To a large degree, your selection of range gear and equipment will be a personal choice, guided somewhat by your budget. For those who strive to squeeze the most out of your firearms, there is a huge selection of shooting gear that can help you be a better and more accurate shot.
For all you Hams out there, I have found that there is curious parallel between your radio gear obsession and the obsession that many shooters have. In both cases, having the right equipment can be an asset to your sport.
Setting up a safe and functional range station involves certain specialized gear. To the extent that your preference for range work is a public facility, you may not need some of the items mentioned below. Make no mistake about it however, if the public range does not supply the types of gear mentioned, you may want to find another. More on the net.
1. Solid Bench
Over the years, I have tried out just about every type of bench to use when I am out in the field for a day of shooting, including card tables, home made contraptions, and the folding leg tables that are often sold in places like Home Depot. While prices did vary somewhat, there was one thing that they all had in common - they were flimsy, unsteady, or incredibly bulky and heavy. The other thing that they shared was that they all had 4 legs. Rarely, if ever, will you find a shooting spot where the ground is level enough where all four legs have good contact with the ground. Few things can make your quest for accuracy more difficult that a shooting bench that is continually rocking back and forth.
The solution to this problem is made by Stukey's Shooting Benches. The bench accommodates right and left handed shooters, incredibly heavy duty, isuitable for rifles and handguns, steady on uneven ground, easy to set up, and easy to carry. It is their triangular leg design that makes this bench so steady and heavy duty. And, one of the best features is that it is made right here in the USA, in Wyoming. Their website contains more pictures and descriptions: http://www.shootingbenches.com/index.html
. The table is not cheap, but the cost is mitigated by the fact that this bench should last a lifetime. Quality is not cheap. Choose wisely!
AND, I really like the Stukey motto:
The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
From their website:
This is strength!!!!
2. Shooting chair
Stukey also offers a similarly featured shooting chair that is adjustable in height and has three legs. Standard seating height chairs do not take into account the physical differences in all shooters. Having a chair that can adjust to accommodate your physical size, makes for more comfortable, and ultimately more accurate, shooting.
(From the Stukey website).
3. Rifle rests and sand bags
Sand bags and adjustable rifle rests are a great way to help you sight in your rifle..
Sand bags are one of those things which you can make your self or buy, already made, and both will work very well. One easy way to make your own is to visit your local shotgun supply store. Often times they sell empty shot bags which can be filled with sand and crimped for permanent closure.
The bags pictured below, which I made, are 20+ years old and have withstood everything I've dished out. One note of caution - IF you use them for shooting handguns, be sure and keep them away from muzzle blast and the flash that exits the barrel/cylinder gap. Either will quickly burn the fabric of the bags, leaving you with a sandy mess.
Sinclair International has a good selection of sand bags and sand bag materials to make your own, see: https://www.sinclairintl.com/search/ind ... &ksubmit=y
Rifle rests are a great way to sight in your rifle. I will mention only two here, but there are many others on the market. Not all rifle rests offer the same features, but here are some that you might consider:
- protection of the firearm
- ease of adjustment for windage and elevation
- Robust and quality construction to withstand constant recoil
a. Bench Master Rifle Rest.
I discovered this rest many years ago and it has survived everything from hard bucking magnums to .22 rifles. It is solid, adjustable, padded in the right places, and helps to tame the magnums. Recoil reduction has not always been necessary, but it’s sure is nice to have it for some of the bigger calibers. With this rest, two bags of lead shot, on the front legs, does the trick.
The Bench Master is very affordable and a great value, given it's quality and robust construction, see: http://www.benchmasterusa.com/store/pro ... e-Cadillac
b. Target Shooting, Incorporated.
In the world of rifle rests, there are a few that are real standouts. For those who want some serious high quality in a "tough-as-nails" product, that looks like a Ferrari for shooting, the Target Shooting rests fill the bill. Made in the USA and meant to last a long time, these rests have few peers. They have several models from which to choose, and a visit to their website should give you a better idea of what to expect. See: https://targetshooting.worldsecuresystems.com/