I have recently acquired one of Joe Cowans front rests. This rest is one of the nicest rests I have ever encountered and probably the absolute best dollar for dollar buy around. It is a very nicely made tripod type rest with a windage top and thrust bearing in the center riser assembly. All this is included in the package for the bargain basement price of $210. And apparently that includes shipping in most cases.
As if finding a great deal isnt sweet enough it turns out Joe is a Journeyman Tool & Die Maker with 25 years experience before he entered teaching. He now teaches Precision Machining at Altoona Career & Technology Center. His class project, and their fund-raiser, is front rests. He tells me they have them in every state including Alaska and Hawaii, and even Canada and England.
Every penny goes to the students and they do many good things with the money. Last year they donated over $4,000 to families within the school that were struck with tragedy.
I tested the rest at my local range this last weekend and found it to be very nice, rock solid and easy to operate. The windage top works very well, the screws to control side tension on the bag are very nice and I especially like the thrust bearing that raised the center assembly. I originally obtained this rest just to look it over but I like it so well I am seriously thinking about selling my wifes current rest as I think she would find the cowan rest easier to use. My wife had Polio as a child and although she has complete use of her hands and fingers she does not have near the strength of an average person and I think she will find the Cowan easier to use particularly the center riser.
I discovered after taking the top photo below that the front stop is not only easily adjustable front to back but also up and down. I have had to cut off top of front stops in the past and then sometimes later wished I had the length back this is no problem with Joes rest.
I am told the rest was originally made of all aluminum but in an effort to increase weight the current production run features brass legs. I think it weighs 13.5 pounds.
And no I am not giving up my Farley I like it very much but I but remember it costs 3 times as much as the Cowan I just dont see how you can do better than this rest for a new shooter and if he decides he wants a more advanced rest later the low initial cost certainly means the new shooter will lose a smaller amount on resale of his first rest.
The below top photo shows rest with my speed screw installed in rear leg that (and an appropriate bag) is probably the only accessories a person could want for the rest and it is very useable with the standard equipment rear leg screw.
Joe can be reached at email@example.com
Phone 1-814-505-1235 8am to 2 pm.
PS I forgot to say I shoot left handed and decided to reverse the rest to left handed operation which turned out to be unbelievably easy. Actually I rotated the top only 120 degrees which also puts the center riser lock on the right side for us lefties. I found it interesting since this requires removing the front and rear plates or abandoning the front stop that it did not fly apart like my other windage tops.