With summer now in full swing, this is the perfect time to get out and do some long range rifle shooting. Usually, this is where I find myself behind a cozy bench with a Range Safety Officer (RSO) nearby. This is all good and fun, but it just doesn’t come close to shooting in the great outdoors. Ditching a local range with its cozy bench is not without its downsides, and I quickly found myself in the market for a shooting mat and bag. Lucky for me, Crosstac was willing to send over their Precision Long Range Shooting Mat and Saddle Bag Shooting Rest for review.
Weighing in at 7.1 lbs, the Saddle Bag from Crosstac is packed with very useful features. The bottom is coated in a rubberized non-skid material while the top is a soft padded material to prevent scratching. Its “ears” based design allows it to be draped over objects when used as a front rifle rest. All of this is neatly packaged in a durable double-stitched bag with a zipper that allows the walnut media to be added or removed.
As most of my rifles are equipped with an adjustable bipod, I decided to try this bag more toward the rear of the rifle. The bag comes pre-filled with coarse ground walnut that gives it enough flexibility to be used at the rear of the rifle.
At 36” wide and 79” long the Crosstac Precision Long Range Shooting Mat has ample space for both you, your rifle, and other shooting accessories. I had space on either side of the rifle for all the accessories I would ever need. The mat’s foam was thick enough to be comfortable on rough uneven surfaces but light enough that it was a breeze to transport.
One of my favorite features of this shooting mat is the integral bipod rail. Once on the mat with the bipod in position, you simply acquire your target and then lean forward into the bipod rail. Using your body weight at the rear of the mat you simply lean into the bipod at the front of the mat. This positive forward tension creates an incredibly stable prone shooting position.
At the Range
I had the chance to use the bag and mat for the past month, and I can personally attest to how rugged and versatile both have been. First used in the RPR Magnum review, the bag has proved to be incredibly stable in various shooting situations. While the bag itself is rather large, its material is flexible enough to be used at various points on the firearm. The cushy walnut media has just enough give that allows it to be used in a variety of different shooting positions.
Of these various positions, I found myself using the bag mostly at the rear of various large caliber firearms. From this position, you can squeeze the bottom ends of the bag together to make fine elevation adjustments that are needed at extended ranges. The padding and bipod rail built into the mat makes for a very rugged but comfortable overall shooting position. Even after spending hours on the mat, I never found that I could feel the surface underneath it even when it was laid down over gravel or other rocky surfaces.
The Precision Shooting Mat is extremely comfortable to use when shooting for long periods of time. While the Coyote Brown is a lighter color compared to most camo patterns, the padding does have a tendency to get hot in the sun. I cannot see any way this could be avoided as the padding will naturally absorb and store heat. Of the options Crosstac provides, I personally would recommend this color. The other darker colors like Olive Drab or Multicam would certainly heat up much faster.
The Saddle Bag certainly is not one size fits all, but it comes very close. Due to its rather large size, you will certainly want to have another bag or two in your toolkit. With that said, the Saddle Bag is hands down the most versatile shooting bag I have used. If you are in the market for a large multi-role shooting bag I would highly recommend the Saddle Bag.
In Coyote Brown, the Crosstac Precision Long Range Shooting Mat retails for $179.99 and the Saddle Bag Shooting Rest for $39.99. There are definitely cheaper alternatives on the market, and Crosstac has plenty of other tier options to choose from. If you are pinching pennies looking for a shooting mat or bag there are plenty of options out there. With that said, I admire the fact that Crosstac manufactures their products here in the United States, and I think the quality is second to none. Personally, I liked their products enough that I will be purchasing some for long term use in the near future.
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