Vintage Rifle Rests
Rifle Rests are one of those items that did not survive the years. When I do see one for sale, I latch on to it if the price seems reasonable. They were not recognized as valuable like a rife, so they were thrown away. Just another odd thing in the basement. I am guessing that our ancestors made their own, according to their needs. No two are likely to be alike. I have not seen any ads for commercially made rests from the 1870's. Harry Pope made one later on. If you have any information or pictures of these scarce items, please let me know. I will include them in this section.
I was happy to have a chance to buy this Rifle Rest. It seems to be old and home made, but someone put some time into it. The legs are Oak, the top piece seems to be a dark Mahogany. The leather is padded underneath. The spikes in the legs are reinforced with heavy cord that looks quite old. I was a little suspicious of the Galvanized bolts. I got out my I-pad and checked. Hot dipping iron and steel has been around for a while. Zinc plating was first noticed by Europeans in a Museum in India in the 17th century. Galvanic paint, a precursor to hot dipping was patented here in December, 1837. Zinc bolts were originally intended for fittings on ships. It did not take long for them to be used everywhere. Now the zinc coated bolts do not bother me at all.
The overall length of this rest is 18 inches. Jabbing the spikes into the ground would allow height adjustment for shooting lying down. The legs are on flexible hinges. There is a handy brass clip on one leg for carrying on your belt. The little wood blocks screwed to the outside of the front legs limit their outward travel. These may have been added after the rest was made.
The dealer I bought this from indicated it was from the estate of General Peter C. Doyle. There is some mention of him on the internet. He was promoted to Brigadier in about 1886 in New York.
The dealer told me he was the only bidder on this item. It was part of a group of odds and ends liquidated by General Doyle's family. This is typical. These little items have no value to most people, so they are lost to History.
I have no idea what era this might be from. It could have been used any time up to the era of the Trapdoor Springfield or the Krag Rifle.
I do think that shooting any large caliber rifle, lying down face forward, might be a painful experience.
As always, click on the pictures to enlarge them. If you decide to make one and try it out, let me know how it works.