Wednesday, January 6, 2010 by Mark
One of the most
satisfying feelings is going to the shooting range and shooting well. On
the flip side, one of the most frustrating feelings is going to the
shooting range and shooting poorly. There are a number of factors that
can affect an individual's shooting, such as gun optics not being
tightly secured, shooting a particular ammunition that your rifle
doesn't group well with, improper trigger pull, etc. However, if you get
all of these other aspects right you still can't consistently shoot
well without a good shooting rest.
In a quest to find the
perfect shooting rest, I've tried many different variations. Some focus
on recoil reduction, and others clamp into a vise and so on. Still, the
main objective of a rest is to provide a solid, steady shooting
I recently tried out several options of Uncle Bud's
Bulls Bags shooting rest. The bags are filled with cat litter, which
helps absorb shot vibration, which in turn can help accuracy. I tried
the Bench model; the Field model, which is a smaller version of the
bench model; and the X7 shooting rest bag.
The Bench and Field shooting rest models have a butterfly,
four-chamber design. Each chamber is filled with cat litter. The top two
chambers work like a vise-grip once the rifle is placed between them.
This gives you a solid hold and the entire length of the bag is
contacting the forearm of the rifle instead of two different
points-of-contact. By reducing the points-of-contact the shooting rest
bag is reducing the pounds per square inch of pressure at the contact
point during the recoil—helping maintain better accuracy.
The X7 is a unique design. It is a multi-purpose shooting rest
that has seven shooting bags in one. At its most complete arrangement
the X7 sits higher than the Bench and Field models, but still locks the
gun in place once secured. The X7 can then be disassembled into its
seven parts and mixed and matched to
varying elevations and shooting rest styles, which also include use
I used all three shooting rest designs a couple of
weeks ago. Each model provided one of the most solid shooting rest I've
ever shot off of. At 300 yards I was able to wring out 1 1/2-inch
groups with my .270 Win. using 130 grain GMX tipped Hornady ammo. My
favorite bag proved to be the X7 because it's higher profile allowed me
to place my non-trigger hand under my trigger hand for a comfortable and
Next time I head to the range I'm going to carry the Bulls Bag
X7 shooting rest and my predator rifles. I want to be sure my gun optics
are zeroed in before I align my crosshairs on an incoming coyote.
"I liked my Bulls Bags so much that I believe they will likely
become my preferred bench rest shooting systems from now on."
- Thomas Tabor, Editors Pick
A BETTER SHOOTING REST
The X Seven Bulls Bag
By North American correspondent Thomas Tabor
Contributing Editor To SSAA and Varmint Hunter Magazines
When it comes to
shooting from a rest, I believe there are two primary areas of
. Of course the shooter
wants a high degree of stability to shoot from, but many shooters are also
looking for a system that per
mits them to align the firearm quickly and easily
with the target.
The types of rest to
accomplish those goals are varied, but also
fall into two main categories:the adjustable screw-type forearm rests and
the various sandbag systems. I believe
that many sho
oters select the mechanical-style rests simply because of the
system's ease of alignment. On the other
hand, I a
lso believe that those shooters preferring to shoot from sandbags do
so because of the steadiness that sandbags provide and as a c
place less emphasis on how quickly they can get their rifle on-target.
situations, sandbags are not always user-friendly when it comes to
alignment.You can alw
ays try to
fluff-up the bags or you can pound a groove cradle int
o the surfaces, but the
amount of adjustment produced is pretty minor in most cases. Also, if you are using a set of owl-ear or
rabbit-ear-style bags, about the only way you can adjust those for height is to
wedge something under the bags.
The good news is
that in late 2008 a new system was introduced to the market that I believe
addresses the concerns of all shooters who like to shoot from a rest.
That system is called the X Seven Bulls Bag
Advantage and it combines many of the inherent advantages in sandbags, heel and
toe bags and owl-ear bags.
The bags are
height-adjustable simply by changing the combin
ation and/or the location of
As The 'Seven' in
the name repre
sents, the X Seven is actually seven individual shooting bags
stored and compacted into a single unit.
The shooter can opt to use all seven bags together, which produces a
long, cradling,, wrap-around rest, or the bags can be separated and used to
form many other set-up combinations.
When all seven
bags are used
together, a common grouping consists of one rectangular bag and
one owl-ear bag placed inside each of the two zippered saddlebags. The two sa
ddlebags are then attached together
by employing the exceptionally strong Velcro attachments, which has been sewn
into the bag surfaces.
After that, what
the company calls a 'vise-grip bag' is then Velcro attached on top.
This produces a long wrap-around shooting
cradle, which provides a rock-solid rest.
butterfly grip of the vise-grip bag actually forms a deep channel for the
forearm of your rifle to settle into. The two cylindrical parts of the vise-grip bag firmly wrap themselves
around the rifle-stock, making contact on the bottom and both sides of the
In this set-up, the legs of the
saddlebags can be either spread further apart or squeezed closer together.
By doing so, this will elevate or lower the
point of aim of the rifle.
adjustment can be easily accomplished by simply changing the Velcro attachment
The seven bags
are capable of being shifted around in order to form at least 50 different
configurations, one of which is sure to fit virtually every possible shooting
situation you might encounter. This
might include such set-ups as the toe and heel rifle, pistol and handgun
positions; and various configurations using a variety of the bags as stackable
units. By changing the bag positions or
switching the bags around, this will also allow you to exactly align the rifle
with the target.
could involve using the owl-ear bags separately or stacked one on top of
another using any of the other bags as base units.
The bags can be turned on end, stuck together
using the Velcro attachments of the vise-grip bag can be placed on top of
whatever base arrangement or other item you think is appropriate.
The X Seven company officials themselves even
admit that their customers are continually coming up with new combinations and
configurations that they have found useful in their shooting activities. However, in addition to providing more
flexibility of use and an extremely solid, cradling rest, some shooters believe
the X Seven Bulls Bag system actually reduces the 'felt' recoil of the rifle.
The bags are
primarily constructed of a combination of materials including durable 900
polyester in a camo tree pattern and a heavy-duty, rubberized, non-slide
material called 'tough-tech'.
gun rest areas of the vise-grip, owl-ear and saddlebags are covered with a soft
suede-leather material to provide the ultimate in firearm finish protection.
All bags within
the X Seven Bulls Ba
gs system are generally sold and shipped unfilled.This saves on the cost of shipping and allows
the purchaser to select whatever medium they would like to fill the bags
Generally, this would include the
use of such materials as sand, kitty litter, polymer, ground walnut, corncob,
birdseed or rice.
If you prefer,
however, the bags can be ordered filled at the factory. A 1.5" slot opening has been provided in the
end of each bag to be used for that purpose.
Once filled, the opening is securely held shut with Velcro strips.
The X Seven
company has built in a significant degree of flexibility for their potential
If you prefer, you can
purchase the complete X Seven Bag Pro-Series Advantage set, which co
all seven bags comprising two Hi-Front Rests, two Low Owl-Ear Rests, two
Rectangular Rests, one Vise-Grip Bag and a carry-strap.
The company also provides the option of
purchasing partial bag sets. For example, you could purchase what the company
calls The Future system, which is a set of three bags consisting of one
Hi-front Rest, one Low Owl-Ear Rest and one Rectangular Rest.
Another option would be to purchase the Next
four-bag set comprising
Hi-Front Rest, one Low Owl-Ear Rest,
one Rectangular Rest, one Vise-Grip Bag and a carry strap.
The next thing
about purchasing an entry-level three-or four-bag set is that you can always
add to yo
ur gag system later if you so desire.
For example, if you have purchased a three-bag set, you can complete you
X Seven B
ulls Bag Pro-Series at any time simply by purchasing the additional
Alternatively, if you
four-bag set, you can
achieve the same result by adding t
he three-bag set later on.
purchase flexibility includes the option of buying what the company calls the
Uncle Buds' Bulls Bag.
essentially the company's first model and is a little more basic and less
versatile than the new X Seven. The
Uncle Bud's Bulls Bag includes a similar style of grip as the X Seven, but does
not use suede-leather for the resting surface and the four bags making up the
system are permanently attached together.
While these bags provide essentially a similar type of side and bottom
firearm grip as the X Seven, the unit isn't as flexible in its use,
particularly when it comes to shooting height adjustments.
I had the
pleasure of testing both the X Seven Bulls Bag and the Uncle Bud's Bulls Bag and
found them both to be exceptionally fine and very well constructed
products. Both bags were filled at the
factory with kitty litter, which produced solid rests with substantial weight.
The construction materials used in both of
these products seemed to be very good, durable and resistant to wear.
In the past, the seams of some of my shooting
bags have come apart and I'm sure I'm not the only one that has happened
However, this problem has been
virtually eliminated with the X Seven Bulls Bag, as the seams are
hed and a binding has been added that is doubled back over the
All of the
shooting rest systems sold under the X Seven of Uncle Bud's names come with a
complete 100 per cent money back satisfaction guarantee for life.
If you ever have any problem with any part of
these bags, contact the company and they will be glad to make it good.
believe they will likely become my preferred bench rest
shooting systems from now on
I liked my Bulls
Bags so much that
I believe they will likely become my preferred bench rest
shooting systems from now on
lighter weight of the Uncle Bud's Bulls Bag, coupled with its reduced price
over that of the complete X Seven system, has a great deal of appeal, but as I
mentioned, it isn't as versatile as the X Seven. Nevertheless, I found the gripping potential
and positive rock-solid anchoring to be close to the same in both systems.
The Uncle Bud's
e in various sizes and color patterns to select form and carry a
recommended retail price form $US57 to $US80.
In the case of the X Seven Bulls Bag, the color is limited to a very
attractive camo three
purchased in its entirety,
X Seven system retails for around $US125. The recommended retail price for the three-bag The Future set is $US55,
while the four-bag Next Generation is around $US77.
While at the time
of writing I knew of no Australian dealers handling the X Seven of Uncle Bud's
products any of these products can be ordered directly from the factory by mail
order. The spokesperson for X Seven did
indicate that when ordering from outside the United Stated that the shipping
charges cannot be instantly calculated at the time you p
lace the order. As a result, these charges would have to be
added to the billing at the time of shipment.
Over the years, I
believe I have used just about every style of bench rest shooting system every
style of bench rest shooting system ever brought into production.
As a result, I would be the first to admit
that I like the ease at which the various screw-type mechanical rests allows me to align my firearm to the target
and I certainly like the stability that is provided by the traditional
style of sandbags. However, after trying
the X Seven Bulls Bag system, I think it incorporates the best of all worlds
and provides more flexibility than any other product that I know of.
I would encourage every shooter to take a
close look at the advantages that the X Seven provides and see if this system
has the ability to squeeze your group sizes down, making you a better shooter.