There was a time in my life when I thought I would never have need for a shooting table. Shooting tables were for the weak and soft. I would just use the prone position forever.
I do most of my shooting on public land or on my home range both of which are, shall we say… rustic. They generally aren’t graded perfectly and there can be tall, wild grasses that reach 2 feet in height or taller in the summer. On my home range, I shoot from an elevated ridge down into a berm at the back of a lower field. This sometimes places the precipice of the ridge in my line of sight if I am prone. The area that I shoot from is also an important access point for our trucks/tractors into the field and woods beyond it.
I need elevation to clear the terrain and vegetation. I also can’t clog up the area from which I shoot with a permanent shooting bench. All of this points to the need for something like a portable shooting table.
I tried several portable shooting tables that I could find locally but they all had major short comings for my intended use. Most of them were basically glorified folding chairs that didn’t seem like they would last any longer than the camp chairs it seems like we have to replace every two years. Most of them had runner style bases that would NEVER sit level in the locations where I shoot. Then I found the Caldwell Stable Table online and, while I couldn’t find one locally to see in person, it was clearly closer to what I needed. I rolled the dice and bought one on Amazon. I’m glad I did.
The Stable Table is exactly what I needed. First, it is constructed mostly from surprisingly thick steel round tube and steel square tube stock with welded reinforcement. The table top is a tough, blow-molded piece with steel inserts for bolting to the steel structure. The whole thing feels like it could last a lifetime.
Second, all that steel adds up to weight and weight equals stability. Weight is great for a permanent shooting table and good within reason for a portable shooting table. The Stable Table is heavy but I can still lift the whole unit at once and it breaks down VERY easily into smaller components which makes it quite easy to move. It strikes a nice balance between stability and portability.
The third feature that makes this table perfect for me (and probably anyone else who rarely shoots indoors or from a concrete pad) is the tripod base. The Stable Table has a very wide tripod leg setup that makes it easy to level the table, even on rough ground, because it only contacts the ground at 3 points. One of the legs is adjustable via a large thumb screw so that you can really fine tune the level.
Those are the just the features that made the Stable Table work for me. There are a lot of additional features that I have come to appreciate about it:
- The seat is lightly padded and covered with some seemingly very durable vinyl that wipes off easily (very nice when it is covered in barn dust from storage).
- The table top is attached to the central column near the back of the top (instead of centrally) so you can cant it to one side or the other depending on whether you shoot right or left handed.
- The table top has molded channels and lips so items don’t roll off easily.
- It comes with rifle cleaning forks that attach to the handles that are molded into the table top. I might even use them if I clean a rifle some day.
- The seat is height adjustable which lets me bring it closer to the table top for my daughters to use. The table has been an important tool in training them to shoot without them having to hold the full weight of the rifle all the time.
- The table top is well sized. There is plenty of room for a rifle with support of some kind (shooting bag, bipod, rest, etc.) and ammo, spare mags, paper and pen, and other items you might want while you are shooting.
I bought my Stable Table for just over $200 from Amazon. It can be found in the $170-175 range at other online retailers but be sure to check shipping costs. There is often a hefty oversized shipping fee for this table because it is quite large and heavy when boxed. If you have a shop locally that stocks Caldwell Shooting Supplies, it may be worth checking there. You might save yourself some money buying local.