Hawke Pro Benchrest
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- Last updated: 04/10/2023
Hawke is probably best known for its expansive range of optics, and with a variety of models in the line-up to suit different budgets, it has become a key player in the market. But did you know that it also distributes its own benchrest device?
I certainly didn’t, so I thought it made sense to get hold of one. And here it is – the Hawke Pro Benchrest, and first impressions are that it is a serious piece of hardware. Just the weight of the box tells you that this is no flimsy half-hearted option, and inside you’ll find the components broken down, so effectively it comes flat packed. Don’t let that panic you though, as we are hardly talking IKEA-type multiple bags of odd-looking fixings here! Quite the contrary in fact, since there are only a few bits, no special tools are needed, and it’s all pretty obvious.
There are two main assemblies – the base (T) section, and the pivoting upper body. In addition, there are three chunky legs with rubber feet, two Y supports, a central axis bolt, three wheel nut adjusters, and even a small spanner. When I tell you everything is adjusted by hand, other than one nut, you can appreciate that assembly is nice and straightforward. So here goes:
– Unscrew the base feet from the three chunky leg bolts and insert the first bolt assembly into its corner hole in the base. Screw on the base foot, nip up the locking nut if necessary, and repeat for the other two legs.
– Unscrew the nut and remove one washer from the central axis pin. Insert it into its central hole in the base, add the washer, and nip up the nut underneath. As Hawke specifies, the basic detail here is that there is a large washer on either side of the base, as this is the main point of wear as the body moves.
– Now drop the body assembly over the axis pin and screw in the side wheel tensioner until it is hand tight. At this point, tighten the base nut under the pin using the spanner supplied.
– Insert the Y supports into their respective holes and screw in both tension wheels. The Pro Benchrest is now fully assembled.
Benchrest shooting has become a highly competitive sport in its own right, and as mentioned, with the intrinsic weight of this unit, it’s impressively stable, which is a key, and pretty obvious requirement in this field. Manoeuvrability is equally impressive, as the entire upper section can move through 360º, so the added height gain can be switched instantly from end to end. With the gun in position within the cradle of the Y supports, the initial job is to check everything is roughly level. Those legs have plenty of adjustment and it is a simple matter of releasing the locking nut and screwing the leg through to the desired point, then locking it again if necessary. Just make small adjustments, to begin with. The sight picture can be raised or lowered by twisting the silver knurled grip piece. Gently twist clockwise, and the gun is raised, then anti-clockwise to move the image down. I was able to adjust my sight picture and get the gun aiming spot on the bull with a subtle tweak here and there, and it was incredibly quick and easy to do.
Bear in mind those Y supports have 2” of elevation adjustment, there’s 2.4” of mechanical elevation possible from the body section, and those feet can also be raised or lowered. That’s a lot of adjustment. Then remember that only a small amount of movement at the gun end creates a significant change at the target end, and it’s clear we have incredible versatility built in.
Everything is extremely robust, well-designed, and user-friendly. My only possible reservation would be those Y supports, where a gun with a wider or bulky forend, for example, may need a wider access point/support. No great problem, and an easy thing to either swap out with a larger version or adapt the existing ones with rubber and cloth.
This Pro Benchrest can of course be used just to hold a gun to work on or clean, but with that amazing level of adjustment, it’s just perfect on the range, assisting shot placement, which is its primary purpose after all. There’s even a two-year warranty, but with such a robust build, I think you’d be very unlucky if that were needed.