Dream portable shooting bench

Discussion in 'Equipment Discussions' started by devins, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. devins

    devins Well-Known Member

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    I have been fabbing whatever I needed for about the last 30 years or so. I am about to set up an assembly project to build half a dozen portable shooting benches. I am planning tripods with adjustable legs for leveling, a round post main frame, swiveling seats with adjustment for height and swivelling tops with a cut out. The frame will be steel and the top 5/4 or 1.5 inches of plywood and laminate. My main uses will be for our setups for fun longer range shooting(200-1000yard) at our farms. We will set them and targets up for the day and then remove them at the end of the day or weekend. We will also use them for prairie dog hunting. I am making them for a friend and family. We will use hunting rifles as well as target rifles. The point of this querry is, what size of top do you prefer and if you could change anything on yours what would you do differently?
     
  2. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    I've got the BR Pivot. The top is attached to the vertical post in the center, as are most portable benches I've seen. However, the problem with this is; when you lean or support any of your body on the bench top, the top moves up or down depending on how hard you're leaning into it. I can adjust the front rifle rest with no contact, but when I snuggle down into the gun, it all needs re-done again.

    I am sure that I don't shoot as good off a "rocking" bench as I would a solid steel and concrete one.

    I am thinking of attaching some telescoping legs (kinda like outriggers if you will) to the underside of the laminate wood top. This would eliminate alot of the movement when resting the upper body against the bench top I think.
    I am thinking one at the front, one at the outside on the right, and one at the rear.

    Just don't know where to find any lightweight telescoping legs that would support my upper body weight without movement/leaning. They'd have to be light enough that a person could still carry the benchtop, but sturdy enough to be worth doing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010

  3. devins

    devins Well-Known Member

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    That is exactly the info we need. I want to try to head any of those issues off from the beginning. How about this, a second ring on the post that would have a brace come down from each corner and then attach to the ring? You could then press up on the ring and put pressure up to each corner or attachment on the bottom of the bench top and then lock your ring in place creating constant pressure up onto the corners of your bench. They could be light and pinned so you could still let it collapse in transport. Now that would only stiffen flexing in the top. If the flexing is from the ground up through the entire support assembly, then I am going with a little heavier material than most commercial models and hoping that will stiffen everything there. I am also going to put leveling adjustments in that will be sturdy as well. Weight will ultimately be an issue but that is where we may have to come up with a dolly for the whole bench and gear.

    Thanks for the input. Also how do you like the overall height of your bench? Pretty well all of us ar from 5' 10" to 6' 2". My son in law and nephews are 190 pounders and we go up to 245 for me, and maybe a little more for another friend. Do you have any input on how you would shape the notch at the back and would you let the bench extend further forward for more front rest room?
     
  4. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    See above.
     
  5. devins

    devins Well-Known Member

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    Thanks agian. Everything you are telling me is helping me to refine the design. I will hope to get some pictures of the process when I start assembly and let you see what we come up with.
     
  6. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    Hey sounds good!
     
  7. devins

    devins Well-Known Member

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    Well I put together the first prototype and it functioned very well. I have pictures but am unable to get them to upload. I followed the directions and I still get the red x and in the editors view the address is there for the URL. I will keep trying. But so far I am pleased with the design and we shot yesterday afternoon in a high wind, 30 mph plus,and could get pretty steady. I will want to clean up on the design a little and finish paint and this one is ready to copy. I will attempt pictures again later when I have some time.
     
  8. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

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    I changed the top on mine opting for a table big enough to use a rest. Another thing we did was add a umbrella hanger that fits under the seat using the seat pin for attachment and is adjustable for height. It does not work in high winds, but can be great on sweltering days.

    I hope you post some pics of your projects as you progress.
     
  9. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    Well, you must of done something right, I cant really use mine if the wind gets over 15 mph, especially if it's gusty. Just moves too much. Good luck, hopefully the picture thing starts working for you. "Direct Link" is the one I copy and paste? Seems to work most of the time.
     
  10. yobuck

    yobuck Well-Known Member

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    shooting benches are alot like guns and fishing rods.
    one size wont fit all occaisions. the quest for the ultimate will never end.
    i prefer to kneel next to the bench rather than use a stool.
    thats a personal thing and others use a bucket or stool while using my bench.
    my way uneven terrain dosent cause me problems. it also makes for a lower table which usually means more stable. a scrap of carpet offers enough padding for the knees.
    4 adjustable legs make the most sturdy setup.
    heavy wall aluminum electrical conduit makes great legs.
    my portable bench has a single thickness 5/8 plywood top 24"x36"
    under that is an 1 1/2" aluminun angle iorn rectangle about 20"x32"
    aluminum conduit couplings are welded at slight outward angles in the 4 corners of the angle iorn rectangle.
    there is also a thin aluminum triangle in each corner under the couplings. that adds more ridgity to the table and aids in welding the couplings.
    the plywood can be screwed to the angle iorn from below, or thru bolted with small nuts and bolts and counter sunk slightly into the plywood.
    when not in use, i attach the threaded top removable legs under the plywood top with an aluminum strap and wing nuts onto 1/4" bolts thru the top.
    the whole thing weighs less than 20 lb. and is very compact. i carry it with a rifle sling attached with swivels to the angle iorn.

    the legs require 2 sizes of aluminum conduit. it comes in 10' legnths so measure carefully so as not to need an extra pc.
    it needs to be purchased at a real electrical supply house.
    not one of the blue or orange warehouses.
    conduit is pipe and pipe is measured i d not o d.
    mine is 1 1/4" outside leg, and 1" inside leg.
    make sure the small size slides in the large one before leaving the store.
    buy the four 1 1/4" couplings there also.
    they might be willing to turn the threads on the 4 pcs of outer leg. i would ask.
    if not you need a pipe threader to do it.
    for the leg adjuster, weld a 3/4" square pc. of 3/4" thick aluminum on each outside leg about 2 or 3 inches from the bottom. drill thru everything and tap it 1/4x20 at least. 5/16" or 3/8" would be better.
    then run in a pc. of all thread and leave enough to bend at a 90 deg. before cutting. a bolt with a cross pc. welded on works well also.
    mine is about 30 years old. i just replaced the plywood this year for looks more than function.
    i have 2 other benches, both larger and heavier.
    this one gets the most use by far and it fits very nicely inside my jeep wrangler.
    there is one thing im considering. last year i hunted prairie dogs for the first time ever.
    the shooting covered about a 180 deg. radius. i was moving the table to get lined up frequently.
    im going to attach a 36" round top with a few small bolts on top of the existing.
    that way no moving the table. when finished ill just remove it.
    prairie dog hunters take heed. a round top would be better.
     
  11. devins

    devins Well-Known Member

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    http://i1194.photobucket.com/albums/aa365/devinps114/Grinderandshootingbenchprojects025.jpg[​IMG]Ok I am trying the photos again. Well you can at least follow the link and get a view of what we ended up with this first try. We went to Africa and have not been working on this project for a few weeks. I will eventually get pics where you can see all angles and how we mounted the flanges to attach the front legs at an angle, and it was very simple and works very well. Micci is shooting slightly down hill and demonstrating a front rest but bags would have probably fit more comfortable in this situation. It was her first time to try that particular rest.

    What I have learned is that the two additional legs out front make a world of difference in stability and also help in leveling. I did not plan it that way but what ends up happening is the three feet for the center post give you stability for your seated position and create one leg for the top and then when you put the other two legs down you in essence creat a tripod effect for the top and can also level the top as well as stabilize it. We were in a slight breeze for Western Oklahoma (15 mph or so) and we were able to have fun out to 200 yards with out much trouble, at least from the bench. And we were on an unprotected flat.

    What I will do differently: I will not forget to let the seat support pivot up and pin in up or down position. I will use 5/16 rather than 1/4 pins(the lady in the picture, her husband needs to lose a little weight and in some of the pictures in the shop that is my Dad and he did not bend the pins), I want to get teflon sheeting to line the tubing of the seat support to allow it to swivel around the center point more easily. The weight is heavy enough that if I were carrying it in very far I would probably put it on a cart or two wheeled dolly.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  12. joseph

    joseph Well-Known Member

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  13. devins

    devins Well-Known Member

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    SBruce, that is a good looking buck. I try the direct link and the only thing I can figure out is all of my security is blocking me somehow. I got the one picture to give the link and then tried it for others and went right back to the same problem. Thanks for the imput and I will keep trying. And I hope to get a better bench done soon. And I like the light weight conduit idea Yobuck had for my front two legs if I can get a simple flange to fit there too.

    http://i1194.photobucket.com/albums/aa365/devinps114/Grinderandshootingbenchprojects012.jpg
    http://i1194.photobucket.com/albums/aa365/devinps114/Grinderandshootingbenchprojects026.jpg

    http://i1194.photobucket.com/albums/aa365/devinps114/Grinderandshootingbenchprojects018-1.jpg
    http://i1194.photobucket.com/albums/aa365/devinps114/Grinderandshootingbenchprojects016.jpg
     
  14. devins

    devins Well-Known Member

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    I like that Joseph. I can see where you would have stability and the ability to level.