Shooting Bench

yoderjac

Well-Known Member
I have a somewhat unique situation. I have a barn with a cement floor that use as a deer blind from time to time. A year or so ago, I stopped growing trees from nuts, so I converted one of my watering tub holders into a shooting bench. It was just 2x4 structure on a harbor freight dolly that supported a plastic Rubbermaid type tub. I just pulled the tub out and put a board over the top to make a bench top. It was too low, so stacked some 6x6 scraps near the front and put my bulls-bag on it. That worked OK, but it is not completely square so it can be a little wobbly. Functionally it works pretty well and I shot a number of deer from it, but I don't like the wobble and noise.

I think the issue is the HF dolly has warped a bit over time. My first thought was simply to remove the dolly and put casters on it. However, I'm learning to weld, and I thought this might be a good project for that. So, I'm designing a shooting bench specifically for this setup.

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So, here is my plan up for critique and suggestions. It starts with nice 4" casters at the bottom. I've used these before and they are quiet and smooth. The bottom side braces are 2x2x22 in angle iron. Why? Just because I have a piece of scrap I can cut to this size. I also have 10 pieces of 1x1x30.5 square tubing. It was mis-cut for a custom-r so I got it cheap. So, I figured they would make good legs. I'll cut a piece of the 1x1 tubing for a lower rear cross brace. I'm using 1x1 inch angle iron to form the top. I'll drill holes in it before I weld it so I can attach a board for a bench top. Notice the bench top sticks out a few inches on the left side. I'll drill some holes in it for a ram rod and cleaning rods and such. I like to run a dry patch through my SML between shots and a Shotgun cleaning rod works good for that.

I ordered an 8x8 lab jack. It adjusts from 3"-13". I plan to put my bulls bag on it. I plan to use a 6.5" squeeze bag for the rear. The lab jack has enough adjustability for me to make any size squeeze bag work well. Once adjusted, I'll leave the lab jack fixed.

I'll hang some camo material or something on the front to help disguise any movement.

Any critique or suggestions are welcome before I get started with this project.
 
Oh yes, it is hard to see the measurement in the pic. It is 22" deep and 29" wide. I don't have a brace across the front, but can add a tube if I really need to for support. The benchtop is about 3' off the ground (I'm a fairly big guy).
 
Well, I didn't get any feedback, so I went ahead with the project. I like it much better than what I have but I'm making some more mods. My first attempt was to use a lab jack to support the bulls bag since you can adjust the height easily. It seemed great until I tried to use it. The lab jack was too flimsy. Once I took a shot, the entire lab jack moved around. I missed a deer because of it.

I now realize I need more firm support. I had some old 2x12 end scraps left over from my overhang build on the barn. I ran them through the planer enough to remove any cupping and then cut them into squares. For now, I'm just stacking them on the bench. The lab jack worked great for determining the height I need. I also ordered some heavy duty lazy Susan hardware. I plant to mount these block on it so I can rotate left to right easily.

Here are a few pics of the current setup:

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The lazy Susan hardware came in today and I mounted it under the blocks. It is pretty smooth and quiet. Hope to use it tonight.
 
It looks no different than the picture above. The lazy susan hardware is concentric circles 10" in diameter and about 1/8" thick. So the stack of blocks under the Bulls Bag is 1/8" higher. Here is a link to the hardware: Lazy Susan Hardware.

The only difference is that rather than trying to rotate the bulls bag on the blocks to shoot left or right, the stack of blocks rotates smoothly and quietly.

BTW, I saw noting this evening so I have not had a chance to try it yet.
 
I made a few slight modifications to make it more useful. I don't have a permanent location for reloading equipment yet as I don't generally reload. However, when I got the Smokeless muzzleloader, I needed to get some reloading equipment for sizing bullets, priming and depriming modules, and measuring powder for it. At the time, I wanted to be able to take the press and powder dispenser to the range to play with things when I first was getting started, so I bolted the press to a short piece of 2x6 and got a couple of channel locking clamps. This let me simply clamp the press to the shooting bench at the range when I was working up loads.

Since I made the new shooting bench to hold the cleaning rods I need for the SML, I realized that it could double as a mobile reloading work bench as well. This was a simple change. I drilled 2 holes through the 2x6 the press is on, one on each side. I then put it on the shooting bench and drilled corresponding holes. I can now simply put a couple of hex bolts up through the bench and press board and use wing nuts to secure the press to the shooting bench when I'm not using it to shoot. It turns out the top of the bench is the right thickness to clamp my powder dispenser as well.

Next time go tot he shooting range, I'll drill a couple corresponding holes in it. I can then do away with the big clamps and use the hex bolts in the field as well.

I did not bother to take pictures of it in use. I did use it to deprime all the modules I shot this year. I cleaned them in the ultrasonic cleaner and then installed new primers. I sized enough bullets for next year, and refilled all my vials with powder. So, I'm ready to go for next year. The bench worked out well for this purpose.
 
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