Lead Sled 3 Review

General RE LEE

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Joined
Aug 21, 2020
Messages
103
Location
Middle Tennessee
I agree, not a fan of the lead sled. Loaned a $3500 custom 270 to a guy about 10 years ago and he took it home and put it in a lead sled to check the zero he said. This gun was a Remington 700 Custom Shop AWR built in the late 90's and shot 1/2 moa with factory ammo when I loaned it to him to try out. Had a leupold 30mm VX 3 with a German #1, very hard to find. Got it back from him and he said he could not make it shoot less than 2 inches. Got it home and took it to the range to shoot it and sure enough it would no longer group consistently. Took it apart and the stock was cracked just in front of the trigger guard. Called to ask him what happened and he said nothing that the only thing he did was strap it in his lead sled and shoot it. $650 and a month later it was fixed. I don't shoot nor do I allow any of my rifles to be shot from a lead sled. Be very careful if you do, as has already been said all that energy has to go somewhere! A good front rest or bag and an equally good rear bag and support with proper form (being aligned properly behind the rifle), good trigger control and breathing (no drive by shooting) and that rifle will shoot as good as it ever will.
Stories like this literally had me print the return label last night before the lead sled even delivered. I'm not putting my Remington 700 Sendero FS 7mm STW with Leupold Mark 5HD scope in a vise that is going to crack my stock and damage my scope and rings.
 

Pointman

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Aug 12, 2017
Messages
92
Have to agree with J.E.Custom. I use my sled at the range mainly to take my influence out of the equation. With the exception of 2 older Rem 700's, all of my rifles have metal stocks. I also have found most of my weapons prefer mid velocity loads for the accuracy nodes. I add 25# of steel shot only when I'm shooting the 338LM. The others don't require the additional weight. One of my wood stock guns, a Rem 700 25-06 with a nontapered Douglas supreme tube vintage 1970, would be nice to try in the sled, however; it's so muzzle heavy tit won;'t work. Guess the 30" tube wasn't the best idea but it still puts 5 under aq dime @ 100 yards. For it and general target work, the Calwell competition rest, and a good rear bag does the job adequately.
 

Ranger1994

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Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Messages
35
Location
North Carolina
I use my led sled in load development no problems, but no weight on it either. Bags work just as good, but I also use my sled at home to clean my guns on. That and its just a convenient general place to leave the gun when I'm working on it. Works for me.
 

Tech4

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Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
119
Location
Greene NY
I use and like the lead sled #2 for it's adjustability. I also use it to remotely test fire newly built rifles.
Also I never add weight because it doesn't need it. (It weighs around 18 pounds). and it doesn't restrict the normal movement of the rifle.

I also use it for precision accuracy testing because it locates the front rest in the exact same spot every time. One of the main causes of inaccuracy, is changing the front rest location slightly while shooting. Once the accuracy load is found, then I will switch to sand bags or similar rest that will be used in the field. For finding the exact zero I want for hunting.

Bipods are another good rest If you hunt off the ground, but you need to practice and become proficient and consistent at using them. They also locate the front rest in the same location every time. Just like almost everything else in this sport, there is no one rest/thing that is best for everything and every situation.

The lead sleds have their place, and do what they were designed to if used properly. Rail guns use this system for ultimate accuracy and they will weigh many more times than a lead sled, They don't need a stock so the weight doesn't matter like adding 25 +pounds to the sled does. the only time I add weight to the sled is when doing slow motion Videos of rifle reactions to recoil and only enough to hold the rifle in a static position. On a few occasions, the test was discontinued to protect the stock.

I think it is a good tool if used properly and for certain reasons.

J E CUSTOM

I only use them for shotguns because I don't want to break my nose again. I wouldn't think firing a rifle against a hard stop would be good way to test precision accuracy. I use the position of the stock in the rear bag to position the rifle in the exact spot every time. Most of the time the best place for it is the garage.
I only use them for shotguns because I don't want to break my nose again. I wouldn't think firing a rifle against a hard stop would be good way to test precision accuracy. I use the position of the stock in the rear bag to position the rifle in the exact spot every time. The best place for a
 

Tech4

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Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
119
Location
Greene NY
I tried to fix that what I was going to say was most of the time best place for a sled is the garage.
 

J E Custom

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Jul 29, 2004
Messages
10,599
Location
Texas
I only use them for shotguns because I don't want to break my nose again. I wouldn't think firing a rifle against a hard stop would be good way to test precision accuracy. I use the position of the stock in the rear bag to position the rifle in the exact spot every time. The best place for a
They are not fixed and will move if they are not weighted down or strapped down. I have been using them since they first came out and have never broken a stock. I have fired rifles with over 100 ft/lbs of recoil and none have been damaged. I Have discontinued or elected not to use them on some poorly made composites or European stocks with very small pistol grips.

When I test a rifles accuracy I want something that is consistent. It offers the same resistance to recoil and locates the front bag or rest in the same place on the forend. I am not pushing the lead sleds because they are not for everyone. But when My accuracy requirement's are 1/4 MOA I have to take the human factor out of the equation and prove what the rifle is capable of buy itself. After the rifle has proven itself, It is up to the shooter to be able to shoot the same.

I have always thought/wanted the rifle to out shoot the shooter, so it is not the limiting factor.
The lead sled is the best way to prove what the rifle can do that I have found. Believe me if there were a better way I would be using it. I have all of the different types of rest for the way the shooters shoot, and many times they are nowhere close to the test target accuracy and some need convincing and others don't want to look bad so they decline a demonstration.

There are so many opinions on this piece of equipment that Only the person himself should decide. Just don't believe all you hear on the internet until you prove to yourself whether it is for you or not:):)

J E CUSTOM
 
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Tech4

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Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Messages
119
Location
Greene NY
They are not fixed and will move if they are not weighted down or strapped down. I have been using them since they first came out and have never broken a stock. I have fired rifles with over 100 ft/lbs of recoil and none have been damaged. I Have discontinued or elected not to use them on some poorly made composites or European stocks with very small pistol grips.

When I test a rifles accuracy I want something that is consistent. It offers the same resistance to recoil and locates the front bag or rest in the same place on the forend. I am not pushing the lead sleds because they are not for everyone. But when My accuracy requirement's are 1/4 MOA I have to take the human factor out of the equation and prove what the rifle is capable of buy itself. After the rifle has proven itself, It is up to the shooter to be able to shoot the same.

I have always thought/wanted the rifle to out shoot the shooter, so it is not the limiting factor.
The lead sled is the best way to prove what the rifle can do that I have found. Believe me if there were a better way I would be using it. I have all of the different types of rest for the way the shooters shoot, and many times they are nowhere close to the test target accuracy and some need convincing and others don't want to look bad so they decline a demonstration.

There are so many opinions on this piece of equipment that Only the person himself should decide. Just don't believe all you hear on the internet until you prove to yourself whether it is for you or not:):)

J E CUSTOM
Ok, I see your point as a rifle builder that makes sense but as rifle owner you need to test yourself as much as testing your rifle and you can't do that by taking yourself out of the equation.
 

J E Custom

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Jul 29, 2004
Messages
10,599
Location
Texas
Ok, I see your point as a rifle builder that makes sense but as rifle owner you need to test yourself as much as testing your rifle and you can't do that by taking yourself out of the equation.
Exactly !!!
The point I was trying to make was if the lead sled was used correctly, It was a great tool for testing and working up accuracy loads. everyone should use the system they intend to shoot or hunt with so the effects are the same once testing is done.

If you have an inaccurate firearm, Practice will only frustrate you. In my opinion if you know what the firearm will/can do, you will have an accuracy goal to reach when practicing.

Everyone has their good days and their bad days but if testing if testing without the human factor, you will at least know when you are having a bad day.

Even on my best days I rarely shoot as good as the rifle, because it was proven without so much of the human effect masking the real accuracy potential. It also helps the confidence of the shooter when he knows what the weapon will do if he does his part, and helps in making the decision to take the shot or not. If he knows the rifle will shoots where he aims, but cant get a good rest the decision is simple 'don't shoot'. If he has a good rest but he knows the limits of the rifle, he can decline the shot knowing the rifles limits better.

The philosophy of having a more accurate firearm than the shooters skills, has served me well In building, testing, shooting competition and hunting for over 50 years so all I can do Is recommend what works for me. 👍 👍 👍

J E CUSTOM
 

FEENIX

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Joined
Dec 20, 2008
Messages
14,301
Location
Great Falls, MT
The point I was trying to make was if the lead sled was used correctly, It was a great tool for testing and working up accuracy loads. everyone should use the system they intend to shoot or hunt with so the effects are the same once testing is done.
Yep, that's why I responded as such in #3 and #6.
 
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Blackhawk

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Joined
Mar 29, 2018
Messages
218
Location
Florida
I’ve been using a Caldwell Tack Driver shooting bag for a few years now. Great rest for the range but I’m looking for something a little more steady with recoil reduction to discover best ammo for my rifles. I ordered a Caldwell Lead Sled 3 from Cabelas on sale. Anyone own or got feedback on this rest? It doesn’t have windage adjustment like the more expensive model. I plan to get 25 lb bar bell weights to weigh it down.
I own and use the Caldwell lead Sled 2. I use mine exclusively for all Load Development and Satterlee tests. Although the sleds themselves are different they use the same size sandbags. I would recommend that you consider purchasing two of the Caldwell brand sandbags and here is my reasoning.
1) They are flexible and easily conform to your sleds frame.
2) They come with a carry handle on top.
3) They are easily filled with sand using the zipper attached on top located just below the carry handle
4) They are easily stored and will not roll around like dumbells which must be blocked in to prevent movement.
5) They are easily transported from your vehicle to the shooting bench.
OBTW I store mine in a strong plastic tub complete with lid, and when I need them I just open the container and carry them to the shooting bench.
When my shooting session is done I just reverse the procedure and in this manner, I do not get any residual sand that seems to occasionally leak out to clean up.
6) However simply by placing a rubber nonslip mat under your lead sled I have found that you will not require any additional weight like sandbags or dumbells as the rubber will prevent your sled from moving under recoil.
This seems to work for me!
Good luck with your new sled.
 
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Blackhawk

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Joined
Mar 29, 2018
Messages
218
Location
Florida
I agree, not a fan of the lead sled. Loaned a $3500 custom 270 to a guy about 10 years ago and he took it home and put it in a lead sled to check the zero he said. This gun was a Remington 700 Custom Shop AWR built in the late 90's and shot 1/2 moa with factory ammo when I loaned it to him to try out. Had a leupold 30mm VX 3 with a German #1, very hard to find. Got it back from him and he said he could not make it shoot less than 2 inches. Got it home and took it to the range to shoot it and sure enough it would no longer group consistently. Took it apart and the stock was cracked just in front of the trigger guard. Called to ask him what happened and he said nothing that the only thing he did was strap it in his lead sled and shoot it. $650 and a month later it was fixed. I don't shoot nor do I allow any of my rifles to be shot from a lead sled. Be very careful if you do, as has already been said all that energy has to go somewhere! A good front rest or bag and an equally good rear bag and support with proper form (being aligned properly behind the rifle), good trigger control and breathing (no drive by shooting) and that rifle will shoot as good as it ever will.
I agree with what you are saying, however, I use a Caldwell Lead Sled DFT complete with Caldwell fillable sandbags, and have never encountered a problem with repeatable accuracy.
I will agree that the front rest does have a tendency to occasionally loosen up and must be relocked into position, more so when shooting magnum loads.
In fairness, I have put over 2500 rounds down range and not encountered any major issues.
However, I know that a lot of people do not like nor prefer Lead Sleds for various reasons such as what you have described.
However, I am wondering, why he had to strap the rifle down, was there that much play in the front rest, or was the rifle moving after each shot?
I've never had to do that and I have been shooting anything from 22 -250 - .338 Winchester Magnum with most of the load development in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and .300 Winchester Magnum.
I myself believe that the cracked stock was caused by the kinetic energy that was released from the firing of the weapon while being lashed down and the downward force exerted resulted in the stock cracking simply because it had nowhere else to go.
Another thought just occurred to me. Do you think that the stock itself was weakened during the manufacturing process itself? ( that particular stock may have had a slight defect that went unnoticed until your friend's experience)
I'm no physics expert but I myself have never encountered a problem as you have described in your post, and my rifles are bedded action to stock with the barrel free-floating.
Even with the barrel harmonics after firing a shot I have never encountered a problem like the one you have described.
To that end, I honestly believe that the securing of the rifle to the rest was the culprit that cracked the stock.

Believe me, I read your posts and highly value your opinions so please do not take my thoughts in a negative light.
All in all, Thank You for all your contributions to this wonderful web site.
 
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muledeer01

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2012
Messages
19
Location
Sw,pa
My DFT lead sled sits in my garage, never used any weight on it but after cracking two stocks at the wrist and losing a scope I decided to retire it. I wondered about removing the back end and installing a flat piece of aluminum to put a sand bag thus letting the rifle recoil.
 

Paladin300

Active Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Messages
28
Location
Alabama
I agree with what you are saying, however, I use a Caldwell Lead Sled DFT complete with Caldwell fillable sandbags, and have never encountered a problem with repeatable accuracy.
I will agree that the front rest does have a tendency to occasionally loosen up and must be relocked into position, more so when shooting magnum loads.
In fairness, I have put over 2500 rounds down range and not encountered any major issues.
However, I know that a lot of people do not like nor prefer Lead Sleds for various reasons such as what you have described.
However, I am wondering, why he had to strap the rifle down, was there that much play in the front rest, or was the rifle moving after each shot?
I've never had to do that and I have been shooting anything from 22 -250 - .338 Winchester Magnum with most of the load development in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and .300 Winchester Magnum.
I myself believe that the cracked stock was caused by the kinetic energy that was released from the firing of the weapon while being lashed down and the downward force exerted resulted in the stock cracking simply because it had nowhere else to go.
Another thought just occurred to me. Do you think that the stock itself was weakened during the manufacturing process itself? ( that particular stock may have had a slight defect that went unnoticed until your friend's experience)
I'm no physics expert but I myself have never encountered a problem as you have described in your post, and my rifles are bedded action to stock with the barrel free-floating.
Even with the barrel harmonics after firing a shot I have never encountered a problem like the one you have described.
To that end, I honestly believe that the securing of the rifle to the rest was the culprit that cracked the stock.

Believe me, I read your posts and highly value your opinions so please do not take my thoughts in a negative light.
All in all, Thank You for all your contributions to this wonderful web site.
Blackhawk you are correct and no offence taken. I believe it was the fact that he lashed it down that cracked the stock. I was not present when it was done, just informed of the process after the fact. He was an acquaintance and wanted to buy the rifle or have one made by Remington and I had just purchase another rifle in the same caliber I liked better and owned a sister to it in 300 WM, so I loaned him mine to try. I don't know what his thought process was. I think he thought he was going to make it shoot in the same hole by doing so, I cannot say for sure. That particular rifle as best I remember only weighed about 7 or 8 pounds scoped, but recoil was easy on the shoulder even with 156 grain loads. He may have feared it, though. I don’t know what was going on in his head and I didn't ask I simple took the rifle back and had it fixed. I use several Caldwell bags I just don't care from the lead sled. Though, as has been mentioned, I can see there usefulness for someone who is having to test and shoot multiple rifles in a single day.

As to the integrity of the stock if memory serves me correctly those stocks were either HS percision or McMillian and while it is possible there could have been a preexisting problem it is doubtful. The gun shot consistent 5 and 10 shot groups that were well within sub moa. I have owed multiple guns with those stocks and never had an issue. The stock cracked just in front of the trigger guard right were you would expect it to. That is the weakest point on any rifle. It is the place where all the energy is transfered back to if the rifle is not allowed to recoil in some way.

One other note on the subject. That particular stock was glass bedded and built before the wide spread advent of the aluminum chassis. Thus, the issue is probably most likely to occur, as is evidenced by most on here who have experienced such failures, on older rifles, pre 1999. If the rifles you are shooting are chassis guns or have aluminum bedding blocks you should be fine. The same could be said for newer high end scopes verses some of their older siblings as many of them are made to take the recoil of modern high powered air guns and 50 BMG's, which are considerably harsher on them than any hunting rifle. The lead sled has it place, it is just not for me.

Happy hunting my friend and blessings!
 
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