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Old June 8, 2018, 01:17 PM   #1
Amati
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Got my first rifle. Do I need a bench rest?

I've shot them before but they were M1 Garands 30-06 and shot mostly offhand. Now it's a nice rimfire to be shot, eventually, in some form of benchrest competition.

There are many benchrests and they are priced all over the map so what is the smart thing to do in the beginning? Get a couple of sandbags, go straight for the ones where the position stays unchanged shot after shot or go for something in between?

Suggestions much appreciated.
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Old June 8, 2018, 01:43 PM   #2
Art Eatman
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When I moved back to the old family ranch in 1967 I built a bench rest in the back yard. Three posts supporting a table made of 2x6 boards. Sorta triangular; could shoot either-handed. 100-yard target.

I always used sand bags, with the front bag(s) supported on a foot-long piece of 4x4.
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Old June 8, 2018, 02:04 PM   #3
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Sandbags

Be aware of how you use sandbags, under the forend, not under the barrel only.
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Old June 8, 2018, 02:18 PM   #4
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Unless you're planning to get competitive about it, I doubt you need an expensive lead sled (assuming that's what you mean). A couple of quality bags (such as Caldwell bags) should be more than sufficient for finding zeroes, testing loads, etc. for the average shooter.

Oh, and congrats on the new rifle.
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Old June 8, 2018, 02:29 PM   #5
SIGSHR
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Yes, a couple of good bags, learn to get into a proper shooting position, find out where-and how well-your rifle is shooting.
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Old June 8, 2018, 03:43 PM   #6
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Good advice y'all, you just saved me some money. Thanks.
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Old June 8, 2018, 07:01 PM   #7
Number10GI
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Go to a couple matches in the benchrest games you are interested in and check out the equipment being used. If you are planning on getting into serious benchrest, sand bags won't cut it.
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Old June 8, 2018, 07:21 PM   #8
kenny53
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I like to use a rest. It's not fancy and not expensive but works. I have used bags before and they work great. Anything that will help take human error out of shooting is good.
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Old June 8, 2018, 07:28 PM   #9
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A lot will depend on where you intend to shoot. If you are shooting on your own land, then you can use whatever your budget allows. However, if you are shooting at a range you may very well be limited to working either "with" what they have or "around" what they have.
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Old June 8, 2018, 08:13 PM   #10
Art Eatman
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Po' boy sandbags: Zipper bank bags, 2/3 full with sand or vermiculite. Sand is free.

I always put the front sandbag beneath the forearm in the same place that my hand would be in when in the field.
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Old June 9, 2018, 12:24 PM   #11
T. O'Heir
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"...Get a couple of sandbags..." That'd be the best, most solid, rest you can get. And you can make 'em out of just about anything. Sugar and flour used to come in cloth bags. A bag of cat litter will do the same thing, but not as cheaply as a cloth bag you fill with range dirt/sand.
Not many competitions allow any kind of rest. There are some that allow bipods but not may. The rest is mostly for load testing/development and sighting in.
Like Ricklin says, no resting on the barrel. The best spot is the balance point of the rifle. Usually just in front of the receiver under the chamber.
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Old June 9, 2018, 12:51 PM   #12
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I made my bags from bluejean legs, good stout material, and it was free. so is the sand. Use a double seam to keep the sand from dribbling out. Sew one end, then sew the other almost all the way, fill with sand using a funnel, then finish sewing by hand. Yeah, I know you can't thread a needle, so learn! GW
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Old June 9, 2018, 12:52 PM   #13
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All good advice, thanks.
There is a regional BR league that shoots once or twice a month at the range where I have a membership and I'll camp out, watch and learn their way of doing things.
Lots and lots to learn for sure but that's where the fun is.
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Old June 9, 2018, 01:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goatwhiskers View Post
.... Yeah, I know you can't thread a needle, so learn! GW
That's funny, but one can never know.
I was patching the damaged sails of the family anchovy fishing skiff while granpa was repairing the nets and keeping my double-stitch honest.
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Old June 9, 2018, 07:04 PM   #15
Don Fischer
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I have an inexpensive Caldwell rest but prefer to shoot off my homemade sand bags. Have two big one and a smaller one. Big one sits on top of about a 12" 6x6 and I use the small one under the butt stock to raise and lower the sight. I also shoot off a home made portable table.
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Old June 11, 2018, 03:13 PM   #16
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May I suggest that you should invest in a good pedestal rest that weighs at least 12 pounds. I have a 12 pounder...but if I had the coin, I would step up an buy a heavier one with all the bells and whistles.

I prefer my rabbit ear leather sand bag, over my smaller bunny ear sandbag. If you fill the bag with sand...use "heavy" sand. Get at least one elbow bag. Avoid placing the buttstock sling swivel stud or swivel in contact with the rear bag.
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Old June 12, 2018, 11:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Erno86 View Post
May I suggest that you should invest in a good pedestal rest that weighs at least 12 pounds. I have a 12 pounder...but if I had the coin, I would step up an buy a heavier one with all the bells and whistles.
Good point, thanks. I've been all over the various websites and the cost seems to reach and exceed $1K. Do you know of a 12 lb rest that has adjustable windage and costs not much more than $200?
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Old June 12, 2018, 12:01 PM   #18
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Amati this is what I use for a front rest. Its made from scrap 2x6" lumber I got out of the scrap bin where new houses were being built. I made 3 of these and have been using them for over 20 years. And like the other poster I used old blue jean legs filled with sand for shooting bags. I made one lightweight bag filled with pinto beans.
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Old June 12, 2018, 05:08 PM   #19
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Shooting on Public Land or on a friends/neighbors land into a woodsy bush laden-ed forest [please be aware of your bullets back stop.]
I see little harm in a shooting bag appropriately set on the hood/roof of your vehicle.

I sighted-in quiet few rifles over the years doing the a-fore-mentioned. But,~ before doing so, I was fully aware no others were about or behind my target/s.
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Old June 13, 2018, 08:53 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratshooter View Post
Amati this is what I use for a front rest......
Understood.

I've been looking at this one:

https://www.brownells.com/shooting-a...prod57154.aspx

but after seeing yours I think that the sand in the pants solution may be sufficient for now.
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Old June 13, 2018, 03:02 PM   #21
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Dry pinto beans in a clothes washer garment bag make for a fine "sand bag" without all the dust or sand leakage.

Want a BIG sand bag rest? Zipper pillow cover + pinto beans.

I have also used white rice as filler in a bra-specific clothes washer garment bag. Buy new, don't use your wife's...
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Old June 15, 2018, 02:42 AM   #22
J.G. Terry
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Keep it Simple

A friend passed along one of these rest with a the bells and whistles. Awesome to see. The decision was made that the rest was designed in China by person who had never fired a long gun. Don't get snowed by all that crap. A useful uncomplicated rest is a shooting basic.
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Old June 15, 2018, 07:50 AM   #23
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Trap or skeet?

If you know anyone who shoots a lot of clay targets ask them for some empty shot bags.
They tend to be nice heavy duty bags. Don't bother with the reinforced plastic shot bags, I am speaking of the old school canvas bags that a lot of shot makers still use.
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Old Yesterday, 04:35 PM   #24
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My ignorant self has been just using the 6x6 post cut down to 20 in in length. No bags. Not quite a necro.
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Old Today, 09:31 AM   #25
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If you have a portable tripod chain vise table (that pipe fitters use) lying around your garage or basement...you can jury rig it up to make a sturdy bench rest table & gun rest out of that. I bought such a tricked-out rig from a guest on our range for $40 --- yet a new one runs in the $500-$700 range.
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