During the past two to three years, we received several requests to consider shooting sticks similar to the 4DeadHold hunting sticks above for use on SA Hunters shooting ranges and during shooting competitions. This evaluation was done with the following result:
1. Definition of shooting sticks according to the SAHGCA Universal Rules issued on 28 February 2020 – item 3.2
Shooting sticks must be collapsible, able to be carried comfortably in the veld and to stand independently on three legs for stability. Shooting sticks that can be used for shooting in the standing position (may be used for prone, sitting and kneeling as well) are restricted to a maximum weight of 2.4kg. Sticks that can only be used for sitting/kneeling (may be used for prone as well) have a weight restriction of 1.4kg. Sticks that can only be used for prone exercises,may not exceed 0.4kg. A hook or bulge that the firearm can rest on may only be used on one leg of the shooting stick. A channel or any other type of prop that supports the firearm independently on one leg or over the shooting stick, is not allowed. Collapsible Harris type bipods may be used regardless of their weight and may be attached or removed between various ranges during the same shooting exercise. If more than one set of shooting sticks are used for different heights during a shooting competition where shooting sticks are weighed, every set of shooting sticks must be weighed.
2. The core elements of these rules regarding the SAHGCA shooting sticks are the following:
2.1 Shooting sticks must stand independently on three legs for stability. During 2005 and 2006, SA Hunters initially allowed two legged shooting sticks, but changed the rules regarding three legged shooting sticks for safety reasons due to stability problems;
2.2 Maximum weight is 2.4 kg for shooting sticks that can be used up to and including the standing position.
2.3 A hook or bulge to serve as rest for the firearm may only be used on one leg of the shooting sticks;
2.4 A channel or any other type of prop that is capable of supporting the firearm independently on one leg or over the shooting stick is not allowed.
3. The characteristics of the 4DeadHold hunting sticks:
3.1 Standing on two legs only (two points touching the ground) and it cannot stand independently to provide stability;
3.2 Two Vs supporting the rifle does not comply with the restriction of one hook or bulge on which to rest the firearm.
4. In an effort to comply with the Universal Rules the 4DeadHold hunting sticks were used as follows for typical exercises:
Universal Rules 18.2.3: Sitting position with unlimited support – with this position the shottist may use his shooting sticks or Harris bipod to the best of his/her judgement (more than one leg of the shooting sticks may be used for support) except if, in the opinion of the Range Officer, it is unsafe. it is permissible to rest the elbows on the knees and a rifle sling is also permissible. The elbows, any part of the arms or knees may not touch the ground and the rifle butt must be firmly in the shoulder. An example of this exercise is the Plains shooting exercise with unlimited support at 200m.
SAHGCA approved shooting sticks
Sitting position: With the 4DeadHold hunting sticks the second V at the back may not be used and the left hand provides the second resting point. The result is that both the rifle and shooting sticks are not properly controlled for stability. Eg. when the next round is fed into the chamber or if there is a problem to extract a case, the shottist needs to free the left hand to assist and to control the rifle. The shooting stick is not under control and could collapse.
Universal Rule 18.3.2 Kneeling position with unlimited support – the kneeling position as described in 18.3.1 above, but the shottist may use his/her shooting sticks to the best of his/her judgement (more than one leg of the shooting sticks may be used for support) without any restriction, unless the Range Officer regard it as unsafe. An example of this exercise is the Bushveld shooting exercise, kneeling, at 150m with shooting sticks, unlimited support.
SAHGCA approved shooting sticks
Kneeling position: The same problems discussed above with the 4DeadHold hunting sticks in the sitting position are also applicable in the kneeling position.
Universal Rule 18.4.4 Standing position with unlimited support – with this position the shottist may use the sticks to the best of his/her judgement (more than one leg of the shooting sticks may be used) without any limitation, except if the Range Officer deems it to be unsafe. An example of this position is the Bushveld shooting exercise, standing, with shooting sticks, unlimited support at 100m.
SAHGCA approved shooting sticks
Standing position: The same problems discussed above with the 4DeadHold hunting sticks in the sitting position are also applicable in the standing position. Should the shooting stick collapse, it could disturb adjacent shottists.
5. Result of evaluation:
5.1 If the 4DeadHold hunting stick is used as designed for hunting, it is very stable because the hands of the shottist are in natural positions that ensure proper control of the rifle.
4DeadHold hunting stick – dit is baie stabiel indien dit gebruik word op die manier waarvoor dit ontwerp is.
5.2 The 4DeadHold hunting stick does not comply with the basic requirements for stability on shooting ranges because it rests on two legs only with two points touching the ground and it is unable to stand independently;
5.3 This problem with stability becomes worse when an attempt is made to comply with the restriction of one hook or bulge for the firearm to rest on. Refer to the photographs above where the 4DeadHold hunting stick is used in an attempt to comply with the Universal Rules of using only one hook or bulge (resting point). In these examples the 4DeadHold hunting stick is not used for the purpose which it was designed for which creates a problem with stability in particular.
5.4 The 4DeadHold hunting stick does not comply with the SA Hunters requirements and the Universal Rules for use on shooting ranges. This evaluation and decision have been approved and confirmed by the national Shooting Committee of SA Hunters.
Evaluation done by: André van der Merwe – Manager: Branch and Shooting Matters and Boetie Kirchner – Manager: Hunting Matters