It became apparent over the nationals week that our cheap and cheerful shooting jackets were literally falling apart at the seams. Since we are traveling to Australia in June we need to replace them – and soon – to give us time to get used to the new ones. We knew through the grape vine that Shooting Stuff were starting to import the Kurt Thune club jackets at a very good price. This quickly became our first choice after seeing some of them around, they were by far the best quality.
We know many people who have the custom fitted Kurt Thune jackets and the feedback from everyone was this would be the way to go but we need to consider that there are two of us and we still need new front sights and I also need a new barrel for next season. The $600 – $800 price tag was out of our limit so $350 for an “off the shelf” club jacket seemed the best compromise. After measuring ourselves, a bit of umm-ing and arr-ing, getting someone else who knows to measure us and then some more umm-ing and arr-ing we decided on our sizes we emailed Shooting Stuff to get our order in.
They came back to us to let us know they had my size in stock but Vic’s size was not a stock size and would take 6 weeks to get one in. We promptly paid for mine and 3 days later I arrived home from work to Vic telling me I had a present and, miraculously, she had not opened it!
I got out of my work gear, ripped open the packaging and found the instructions (yes I know this is a loss of man points I can ill-afford) to have a read and I was surprised to find the “six golden rules for safe gun handling” in the instructions for the jacket. I have a fondness for companies who take every opportunity to promote gun safety.
I was very impressed with the quality. There has been no skimping on materials and the stitching and finishing leaves me in no doubt that they take just as much time and care with their bottom of the range jackets as with the top. It makes me feel like someone is getting ripped off and it’s not me.
I headed to the safe, grabbed my glove sling and rifle, and psyched myself up to put it on. The only thing I adjusted out of the bag was the sling keeper. Once I had it on, I immediately noticed that the cut around the arms is so high that if I stand upright it feels like it cuts circulation off to my arms although once I am in position it is fine. The other thing I noticed was the buttons were in the perfect place. This is probably because I have been measured by multiple people who have all agreed on my size. The other thing I found was it was so stiff I could not bend down to get into position the first time and I had to throw myself forward to get onto my elbows. This may have looked undignified but now it is fine it has started to form around me.
My initial impression was this was a great buy.
The weekend rolled around and it was the weekend of the Wairarapa championships – possibly not the best time to be trying new gear but hey, it might help. On the range I put the jacket on for the second time and only then did it the occur to me that this was a very different jacket. Every time I had worn a different jacket it had felt strange or uncomfortable or just odd but this felt like MY jacket but much much more comfortable, better fitting and more supportive. This was brilliant!
I fired my first shot and got a perfect water line bull but the case would not extract so my rifle was out of action for the day. Vic lent me hers and I got back down. Now everything was against me… New jacket, strange rifle and an unknown wind zero. I believe the jacket pulled me through the position problems – it kept me solid when I was in an unfamiliar position. I got up from the shoot with one of the 3 possibles shot at that range. I could not believe it.
Needless to say, I ended up winning my grade on the day where I should have crashed and burned and it seems the credit belongs with the jacket! If this is what the club jacket is like, I can’t wait to get one of the top of the range jackets custom fitted!
At the last range Vic gave it a try, it’s about 4 sizes too big for her and she still found it more comfortable than her current jacket that is the right size. When she got off the mound she pointed at me and exclaimed, “This jacket is cheating!” and I tend to agree but I think she liked it.
In conclusion you can’t go wrong with this jacket if you want a cheap entry level jacket that won’t break the bank. I have only found one problem with it and that is with the black back it gets very hot in the sun but this is only a problem for full-bore long-range shooting and is a very small price to pay for a brilliant product.