The Best Gun Vise features three supports that can be adjusted vertically as well as laterally along a t-track in the base. This allows the vise to hold most any type of firearm including AR-15's, break-actions, bolt-actions, lever-actions, handguns, and most anything else. The flexibility of the design combined with the well thought-out adjustments truly allow the Best Gun Vise to live up to the old adage, "one size fits all."
About this time last year I purchased one of the original Tipton Gun Vises, and while it has served me well over the last year I have found that the fixed positioning of the supports greatly limited its potential usefulness. The original vise design was adequate for most solid-frame long guns, but that's about it. The designers and engineers at Battenfeld obviously noticed these same limitations, and as a result remedied these issues with the developed the Best Gun Vise.
While this really isn't meant to be a comparison review, I feel comparing the two models is the best way to precisely explain how much more versatile the Best Gun Vise is compared to the original Gun Vise. The primary benefit of the Best Gun Vise is it's adjust-ability, so lets start off by looking at the t-track and the three support assemblies.
The t-track is simply an aluminum t-shaped track (hence the name) that runs the length of the base of the vise. The three supports are affixed to this device through the use of 5/16" t-bolts and 1.75" diameter fluted hand knobs. The head of the t-bolt slides into the t-track, the bolts pass up through the supports, and the hand knobs allow one to easily loosen or tighten the assembly for adjustment.
The system works flawlessly and permits you to remove any of the supports that aren't needed by sliding them out one of the ends. If you have ever owned a target rifle with a Anschutz-style accessory rail, it's the exact same principal.
The forward or forearm support is a two-piece unit that permits both lateral and vertical adjustment. The entire assembly can be adjusted fore and aft on the base via the t-track and locked into position by tightening the hand knob. Adjusting the height of the forward support is accomplished by loosening a second hand knob and moving the upper portion of the support up or down it's ramp. Retighten the hand knob and you're good to go.
The central or grip support adjusts laterally and offers two fixed height options. The fixed heights are approximately 4-5/8 and 7-5/8 inches and are designed primarily for use with handguns and break-action firearms. The short leg of the grip support features a padded flat surface with rounded edges while the long leg features a padded v-notch. Tightening the hand knob secures the support in place.
Like the front and central supports, the rear or butt support adjusts laterally by use of the t-track while the integral vise offers adjustment on the vertical plane. Two more hand knobs are used to secure the base of the rear support in position, and each side of the vise is has it's own hand knob to secure it into position once the desired height is found. The vise itself consists of two circular rubber pads affixed to threaded thru-bolts with hand knobs for quick and easy width adjustment, as well as two cam levers that will draw up on and secure the stock.
The base of the vise also features several impressions for holding screws, solvent bottles, jags, and whatever other small items you may be using at the time. This is a very handy feature, especially if you are working on your rifle at the range where small items can be easily misplaced or lost.
In comparison, the original Tipton Gun Vise utilizes three fixed position supports with no adjust-ability. This greatly limits its usefulness as the location and heights of the stationary supports only work with long guns in the closed position. The locking arm on the original vise also proved to be a problem as it is essentially a fulcrum and being plastic would flex easily and not securely hold the firearm.
The Tipton Best Gun Vise arrives un-assembled, and while the instructions aren't terribly detailed the assembly is very straight forward and only required a Phillips-head screwdriver to install the four rubber feet. With all three supports in place the vise weighs in right around 10-pounds, which along with the rubber feet should ensure it doesn't move around on your bench while cleaning or maintaining your firearms.
Using the Best Gun Vise is a no-brainer, and I found myself grabbing an assortment of different firearms out of the safe to experience the true flexibility of it's adjustment system. Anyone who has ever tried to clamp a Savage Striker or AR-15 in a conventional gun vise knows it's a challenge, but the Best Gun Vise handles both with ease. The only type of firearm I had any trouble using this vise with were break-actions in the full open position. While the vise will hold them securely, the center support isn't tall enough to reach the receiver and prevent the possibility of the hinge pivoting. However, breaking down the gun and simply using the forward or center rest along with the rear support's claming mechanism will allow a solid hold for cleaning or other maintenance. As such the vise does work with break-actions so long as you're only working with either the barrel half or the receiver half, or with the action locked closed. Outside of that little hitch the Tipton Best Gun Vise easily conquered any challenge I threw it's way, and in many cases could be configured in several different ways to secure the firearm.
To say I'm impressed with the Tipton Best Gun Vise would be an understatement. In fact, there's only one thing I would ever consider changing on this vise is the center support. Given the flexibility and adjust-ability of the forward and rear supports, the two-option center support almost seems like an after-thought. Adding a way to adjust the height of the center support would allow it to be used with a lot more types of firearms, especially when it comes to supporting the hinged area of a break-open firearm in the full open position.
If you like working on your own firearms or simply want a rock-solid cleaning station, I feel this vise is by far the best option. It's adjustability, flexibility and versatility are far superior to any similar product on the market, and the design simply makes sense and doesn't include anything that's not absolutely necessary.
The Tipton Best Gun Vise by Battenfeld Technologies, Inc. is available at most all quality firearm and sporting goods retailers.
Battenfeld Technologies, Inc.
5885 W. Van Horn Tavern Rd.
Columbia, MO 65203