What is a Shooting Stick?
A shooting stick is a support for your rifle with one or more legs. This is handy if you want to be sure to have the facility when you need to shoot.
The earliest shooting sticks originate from 12th century China and are thus as old as the rifle itself. These rifles were very imprecise and heavy, two factors that made the firearm a natural extension of the rifle.
A slightly more contemporary example is Howard Terping’s painting “The Long Shot,” which shows a scene in 19th century North America where an Indian uses two arrows to support his rifle.
Today, there are many interpretations of the original theme. Handmade sticks of yew wood with antlers as a top and leather handles are still on sale. Still, most of the best shooting sticks for hunting lengthened over the counter are in lightweight materials with the possibility of height adjustment and other modern functions.
Why Should I Buy a Shooting Stick?
If you only sit in ladders or highstand, you do not need a shooting stick, but most people like to go for a walk around their territory, and here a shooting stick is a good companion.
Shooting sticks are aimed at rifle shooters who cannot expect a fixed installation when the shot is to be taken. Even if you can quickly shoot from a sitting position with your knees as an attachment, in many cases, this isn’t achievable. The terrain may be such that you can not get into such a position, it may be that you are standing in water to your knees, and finally, the vegetation may be so high that you can not look over it unless you stand up.
If you are into binoculars with large magnification, you know that even small vibrations propagate to the image. A pair of binoculars with x50 or more will not be a minor challenge to keep still if there is a buck at the other end. This will be much easier; if you have something to support the binoculars, you have always wanted to take the large bird binoculars with you on the hunt; a shooting stick is a good upgrade.
Shooting Stick With Two, Three, or Four
Two-legged shooting sticks have the advantage that they are lighter than multi-legged versions and are quick to set up. These benefits are obtained by sacrificing stability in standing shooting positions. In sitting shooting positions, the stability is essentially the same with two- and three-legged.
The three-legged sticks are stable in several planes and give the shooter a more solid facility than two- or single-legged ones. They are often a little more cumbersome to set up and typically weigh more than a kilo. A three-legged shooting stick can stand on its own, and the holder can typically pan 360 °. Therefore, one can be used for telescopes and cameras, which is a huge advantage for some.
Common to two- and three-legged shooting sticks is that they only have one support point for the rifle, where four-legged ones have two support points; the stem and the flask. The four-legged shooting sticks are two-legged, understood in the sense that they only support with two points.
Which Shooting Stick Should I Choose?
If you are the type who shoots with a camera just as often, a three-legged shooting stick is undoubtedly more helpful compared to a two-legged or four-legged one.
If you like to sneak around in eyebrows and ditches to find new hiding places from time to time, a pair of support legs will benefit you. They keep the rifle free of the grass, and they are not in the way during transport where you might be crawling forward.
If you are hiking in very hilly terrain or over large distances during your hunt, it is worth considering a shooting stick, which can also be used as a hiking stick. It makes the trip considerably more accessible when you have something to rely on ups and downs. Just make sure the shooting stick can withstand being used this way.
Combine Shooting Stick With Other Hunting Equipment
There are a number of upgrades for the various shooting sticks on the market. Most come with plastic feet, but rubber feet or metal spikes may be a better choice to ensure the best grip depending on the terrain you are hunting in.
It is also possible to increase the support with a rifle holder mounted on top of your three-legged shooting stick and thus gives you almost as good support as when you sit at a shooting bench.
Some versions of four-legged shooting sticks can be upgraded with a fifth leg, making them incredibly stable and heavier and difficult to set up.
If you are looking for absolutely minimal weight, a strap or string can be used to increase the stability of a one- or two-legged shooting stick. The strap is placed on top of the stick by the holder, and you step on the free end. When you push the stick forward, tighten the strap, and viola – an extra leg. This slightly scout-like trick requires practice, but it has its strengths.
Finally, a sling is also an option. As in the example above, the combination of sling and a one- or two-legged shooting stick can increase stability. Again, this approach requires a bit of practice, so remember to train a lot before trying this method in the field.
Maintenance of Shooting Sticks
Most shooting sticks today are made of aluminum, carbon fiber, or a combination of the two. These materials are primarily maintenance-free, but mud and the like are always a good idea to rinse off before it solidifies and blocks like locks and hinges. The mechanisms of the shooting stick are often made of plastic and can be lubricated with a bit of sulfonate to prevent them from beeping. Rubber and other things can be lubricated with silicone as harsh weather and temperature over time leave their mark. Make sure your chosen lubricant is water repellent.
Be especially aware that blood can discolor and even “rust” many other materials that generally suffer this fate. Always make sure to wash off blood after the hunt – there is nothing lucky about an auspicious bloodstain or stroke made in the best savage style if the stain ends up ruining what it is put on.
If you are going out in frosty weather, you must allowed the shooting stick to dry fully unfolded; otherwise, you run the risk of your freshly washed slider freezing together in the joints and not being able to adjust when applicable.
Three Tips for Shooting Sticks
Tip 1: Choose the Right One
If your preferred form of hunting is pürsch in dense scrub, where you have to go down and crawl in some places, a large shooting stick will probably get in the way and be more of a nuisance than a help. Conversely, if you hunt in areas with tall grass and few trees, you will be able to take full advantage of a shooting stick with four support points. Most hunting shops have demo models, so go out and try some different ones. You may be surprised at how easy placing a four-legged shooting stick or how stable a two-legged one can become.
Tip 2: Practice – It Pays Off
The best equipment is what you have, so use it. If you have practiced a lot with an old broomstick, you will probably be a more effective shooter than someone who has only used his expensive purchased carbon fiber shooting stick a few times. You can quickly dry train at home in the living room by setting up, setting up the rifle, and adjusting the height and kneeling and sitting positions in particular benefit from being trained. Kneeling can quickly become uncomfortable, so you want to use this excellent method, and it is a good idea to train to get in and out of the position.
Tip 3: Use Available
Take advantage of your surroundings. If there is a tree, do not hesitate to lean against it for extra stability. It is not only the shooting stick that must be stable – you must, of course, also have the ground contact at the top. The closer you are, the more stable you are, so if you have the opportunity, it will often be an advantage to take a kneeling or sitting shooting position.
If you have a backpack, you can use it in sitting shooting positions to rest the flask on. This way, your shooting position can become remarkably stable, and if you have to wait for the game, it’s friendly with a bit of help from the backpack to carry the rifle’s weight.