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Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

Chuck Ransom Answers: A Shooter's Hard Questions About the Ransom Rest
Question: I have been shooting in my local club matches for several years now and I am beginning to reload my own ammo and get really serious about competing in several kinds of handgun sports. I've heard about this Ransom Rest and I'm wondering---Am I the kind of shooter who needs one? Answer: You are exactly the kind of shooter who will get the most out of the Ransom Rest. Properly used, the Ransom Rest will give you a big boost in confidence when you go up on the firing line to compete---in any handgun sport.
Question: I can't take a machine rest on the line with me. How is using the Ransom Rest going to help me out when I'm on my own, out there in front of God and everybody? Answer: Using the Rest helps in the preparation stages of the match, because it gives you a means of insuring that your handgun and your ammunition will do their part if you do yours. This means you can approach your shooting with confidence.
Question: I know that a machine rest holds the pistol in some kind of vise arrangement, but I don't understand how it works to build my confidence in my gun and ammo. What gives? Answer: It isn't really a vise. The Ransom Rest is a fixture, precision cast from aluminum, which cradles your pistol in such a way that it will return to the same position each time it is fired. This means the Rest will literally aim the pistol for you---and do it with 100% repeatability.
Question: Do you mean that my custom Colt .45 is going to be clamped into a metal gizmo? Won't that chew up the finish and ruin the blue job? Answer: No, not at all. When you set up a particular pistol to be fired, you remove the grips and place the pistol into a set of what we call "inserts" which are faced with a rubber-like material that is guaranteed not to mar the surface. One shooter just used the Rest to test a 1902 Luger Carbine worth almost thirteen grad---No problem.
Question: OK, so it won't hurt my gun. But I still don't see what mechanical aiming of the pistol is going to do for my "game day" outlook. Where does the confidence factor come in? Answer: The Ransom Rest builds confidence simply because it tells you exactly what a particular pistol will do with a variety of different loads. Conversely, if you are shooting ammo of known quality, you can find out which of several pistols delivers the best performance. When you go on the line, you know what your equipment will do---and you shoot with greater confidence.
Question: Well, I sure can't argue with that; there have been a bunch of times when I had doubts about the quality of my gear. But it's beginning to sound like this Ransom Rest is some kind of robot. How does it put the gun back in the same spot each time? Answer: Properly mounted and correctly manipulated, the Ransom Rest will place the pistol back in the same relative position to the target, time after time. It does so by mounting the pistol, in the inserts on a short rocker arm. When the pistol fires, the arm pivots upwards against spring tension and a friction fit of the arm to the base of the rest. The two major sections of the Rest fit together precisely and, when the shooter manually returns the rocker arm to battery, it goes right back to the spot it just left. This is mechanical aiming---the first big advantage of a Ransom Rest.
Question: Now you're getting me interested. But you say the this mechanical aiming is the first advantage of the Ransom Rest. Are there other advantages that I need to know about? Answer: Sure there are. If you're working hard to master pistol shooting, you must have by now discovered the fact that sight alignment and sight picture are a big part of it, but there's such a thing as trigger squeeze and follow-through. In the Rest, there no problem with the trigger---you trip it with a little lever on the side. Unlike the human shooter who wants to relax when the shot is fired, the Ransom Rest stays on the job. It reacts to recoil in exactly the same way, time after time.
Question: So it responds to the kick the same---is that some kind of big deal? Answer: Of course it is, particularly with the hard-kicking magnum revolvers used in silhouette shooting. The gun starts to move in recoil the instant the shot is fired. It comes back and up, well before the bullet leaves the muzzle. That affects where the bullet strikes the target. The Rest has a consistent response to recoil, while most shooters just simply don't. That is one particularly true when the test-shooting session is a long one.
Question: I guess you're telling me the Rest will aim a handgun and respond to the shot better than anyone can. Doesn't this make it sort of like a robot? Answer: One of the writers who uses the Ransom Rest to test handguns for the gun magazine uses that word. He says the Ransom Rest is a robot---with an infinite attention span. It sure does shine when you are shooting all day. It leaves you free to pay attention to other things.
Question: What "other things" would you be concerned with? Answer: There are certain characteristics of both revolvers and automatics that bear watching. If the Rest is holding and aiming the handgun when it is fired, the shooter can focus his attention downrange---on the target. Many, maybe most, new automatic pistols have a tendency to shoot the first shot from the magazine to a different spot than the rest. Only by watching the group develop on the target can the shooter become fully aware of how his pistol is performing.
Question: How about revolvers? What do you find out in their case? Answer: For a whole bunch of complex reasons, revolvers usually have one or more chambers in the cylinder that deliver their shots to a different point of impact. A careful six gunner with a Ransom Rest can mark the individual chambers, then shoot groups with each to determine which is best and worst. He can also find out which one to leave out when he is using a six gun in a five-shot event.
Question: Well, I can sure see how this all makes sense, but it sound like a complicated---and expensive---arrangement. How much does the Ransom Rest cost? Answer: A Ransom Rest with one set of inserts, enough to get you going, costs a lot less than a single high-quality handgun. Also, we have an optional windage base available. It makes the Rest a bit easier to use by aligning it more readily with the target. Over eighty different kinds of inserts are currently offered and the list grows longer all the time. What we are seeing more often is the gun club buying a rest, or even five or six guys getting together to buy one and a small library of inserts. The way I see it, if you're serious about your hand gunning, you're going to need a Ransom Rest.