This topic contains 29 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  NavyVet1959 2 years, 5 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #29709
     Goodsteel 
    Keymaster
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 208
    • Comments: 2452
    • Overall: 2660

    Lets face it: If you’re after groups of less than an inch, you better not have any wiggle to the surface you’re using to support the rifle. It’s bothered me for years that every bench I shoot from has more jiggle in it than the size of the groups I’m looking to shoot! I can always see it when looking through a spotting scope, or simply aiming the rifle at the target while the hombre next to me bangs away with his AR: Movement. Not much, but if I take care to just observe how much deflection of the cross hairs is evident at 100 yards, it’s often well over an inch. So much for good groups.
    This is why, when I saw the opportunity to buy a piece of property with a 100 yard range, I jumped on it like a 300 pound cheetah on a scrawny emaciated wildebeest what just went for a lonesome stroll in the African Savannah.

    So that took care of the AR-15 crowd with their prerequisite muzzle break/flash hiders and their 50 yard shotgun patterns, but I wanted the best. I wanted a shooting bench that wouldn’t rot, that wouldn’t wiggle, that wouldn’t tip, turn, buckle, or budge.
    Aside from having one cut from solid granite, Concrete was definitely the answer.

    I’m about as busy as a centipede at a toe counting contest, and there are about 1500 other things I would rather be doing, but the fact is, I really think this is a NEED at this point. Like everything else, I take a look at the situation and decide of it would be easier to do it later, and if the answer is no, then I get my rear in gear.
    Thursday night I had made up my mind. It was time to build a concrete bench.

    I woke up at 3:00 AM and got started busting dirt to clear an 8 foot square for a pad. The lumber store opened at 6:00AM and I wanted to walk in before they got the lights good and warmed up.

    Once I had the area cleared for the pad, I screwed together the form and got it set at a slight run away from the shop for drainage.

    By the time I got finished with the form, it was 5:15AM, so I rousted out Natalie, fed us a hurried breakfast of scrambled eggs, and off we sped in the dark for the lumber store.
    Once there, I told the guy I wanted a pallet of Quickcrete. Just set it in the bed of the truck chop chop!
    He asked if my truck had enough lead in it’s shorts to haul that much weight. I did the math, and suddenly realized I had just asked him to put almost 2 tons of cement in the back of my truck (them 80 pound bags do add up don’t they?). I decided to get 20 bags up front and make two trips.
    I also bought a sheet of plywood, a bunch more 96″ 2X4s, 12 10foot X 1/2″ rebar, a few cutoff blades for the angle grinder, one 2X6X8, and I rented a cement mixer.
    I lashed it all down and I was very happy I didnt get the whole pallet of cement, because my truck was riding the axle as it was.

    I assure you I drove home carefully as I was not sure how my truck might be damaged by a good sized pothole with that huge load in the bed.

    When I got home, I fired up the tractor my buddy let me borrow, and scooped up some of my fresh gravel driveway to put down as a base for the pad, and hammered some stakes in around the form to keep it in place. That was relatively easy, and now I had daylight!

    After spreading the gravel and setting the rebar, I set to work mixing concrete, pouring it in the form and smoothing it out. I used 19 of the 20 bags, then high tailed it back to the store and bought 25 more.

    Once I had poured the concrete and spread it, I got a buddy to lend me a hand sawing the 2X6 across the top of the slab as a cheap way to float the surface. I didn’t want I perfectly smooth surface, and this worked like a charm. I wish I could have talked him into helping me get it a little more perfect, but being that I had no beer or cash at the time and it’s cooking out here at 99 degrees, I was happy with the help he gave (especially because this was one job I literally could not do alone).

    Next, I built the form for the table top. It’s 45″ wide and 5 feet deep, with 18″ runners connecting in the middle on 45 degrees. Pretty good design I think. Borrowed from info I gathered from BjornB (thank’s for the help Bjorn!).

    Next, I mixed three bags of concrete, poured them in, and smoothed them out about 1.75″ deep.

    Then I laid in all the ends and pieces that were cut off from the ones laid in the slab (kinda nice the way that worked out!) then I poured in four more bags and used a 2X4 to smooth out the surface carefully.

    When I finished this part, it was 3:00PM and I was completely whipped. Hard hard work and plenty of it. Next time, I’m hiring a dam cement truck!

    So that’s as far as I got Friday, and the concrete needed to setup before I could progress any further, and I was pretty much stomped flat.

  • #29710
     uber7mm 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 17
    • Comments: 288
    • Overall: 305

    Breaking ground at 3AM? That’s a man on a mission!

    Better use that tractor to move that concrete table top,,,,,, Very cool!

  • #29711
     Goodsteel 
    Keymaster
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 208
    • Comments: 2452
    • Overall: 2660

    Saturday, I woke up and took the form apart from around the table top. I used the bucket of the tractor to push down a corner of the playwood, and I slipped awood shim under the table top, then I did the same in the middle, back and forth, until I could get a 2X4 under the big end. After that, Natalie threaded ratchet strap under the table top, and I secured it over the bucket so I could lift it.

    I set the table in place, and observed if it was stable without mortering the cinder blocks. It was not, so I pulled it back, marked the locations of the bottom blocks, and mortered them together. That did the trick.

    Once the top was set, it was off to the races. I built sandbags by cutting the legs off my old jeans, and Zip-tying the ends closed, then a target backer. All I have to do now is clean up the mess.
    That’s how I did it.

    One thing that is worth mentioning: Bjorn told me that his range in Florida has benches like this of many different heights and the one that everybody seems to like best is a surface of 31 inches high. This bench was 30.5″ high using the block stack you see above. Three 8X8X16 cinder blocks, one 8X4X16 block, and a surface that was formed from 3.5″ tall lumber works out pretty well.

    There’s the 100 yard target backer, in front of 5 miles of dense Arkansas woods. Not too shabby.

  • #29712
     Goodsteel 
    Keymaster
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 208
    • Comments: 2452
    • Overall: 2660

    It’s so hot here, you either get an early start, or learn to be as tough as Sarge. LOL!
    Heat index throughout these photos was about 103 degrees.
    Hot hot work.

  • #29714
     Sgt. Mike 
    Participant
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 84
    • Comments: 789
    • Overall: 873

    shredded tire material for the back stop vs dirt, the density is actually better
    10 foot height should work.

    material will float in salt water lead sinks. skim off and replace recover lead

    another good side effect is ricochets are greatly reduced

    https://www.directrubbermulch.com/ballistic-backstops/

  • #29715
     lar45 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 21
    • Comments: 224
    • Overall: 245

    Wow, excellent work Tim!
    I like it 🙂

  • #29716
     Goodsteel 
    Keymaster
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 208
    • Comments: 2452
    • Overall: 2660

    Thanks Glenn! You guys need to come check it out and shoot some!

  • #29718
     Sgt. Mike 
    Participant
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 84
    • Comments: 789
    • Overall: 873

    Yep, a backstop to recover lead would be the ticket, makes for a closed loop system
    Does Teddy have a auger setup for that tractor? if so digging three holes for a 12 foot 4×4 post would be easy.
    That is the only improvement that I can see. Outside of a lean to roof over the bench to keep weathering down on the surface. Which if I recall our conversations you already mentioned doing.

    The form looks to have worked after our conservation I knew it would be a success.
    like Glenn said good job

  • #29719
     WCM 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 30
    • Comments: 368
    • Overall: 398

    Very nice.
    You have more energy than I do.
    I have come up with a good design out of 2X6’s and 4X4’s and construction screws.
    It takes two people to move it .
    I believe the cost in lumber was about $85
    I shoot on a Gas line that is up to 600 yds.
    My standard range is 200 yds.
    My son owns the property so I can shoot any time I want.

  • #29720
     Menner 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 4
    • Comments: 120
    • Overall: 124

    Good looking job Tim a bench that will serve you for a long time
    We have one like it at the club I belong to at the 200 yrd range I keep a towel in my shooting bag that I lay around the rear bag for my arms to lay on learned real quick that recoil will sand the skin off for you with a concrete bench top.
    Tony

  • #29721
     WCM 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 30
    • Comments: 368
    • Overall: 398

    I also keep a towel for my wooden bench as well.
    I am not allowed to build any permanent structures on the gas line, so a portable shooting bench is all that is possible.
    We usually shoot 600 yds from the prone position.

  • #29722
     timspawn 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 29
    • Comments: 137
    • Overall: 166

    Very nice. Rock steady!

  • #29725
     Doc Highwall 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 8
    • Comments: 123
    • Overall: 131

    Nice work Tim! For my sand bags I fill them with plastic poly beads, no lapping grit coming out of the cloth weave and no moisture adsorption.

  • #29726
     oldblinddog 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 4
    • Comments: 110
    • Overall: 114

    Great job! Concrete is the only way to go!

  • #29727
     Menner 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 4
    • Comments: 120
    • Overall: 124

    I have taken bread bags double them up slip them in the jeans legs fill with sand then close the bags and then tie of the jeans keeps the sand dry.
    Guy at the club took truck inner tube and used them pretty much water proof used a towel between the tube and rifle to protect the rifle.
    Tony

  • #29728
     popper 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 1
    • Comments: 293
    • Overall: 294

    Hopefully that is elec. line in the PVC, not water. Now to get the blocks sealed. Others wanting to try this might use 6″ SoloTube for the legs. Have a friend who wanted a round concrete patio table. Used reg. concrete instead of pool type. He did get somebody to come break it up and haul off. 60″x3″ is heavy.

  • #29729
     lead-1 
    Participant
    • Bronze
    • Posts: 8
    • Comments: 82
    • Overall: 90

    That’s an awesome job, well done. I would love to shoot from a bench that fits a taller shooter and is that solid.
    The one gun club I used to frequent had a very solid bench made 12″ posts set in the ground for legs and a table made from 4×4’s. They built a car port type cover over a poured concrete floor but then put in two picnic tables as benches that are like shooting from a jon boat, if someone sits on the other end of the table you teeter totter 3-4 inches.

  • #29731
     Goodsteel 
    Keymaster
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 208
    • Comments: 2452
    • Overall: 2660

    The pipe is non essential. It’s simply a drain line for the washing machine. If it gets damaged, I’ll cut it off and run it the other direction.

  • #29732
     Goodsteel 
    Keymaster
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 208
    • Comments: 2452
    • Overall: 2660

    I like the idea of doing away with the sand grit, but the plastic beads have no density or packing to them. Perhaps I’m majoring in the minors here, but I always preferred the sand.
    I filled my Protektor rear with black volcanic slag sand. It “crunches” easily into shape, but holds it through recoil while my left hand locks the bunny ears. Really great stuff.
    On the front bag, I like the “memory” that good old sand gives. Seems like a real smooth interface with the forend.
    I sure wouldn’t mind a discussion on the topic.

  • #29733
     Goodsteel 
    Keymaster
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 208
    • Comments: 2452
    • Overall: 2660

    I will implement this. Thanks for the tip!!!

  • #29739
     LenH 
    Participant
    • Bronze
    • Posts: 4
    • Comments: 32
    • Overall: 36

    The club I belong to put in concrete shooting benches on one of the 100 yard ranges. The tables are sitting on Tube steel post and are anchored to concrete with expansion anchors.

    Nice job Tim.

  • #29747
     lar45 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 21
    • Comments: 224
    • Overall: 245

    Goodsteel;n9227 wrote: Thanks Glenn! You guys need to come check it out and shoot some!

    We’d love to come and check out the new place. You just say when and I’ll marinate some Deer Steaks and load some ammo 🙂

    For my shooting bags, The wife sews one end of the jeans closed, then put in a bag of beans and sew the other end closed. I’ve got some that are around 15 years old and still work great. I rested a 454 on them and wore holes at the cylinder gap, but an iron on patch fixed it up.

  • #29750
     Goodsteel 
    Keymaster
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 208
    • Comments: 2452
    • Overall: 2660

    lar45;n9277 wrote:

    We’d love to come and check out the new place. You just say when and I’ll marinate some Deer Steaks and load some ammo 🙂

    For my shooting bags, The wife sews one end of the jeans closed, then put in a bag of beans and sew the other end closed. I’ve got some that are around 15 years old and still work great. I rested a 454 on them and wore holes at the cylinder gap, but an iron on patch fixed it up.

    How about Sunday afternoon? Or Monday?
    I need to hit you up about that car hauler too. Got a bluing shed to move!

    You need to bring some of those 480 palm skinners we shot that one time. That should wrap those plates around the beam like a runaway window blind!

  • #29751
     Goodsteel 
    Keymaster
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 208
    • Comments: 2452
    • Overall: 2660

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll look into it further.

  • #29754
     lar45 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 21
    • Comments: 224
    • Overall: 245


    Here’s the foul beast 😉

  • #29755
     Goodsteel 
    Keymaster
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 208
    • Comments: 2452
    • Overall: 2660

    Hand stings just looking at it!
    What was it again?
    405 grain bullets cooking off at 1600fps?
    Zoweeeee!!!!!!!

  • #29757
     Sgt. Mike 
    Participant
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 84
    • Comments: 789
    • Overall: 873

    Goodsteel;n9282 wrote:

    ………………… Got a bluing shed to move!…………………………………….

    When ?????

    We will need cinder blocks etc (cribbage)…… I have jacks capable of lifting the sheds ….if Mick doesn’t misplace them …… My Leave starts the 1st to the 15th of Sept let me know. I know at least one other that wants to help on the shed moving.

    Let me know when

  • #29758
     Goodsteel 
    Keymaster
    • Gold
    • ★★★
    • Posts: 208
    • Comments: 2452
    • Overall: 2660

    Sgt. Mike;n9290 wrote:

    When ?????

    We will need cinder blocks etc (cribbage)…… I have jacks capable of lifting the sheds ….if Mick doesn’t misplace them …… My Leave starts the 1st to the 15th of Sept let me know. I know at least one other that wants to help on the shed moving.

    Let me know when

    Thanks Sarge! I’ll holler at you.

  • #29766
     lar45 
    Participant
    • Silver
    • ★★
    • Posts: 21
    • Comments: 224
    • Overall: 245

    I don’t remember exactly what load we were shooting, but I think it was more on the line of a 400 @ 1300 ish
    We may have shot the 475 Linebaugh next to it to compare with a 400 @ 1450ish
    Now with the 45-70 BFR, I can get 405’s up to 1750. It’s still controllable, but definitely not fun to shoot at that level.

  • #45838
     NavyVet1959 
    Participant
    • Bronze
    • Posts: 2
    • Comments: 26
    • Overall: 28

    From what I’ve gathered from the concrete countertop folks, the fiber reinforced cement is best to use for suspended horizontal surfaces like that.

    I would have ran some of the rebar from the slab vertically where the cinder blocks were going to be placed so that I could tie it all together by filling the cinder blocks with concrete.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

© 2017 Goodsteel Forum. Designed by Covalent Designs, LLC.