Product Review: Hyskore Dangerous Game Machine Rest
Last summer, when we started prepping for the WASR-10 Ammo/Accuracy test we decided we needed a benchrest that would help us to bring out the very best in the gun and ammo. After some web “research” we found the “Hyskore Dangerous Game® Machine Rest #30013” (hereinafter called: ”The Rig”:-)) was by far the most advanced benchrest on the market at that time. This review discusses it's merits when it's being used for AK type rifles.
The “Hyskore Dangerous Game Machine Rest” is an advanced high-end “strap down” benchrest that uses Nitrogen filled compression dampers to absorb the guns recoil in a natural way without undo stress on the stock. This rest even comes with a remotely activated hydraulic trigger release that eliminates all human motion contamination. It is adjustable for windage, elevation and pitch and is designed to be screwed onto or clamped down on a shooting bench.
First off: If you are just looking for something to help support your gun or shotgun while you sight it in or pattern it before Deer or Turkey season, this benchrest is probably a little overkill for your purposes. Hyskore and other manufacturers have lower priced and (more simple) rifle rest products available that will probably work better for you. Also keep in mind that, compared to other available rests, the "Dangerous Game" takes up a lot of space in your workshop and car.
However, if you need to do extensive ammo or rifle testing where maximum repeatability is required, continue reading.
Secondly: When we were preparing to publish this article we learned from the owner of Hyskore (Ted Werner) that about a month after we bought our Dangerous Game, Hyscore started selling the Hyskore #30185 Black Gun® Machine Rest. We did not have a chance to review this product but looking at it's picture and description it looks like the gun rest we'd buy today for use with our WASR-10's, AR-15's or any other Black Rifles.
That being said; this product review covers the use of the Hyskore Dangerous Game Machine Rest when used to sight in and test fire Assault Rifles. Although we used an AK-47 (WASR-10) for our evaluation, we also did tests with an AR-15 which produced the same results - and challenges.
Delivery and Assembly
Our rig arrived at the office in a big richly illustrated box. This caused some people in the building to raise an eyebrow or two, which just goes to prove that most people watch too much TV.
Unpacking the box we found all promised parts were present and accounted for - which is always a good start to any project. When we opened the box it became immediately clear that this is a solid piece of equipment constructed out of robust materials.
Figure 1: There it is; 24 Solid Pounds of Bench Rest!
The included CD-ROM, which (unfortunately) would not play in a regular DVD/BlueRay player, contains a PDF of the paper booklet which is also included in the box. The CD-Rom also contains two short YouTube quality video’s. The first seems to be more of a “promotional” video which is worth watching mainly because, hilariously enough, it stars the most wobbly shooting bench in the continental United States.
Video 1: If the Shooting Bench Rest is Rocking, Don't Come Knocking!
The second video, called the 30013 FAQ, is a little more informational. This video also gave us the first hint of the tinkering to come. Less than a minute in, it explains how you can take a drill to the rig in order to bolt it down better. It goes on to discuss adding non included springs and washers that can be used to improve performance. It then goes on and discusses how you might have to sand down some parts if the factory has over applied finish. More on the tinkering later…
Video 2: Dangerous Game II: The Wobbly Bench Strikes Back
Assembling the machine rest is kind of like assembling IKEA furniture; takes a while, can be somewhat frustrating, but it is definitely doable. The assembly instructions in the booklet are detailed but a little text heavy and could use more pictures. A detailed step-by-step installation video would have been nice too.
While assembling the rest we noticed some minor turn-offs:
- The plastic end caps of the tubular steel tend to fall out, exposing some light corrosion on the inside of the tubes. Not a structural problem but we did not expect this from a product in this price class.
- The water filled tube connecting the two plungers of the “hydraulic remote trigger release” system spontaneously came loose before it was even assembled and could only be persuaded to stay (most of the time) after we took a pair of pliers to the clamp that holds it in place. So much for the pet peeves category.
Assault Rifle Proofing and General Adjustments
The first real problem we ran into was the distance between the front and back rest - probably perfect for longer deer rifles, but not so much for our Oompa Loompa sized WASR-10. It wasn't that it didn't fit. The problem was the front plate of the AK’s lower forearm assembly ended up dead center on the front rest. Not a problem by itself but on the left-hand side this plate has an eye for the sling. Being right in the middle of the padded V-shaped front rest it pulled the gun under an angle when strapped down. We also feared it would cause the plate to become stressed as the eye caught in the padding when the gun was fired.
The cheap and easy solution here would have been to wrap a piece of cloth around the front end of the gun. This however would have caused the gun to have more play than we wanted. We didn't buy this high end rest to get approximate results! So we decided to move the rear 'vise" forward. Unfortunately there were no holes to accommodate this so we had to drill a new hole to fit the 3rd horizontal bolt beneath the vise. We also drilled a new vertical hole through the ‘lip’ on the front of the vise but we got lazy, and did not take the vise off while drilling the hole and ended up ruining the thread in the steel. Given that we were only going to shoot 7.62X39 or smaller we decided to survive without tapping a new tread for the vertical bolt. We also added some shims to the back of the vise to bring the gun forward even more.
Our next disappointment was that once the AK was strapped in the gun rest, it would barely fit our 10 round mag. And we had no way to remove the mag without unstrapping the gun. What were we to do but whip out the hack saw and build our own custom 5 round "Short Body" magazine?
Figure 2: Cutting Down the Mag - Crude Hand Tools are the AK Lover's Friends.
Unfortunately the sub compact magazine still left us with too little vertical clearance, so we decided to raise the gun. We arrived at the next challenge after we put some shims on the bottom of the rear vise. With the stock shimmed up, the rear clamps could only grab the far rear corner of the stock. This was less solid than we liked and it was too easy to wiggle the rifle around.
Interlude: The Bump Fire Experience
Of course by now we were itching to take our rig to the range for some preliminary field trials! Once we got to the gun range we hooked in our custom 5 round magazine, set the whole enchilada up without attaching it to the bench and pressed the plunger down…
This resulted in the fastest 5 Bump Fire shots this WASR-10 had done to date! We were quite impressed. It was so fast the Range Officers didn't even notice. We tried it a few more times and whenever we pressed the plunger down we would consistently get it to bump fire whatever was in the magazine! We thought this was awesome, of course but, the RO’s eventually caught on. They did not share out enthusiasm for bump firing, so we started hand feeding single rounds from that point on.
Even firing single shots, it jumped up and down on the bench like a baby goat on a sunny Spring day. Despite all that, we did manage to shoot a pretty tight group at 100 yards.
End of Interlude, back to the rear vise
We thought the contact surface of the clamps, particularly with the gun shimmed up, was not sufficient for our purpose. We also thought making them wider would help prevent lateral wobble.
To prevent all sideways play we headed back into the shop and constructed a plywood “liner” that raised the gun up and, combined with some additional pieces of MDF and the included foam pads, ensured a snug seating with lots of contact surface and zero left/right movement.
Figure 3: Adjustments Overview.
Figure 4: A: Moved the vise forward and added washer on top of the fine elevation adjustment. B: Added a rubber washer to the windage pin. C: Added a padded top to the V-support. D: Build a custom liner plus MDF and foam inserts for the vise.
This is where we got really fanatical about wobble. We added a washer and a rubber washer to the rod that guides the windage adjustment to eliminate some wobble there. We also added a washer on top of the fine elevation adjustment knob under the vise because it was allowing some vertical movement.
The gun was now seated solidly except for the front V-shaped rest which did not fit very tight on the AK’s front grip. We decided to drill some more holes and add an MDF top plate and some additional padding to it's sides. This did the trick. The AK was now officially more ridged than North Korea.
The AK "Platform".
The only remaining issue was the attachment of the machine rest itself. Since the RO's at the range don't really care for us driving screws in their tables we decided to construct a bench platform similar to the one recommended in the booklet.
Figure 5: This Picture Shows the Plywood Platform We Built to Strap Down the Hyskore DG.
Finally we took the Hyskore Dangerous Game back to the range, for it's acceptance test. We mounted the rig, clamped the platform down on the shooting bench and had at it. We won't go into the actual accuracy results in this review but we found that the repeatability was as high as we expected. We had to adjust the windage and elevation slightly between shots which was in line with the expectations set in the documentation. Curious detail; with the rig clamped down on the platform we could not reproduce the bump fire effect we consistently experienced before we fixed the rig to the bench. Too bad; that would have made a nice video...
Figure 6: The Hyskore Dangerous Game in it's Final Setup After Modifications.
All in all, we are satisfied that, with the adjustments we made to our rig, we now have the most advanced benchrest that online retail has to offer. Despite some minor finish concerns, the rig itself is good. It comes with a booklet full of tips and helpful (accuracy related) information.
While we realize that the Hyskore Dangerous Game Machine Rest is not designed for AK type assault rifles we still feel disappointed by the amount of tinkering it took to make the rig fit one. For this reason we would not recommend the Dangerous Game Machine Rest to AR/AK users. Fortunately Hyskore seems to have addressed the magazine and pistol grip related issues by coming out with the new Hyskore #30185 Black Gun® Machine Rest which we unfortunately could not review because it was not available when we got started on the ammo accuracy project.
We also made a few non-Black Rifle related adjustments to the rig. We feel those should have been done in the factory. That being said; for a few bucks worth of hardware and a little time we got something that is pretty darn solid.
On the topic of improvements: most people don’t have their own shooting range. For this reason we think it would be a great improvement if Hyskore would provide something that could temporarily clamp the machine rest to a public shooting bench. While we enjoyed building the platform, we believe most people do not expect to have to go play woodshop to use their benchrest properly.
We are demanding, but we think customers who shell out over $200 for this high-end piece of equipment are going to have some high-end expectations to match.
Our initial thought was to recommend this product for people that really need a high-end machine rest which allows for maximum repeatability. We were also going to caution that it might require some work to get the most out of it. Unfortunately with the newer model available. we can't recommend the Dangerous Game anymore for AK/AR owners. We have not tested the Black Gun Machine Rest, but it seems better equiped for rifles with pistol grips and magazines.
If you do not need uber-performance and are willing to live with a little less function in favor or a lot more ease of use and a lower price then, as mentioned before, Hyskore and other manufacturers have other simpler and lower priced rifle rest products available that will probably work out better for you.
Figure 7: Hyskore Dangerous Game Left View After Modifications.