A good set of shooting bags are some of the most-underrated accessories in the shooting world. Done right, a solid collection of shooting bags can enhance a shooter’s abilities on the bench and in the field to an incredible degree, and the proof is in the proliferation of shooting bags used by today’s top competitive shooters.
No longer are bags just for resting a rifle’s fore-end off a flat bench. Now, shooters are stuffing bags into arm and leg joints for better stabilization or strapping them to rifles to create impromptu shooting surfaces on nearly any ledge or uneven log. To feed the need, accessory manufacturers are stepping up with new bag designs, and Champion Target has its new line of Shooting Rests for 2019 that are built for a range of uses.
The lineup features five new bags that are all sized, shaped and weighted differently to offer different stabilizing setups. All five bags share several features that aid in shooting, incorporating a special surface in particular that Champion’s calling “Tuff Hide.” This synthetic, textured surface provides added friction that prevents the bag from skidding around on a slippery surface. In addition, the same material is used inside the grooves designed to cradle a rifle’s fore-end, ensuring that the gun is anchored securely into place while shooting.
The heart of the Champion Shooting Bags lineup is the Accuracy X-Ringer Bag, retailing for $74.95. This is the biggest, heaviest bag of the bunch, and it features two long grooves, one with a squared-off opening and the other with a V-shaped opening to accommodate differently shaped firearm forearms.
Each bag is filled with heavy sand, ensuring that it offers a solid rest point that can be loaded by the shooter without any movement. The deep grooves are long and deep enough to fully envelop most rifle fore-ends, which is ideal for maximum stability. The more of a rifle’s forearm is bedded onto a rest, the less room there is for inadvertent movement. Since the bag is pretty heavy, it comes with a built-in carry handle and even has a small, mesh pocket for storing small tools or other products while you’re on the bench.
The Champion Front V-Bag offers similar features in a smaller package. However, though it’s smaller and lighter than the Accuracy X-Ringer bag, it’s likely too heavy for most shooters to consider it for field use. However, for an irregular position at the range, such as shooting off a log or the tank-trap-style obstacle often encountered in shooting matches, the V-Bag would be a great rest.
One feature found in this bag and the larger X-Ringer bag is the ability to open up the bag to either remove or add material. This allows shooters to fine-tune the firmness of the rest to their needs. Removal of material allows the bag to better-conform to irregular shapes, while more material provides a heavier, firmer rest for more-secure shooting.
The three bags remaining in the lineup are smaller options, with one designed as a lighter, field-ready bag called the “Rail Rider.” This name is pretty self-explanatory, as the bag features a V-shaped base with flat, textured surfaces that allow the bag to sit on a fence rail or other rounded obstacle. At the top of the bag, a U-shaped rifle rest sits perpendicular to the V-shaped base, allowing shooters to rest their rifle’s fore-end on the bag for a more-stable shooting position off an obstacle.
The rest point for the rifle isn’t as large as the other bags, so it won’t offer as stable of a shooting position as the X-Ringer or the Front V-Bag, but the lighter, smaller size of the Rail Rider means it’s more-conducive for use in the wood or on a competition circuit where oddly shaped obstacles and rests are more likely to be encountered.
Two bags in the lineup are designed for use at the rear of the rifle: the Wedge Rear Bag and the Rear Cylinder Grip Bag. Both feature textured surfaces that allow for a secure grip on a rifle’s stock, ensuring that an entire shooting system remains anchored in place for a shot. The wedge-style bag allows for easy elevation adjustment by simply adjusting the point at which the toe of the stock rests on the textured bag surface.
The Cylinder Grip Bag provides shooters with a bag that easily fits within the hand, allowing them to squeeze the bag for small changes in elevation. This design is more-conducive for traditional rifle stocks that feature a long, sloping heel, providing an inverse surface for elevation adjustment compared to the use of a wedge-style bag used on a flat-bottomed rifle stock. The only potential issue with these small rear bags is the lack of any internal access to remove or add material, meaning that users can’t fine-tune firmness or re-fill the bag without tearing into the fabric.
Overall, though, this new line of shooting rests from Champion Targets is a welcome addition to a shooting world that demands more benchrest accessories for long-range target shooters and competitors. Best of all, the bags are reasonably affordable, with the large, solid X-Ringer Bag topping out the line at about $75. All the other bags in the line retail for less than $35. For a solid set of versatile, range-ready bags, these new Shooting Bags from Champion Targets are certainly worth a try.