Monday, December 29, 2014

First Impressions: Caldwell DeadShot FieldPod

The box
My father-in-law found this product at Cabella's. As you can see, it is an aluminum and polymer tripod shooting rest. According to the box, it can adjust from 20 inches to 42 inches in height, although I did not measure it to test this out. What I know, is that at its shortest length, it is slightly too tall to work from a prone position (although this height would probably be great off a shooting bench or table, which are generally too low). At its highest setting, it is a little cramped when sitting on a regular chair, but would probably be fine off of a shorter stool or folding camp chair.

The length of the distance between support points is also adjustable to accommodate different length rifles, although I did not think to measure the distance.

Folded

The weight of the tripod is just a little over 5 pounds, and it folds down to a fairly compact size as you can see in the photograph, above. Although it comes with a carrying strap, it would probably be easier to carry it in a small bag. I think a carrying bag for a camera tripod or something similar in size to a yoga mat bag would work well.

It takes me about 5 minutes to set it up. I could probably cut a minute or two off this as I get used to it, but I would still expect a few minutes to set it up.

Set up with rifle and 20-round magazine
As you can see, the uprights for the rifle rests can also be adjusted to slightly raise or lower the rifle. Because of the dual rods supporting the front and rear rests, it presents no problem to use a rifle with a longer magazine because the magazine fits between the rods--something that many other shooting rests fail at, and something that I especially appreciate.

Although it is certainly possible to set it up to act as a rigid shooting mount, it is also possible to loosen up the attachment between the rests and the tripod legs, allowing to turn or tilt the rifle up or down while still having a steady support.

I see this rest fulfilling two functions: (1) providing a shooting rest when sighting in or target shooting in the field and, potentially, off a table or bench; (2) providing a shooting rest for hunting from a fixed location (i.e., a stand or if sitting and glassing). Although it allows you to freely turn and elevate or depress the muzzle of a rifle, it does not really lend itself to a tactical role; it takes too long to set up and take down, and certainly does not adjust to be short enough to shoot from a prone position. So, it would not replace a bipod or shooting stick in the field for the shooter or hunter that is moving around.

All in all, it appears to be durable and sturdy enough for range use. My biggest concern is that it appears to use rather small, fragile pins on the connections to the spreader bars for the legs, and spreader bars are simply a stamped piece of sheet aluminum. I could see the spreaders and/or pins becoming bent or broken if you were not careful in setting it up. Obviously, like most tripods using polymer clamps and knobs, it is important to not over tighten the screws, or it could strip the threading.

In short, while not a tactical shooting tool, it will make it a lot easier to sight in or shoot a rifle in the field--particularly those using longer magazines. I look forward to actually taking this out to use.

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