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View Full Version : What's your favorite rifle rest?


shredder4286
April 20, 2011, 08:50 PM
I've been considering getting one of the "lead sled" type rests to steady my rifle with at the range. In the past, I've simply used a padded block for a front rest, and a sandbag for the rear. What's your preffered method for steadying a rifle at the range?

Please include explanations as to why you're partial to the type of rest that you voted for.

That'll Do
April 20, 2011, 08:59 PM
So far all I've tried it bags in the front and rear, and that works well for me. I still want to invest in a proper rest, like a Caldwell Lead Sled, or something similar. Gotta have variety.

Ideal Tool
April 20, 2011, 09:12 PM
Hello Shredder4286. I have been using a Hart cast-iron front rest for about twenty years now. In the early 90's, I modified it with a custom windage top(Ransom base, my own machined top plate, & changed out elevation screw for a 1" Acme thread..overkill I know..but with Protector bag mounted, it's very heavy and stable. Rear bag is bunny ear protector filled with heavy foundry sand. For the single-shots with lots of recoil, I like the Bull's Bag bench model, also filled with sand.

shredder4286
April 20, 2011, 09:22 PM
Rear bag is bunny ear protector filled with heavy foundry sand.

So, with the set-up you've been using, you just set the butt of your rifle in the bunny ear rear rest, then adjust for elevation with the front rest? That sounds like it might be a better/easier way of doing things than trying to adjust the rear.

Ideal Tool
April 20, 2011, 10:46 PM
Hello, shredder4286. The way I do it is the same way most bench-rest shooters practice: I get the front rest elevation close..this means about an inch or so above the target center..I am shooting mainly 100yds. Then with right hand..squeeze rear bag until sights are aligned with target..you don't want sights too high before squeezing..better very light controlable squeeze than gorilla grip! You can find alot of neat rests and equipment at Sinclair International Inc. Tell them your new..will send you a VERY nice catalog.

rifleman8
April 20, 2011, 10:47 PM
I prefer to use my ammo box with a pad (usually a folded sweatshirt) over it, mainly because I do a little more offhand and prone shooting than benchrest. When I'm hunting, I don't shoot from a bench, so I may as well practice from improvised rests and positions. That being said, I'm sure a "lead slead" is much more steady than an ammo box.

shredder4286
April 20, 2011, 11:10 PM
I prefer to use my ammo box with a pad (usually a folded sweatshirt) over it, mainly because I do a little more offhand and prone shooting than benchrest. When I'm hunting, I don't shoot from a bench, so I may as well practice from improvised rests and positions.

Yeah, roger that- I'm going to be hunting in Colorado for the first time this fall, and with the terrain here, I'll be challenged so I want to be able to shoot from more than just a bench.

kraigwy
April 20, 2011, 11:11 PM
Sling, un-supported. No other rest.

Jim243
April 20, 2011, 11:12 PM
I started with the Caldwell sand filled bags then tried the lead sled type and finally settled on my range bag for a front rest. Easier to use and less junk to lug around, works just as well.


Jim

Blackops_2
April 20, 2011, 11:51 PM
Uh...bipod

phil mcwilliam
April 21, 2011, 01:04 AM
My mate has a caldwell lead sled, that Ive used for sighting in rifles. I like the lead sled, especially for sighting in, cause it cradles the rifle & holds it perfectly still. You can also make small dial changes in elevation to front or rear of sled to set each shot up perfectly.
I certainly don't think the caldwell lead sled is a must have, & I would not go & buy one, but since my mate has one I'm more than happy to use it & can see its advantages in sighting in rifles.

BIG P
April 21, 2011, 01:11 AM
NICE bench to sight in with. A good tripod in the field works for me.

Palmetto-Pride
April 21, 2011, 01:36 AM
Bi- Pod

FrankenMauser
April 21, 2011, 01:36 AM
I don't like full-support rests (lead sleds, and similar). They take the shooter too far out of the equation. Yes, I know that's a "good thing" to many shooters, but I need to know how the rifle will perform in MY hands, not how it performs strapped to a chunk of steel and plastic.


A lot of my shooting is done from kneeling or sitting positions. So, the rests don't get used often.

If I do use a rest, it's a Caldwell Rock Jr, and a Caldwell Deluxe rear bag.
They aid me in steadying the rifle, but don't do the job for me. ;)

Kreyzhorse
April 21, 2011, 07:18 AM
Uou need an "other" heading on your poll.

At the range off the bench, I'm usually using a couple of sand bags up front and that's it. A bi-pod on occasion if I'm shooting my 7mm Rem Mag.

madcratebuilder
April 21, 2011, 07:18 AM
From the bench I prefer a bi-pod, mono pod combination. I also use a bag with and without a padded ammo can with a rear rabbit ear bag.

warbirdlover
April 21, 2011, 07:53 AM
I've got two (they still sell them on E-Bay) Outers "Varminter" rifle rests which are the greatest thing ever invented. They don't stop the recoil but you can "dial" the crosshairs right in easily. Only problem (not really though) is they like to rust. I just oil it and use it and ignore the rust. If you watch you can find them on E-Bay for $50. Some are more.....

http://cgi.ebay.com/Outers-Varminter-Rifle-Rest-Outers-Gun-Vise-/110539989650?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0

Art Eatman
April 21, 2011, 08:38 AM
I use the bench for testing loads or equipment, and use sandbags to take "me" out of the equation. The main thing is that the support remain uniform from shot to shot.

So, a block in front with a sandbag on top of it--and always located at the same position under the forearm as my hand would be in the field.

Sandbag(s) under the butt, again, uniform as to location. Uniform shoulder pressure against the buttpad. I get the sights very close to righteous and then squeeze the bag for "final perfection" of sight picture.

I don't thing there's all that much difference from one system to another, so long as you are uniform, consistent, from shot to shot.

johnbt
April 21, 2011, 09:19 AM
I use a rest made by Joe Cowan's students at the GREATER ALTOONA [PA] CAREER AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER. They do a run every semester and plow the money back into their program, although as I recall one time they donated some money to the family of a student after their home burned down. Joe is a tool & die maker and a teacher. And a shooter.

I actually have two, one of the early ones and a new improved one with speed screw, windage top, etc. Last time I looked they were $200 or $250 or so. It's been awhile.

They're famous many places, but especially on rimfirecentral over the years.

John

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/12153DSCN0116C.bmp

shredder4286
April 21, 2011, 09:21 AM
Uh...bipod

obviously that should've been a poll choice

I don't like full-support rests (lead sleds, and similar). They take the shooter too far out of the equation.

I see what you mean. Especially if you're going to be hunting with the rifle. What good does it do if the lead sled gets sub moa when you can't hit a pickup truck at 100 yds?

I don't thing there's all that much difference from one system to another, so long as you are uniform, consistent, from shot to shot.

Roger that. I'd hate to go drop $130 on a rifle rest, then end up using a sandbag and block because I'm tired of lugging the rest around.:D

Saltydog235
April 21, 2011, 10:44 AM
Caldwell type front rest to adjust rough elevation and a rabbit ear bag for the rear stock. My rabbit ear bag is filled with lead shot, not sand though. Its been a great system for me.

.300 Weatherby Mag
April 21, 2011, 04:00 PM
Sinclair:

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g1/Husky507/006.jpg

PawPaw
April 21, 2011, 04:08 PM
All those are good, and I've used some might fine rests in my time, but the one that's with me always is a roll of carpet padding taped with duct tape. It lives in under the back seat of the pickup truck.

Here's a picture of my son using it with a .45-70.

http://www.castbullet.com/shooting/photos/handi04.jpg

smoakingun
April 21, 2011, 08:49 PM
from a practical standpoint, you can't bank on a rest in the field, not even with a bi-pod. Learn to use a sling, then you wont need a rest

shredder4286
April 21, 2011, 09:36 PM
from a practical standpoint, you can't bank on a rest in the field, not even with a bi-pod. Learn to use a sling, then you wont need a rest

Definitely. Next time I hit the range, I'll have to try and hit the 300 yd gong just using my sling to steady me:cool:

plinky
April 21, 2011, 09:48 PM
I have used the Caldwell Rock and Rock BR. Have to say I wasn't at all impressed with the Rock BR. That could be because I tend to squeeeze the rear bag instead of adjusting the front rest up or down.

jimbob86
April 21, 2011, 09:56 PM
Stoney Point Shooting sticks and a leather military sling. Rock solid, portable, adaptable to nearly any situation.

you can't bank on a rest in the field, not even with a bi-pod.

Bingo. And those bi-pods get hung up on brush when you are still hunting. They add weight out where you dont want it, making the rifle cumbersome.

I can't understand the logic behind folks who advocate for short action cartridges and short barrels because they are "handier" and then go and hang a bipod on the front that sticks 6" past the barrel when folded...... :confused:

FrankenMauser
April 21, 2011, 11:05 PM
I can't understand the logic behind folks who advocate for short action cartridges and short barrels because they are "handier" and then go and hang a bipod on the front that sticks 6" past the barrel when folded......:confused:

Me either.

That's why all but one of my hunting rifles is a long action with a 24" or longer barrel, and all weigh in at 8.5 lbs or heavier (unloaded). And the short action rifle weighs in at nearly 10 lbs, with a 26" barrel. ...The long barrels make my bipod look smaller. ;)

you can't bank on a rest in the field, not even with a bi-pod.

Nope, you can't. But the 85% of the time that shooting sticks can be used... my bipod can be used. Personal preference, is all it is.

warbirdlover
April 21, 2011, 11:46 PM
from a practical standpoint, you can't bank on a rest in the field, not even with a bi-pod. Learn to use a sling, then you wont need a rest

I've been hunting for almost 50 years and I've always been able to find a natural rest, tree, bush, or whatever.

I've had the military slings and know how to use them but the only way I'm comfortable taking a shot is having a more solid rest. Now I sit in a box blind and rest the gun on the window sill so I have my rest there.

Not saying you guys can't shoot good offhand with the sling. Just saying I can't. At least not to my satisfaction.

Bruceak
April 22, 2011, 01:50 AM
Even when sighting in a hunting rifle at the range I like a rest that requires me to hold on the target. For many years that was a rolled towel on top of a kids training potty. I find that a gun rest that eliminates all variables of the shooter doesn't necessarily result in "field" accuracy. I want to eliminate the wobble of an off hand shot but leave me responsible for my own hold and trigger pull. In the field I love to find a scrub pine with a solid limb at arm pit height when a nice buck comes sneaking up the muskeg in answer to my bleat call.

oneoldsap
April 22, 2011, 06:51 AM
I have an old Hoppes Varminter rest that works great on the Hood of my Truck . A Pickup Truck Door is pretty popular too ! LOL :)

christcorp
April 22, 2011, 08:18 AM
I tend to agree with the "Non-Artificial" rest crowd. Whether you're a hunter, shooting prairie dogs, a competitor, or just a paper puncher; real life in those activities require the shooter to hold the rifle. With holding/aiming a rifle, the human variable, such as breathing and keeping a steady hand is the major contributor in hitting your target or not. Using artificial rests take the human factor more out of the equation. Because of this, the shooter doesn't have control over true accuracy.

I can understand a bi-pod that is attached to the rifle. Maybe even some shooting sticks. But the shooter has to have complete control. There's nothing wrong with resting the rifle on a cushion, sand bag, gun case, etc... Bottom line: if i can let go of the gun, with no human contact, and the point of aim of the rifle doesn't change...... then I don't want it. It serves no practical purpose. Simulating resting the rifle on a fence post, tree limb, a downed log while laying prone, etc... are all natural ways of steadying a rifle. Any rest that can do this, and doesn't require the rifle to be physically locked in, is fine. Anything else is impractical unless you're an ammunition or weapon developer and are trying to determine the characteristics of the actual bullet or rifle. But a rifle by itself has never fired a round of ammunition since the beginning of time. It requires human interaction. So; if the rest doesn't require 100% human interaction, and isn't a "REST" in the truest sense of the word, and is instead a form of vice that "HOLDS" the rifle in place; then it's totally impractical and a waste of my time because it won't assist me in real shooting activities.

csmsss
April 22, 2011, 08:43 AM
At the range, the only rest I use while shooting is my elbows. I use a sandbag or folded up towel only when I'm not holding the rifle to keep the action and barrel off the table. Everything I take to the bench, I have to carry back to the car. Since I'm lazy, I try to keep that to a minimum.

warbirdlover
April 22, 2011, 08:53 AM
When I sight in the rifle at the range I want to know that it's hitting exactly where I want it so I use a good rest and the bench. Seeing a good group on the paper also gives me confidence in my rifle.

Hunting is a different story. I don't shoot freehand or with a sling. I just don't feel steady enough. I always find a tree, branch etc to steady the gun on but It's not using the same technique I use at the range. As was stated above I can't let go of the gun and have it stay on target. My "method" has been working for almost 50 years so I'll continue to do it this way.

shredder4286
April 22, 2011, 11:10 AM
Stoney Point Shooting sticks and a leather military sling.

I've never tried those shooting sticks. I'll have to check them out.

Not saying you guys can't shoot good offhand with the sling. Just saying I can't. At least not to my satisfaction.

I'm right there with you.

Using artificial rests take the human factor more out of the equation. Because of this, the shooter doesn't have control over true accuracy.

I guess it comes down to what you want to achieve on paper. I've been getting moa @ 100yds with a shooting bag and a sandbag, and I'm happy with that. I know the rifle shoots good, and that I can make that happen with me holding it when it goes bang. I wouldn't mind seeing those groups shrink when steadied by a lead sled, but it's not that big of a deal. If I'm hitting moa @ 100, I know it can shoot better with me out of the equation.:D

taylorce1
April 22, 2011, 12:06 PM
I use this Caldwell Rest (http://www.battenfeldtechnologies.com/caldwell/catalog.asp?family=Dead-Shot) the most, before that it was shot bags or pants legs filled with sand. I used to shoot quiet a bit from sandbags only under the front and my non firing hand supporting the buttstock. Of course this is only to zero my rifle after that I like to shoot mainly from field positions.

I agree in the field I can usually find some sort of support pretty easily. I usually carry a small day pack that gets used a lot from the prone position, and a pair of shooting sticks for kneeling and sitting. Plus there usually are some rocks or trees around as well expcept when I'm hunting on the plains for pronghorn. Then I'll slap on a 6-9" adjustable bi-pod as I'll be shooting from the prone 9 out of 10 times.

Dre_sa
April 22, 2011, 12:14 PM
I've found that the best rest to use is a soft one. blocks of foam with a "V" cut out work well. I understand that a sandbag is great too.

I've found that a good soft rest will mean that the rifle bounces around less under recoil. I've tried a soft rest, then switched to a bi-pod and found that I couldn't keep track of the crosshairs or sights under recoil. I switched back to the soft rest, and the problem went away. I also noticed a slight improvement in the groups fired using the soft rest.

I'd generally avoid using the bi-pod, but if it's all I've got, that's the one i'll use.

shredder4286
April 23, 2011, 12:26 AM
I've found that the best rest to use is a soft one. blocks of foam with a "V" cut out work well. I understand that a sandbag is great too.

I've found that a good soft rest will mean that the rifle bounces around less under recoil. I've tried a soft rest, then switched to a bi-pod and found that I couldn't keep track of the crosshairs or sights under recoil. I switched back to the soft rest, and the problem went away. I also noticed a slight improvement in the groups fired using the soft rest.

I'd generally avoid using the bi-pod, but if it's all I've got, that's the one i'll use.

I guess it all comes down to what you like best. Everybody's different. Taylorce1 and I are going out shooting tomorrow (provided colorado winds don't ruin our range day) and I believe he's bringing out a few rests. I also have a foam piece I'm gonna bring along to throw in the mix. It'll be interesting to try a few rests and see what resusts I get. :D

sc928porsche
April 23, 2011, 01:34 PM
If I am sighting in a rifle, then a good leadslead. Otherwise, its the good ol' elbows. It keeps your hunting arm in tune. BTW, if you see someone bragging on how tight a group he shoots, have him show you what he can do freehand.

smoakingun
April 23, 2011, 01:49 PM
Definitely. Next time I hit the range, I'll have to try and hit the 300 yd gong just using my sling to steady me

come on out to the range with me and i'll show you how to do it out to 500.

I have been on plenty of hunts (usually wyo. antelope hunts) where there was not a tree, fence post, or log for milles. Tall grass makes most bi-pods unuseable. Shooting sticks are nice, especially the ones that double as walking sticks, if you want to carry the extra gear. Odds are, your rifle has a sling, and with practice, 200 yards is not unreasonable using a hasty sling.

johnbt
April 24, 2011, 08:33 AM
"Learn to use a sling, then you wont need a rest "

Sure, that's why benchrest shooters all use slings. If you need a front rest for what you're doing, then you need a front rest. Sighting in a 36x scope comes to mind.

Don't assume somebody using a front rest can't shoot standing up, prone or kneeling. You might end up getting embarrassed if you start mouthing off to them about the error of their ways.