Over the years I have had many missed opportunities for a shot at game when hunting in scattered forest or grasslands. Without any trees or other terrain to rest my rifle on, I have been unwilling to take chancy, unsupported, long shots. With deer, I never minded much and figured I would find some more over in the next gully. But with wild dogs, it is a different story. Wild dogs present far fewer shot opportunities. It takes a lot of effort, some skill and dash of luck to even see wild dogs, so every chance to shoot is treasure.
I have had good success from using the longer-legged bipods fixed to the rifle forend, but for more than half of any year, the grass is too deep even for those in the wet, far northern tropics where I hunt. Often, a standing shot is the only option. Shooting sticks were the obvious answer, but I could not find any that offered the degree of convenience and functionality I was looking for. I even made a set of shooting sticks, but the convenience and functionality were lacking.
I regularly searched the internet looking for inspiration and finally saw a couple of Youtube videos that caught my attention. Primos had recently released the improved 3rd generation of their Jim Shockey Trigger Stick. This device comes in monopod, bipod and tripod formats, with long and short legged versions. Nioa is the importer of Primos gear and provided the SSAA Australian Shooter/Hunter with the opportunity to review this product.
I removed the Primos Jim Shockey Gen3 log-legged Trigger Stick from its packing and assessed it. It was of the tripod format and weighed 1.405 kg, measuring 41 inches (104cm) long fully retracted. The ergonomic pistol grip and trigger mechanism worked a treat, better than I had expected. A one-handed squeeze let the legs lengthen smoothly under their own weight. Likewise, a gentle push downwards and the legs retracted effortlessly. The effective shooting height ranges from 24 inches (60cm) to 62 inches (157cm).
This third generation trigger stick features legs that can be splayed out to 45o with a simple twist of the leg-locking bezel. This provides a lower and much more stable platform for sitting shots. The other great attribute of the generation 3 shooting stick is how fast and easy it is to adapt to uneven terrain. Simply squeeze the trigger and push the pistol-grip yoke to where you want it – the three legs individually lengthen, or shorten, as required to provide a rock-solid tripod, even on the roughest slope.
Above the pistol-grip and trigger, there is a wide yoke to hold the forend of a rifle. It has a ridged, rubber texture that holds the stock nicely, without slipping. The yoke base rotates smoothly, providing 360o panning for the rifle – or camera. The rifle yoke is readily detachable at the press of a button, and a camera plate can be snapped into its place. This allows the tripod to be used for cameras, video, spotting scopes and the like. That is a particularly appealing feature for me as it means I can now leave my camera tripod at home. A minor issue I encountered in attaching my camera was the need to insert a small washer to ensure that the holding screw held the camera tightly on the plate, but that was a quick and simple fix.
The Primos Jim Shockey Gen3 Trigger Stick is rated to hold 35 pounds, which is close enough to 16 kilograms. Primos do stress that the trigger stick should not be used as a walking stick. They also advise a little care and attention after each field outing. The legs are close fitting telescopic, and a build-up of mud or grit could cause problems in the fine tolerance, moving fit. Primos provide a one year warranty for defects in materials and workmanship. The Australian retail price is from around $220. For the hunting applications I use it in, the Primos Jim Shockey Gen3 Trigger Stick, with its ergonomic design and smooth functionality, is the pick of the litter and reasonably priced to boot.
This review was first published in the January 2019 edition of the SSAA Shooter magazine.