Ransom Rest Review (for Glock shooters)
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  1. #1
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    Ransom Rest Review (for Glock shooters)

    What is it?

    The Ransom Rest is a device designed to hold a handgun steadily enough to fire it at a target, with assurance that the gun is not moving between shots.

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    As I am learning, the Ransom Rest is a tool, and like any tool there is a proper way to use it. There are six major adjustments on the Ransom Rest that I have, and there is some fine-tuning that needs to be learned in order to be successful with this tool. Setup and adjustment, as I will explain, are critical.


    Why would someone want one of these?

    Gunsmiths use this Rest to test the accuracy of pistols. A gun secured in this rest can be fired repeatedly at a target to produce a group of shots, which is the common means of measuring the accuracy of a firearm.

    Sight adjustment is another task that can be aided by the use of a Rest. Typically we would use a simple hand rest on the bench, but with the Ransom Rest we can hold the pistol perfectly steady and take time to develop a perfect sight picture and sight alignment.

    Beyond firearm accuracy testing and sight setting, reloaders can use a Ransom Rest in developing or refining reloading “recipes”. The results of variation in velocity are quickly apparent by looking at the pattern of bullet holes in the target.


    How much does it cost?

    The Ransom Master Series Combo Rest that I purchased cost a total of $640.39, plus tax and shipping. This price included the Rest, a windage-adjustable base, and a set of grip inserts for the 3rd Generation Glock G17/22, which also fit the third-generation Glock 34 and 35.

    That is a lot of money for a non-professional to spend on a gadget, but I view this as an enabling technology. Without it, all I could do was shoot from an improvised rest on a bench and hope for the best, never really knowing how accurate my pistols are. This Rest will enable me to move forward quite a bit in my ability to measure accuracy, and I’m looking forward to using it in load development.


    What is the quality of the device?

    Build quality is excellent. Castings are sturdy and nicely finished with wrinkle black paint, fittings are high quality, the overall design and presentation are pleasing to the eye. There is no documentation packaged with the Rest, but there's good information published online: http://www.ransomrest.com/COMBO.pdf

    How does it work?

    Put very simply, the Rest holds the pistol firmly, and has a remote trigger-pulling device to enable the user to fire the gun.

    The Rest is mounted on a wooden board that you provide, and the board is clamped to a shooting bench, again with clamps that you provide. The user mounts the pistol in a grip insert specific to that type of pistol, and then uses the vertical and horizontal adjustments to align the pistol sights on the target. The gun is loaded, and testing begins.

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    When the gun is fired and recoils, it pivots around a device that controls the recoil and stops the movement. Recoil is managed by a simple friction system, a heavy spring that pulls a steel bracket against a friction pad, not unlike a disc brake in a car.

    As the gun recoils, it pivots upward around the pivot, the speed of movement and distance of rotation being controlled by the friction system. At the end of recoil travel, a cap nut blocks further movement of the pistol.

    When firing a single round is complete, the pistol comes to rest at an angle of about 85°. To repeat the firing cycle of a semi-automatic pistol, the user presses on a return lug to bring the pistol back to level, ready to fire again.


    Grip Inserts

    Grip inserts are sold in pairs (left and right) for $58.42 per pair to fit specific handguns. The grip inserts for Glock are designed to hold the gun firmly, although the advice that the may need to be modified is offered in the instructions.

    G35 resting in right grip insert:

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    Right grip insert installed in the frame:

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    Review view of G35 installed in grip inserts. Left side brace is adjustable for tension with three thumb screws.

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    For guns with removable grips, such as the 1911, the grips are removed and the grip insert holds the gun by the frame.

    Setup

    After receiving the device, the user needs to build a platform of ¾” plywood, and to mount the device to the platform. The platform is then secured to the shooting bench with C-Clamps that the user must provide. Instructions for building the simple platform are found at the Ransom website.

    There is apparently some art in the process of using the Ransom Rest, I am learning. My first trip to the range with the Rest was fairly frustrating, because I did not carefully read the instructions about how to use the Rest with a Polymer-framed pistol. Initial results with the Glock were unimpressive. I clamped the Glock too tightly in the grip insert, so much so that the magazine would not fall free for reloading because I had flexed the frame. So, I loosened up the clamp, changed the magazine, and then re-tightened it too much and had to start all over between magazines.

    The instructions make it clear that the Glock needs to be held a little less firmly than a steel-framed gun (like a 1911), and that a Glock may take up to 20 “settling shots” until it is fully seated in the grip insert and ready to produce consistent groups.


    Results

    My second trip to the range was much more successful than the first. I had to fire about 30 shots to “settle” the G35 into the grip adapter, but I will admit that I was tinkering with other adjustments at the same time. I’m sure I’ll get better with this over time.

    After several groups with Magtech 180-grain FMJ ammo to fire the settling shots, I then switched to Winchester white box 180-grain ammo that I use in matches. Again, the gun is a 3rd Generation Glock G35, with a Lone Wolf barrel, a compensator, and a C-More STS red dot sight. Without the red dot sight this would have been a much longer process, because I just don’t see well enough, even through bifocals, to establish a good sight picture at 25 yards.

    Here are the group photos, with some comments. Note that I was using a red-dot sight, and to avoid changing targets I just moved the point of aim around. The point of the testing is not to put bullets through a particular point on the target, it is to try to get the groups of bullets as tight as possible. After that is accomplished, you can adjust the sights of the pistol.

    Group 1: Magtech 180s. Not impressive. Too much lateral dispersion, I must have done something wrong.

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    Group 2: Still shooting Magtech 180s. OK, I messed around with the ABC adjustments, but still not much better.

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    Group 3: Still shooting Magtech 180s. Still messing around, I made it worse!

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    Group 4: Winchester white box 180s. I think I'm getting the idea. Tighten A to the point that you can still drop the magazine from the Glock, then even up the distance on B and C. The "A", "B", and "C" that I refer to are the clamps that hold the grip insert in place. Read the documentation (see link above) for more information on that topic.

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    Group 5: Winchester white box 180s. By golly, I think we're getting somewhere.

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    At this point I stopped the test and decided to write this post. I do think there is more room for improvement, and I will keep working at it over the summer.

    Is it a keeper? Well, for me, yes. I'll use it more for my 1911s than anything else, because I reload .45 ACP and I could use some means of getting group information that doesn't require me to have better eyes than the ones I have. I know it's easier to use with the 1911 because I have done a quick setup and test session with one already. The steel frame of the 1911 makes a big difference in how well the grip inserts work.

    I'd say that if you can get 25-yard groups like the ones I got in Group 5 using just a sandbag rest and your eyes, you probably don't need a Ransom Rest. On the other hand, if you do a lot of competition shooting, or especially if you're a gunsmith, you can probably use one of these.

    Questions?

    Chris
    Last edited by cohland; 06-27-2013 at 05:02 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Thanks Chris now i have to work on my "but honey i really really need this"
    Last edited by NamVetJoe; 06-27-2013 at 07:19 PM.
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    I wish I would have bought one of those many years ago. I remember in the early 80's they were about $300, then. As a G.I., as much as I wanted one, especially to test hunting rounds, I just couldn't bring myself to part with that much money. Then of course the grip inserts cost extra, etc.. Now they're $640 bucks. I just can't justify it, but I'd love to have one. That's eerie, I was thinking about having one just a week or so ago, and was wondering what they cost now. Heck, I can't even get reloading components, even if Ihad one. So I'll just drool over yours, and get envious, and covet, and all those other sins.

    Cool, glad you're lucky enough to have one. 'Nam had better really practice his "but Honey.....and maybe have a plan B.

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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by FortTom View Post
    I wish I would have bought one of those many years ago. I remember in the early 80's they were about $300, then....
    The price was shocking, believe me. They've been making this thing for a long, long time, but I guess the competition is pretty thin or they wouldn't be able to charge that much. A friend is sort of chipping in by paying for grip inserts, which will help.

    I will say that it's nice to know that the G35 is reasonably accurate. All I ever use that gun for is USPSA, and I've never been sure that I even had the sights adjusted correctly until now. All excuses, however, just went out the window: the gun works fine. I'm sure that I'll be able to improve things more with version 2.0 of the mounting base that I just made, and as I gain experience with the Ransom I'll post an update or two.

    Next up: tomorrow I'm going to exercise it with a 1911, should be fun.

    Chris
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    C - Another thing I think they're perfect for is "shooter's fatigue". I used to shoot a lot of heavy handloads, and on a hot day shooting round after round of 300gn or larger hunting rounds, 50 at a time, I couldn't tell if each step up in powder load weight was better or worse, because I'd just plain get tired of shooting a heavy recoiling S/A revolver, especially when the heat was almost unbearable. I'd usually load in 2 tenths of a grain increments (5 ea.) as I approached the max load. I'd get mixed results, especially if one box of loads gave me mixed results. I just wrote it off as fatigue, but with a ransom rest you can take all the human aspect out of the rest. I'd bet that it would be great for handloads like 500 S&W, and such, where 10 or 15 rounds might wear a person out. Can't wait to see the 1911 results.

    FT
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    OK.....now I know yours is bigger. Yes, I admit it I have Ransom envy. Can I ask that you leave it to me in your will? Of course with all the work I have had done I don't expect to be collecting. Any way I look forward to your reports from it's use.
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    Interesting... I didn't realize there was a learning curve to a ransom rest... Good, informative write up...

    Also interested in the 1911 follow-up...
    "While the anti-gunners seem very concerned about the "one life" that your firearm might take -- they are not very concerned about the lives it will save." Jon H. Gutmacher, Florida Firearms - Law, Use & Ownership

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    Cool write up... Thanks for sharing.
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    A highly enjoyable read, looking forward to updates.
    Thanks for sharing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by FortTom View Post
    C - Another thing I think they're perfect for is "shooter's fatigue". I used to shoot a lot of heavy handloads, and on a hot day shooting round after round of 300gn or larger hunting rounds, 50 at a time, I couldn't tell if each step up in powder load weight was better or worse, because I'd just plain get tired of shooting a heavy recoiling S/A revolver, especially when the heat was almost unbearable. I'd usually load in 2 tenths of a grain increments (5 ea.) as I approached the max load. I'd get mixed results, especially if one box of loads gave me mixed results. I just wrote it off as fatigue, but with a ransom rest you can take all the human aspect out of the rest. I'd bet that it would be great for handloads like 500 S&W, and such, where 10 or 15 rounds might wear a person out. Can't wait to see the 1911 results.
    I hate recoil so much that I would never have thought of using the rest to deal with shooter's fatigue, but you are certainly correct about that. Come to think of it, firing 200 rounds while fooling around with the Ransom Rest had no effect on me...but the gun was a compensated G35, which sort of feels like a light 9mm anyway.

    We'll follow up with 1911 results, a friend and I have to arrange a test session. Being that the 1911 is held much more securely because (a) the grips are removed and (b) the grip insert actually has holes for the grip bushings to fit, I think that it will take fewer settling shots. I learned enough about general setup from working with the Glock that I expect to have results more quickly with the 1911. Stay tuned.

    Chris
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