Gear Review: Stukeys Shooting Bench

Stukey shooting bench

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.

Stukey shooting bench

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.

Stukey shooting bench

The weight, in conjunction with the specially-designed leg socket . . .

Stukey shooting bench

…and nut plate . . .

Stukey shooting bench

…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:

Question: Wouldn’t your bench be a lot simpler and cheaper if you just used pipe threads instead of the complicated leg socket?

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.

Stukey shooting bench

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.

Stukey shooting bench

Shooting Trial

After assembly came some range work.

Stukey shooting bench

We test both a standard bolt-action hunting rifle . . .

Stukey shooting bench

…as well as an AR platform rifle.

Stukey shooting bench

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.

Stukey shooting bench

The 100 yard groups when sighting-in the rifles were impressive.

Stukey shooting bench

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.)

comments

  1. avatar LifeSavor says:

    Not understanding this. You will not have a bench when you go hunting, you will not have it when you need to defend yourself. Competitive shoot, I guess. Can you bring your own bench? Can you tell I have never been to or watched a shooting competition?

    I am not denigrating the product or those who use it. My lack of understanding points only to my need for education.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      let’s say you were going shooting somewhere that had no benches. for more than the price of materials to build a solid bench and platform to leave there, you could bring this.

    2. avatar JasonM says:

      Sure if you’re out in the field shooting at a game animal, you’re going to lean against a tree, take a knee, use a pair of shooting sticks, etc., or just shoot unsupported. And at a rifle competition, you’d shoot off of whatever support the stage description allows. But when you’re setting up the zero on your scope, you want the most stable platform you can get, so that you reduce the human error as much as possible. For this a solid table or the ground are the best options.
      But instead of spending $1600 on a table, I’d buy a $200 Atlas bipod, a $80 shooting mat, and a $20 rear bag and practice my prone shooting. Then I’d have $1300 left over to put toward guns, ammo, match fees, accessories, etc.
      Or maybe donate $800 to my local club to build several permanent tables and still have $800 left over.

      1. avatar Royal Stukey says:

        JasonM,

        This is great advice, and a very economical way to go.

        Our bench is portable but designed to give permanent bench results. So you can shoot wherever you want to. And if the ground is muddy or the grass is tall.

        Take care
        Royal

    3. avatar Royal Stukey says:

      LifeSavor,
      You raise a good point! The bench is not intended for hunting or to defend yourself. The bench is designed to help eliminate human error and facilitate testing and thus learning. When you start with a new to you, rifle, scope, and load, these must be “dialed in” to get the most out of your gun. If you sight in the scope free hand or leaning on a pickup, you will have to shoot many rounds, before you will have confidence in where the bullet will land, when you pull the trigger. With a good bench and rest or bag, in just 3 shots you will know what adjustments are needed to get the scope and gun “looking” at the same place. After you have adjusted the scope, shooting from a bench and rest will allow you to evaluate your ammo to see what works best in the gun. Remember this is not about how well you shoot but how well your gun, scope and ammo shoot. Then, when you are in the field and the buck of a lifetime is standing between two trees 300 yards away, you will know exactly where the bullet will land. Instead of having another story about I “saw a nice one today, but…”

      While the bench was not designed with such in mind, there are a lot of them being used in hunting blinds and for varmint shooting, where the shooter is stationary and the targets are often small or at great distance. The benches are also used in defensive shooting by some of the most elite military shooters in the world. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to call or write. 307-754-2060, [email protected]

    4. avatar chuckers says:

      For that price. BULLSHIT!!!!!!!! $20.00 to build and $1350.00 profit. Uck you.

      1. avatar Tarzan says:

        I’ll buy every single one you can build for $20. I’ll even do better and give you $100 for each one you build just like the Stukey bench. You will make $80 profit on each one.

    5. avatar Tarzan says:

      You take 1 maybe 2 shots on a big game hunt. But the rest of the year you practice shooting. And using a solid bench is everything as far as getting your scope and rifle dialed in. So you shoot hundreds or thousands of rounds to be ready for that 1 important shot. This bench is for guys who handload and/or do long range shooting. This isn’t for the guy who buys his rifle and hunting clothes and ammo at Walmart, two weeks before opening day. This is for people who care about precision and quality. In the precision long range shooting hobby, every link in the chain has to be the best you can get. The cost of a special hunt and the cost of the rifle and scope to go, and the year or more planning, make a $1500 bench seem like a fair price. Everybody has their own idea of value.

  2. avatar Walmart Shill says:

    $1600 – GTFO!

  3. avatar CentralVirginian says:

    At $1599, I’ll take the ottoman instead.

    1. avatar BOhio says:

      Amen! They must be netting more than $1k profit on each unit. $599 would be too much, IMO, but $1,600 is obscene. I wonder if Bob Jourdan from ‘Precision Shooting’ magazine still sells his bench and/or parts kit as he did in the early 1990s.

      Heck, for $100 you can buy the PT picnic table set-up at your local hardware store. Put it together and leave it where you go shooting. Do that a dozen times and you still have plenty left over for a good drumming stool to bring to/fro.

  4. avatar jimmy james says:

    I’ve almost “pulled the trigger” on a portable bench many times. Then I started shooting benchrest matches on concrete benches. I’m ruined for life.

  5. avatar Joe in NC says:

    Built one that works great out of 3/4 plywood and an adjustable sawhorse. About $60 bucks. Oh, and the 5 gallon bucket I use for a seat carry’s the ammo and gear and then the brass when I’m finished.

  6. avatar Prndll says:

    I would say that’s one way to put some rhythm in your bench shooting.

  7. avatar Jim from LI says:

    If they had devised a way to make a portable bench rigid, durable AND light, then – maybe – it would be worth something approaching $1600. Plastic covered particle board?

  8. avatar enuf says:

    That is one enormous amount of cash money for a folding table and bench.

    I bought a 4 foot long folding table for $40. Bought a folding metal chair for $10. Set up in the open countryside someplace with a good natural backstop and do just fine.

    Would love to own fancy schamncy crazy expensive shooting gear and all manner of doodads and such like. Maybe if the $1000 or more in Corona Virus Stimulus check comes in, I’ll spend it on something like that.

    Or maybe I’ll just put it toward the balance on my car loan.

    Yeah, that feels more likely.

  9. avatar D.J.U. says:

    1600$. Just goes to show you, everythings bigger in Texas. Thats just stupidly over priced and I’m sure with all the big shots in Texas a shooting club named the the safari those people can afford it.
    1 or 2 heavy duty adjustable steel saw horses from the lumber yard under 100$, nice piece of red or white oak and a pint of urethane by minwax under 100$, and a good drummers stool for a fat guy at pawn shop under 50 to 75$ if your good at bartering. Add a fold up chrome luggage cart (two wheeler) with the wheels changed to harbor freight air up tires with bearing wheels all for under 40$ to tote it and most of the other gear used like ammo cans, rifle cases and small cold cooler and a cheap yard umbrella to knock off the hot sun, all held on with a couple ratchet straps or bungy cords. 10$ for stainless carriage bolts and wing nuts at local hardware to hold top to saw horses for 300$ to 350$ or less if your thrifty, 400 to 450$ if you get fancy or live in a high life zone. And the fold up luggage with a wood plank on the luggage drop also doubles as a rifle stand for 3 long guns. I know this becouse thats how i do it. And every time someone sees this set up they will buy it as is and pay the price.
    And when not being used for this, the table is a very sturdy portable work bench, table saw stand, all around yard table and adjustable garage table for many jobs. Multi tasker for the guy with not so much room.
    I did make a 3 gun rest out of a block of cherry to attatch across the sliding handle on the luggage cart (2 wheeler) and some tilted blocks on drop plank to keep guns butts out of mud and drop plank is out of treated 2″x12″ for wet grounds. It also doubles as a golg bag cart, tool box or bucket dolly when needed.

  10. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    Thanks for the write up.

  11. avatar KD says:

    Hey idiots. This is just a review of a good product that is on the market.

    No need to be like the “walmart people” in trashing something that YOU think is over-priced.
    Obviously people are buying these because they perceive that there is value in a well built product.

    Feel free to build your $20 benches. No one values your opinions anyway.

    Out west, we shoot a lot of things at 100’s of yards away, and to do that successfully, you need something really solid, and that is where a product like this comes into play.
    Comparing Your $20 bench to this product is like comparing a 5 gallon bucket to a dump truck. Sure both move dirt, but they aren’t even in the same class.

    I do NOT own one of these benches, and don’t plan on buying one.
    I do not have a need for one.
    Nor do I know anyone in the company, but I have shot off of one, and it is probably the best portable bench on the market.

    So keep you stupid comments to yourselves. Go to walmart with you coin purse and buy you a $5 camp stool and a $10 plastic table, then try to sight in a rifle at 800 yards, off of uneven or muddy ground. Good luck.

    1. avatar Tarzan says:

      The guys whining about the price are the same guys that think you’re nuts if you spend over $250 on a scope. This is designed for the long range shooter, and the guys chasing that special hand load. They’ve never designed and brought to the market a product in their life. They have no clue of the machining that goes into this “simple” shooting bench. The idea of made in America used to mean something. This bench is like a quality tool, you buy it and it’ll last your lifetime, and your kids lifetime. They wouldn’t believe the price for a 4’x8’ sheet of the plywood used to probably make 2 tops would cost. I watched a video and it looks like 7ply cabinet grade is used. They machine the parts to fit snug on the legs. This bench is for guys who appreciate quality, and want the best bench to shoot their $2500 rifle, with $3000 scope. And that’s on the cheaper end of rifle and scope prices really…… I know somebody will say their 25 year old Remington 700 in 30.06 caliber has put a truckload of deer on the ground. Why would I need anything else. And for those who say that, it’s true you don’t need anything else.

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