My Ideal Shooting Bench
February 15, 2018
One of these days, I'll be semiretired living in the West and I'm going to make shooting prairie dogs a priority. I don't know if the desire stems from my formative years in ranching country where prairie dogs and coyotes were always a popular topic or if it's a love of rifle shooting. No matter, I still love pursuing both and the little rodents are in deep trouble when I get out West on a more permanent basis.
Until then, I hunt when I can. Earlier this year I spent a couple days sitting comfortably pulling overwatch on prairie dog towns out in Wyoming. I had a nice rifle, a nice scope and the most comfortable, portable shooting bench I've yet encountered.
"Portable" is a relative term. There's stuff-in-your-pocket civilian portable and then there's it-only-weighs-150-pounds military portable. The DOA Shooting Bench I had for the hunt was made by Dixie Gun Worxs and it was much closer to the civilian version of portable than the military version.
The bench consists of two major components that separate for transport and storage. The large wood veneer top is heavy enough to be very stable, yet carries comfortably thanks to a handle attached to the underside. It sits atop the center pole that serves as the table's foundation.
The center pole has an adjustable locking collar that supports the folding seat. Loosen the handle that controls the seat and you can easily move it up and down or rotate to change the direction of fire. The seat has a large pin that holds it in position or keeps it folded against the center pole for storage.
The center pole's base is also where three folding legs attach. The same large pins hold the legs in place or keep them up against the pole for transport. Self-adjusting rubber feet at the end of each leg keep them from digging into soft soil.
What impressed me about the table was how stable it was for the two days I sat in it and how easy it was to move around. The table top was large enough for use with a bipod, backpack, or sandbag up front and another bag under the stock's toe. Once settled behind the rifle, I still had room for water, ammunition and enough lickies and chewies to hold me for a few hours.
As my fellow shooters and I tamed one part of the town, all I had to do was rotate my seat and table top 45 degrees or so to target a gang of new dogs to keep in line. I didn't even need to stand up to make the adjustment.
At day's end, I popped the top off the table and carried it and my rifle to the truck. Folding the seat and legs against the center pole took a leisurely 30 seconds, and I packed that off to the truck on the second trip. One motivated shooter just picked up the whole ensemble and carried it off in one shot. That's possible, but you'll crack a sweat doing it.
If you need to take a shooting bench with you to a public range or a field full of prairie dogs, I recommend the table Dixie Gun Worxs makes. It is all steel and wood, so it's plenty tough and stable, but it breaks down quickly and carries without any trouble.