Garret Hellinger of Kopfjager Industries contacted me via private message Oct. 3 2014. He and I discussed precision shooting and he explained that he is a law enforcement Sniper in the metroplex as well as a former United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper. Himself, a friend that is a SWAT officer, and a friend that is an Aerospace Engineer created this business model to produce a rifle rest to aid riflemen, in the field, in getting stable shots anywhere they go. With his Sniper background he explained to me that it never made sense to him that people spend thousands of dollars building custom rifles or buying quality mass produced rifles, adding expensive base, rings, and scopes to make sure their equipment would allow them to make precise rifle shots, but they shoot from unsteady positions. So he and his colleagues decided to create a portable rifle rest, and named it the “Reaper Rest”. He explained that they use these rests in their hides while performing departmental duties, and of course, they shoot from these rests in training. I explained how I have been down the long road of predator hunter to student of precision rifle shooting, educating myself in all of the factors of making precise rifle shots at near and long range distances. I explained how I began competing in practical precision rifle matches, I paid attention to the veterans and have applied what I learned back into hunting, especially predators. My love of rifle shooting lead me to purchase land and building a rifle range so that I could share this knowledge with those wanting to learn. He asked if I would be willing to take the Reaper Rest and shoot from it. He told me I was just the type of rifleman he wanted to test his product. Honored, I had no reservations of telling him an absolute yes! Garret met me at my fire station and handed me one of his rests in brand new condition, as well as a Slik 700 DX tripod, the tripod his company recommends to use in conjunction with the rest. If my memory serves me, he told me he and his colleagues had shot to 300 yards from the rest. I told him I could try it out to 800 yards, and that is what he was looking for! He wants this rifle rest to find a niche in the hunting community. I told Garret I would use it and told him what I thought of it.
My first impression of the rest is that while it is not nearly as small as the BogPod I carry in a scabbard attached to my pack, it has to be significantly more stable. I took the rest to my range and used it one week just to hold my rifle so that I could sit in a chair and view down range through my rifle scope, spotting for students going through the class. I used the rest this way for three students in one week and told Garret that this rest has eliminated the need for me to spend two thousand dollars for a spotting scope with a Mil or MOA reticle. I wanted a way that I could steady a scope as well as sit in a chair as opposed to spotting through my scope while prone. When I am prone next to a shooter I can get great sight pictures so that I can make wind corrections for them, but when I want to look at their form and make corrections I have to get off my chest, and stand up. Sitting in a chair spotting gives me a better vantage point to see the shooter’s position as well as have my scope right in front of me looking down range for the next shot.
Garret sent me this picture, via text a day or two later of how he figured out a way to make the system smaller so that it is easier to pack on foot.
I advised Garret that the rest is a bit large to pack very far, and I wouldn’t carry it in the mountains, but I would most certainly carry it in Texas predator hunting. Anyone that has spent any time making shots in the field knows that foliage and the terrain tends to not afford a prone shot. Field riflemen that shoot from a bi-pod will usually tell you that prone is their most stable position. But foliage and topography tend to not make it possible. That is the void the Reaper Rest will fill. I have made shots on coyotes in excess of 500 yards, but I had to have a steady rest. I usually drive within a half mile of where I will be hunting, and walk the remainder of the distance. I have a small backpack with a mouth call, Fox Pro digital call, a visual decoy, range finder, a bottle of water, and of course my rifle. So I am not traveling heavy, most of the time. There is room for me to carry the Reaper Rest along with my other gear.
Garret texted me twice asking if I had shot from the rest, and after telling him no twice I thought it was time that I do so. The Slik tripod allows three positions for the spread of the legs, narrow, medium, and wide. It also has three section telescoping legs that are 26.2“, collapsed, but extend to 70.1“ on the longest setting. The tripod will also get tall enough to allow a shot from a standing position. I spread the legs to the wide position with one leg pointing 12 o’clock away from me. I was sitting in a light weight folding chair with both elbows to my knees. I made a cold bore shot on 2 MOA steel at 500 yards and got a hit .2 Mil (3.6”) off center. I was off center not at any fault of the Reaper Rest or the tripod, but because my wind call wasn’t perfect. The first thing I noticed was that even though I was shooting a 15 pound 6.5 Creedmoor wearing a suppressor, the rifle recoiled enough that I didn’t see my bullet impact the steel. So to correct this scenario I rotated the legs so that I had a leg pointing 6 o’clock toward me. After doing this I witnessed my bullet impact steel at 500 yards on the next shot. My usual self training on my range is to make a cold bore shot at distance in any weather condition, no wind to howling cross winds, then I tend to shoot farther than the cold bore shot. This day was no different, I moved from 500 to 600 and got a first round hit, then 700, first round hit, then 800 first round hit. All from sitting in a chair! I was impressed with the Reaper Rest and sent Garret a text telling him what had just occurred. He was more excited than I was, I think.
The next day, I was back on the range, and in my usual end of the day ritual I had to fire a few rounds. This time I had the Slik tripod on the medium stance, and the telescoping legs partially extended. I sat on the deck behind them, the same as one would do in the field (unless they carry a chair). I made the same cold bore shot at 2 MOA steel at 500 yards. Perfect center hit. Then, with a dose of confidence, I swiveled to the right on the 1 MOA 500 yard steel (5” x 5”) I held the same wind and center punched it, sitting on my rear, not prone! That is a more realistic field position, and I was able to shoot very small, very far!
See the steel roof over there? That's the platform, 500 yards away.
A few days later I decided to try the rest from the standing position. I extended the legs about 75% of their capability since I am 5’9”, and I spread the legs to the medium stance width. I positioned the rifle in the rest and decided to try a cold bore shot, standing, at 800 yards. I made a wind call, held .4 Mil wind and let one rip. A second later the bullet impacted steel and I saw it arrive! I immediately texted Garret, again, to tell him I had just made a cold bore shot on 800 yard steel while standing! Then I hit it two more times. I have to say, though, without the ability to stabilize the elbows the shot is challenging, but with some tricks of the trade, the shot can be made.
In conclusion, there are far more positive things I can say about the Reaper Rest and Slik tripod than negative. The rest will safely hold the rifle, hands-free. The rest will pan left to right 360 degrees, with resistance, and it will tilt up and down, with the ability to lock the tilt feature where ever the shooter desires. The front forearm clamp has a fast adjustable width feature to handle the narrowest or widest of rifle forearms, but it retains the ability for the shooter to correct cant with a dual hinge system. The rest is not as stable as prone or from a five hundred pound shooting bench, but that shooting bench is not portable and one can usually not get a prone shot in the field. The Reaper Rest weighs a scant 3.6 pounds, and the Slik tripod weighs 5.8 pounds. So a total of 9.4 pounds of weight that affords the ability to get very stable from seated on the ground to standing, and anything in between. Garret had told me they had only used the rest with AR-10 and AR-15 type rifles and had never tried a precision bolt action with a vertical grip. The Reaper Rest held my rifle with a Manners T-4, a Remington Varmint contour at 25” with a 26 ounce Tiger Shark suppressor attached. If it will hold an AR-10 as well as my rifle, it will hold any rifle! I told Garret that we needed to figure out a way to adjust the resistance of the pan feature. And maybe a strap to encircle the butt stock just behind the tang would be a good (and inexpensive) feature to aid in holding barrel heavy rifles. The tripod packs down to 26” x 4” x 4”, and the rest is 20” x 10” x 4”. That is not heavy, but it does occupy some cubic inches. I plan to attach both to the molle webbing on the outside of my pack. Garret advised me that is what he does. I see a future that includes this rest on many of my hunting outings. I will be including it to my “must have” equipment list when going to my range. It is an extremely handy piece of equipment that is going to allow me to make more stable shots in the field as well as be a more efficient rifle instructor. I also foresee the Reaper Rest being implemented to the bed of a UTV type vehicle for nighttime predator and hog hunting.
Thanks for your time,