried this design on early prototypes. However, if you’re a serious shooter and shooting often, pipe threads will not last. Pipe threads are tapered and are not designed to be used repeatedly. Every time you engage the thread and tighten it so there’s no wobble, it has to advance. The pipe thread will advance until in comes in contact with the bottom of the collar, at which point, the threads will simply strip out.
I would be remiss if I did not also mention the incredibly sturdy “drummer’s throne” stool that’s part of the Stukey’s Expert Package. I call it that because it looks just like my son’s seat that he has used throughout his years as a drummer.
This stool, though is different. It has a very firm seat. That means that the shooter doesn’t wobble around on the seating platform.
As you can see from this video, set-up is a snap and takes about one minute.
As I mention in the video, the bench top is a wood laminate covered with polyurea. This surface is very resistant to both abrasions and moisture – two qualities needed in a portable shooting bench used in rain-soaked Georgia.
After assembly came some range work.
We test both a standard bolt-action hunting rifle . . .
…as well as an AR platform rifle.
It was clear from the first shot that the Stukeys Bench was going to work very, very well. There was absolutely no wobble from the bench or the stool.
It needs to be mentioned that the ground we were on was soft and not level. In other words, the bench had to be stable in less than ideal conditions. Again, the weight and the solidity of the leg attachments seem to have been the key in providing a stable base for accurate shooting.
The 100 yard groups when sighting-in the rifles were impressive.
Maybe most impressive was the fact that we scored 90+ percent on the metal targets placed between 400-715 yards. When I fired at these same targets during the Precision Rifle Course, I only scored this many impacts from the prone position.
I am convinced the Stukeys Shooting Bench will provide a reliably sturdy base in the field when I don’t have a permanent bench from which to shoot.
Specifications: Stukey’s Shooting Bench
Height: 35 1/2″
Bench top: 3/4″ 13 Laminate solid birch coated with polyurea
Width of bench top (Widest): 31 1/2″
Width of bench top (‘neck’): 17 1/2″
Distance between legs on ground (front-to-back): 44″
Distance between legs on ground (side-to-side): 35 1/2″
Legs: 1 1/2″ Bare Handrail Schedule 40 steel
Nut plates: 4140 CNC steel
MSRP: $1599 (Expert Shooter Package, includes leg caddie and premium seat)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ease of Assembly * * * * *
As you can see in the video, the bench and stool are very easy to assemble. Putting the stool together took 30 seconds. Attaching the three legs to the bench top require about another minute.
Fit and Finish: * * * * *
The fit of the bench’s few parts was rock solid. When the legs screw in they lock into the nut assembly. All the metal parts (bench and legs) are powder coated. The raised texture of the bench top not only resists wear and water, it also provides a good non-slip surface when firing.
Portability * * * *
The bench and legs weighs a hefty 72 pounds. That is not insignificant, but the solid materials and resulting weight are why this provides such a stable shooting platform. The leg caddie and the handle on one leg makes carrying the legs easy. The handle on the underside of the bench top does the same. Take Royal Stukey’s advice and carry the bench top with the top surface toward your legs or you will wear the leg sockets.
Reliability: * * * * *
There really isn’t too much to fail on this product, but there were no issues with any of the parts that had to go together – either on the bench or the seat. This is an extremely well design, solidly built shooting platform
Overall * * * * 1/2
The Stukey Shooting bench is amazingly well built. It isn’t inexpensive and it’s a load to lug around. But the bench fills the niche and is built to last. It’s more than worth the extra cost compared to lighter, less stable models that won’t last nearly as long.
[Video and photos courtesy of Frances and Mike Arnold.]
(Mike Arnold writes for a number of outlets; links to other articles can be found here.)