Sinclair Varmint Rifle Cradle Review
By Glenn Burroughs
For longer than I like to admit, my rifles were cleaned by laying them on a work bench that had a carpet top. If the rifle was a target-type with a flat forearm bottom I would lay the forearm on the carpet with the butt off the table and the rifle could be cleaned easily enough. But the rest of the rifles had to be laid on their side… not a very handy situation.
One day while browsing through Sinclair International’s website I came across their rifle cradles, handy devices that hold a rifle in position while cleaning or working on the rifle. The Sinclair Cradle looked like it would be a vast improvement over my present method of cleaning and would be handy for installing scopes or accomplishing simple tasks on a rifle. I decided to give one a try.
Sinclair’s rifle cradles are offered in several versions; Long Range/Benchrest, Large Benchrest, Varmint, Hunting, High Power and AR-15, and are priced at $56.99. The difference between the models is the width of the saddle yokes that support the forearm and the butt of the rifle. Since I had quite a few varmint rifles the Varmint model was selected… this one handles rifles with forearms between 1.75-inches and 2.625-inches and rear grips up to 1.75-inches.
In a few days the Sinclair Cradle arrived in a small box that contained the legs, standard 14-inch tie bars and two saddles. Assembly was very simple… using a 3/16-inch hex wrench it was ready to use in a couple of minutes.
The first rifle to try the Sinclair Rifle Cradle was a Savage LRPV. This is truly a varmint rifle with both a heavy barrel and a wide forearm. The Sinclair Cradle provided a nice, snug fit and made cleaning a pleasure… well, as pleasurable as cleaning a rifle can be.
The Savage LRPV rifle is a perfect fit in the Varmint model.
The second rifle was a custom Savage 110 chambered in 219 Donaldson Wasp. It had a Boyds Thumbhole Varminter stock… a stock with a slightly wider pistol grip than most factory varmint models. The pistol grip was a little snug in the saddle, but settled in nicely. So far, so good.
The custom rifle with a Boyds stock is also a nice fit in the Varmint model.
The last rifle tried was a CZ-452 chambered in 17HMR. This is a small rifle and I was curious how the cradle would handle it. To my surprise it was certainly adequate. The saddle for the forearm was too wide, but the pistol grip saddle was small enough to hold the rifle upright.
The small CZ-452 rifle in the varmint cradle, lots of extra room in the forearm saddle.
The Varmint model turned out to be usable for most of my rifles. Although the dimensions varied somewhat between the three rifles they were all steady in the cradle and made cleaning a simple task. I was surprised (and pleased) that this model could provide support for different types of rifles, even if the fit was not perfect. If I run into a situation the varmint cradle cannot handle I will either clean the rifle as in the past, or purchase an additional saddle of the necessary width. Saddles can be changed quickly, allowing the cradle to be customized for a particular rifle.
However, if you want a snug fit for multiple rifles you have several options. The least expensive would be to purchase a specific saddle to better match the rifle in question. Additional saddles cost around $15 and swapping a saddle is achieved quickly. The simplest solution would be to purchase an additional cradle that fits the rifle, albeit a more expensive solution.
Overall I was very pleased with the Sinclair Varmint Cradle, it is well made and has a solid feel. Cleaning and working with a rifle in the cradle certainly makes the task easier and more enjoyable.
Glenn Burroughs is a retired computer systems manager with a lifelong love of guns. His main areas of interest are accurate rifles, wildcat cartridges, reloading and bench shooting. He also enjoys an occasional trip out west to the prairie dog country. Glenn was a columnist for Precision Shooting magazine and also wrote articles for Varmint Hunter magazine. He resides in Lynchburg, Virginia.
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