Caldwell Fire Control Shooting Rest

By Randy Wakeman

Caldwell Fire Control
Illustration courtesy of Battenfeld Technologies.

The Caldwell full-length Fire Control shooting rest is a handy, aluminum and steel, fifteen-pound, thirty-two inch long shooting rest that gets you back on target from shot to shot amazingly quickly. The front bag of this rest is instantly moved by a control arm that gives the shooter 60 MOA of bag orientation at any point in a circular plane. It is effortless to center the crosshairs on your target.

The first local session with the Fire Control Rest was a good test, with gusty winds up to about 25 miles per hour. The goal of my type of shooting is to evaluate firearms; not as a test of my marksmanship. If marksmanship is the test, then we all need to start shooting off-hand. Actually, we all need to practice our offhand, but that is not the way to evaluate firearms.

To evaluate a rifle�s accuracy, it is necessary to take away the human element as much as possible. Yet, I feel it is important to feel the rifle, have the rifle to your shoulder and let the rifle recoil naturally off your shoulder. If we get too far away from that, we aren�t really involved in the shooting process at all, it is more of a clinical machine rest situation, which is not the way firearms are used in the field.

That is my objection to the Lead Sled, which functions more as recoil reducing devices than anything else. The Fire Control rest gives a more realistic representation of use of shoulder-fired weapons and allows the shooter to save a tremendous amount of time by getting quickly back on zero. Not only is valuable for evaluating ammunition, rifles and scopes, but it leaves you in the game, without the need to carry fifty pounds of lead shot around with you.

Have you ever rushed off to the range, exciting about trying out a new rifle, new scope, new stock, or recoil pad and discovered that you left your bunny or owl bag at home? Well, I have. No such problem with the Fire Control rest, as it is one integral unit. Handy and compact enough to toss in the car at a moment�s notice, yet not so ponderous as to provide an excuse for not picking up the groceries on the way home. Under gusty, windy conditions it provides excellent stability for most rifles. Now, maybe you�ve never seen a (formerly) gorgeous rifle blown off a cradle or sandbags, but I have. Final assembly of the Fire Control rest is extremely easy. My only issue was that the hole for the "fore end index screw" was too small; either the wrong screw, or an undersized hole.

The main feature is the effortless 360 degree movement the fire control arm gives you to place your crosshairs on the bull from shot to shot with no residual tension, pressure or binding. Once you move the control arm to the position that places the cross-wires of your scope where you want them, let go. Nothing moves, nothing changes, no readjustments to make, no pushing or pulling on the rifle. You are set, so just fire when ready.

The Caldwell Fire Control Shooting Rest is well-made, easy to use and a tremendous time-saver. I�m quite happy to endorse this product. Once you start using it, you likely won�t go back to bag and cradle or anything for most of your range work. You can get one from Midway USA and other sources.

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Copyright 2009 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.