Portable shooting bench

A DIY portable shooting bench

When it comes to shooting at long range, the stability of the rifle is of major concern, so when I was becoming interested in long—range shooting I wanted a portable benchrest. 

We looked at what was available and decided that making one should not be all that difficult. 

At the time No 2 son was an apprentice cabinet maker, and he won the job! 

The basic outline was transferred to a sheet of 2cm thick marine plywood.

We had two legs at the front and one at the rear to allow for a seat. 

The fittings for the legs involved a bit of fiddling around to get the angles right before they were welded. Good tradesmen can make the job look easy. 

Portable shooting bench
The bench is basic and effective. Underneath, stubs are attached to attach the legs to (right)

The fittings were attached to the ply top with flat-base bolts.

The legs were simply 3.5cm ID square tubes that were designed to slide on and off the top fittings to provide portability. 

The legs had to fit with reasonable tightness or there was too much slop in the fittings. We solved this with a bead or two of welding on the stub legs, filed flat. 

We tried various types of seating over time. The easiest and most portable was a simple drummer’s stool from a music supply house — comfortable and height adjustable. One size fits everyone! 

Initially, the bench was only designed for right-handed shooters but we later had to change the design to accommodate both left- and right-handers. 

Portable shooting bench
Various front and rear rests complement the stability of the portable bench

The bench is used just about everywhere. We have done all of our load development off it for nearly 30 years in a variety of locations. 

It accompanies us to every bush camp where it provides a platform for long-range shooting and is used to sight in rifles. 

For all long-range work, whatever the caliber, it has no peer. 

We use one of two adjustable front rests, depending on the shape of the stock of the rifle, whilst the base of the stock rests in a sandbag. Sometimes we use a bipod if that’s what is available at the time. 

Aside from the stub legs for transport, it packs flat.

Its latest use is inside a portable blind designed for two people. The bench and a couple of rifles, plus another few bits, fill the blind nicely. 

A portable bench takes all of the heat out of long-range shooting. Having shot off one for the first time you will wonder how you ever did without one.




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Ron James