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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy folks. I'm new to the wonderful world of the shooter's forum, and I kind of figured this is as good a place to start as any.

I need your help. I've been searching for a really good rifle rest, but I just haven't been able to find what I'm looking for. I'm beginning to think that, as with so many things, I'll have to build it myself to get what I'm after.

First things first.

There are alot of pretty **** decent rests out there. I think I've seen nearly all of them by now. Some rests look good, but just don't function well...wether it's a sloppy rail or screws, or a missing function (eg. course windage). Some rests function well, but they just don't absorb recoil. Yet other rests might function pretty well and absorb recoil, but look like some sort of sea monster.

Here's the beginning of my plan.

I want a rest that looks good. I want a rest that GREATLY reduces recoil, to make working up a load on a large caliber rifle a joy when it comes time to fire off dozens of rounds in one day. I want a rest that takes as much human error out of the equation as possible, for determining long range (say, 600-1000 yard) bullet placement, and in-flight bullet characteristics. I want a rest that I can pack up and load in the truck in only a few minutes, and take out to gopherville for an all-out all-day gopher shoot. I want something that has easy-to-use, intuitive controls...with initial setup being a precise job that would only have to be done once.

So here's what I need from you folks.

I need to know what sort of features you would like to have on your dream rest. I want to make sure I can design and build this thing only once, and have a dreamworthy rest. If you know of a rifle rest that has the feature you're after, let me know which rest it is...with a link or picture if possible.

Thanks in advance for your input...lets see if we can design a rest that we would all be happy to own.
 

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Welcome to the forum. Rules are to join in, have fun, and play nicely with the rest of us kids.

The quest for the perfect rest is tough. You have to be careful about how you absorb recoil. You hear of heavy calibers splitting stocks on rigid rests, so you want something that lets the gun move back a little. I've often thought of modifying one of the cheap Caldwell lead sleds to use a stack of PAST Sorbothane recoil pads at the butt for the purpose.

I saw that Caldwell recently came up with a version that uses a joystick type front rest control, but whether it is good enough quality to be worth messing with modifying it, I can't say? If I were going for ideal, I'd probably buy a benchrest quality joystick type front rest and simply make its presence a permanent part of the total rest assembly.

One issue with some rifles, especially with sporter stocks that are flimsy at the front or that have intentional front stock pressure upward on the barrel rather than a floating barrel, is they will not group well resting the fore stock on anything. The front rest needs to support them up under the magazine well, or close to it, to eliminate that interference. So, I think an ideal rest would have the front portion able to slide forward and aft, then clamp into place where the gun needs it. If it is a joystick type, it will probably have to be reversible so the stick is out under the barrel when it is snugged up close to the trigger guard.

You may want to consider sliding surfaces for the recoil, to avoid scratching the stock or magazine floor plate or whatever is sitting on the rest. I notice the benchresters have Teflon and other plastic tape they'll put on their stocks for better sliding and stock preservation. I've had good luck laying a silicone cloth between the bag and the stock, but they dirty up pretty quickly. I've also used carpet remnant pads. They let the dirt and grit fall down into the pile, but they don't make a firm surface. Maybe a short pile outdoor carpet remnant, like the stuff used on boats, and saturated with that DuPont silicone/Teflon spray would be a serviceable slider pad? Just a thought. I haven't tried it.
 

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I built one out of an old desk chair, and some scrap steel. It is just a front rest but I built it to duplicate all the features of a quality fully adjustable front rest. It is a tri-pod, each leg is adjustable with a screw type adjustment, the main rest is one of those screw gear shafts (can't recall the name of that bar stock), and the adjustable part is the modified part of the swivel part on the bottom of the seat. It has left to right adjustment and up and down on the rest, then leveling and up and down on the legs. The rear rest is just a plain old leather rear rest.

I don't have any pictures now, but if you give me a couple weeks I'll post one, I left it at the folk's place.

Total price of the project not including me welding/grinding/painting, was around $10 for a hand full of bolts and nuts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
And so it begins...

Nick:
Thanks for yout input! I was planning on using a moving sled to absorb the recoil, though I hadn't quite decided yet how I would incorporate it. I thought I'd work everything else out first, and just make the sled work after.
I hadn't thought about using a good front rest and just throwing it into the system. While that could be far more expensive, I've always had a soft spot for a good Farley CoAx II rest with the joystick.
I've tried several Caldwell rests, and while they certainly are good rests for the money, they are just not...good enough for me! (As a bit of an aside, I should let you know...I am completely anal about only purchasing things that are perfect for me. I do not buy things that "will work", or "will do for now".)
I have to ask...did you phrase your statement about the upward pressure correctly? On a rifle with upward pressure on the barrel (as compared to a free floating one), you would want the pressure at the end of the stock, would you not? Only the free floating barrel should be affected by hard upward pressure, no? At any rate, it is a very good idea to have the front rest sliding.

cvc: Thanks a bunch. I have seen that rest before. Can't remember who makes it, but it is a pretty decent rest for the money. Unfortunately, again, it's just not good enough. I think it needs more refining for adjustments and looks.
 

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I bought one of Cabela's "Elite" full-length rifle rests for $79 at the time, though now I see them for about $99. As with all the full-length, it does absorb some recoil, some more or less than others. I use it on the bench for 30-06 and 22-250, and I put a thin, rubber mat under the feet to help keep it from sliding reaward. It has the three adjustable feet, of course, and a knob in the middle of the center rail that provides for vertical adjustment. It's all I need.

I did purchase a front tripod rest (the Caldwell Rock Deluxe) that I use mainly for the Ruger #1 in 25-06. I can;t comfortably use this rifle in the other full-length rest because there isn;t enough clearance for the lever to fully drop the block. I'll shoot my other rifles from the tripod too, depending on how I'm feeling that day.

Good luck on your quest. For me, I just need something simple like I have, anything more complicated, cumbersome, or expensive isn;t quite up my alley. I think I'll build out of wood something for the shop though - something to rest my rifles in and lock the butt portion in place, for cleaning. You might take a look at Sinclair's. They specialize in benchrest and other long-range competition stuff. I have a couple of their catalogs and they have some very nice! rifle rests.... all at a premium price, of course.
 

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ive considered putting a light padding on the forestock of my 06..
it would be relatively easy to make .. right now a limb rest our my resting on my knee is good enough although ,old shaky may have to take other measures later..slim
 

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And so it begins...

(As a bit of an aside, I should let you know...I am completely anal about only purchasing things that are perfect for me. I do not buy things that "will work", or "will do for now".)

cvc: Thanks a bunch. I have seen that rest before. Can't remember who makes it, but it is a pretty decent rest for the money. Unfortunately, again, it's just not good enough. I think it needs more refining for adjustments and looks.
Sound like you need to make something for yourself. You could make a rest that sits on rails of some sort and absorbs recoil via some heavy springs or shock absorbers. The front half could be stationary and the rear rest would ride back and forth, or the entire thing could ride back and forth. Might get a little cumbersome but you could design it so the weight is kept down. It could be made to hook on the front of a bench too so you eliminate the use of weighted bags too.
 

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Take a look at the Barrett M82/M107. It uses heavy duty springs on the barrel so that the barrel can recoil as well. Use something like that for the portion that would hold the gun. Have the bottom part either anchored with say bolts or sand bags or spikes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is what I use. I can keep all my goodies in the inside, and the strap is rubberized to hold the gun steady and absorb recoil. It offers excellent support (the sides are stiffened) and its extremely rugged. I use mine a lot. American made too!

http://www.redoxx.com/Airline-Carry-On-Luggage/Gator-Carry-On-Bag/91002-Gator/100-10/product
Haha. Unfortunately, American made does nothing for me. In fact, it almost detracts from the products (sorry guys!). I'm 100% Canadian, born and bred, so for me, supporting local is somewhat different than it is for you.

There's a lot of guys using a lot of things for rests around here, and I suppose that's encouraging to see. But back to the question at hand...

What sort of things would you folks like to see on "the ultimate rest"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Haha. Hope you don't go out of your way looking for it...unless it's an alarm clock, "Made in Canada" will be a long time comming for you.

Actually, there is a nice hefty rest made in Saskatchewan...TiteGroup, it was called. That's a pretty nice rest, but as Nick mentioned, all the recoil is absorbed by the weight of the rest, potentially causing a split stock on a big caliber rifle.
 

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I too would say id avoid canadian products, but it would be a lie, Oregon bars, and Cannon bars for my chainsaws are my favorite, they happen to be made in canada lol.

Anyway back to the rest, why dont ya just make yourself a lead sled, do it custom so its how you want it.
 

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Not to mention the IMR stick rifle powders. Nope. We need to keep the peace with Canada. The Minute Men can't be expected to be on both boarders at once. ;)

Marsm said:
I have to ask...did you phrase your statement about the upward pressure correctly? On a rifle with upward pressure on the barrel (as compared to a free floating one), you would want the pressure at the end of the stock, would you not? Only the free floating barrel should be affected by hard upward pressure, no?
No. It's correct. Rigid as it may seem, even a gun barrel bends. Gravity alone will make a typical barrel droop several thousandths. So, when you have upward stock pressure, then set the gun on a front rest, it increases the upward deflection of the barrel relative to the receiver position, changing POI a little. Theoretically, the deflection alone should only account for a quarter to half an inch or so on the target, so it sometimes is so little you don't really notice it. Other times it messes with the barrel's recoil deflection and harmonics enough to change POI to an exaggerated degree and to cause increased dispersion. Especially if the shooter can't keep his head or trigger hand bearing down on the rifle consistently. I find that adequate upward pre-load pressure (say 15-20 lbs) will usually clear this, but some guns only have 5-10 lbs, and that isn't adequate, IME.

The floating barrel, on the other hand, will show little no effect as long as it continues to float. That means the channel in the stock has to have enough room that resting on the bag doesn't cause the barrel to touch it. If the barrel does touch the fore stock on the bags, as may happen with some flimsy thermoplastic stocks (bipods will also cause barrel touching on these stocks), and that is what I suspect you were thinking might occur, then you'll get POI shift plus, in all likelihood, dispersion shot to shot due to the touch being inconsistent.

Also, member MarkW pointed out to me once that he'd seen slow motion pictures of thermoplastic stocks whipping so extremely under recoil that they would slap the barrel hard. That has to happen after the bullet is gone, but it means that such a stock, when leaning on bags, will absorb less energy than when held offhand. That will be reflected in deflection angle of the receiver, so, once again, the POI on bags can shift.

In any event, lots of fellows report having guns that group better with the front bag in close, so it seemed to me to be a good feature to have that adjustable.

Recoil by sliding is done on some machine rests that use a couple of steel rods an inch thick or so, then have linear ball bearing sleeves in the rest that let it slide until it hits a pad. That won't help a shooter's shoulder, though. Some form of conventional gas shock absorber may work? Just take the suspension off a Morris Mini and turn it horizontal, and maybe you'll have it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Ok...upon further inspection, what you've said does make good sense. I was thinking however, that instead of having the front post move relative to the main body of the rest, the rear post would move (to allow for different lengths of rifles). The shooter would then simply be able to adjust it to the appropriate length, and place the fore stock on the front post wherever appropriate. This way the front post being fixed should, in theory be more sturdy.

Also, for the recoil absorbtion...how far do you think one would need the sled to move in order to adequately absorb the recoil (obviously, you would not want the recoil movement to be exagerated). I thought a guy could accomplish the absorbtion with some progressive springs. So in the first inch of travel, the springs would excert say, 3 pounds each, for a total of 6 pounds absorbtion. The second inch might excert twice that, for a total of 3+3+6+6, or 18 pounds. In the third inch, a third stiff spring could be introduced, absorbing, perhaps...10 pounds. We would then have 6 pounds total off of the first inch, 12 pounds off of the second inch, 12 pounds off of the third inch, plus an additional 10 pounds, for a total of 40 pounds. For that matter, are these even realistic numbers? I honestly have no idea what the recoil would be off of say, a .50 BMG?

Alright, so I've been doing some investigating at http://www.chuckhawks.com/recoil_table.htm

It seems that the odd gun could potentially have up to about 100 pounds of recoil energy. Now, two things come to mind with this information...first of all, I do not plan on using any gun like that. That being said, my uncle does have a .700 Nitro that hasn't been sighted in...

Second thing that comes to mind is that I do not have to absorb ALL of that energy with dampers. The weight of the rest can take some of it. 40 pounds of recoil absorbtion would max out on a .338 Ultra Mag or a .375 Ruger. It seems as though most shooting would be done under about 30 pounds of recoil. This would be like a 7mm Ultra Mag or a .300 Ultra Mag.

All that is left to do for recoil figuring, is decide how far the rifle should travel. I'm thinking a spring rate of 4+4 pounds in the first inch (8 pounds would halt a .243 Win), 4+4+6+6 in the second inch (20 pounds would stop a 7mm Rem. Mag, or a 30.06 Springfield) The third inch would introduce the 10 pound spring, and be the other two would be stepped up to 8 pounds. This would give us 4+4+6+6+8+8+10 for a grand total of 46 pounds with three inches of travel. This should effictively stop anything smaller than a .375 Ruger, and even the odd heavier recoil caliber.

Think that would suffice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just found a website (http://www.marbut.com/Recoil/) dealing with trying to reduce recoil. This guys 10 pound .308 (using a 168 grain bullet at 2,780 fps) without the use of a muzzle brake recoils 14 3/4" on a carpeted shooting bench. Using the muzzle brake cut the recoil down to only 5 3/4". Of course, this is with no person behind it, but I would think that 3 (possibly 4) inches of travel should be safe. I suppose it would also be worthwhile to include some rubber bumpers to help further reduce the impact on the rest by extremely heavy-hitting rifles.

Is there anything else that would be preferable on a rifle rest?
 
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