Caldwell Lead Sled Shooting Rest
I just got my lead sled in and decided to sit out in the backyard and give her a try. First off, I will say that I was shooting in a prone position, and it did not seem to high for me. Secondly, I was shooting the 300 weatherby mag. to get the brass. I had 4 boxes of ammo that I had bought a couple years back before I started reloading.
I got out and set it up with only two bags of lead shot. This equaled about 50lbs of additional weight. I would guess that the actual sled weighs somewhere around 15lbs. I noticed, when putting it together the other night that the front rest, did not exactly fit squarely. It had a small dimple on both sides of it that made it rock until it was tightened down 100%. This was not the major problem. The larger problem was that the front rest is tilted a little to the right when it is fastened down. Not a major problem, but definitely noted when shooting today. Also, the mechanism that rises and lowers the front is a little sensitive to the amount of tension on it. The mechanism uses a screw type action to raise and lower the front rest. If the tension bolt is not tight enough, then I noticed that the elevation would change, if it was too tight, the elevation was hard to raise and would not lower. I guess a compromise had to be made. Also, I noticed that I had to keep changing the elevation knob after most of the shots.
I got home late, so I was not able to set up an ideal testing situation. I had to tape a target to a cardboard box, which I placed in a field at 200yrds. Also, here in NC there is a front moving in as the wind was very gusty this afternoon. It was unpredictable, which made shooting even harder. On to the actual performance. The sled performed just like it is advertised. It tamed the recoil of the 300 wby to the kick of my 30-30; just had a little more muzzle blast. It was a pleasure to shoot and my shoulder sure appreciated it after 60 rounds. Since I had to put the lead sled together, I noticed the rigid construction of it. It seems that Caldwell spent the time to make sure that this thing would hold up. If there is one downside, I would say that the front rest would get my vote. Velcro is used to fasten the rest to the metal plate (the bag had velcro straps that were fastened around the plate mounted on the elevation adjustment). On the back, double-stick tape was supplied to hold the cushion to the metal. I think that I may try either double-stick tape or that stick-on velcro so that it will be directly connected with the metal plate. This will take the roam out of the rest and may actually help in the wandering elevation problems.
Overall the lead sled worked extremely well and the felt recoil was greatly reduced. It was somewhat expensive, but in my opinion, I think that it was worth the money and a few minor tweeks to it may just take out those few problem areas. With my 300 wby, I believe that only two bags of lead were needed. I am sure that the felt recoil would get even lighter if more were added. I believe that it will hold up to four bags, which would equal 100lbs, but that would only be needed for some of the big bores, not your usual 300 mags.
By the way the best group that the accumark put out was with federal premium 180 gn. nosler partition. This group came out at 1.10" at 200 yards. Mind you again that those were not the handloads that I know will out perform the federals. I just had some old ammo that I was shooting. I had 5 boxes of weatherby, which uses the norma brass (these are the ones I wanted) and only a hand full of federals I decided to shoot as well.