Every Man Should Use Protection
All of us like to read about a new rifle, and most of us enjoy a review of a new rifle scope or a pair of binoculars. However, unless you have an urgent need for a rifle case, will you hunt down the reviews for the dozen and dozen of cases on the market? No worries, we’ve done some work and have a good option here for you today.
Traditionally, there are three types of people buying rifle cases. The first will go out and buy a new rifle and then pick up the cheapest case they can find. They don’t even think of what that new rifle will look like after being toted in a cheap quality case for a few years (If the case last that long). The second type will spend the time and money to find the best they can afford. They value their firearms and will go the extra distance to make sure they stay in top notch shape. These people really don’t have to shop for a case very often. The cases they buy will last a lifetime given a little care. The third type of shopper is one who normally would fall into the second group. They had a good case but for some reason, they now need a new one.
I’m in that last group. I had a couple of outstanding cases purchased long ago and even after years of use they were still going strong. At the time I thought they were overpriced and really had to talk myself into the purchase. The years since then I wish I had bought a few extra. I only had a couple of problems with them. First, the company that made them has been bought out and the ones they are turning out now are not on the same level of quality. Secondly, the ones I had were so good that I’m sure they will give years of service to the guys that broke into my truck and stole both the cases and the rifles in them. That may explain why I have found a new interest in checking out rifle cases.
If you are looking for the most protection for your rifle, a hard case is the way to go. The problem is that with a hard case is there is no flexibility. A firearm will either fit or it won’t. Plus, if you have 3 inches behind the front seat of your truck and the case is 3 1/8 inches thick, you’re out of luck. I prefer a well padded soft case to give me the greatest use. Since I have to pay the price for a new case I might as well get one that has a broad range of versatility. My search for the perfect case may never end but I recently came across one that really drew my attention.
Blackhawk has been known for years as manufacturers of web gear, hydration packs and just about every other type of tactical gear you may need. Yes, that includes several rifle cases. They are based on the needs of the military, but as I have found out over the years, a lot of military gear crosses over to the civilian market rather well. If something is built to last in the battlefields across the world, it should stand up to whatever we can throw at it in the woods of North America. One case that stood out to me is their Stalker Drag Mat. It is a combination of a drag bag, shooting mat, and rifle case built into one unit. I don’t think I’ll ever need to use the case as a drag bag. I don’t picture myself as crawling through the underbrush dragging my rifle behind me trying to sneak up on my target. But, if a case is designed to withstand being dragged across the ground it should last me a lifetime with careful handling. The shooting mat concept is rather nice. I often find myself shooting at locations where I don’t have a bench and shooting prone provides the best accuracy. Lets see, would I like to lay on the cold wet ground or would I like a well padded mat between me and the elements? You guess. It’s third function is as a well padded rifle case and that is what I’m looking for to begin with.
The Stalker Drag Mat is a tri-fold case made of 1000 denier Nylon and is filled with .5 inch cell foam. When closed, it offers a well padded wall of protection between your firearm and the perils of the world. Being designed for sniper rifles, it will hold any rifle up to 46-48 inches long. When opened, there is a sewn pocket for the muzzle of your rifle and a fold over flap at the butt. Combine these with the buckled web strap around the wrist of the stock and your rifle isn’t going to go anywhere until you remove it from the case. The two sides then fold over and buckle together to give you a compact carrying platform. You have the choice of using the two web handles or the removable shoulder strap to transport your case.
Just as described the case would work very well, but there are a few extra features thrown in to make it even better. Open the case flat and you have a padded shooting mat. It is about 51 inches long, 38 inches wide at one end and tapers down to 29 inches. This should provide more than enough coverage between you and the ground. Go prone and you will find a small tri-fold pocket on the left side of the interior to hold ten rounds of ammunition. Have you ever gone out on a hunting trip and forgotten your bullets? On the right side there is a 7 ½ inches x 11 inches flapped pocket to hold your shooting log or just about any other objects you can fit into it. Just make sure that whatever you put into this pocket won’t bang up against your rifle when the case is folded and carried. At the foot end there are three MOLLE strap attachment points for anything up may want to add. A small utility pouch holding a field cleaning kit would be perfect. I gave the “shooting mat” feature a good workout this week and was very thankful for that layer between me and the frozen ground.
Once folded, you will find MOLLE strapping on both side of the case. You can add additional pouches or strap extra gear to the case. If you do want to play sniper, these straps are perfect for attaching camo of Ghille material. There is an extra strong drag handle and D-rings on one side for the shoulder strap and four sewn buckled straps to hold the case together.
For the past few weeks I have been giving this case a lot of business. It has been the perfect protection between my rifle and the storage rack of my ATV for those trips to the range. As I mentioned, it has provided not only padding for my rifle but also myself as I practiced my prone shooting. While I have always shot more than ten rounds on these outings, I always knew I had that extra ammunition protected in the case should I need it. During this time I have not tried to baby this case at all. I want to know it will stand up to heavy use and still carry out it’s major function, protecting my weapon. Yes, the outside of the case is a bit dirty but I have yet to see any wear signs showing up. A little brushing and it should look rather good. Over this time I have carried both a Remington LTR and a Ruger MK. II in the case and neither shifted position while being carried and the scopes on both were well protected. Even with the ground being wet from a recent snowfall and temperatures being in the 30’s the cell foam mat gave good insulation. In fact, on overnight hunting trips, this case may make a good sleeping pad.
I would recommend this case to anyone looking for that “step above” piece of gear. You will find cheaper rifle cases, but if you go that route it will only cost you more in the long run. A good rifle should last you a lifetime if you take care of it. So should the Blackhawk Stalker Drag Mat.