October 2013

Recommended for the Range

During recent rifle tests, our Houston staff had a chance to extensively evaluate three accessories. Theyíre all worth a look

If pink isnít your style, no worries. The low-profile Ear Muffs, left, and Deadshot bag are both available in more traditional tones.

Gun Tests readers dig into head-to-head rifle tests to see if a big-ticket item is something they may want to buy. But there are always some less-expensive products that we use during firearms testing which deserve mention when they deliver a lot utility for the buck. Here are three accessories used in the July 2013 CZ 527 Special Report and the September 2013 17 HMR story we thought were worth the money:\

Hand-EEZ Palm Swells, $14

Hand-EEZ Palm Swells are made of Sorbothane rubber to absorb shock and vibration that otherwise would affect the shooter’s trigger-side hand. First developed for shotgun shooters where stock fit is a key ingredient to accuracy, the palm swell functions as a spacer beneath the hollow of the palm. The Kick-EEZ palm swells are typically applied with its non-marring peel-and-stick adhesive that can be used more than once. Members of our staff who have reused a Kick-EEZ palm swell beyond the life of the adhesive have found that gluing a thin sheet of Dr. Scholl’s peel-and-stick moleskin can extend service life. On a rifle such as the Ruger 77/17, since the pistol grip of our rifle was sharply checkered and did not readily bond with the adhesive, we had to secure the palm swell with tape first and then wrap it with self-adhesive tape referred to in medical supply stores as co-flex. Athletic-supply stores sell this product in a variety of widths and colors, and another supplier, McNett.com, offers this kind of tape in a variety of camouflage colors.

The pistol grip of the Ruger 77/17 rifle was sharply checkered and did not readily bond with the Hand-EEZís adhesive. To secure the palm swell, we used co-flex self-adhesive tape in camouflage colors.

Hand-EEZ palm swells are available for both the right- and left-hand sides of the rifle, which means that right-handed stocks can be partially adapted for use by left-handed shooters. Another advantage of applying a Hand-EEZ palm swell to the off-hand side is to enhance the ambidextrous capability of a given rifle or shotgun.

Our Team Said: For only $14, the Hand-EEZ Palm Swells offer a lot of comfort and utility. They are available from Brownells.com, #440-705-100WB.

Gun Tests Grade: A

Caldwell E-Max Low Profile Pink Ear Muffs, $32

Caldwell’s E-Max Low Profile Pink hearing protection (#487111) features ear cups that minimize interference with proper cheek weld and protect hearing with automatic shutout of sounds above 85 decibels. Two microphones, one in each ear, gives the user true stereo hearing. This is important because without stereo input, it can be more difficult to determine the direction from which sounds originate. The volume of exterior noise can be amplified to enhance normal communications.

Ruger American Rimfire Standard model, above, Compact Model, below.

Our Team Said: These muffs are ideal when working with a spotter. If you don’t like pink, the E-Max low profile electronic muffs are also available in O.D. green and Mossy Oak Break Up. Available from BattenfeldTechnologies.com/Caldwell/.

Gun Tests Grade: A

Caldwell DeadShot Shooting Bag, $24

The DeadShot (#516777) is smaller than the TackDriver we normally use for benchrest shooting, but in conjunction with a beanie bag beneath the rear stock, we had plenty of support. We got more than a few looks because its sides are a shocking pink with a black roughout across its U-shaped support channel.

Our Team Said: The DeadShot comes filled with only moderately heavy media and a grab strap, so it’s easy to transport. It’s a welcome substitute for a Ransom Rifle Rest or other heavy benchrest product. Available from BattenfeldTechnologies.com/Caldwell/.

Gun Tests Grade: A

Written and photographed by Roger Eckstine, using evaluations from Gun Tests team testers.