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Thread: Rifle Bench Rest

  1. #1
    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Default Rifle Bench Rest

    I would like to get a good bench rest for my rifles to occasionally check the accuracy and flight path of various ammo without worrying about whether or not I'm doing my part.

    A few of my needs/preferences:

    * Must handle any rifle at least up to 416 Rigby.

    * The fact that it may absord recoil is fine, but not my biggest criteria, as long as it stabilizes the gun for me, the recoil does not bother me.

    * Related to the latter point, a little heft to reduce recoil is fine, but I also want/need it to be fairly portable and convenient to set up. I may be occasionally dragging it inside of the NRA range or lugging it a couple hours to a friend's land. I don't want something that's really heavy, cumbersome, or fills up the back of my SUV.

    * The more surfaces I can use it on the better (are there any that can be used on a flat surface on the ground even?).

    I've looked at a bunch of options on Cabela's and other sites, like various Lead Sleds, and Hyskore models, but I have no idea what to get.

    Any advice or recommendations are appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

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    I use a bull bag a lot and it can be filled with different materials to make it heavy or light. I have one filled with sand that will weigh probally 35-40 pounds. I also have one that is filled with small plastic pellets that will weigh about 5 - 7 pounds. I have some shot bags filled with these pellets and I use one of these under the rear of the gun with one of these bags. Another option I use some is a bipod.


    One recoil trick I learned years ago was to wear a life jacket upside down on the shoulder you shoot from. Turn it upside down and if you shoot right handed run your right arm through the left arm hole and let the rest of the jacket hang behind you. You can shoot any gun you want all day with out getting a sore shoulder using this method.

  3. #3
    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cast Iron View Post
    I use a bull bag a lot and it can be filled with different materials to make it heavy or light. I have one filled with sand that will weigh probally 35-40 pounds. I also have one that is filled with small plastic pellets that will weigh about 5 - 7 pounds. I have some shot bags filled with these pellets and I use one of these under the rear of the gun with one of these bags. Another option I use some is a bipod.


    One recoil trick I learned years ago was to wear a life jacket upside down on the shoulder you shoot from. Turn it upside down and if you shoot right handed run your right arm through the left arm hole and let the rest of the jacket hang behind you. You can shoot any gun you want all day with out getting a sore shoulder using this method.
    Thanks Cast.

    I was considering just getting in the prone position with my bipods. But I can't do that at the NRA range. I guess a bench rest won't really help me there anyway because the tables are too wobbly. And I recently got access to a new friend's land a couple hours away. I know I can hold my bolt action rifles steady as Gibraltar in the prone position with the bipod. Maybe that's the best solution--even more so using some bags like you said. I have a decent shoulder-mounted recoil pad, but I've never worn it in the prone position, and I'm not sure it will help in the prone. I will keep an open mind about the life jacket idea.

  4. #4
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Default

    My favorite front rest is the first link below. I combine it with the leather bag in the second link and take the recoil on my shoulder.


    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...793&hasJS=true

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...793&hasJS=true


    This front rest is very accurate and I get repeatable results with minimum effort. The elevation and windage are micro adjustable and the rear bag provides a secure butt rest when placed just behind the grip area. The front rest comes in a secure plastic carrying case similar to a small chainsaw case, very portable.

    The front rest is a bit spendy but this set up doesn't make your stock take all of the punishment like a heavily weighted sled. The rear bag takes a portion of the recoil when placed as I described.

    I think the above set up covers your original post fairly well:

    A few of my needs/preferences:

    * Must handle any rifle at least up to 416 Rigby.

    * The fact that it may adsorb recoil is fine, but not my biggest criteria, as long as it stabilizes the gun for me, the recoil does not bother me.

    * Related to the latter point, a little heft to reduce recoil is fine, but I also want/need it to be fairly portable and convenient to set up. I may be occasionally dragging it inside of the NRA range or lugging it a couple hours to a friend's land. I don't want something that's really heavy, cumbersome, or fills up the back of my SUV.

    * The more surfaces I can use it on the better (are there any that can be used on a flat surface on the ground even?).

  5. #5

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    I don't know whether to claim I'm blessed or admit that I'm just plain lazy. But I do 99.9% of my shooting on informal "ranges" rather than established ranges, and I've evolved a benchrest system along the KISS principle.

    I can drive my truck to the firing line almost anywhere I shoot.

    I park it sideways, drop the tail gate, and pull a sheet of 3/4" plywood most of the way out, resting the outer end on a saw horse. Put a folding chair behind it and I've got a terrific benchrest table with lots of room for accessories and extra guns. Couldn't be simpler or more compact with the plywood in the bottom of the bed, the folding chair on that, and the saw horse laying on its side. If I can't drive to the firing line, I just us two saw horses, or a third in the middle if I'm dealing with a lot of weight.

    For recoil management with boomers, I have found the setup is ideal because I have to sit really upright due to the table height. Doing that rather than leaning down into the gun absorbs one whale of a lot of recoil, because you flex at the waist with each shot. I just put a 25 pound bag of bird shot between my shoulder and the gun if that isn't enough.

    And since I'm tall (6'4"), the cab on my Toyota Tacoma is exactly the right height for me to lay a sandbag on the roof, then stand fully upright and shoot with the rifle resting on the bag. That's the ultimate for absorbing recoil on the worst boomers- letting your whole body sway with the recoil. I learned to do that at a range with a "standing" benchrest for boomers, basically a U-shaped benchrest table on long legs. Stand in the middle of the U, and there was a rest on each side and in front for both lefties and righties. Dandy.

    I used to have an open-sighted Ruger #1 458 that a sadist had rechambered to 460 Weatherby. The original owner handed it to me along with some 600 grain custom spitzers he'd had made up, asking me to develop loads and sight it in. The first shot I fired from a lead sled skidded the sled half off the table. Rather than add more weight to the sled, I moved over and rested on top of the cab. No sweat, though I was only good for about 40 shots a day. Double vision makes aiming a bit tenuous.

    BTW- Once I had the load developed, the owner shot it once and gave me the rifle back, swearing he never wanted to see it again. Took me three years to trade it off, and no dice on any sale. Was I stupid to let prospective owners shoot it before buying or trading? Yup, but I sure had fun!!!!!

  6. #6

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    Years ago I won a rifle rest (attached picture). I only use it when I'm sighting in a rifle, so I haven't used it a great deal as I don’t spend a great deal of time range shooting. But I have been quite pleased with it for sighting in my hunting rifles. It only weighs a few pounds, but it does help to reduce recoil. Felt recoil from 175 grain Noslers in my 7mm Rem Mag/Weatherby Ultralight is extremely light (noting that a 7mm is not a recoil monster). As soon as it warms up a bit I'll be using the rest to sight in my new .375 Talkeetna. If you’re a person who spends a great deal of time “tack driving” on the range you may want a better rest, but if not, I would think that most any similar rest such as a Lead Sled would be adequate.

    WhiteFish
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