This is just for you to consider. A full-size one-piece desk like you use at school. The top is braced up pretty well & you could add to it fairly easily,if need be. You doubtless want something you can put in the truck to take to the range or out in a field & I bet a desk would work very well with some added sand bags.
I'm still looking to see if those plywood bench plans are here. I remember looking at them,but boy ! that was a while back.
If you want a really good front rest it's going to cost you big bucks. Sinclair will run you about $350. and that's about as inexpensive as they get. Look around at the gun shows and you may find an older Hart model.
They're quite heavy and provide good stability. That shouldn't cost you too much, and they last a lifetime. Sinclair makes new tops that can be inserted in Harts rests, and provide you with a real winner. Just one mans opinion. Best wishes.
I built a bench just like that about 15 yrs ago. It worked but was shaky. Gave it to my son and built myself a new one with a similar but larger top and 2x4 legs and frame that you sould park a truck on. Yet it's light enough to pick up and put into my pickup. Will try to remember to take a picture when I get home and post it.
This falls more to the portable and folding than benchrest- but is useful for other things.
What I have made is a 3/4 in plywood top about 16 by 40 inches. It has a cut out slot for a handle. The edges are rounded. It has two screw -n inserts which take a 1/4 -20 bolt. This goes on top of a steel folding sawhorse with legs of adjustable length. This sawhorse also has a handle. When the saw horse legs are adjusted to their maximum length they will fold- but are too long to go back flat. This is not a problem moving it around the range- but would not be convienent in a vehicle.
In use I put it at an an angle to the target. Shooting right handled this puts the front rest at the right side and the rear rest at the left edge.
As I indicated- it is not as rigid as would be ideal. I have not felt the need to do it- but rigidity would be significantly improved by running some paracord from each leg to the end corner of the table.
I have not done it yet but I am thinking about designing a bench which would use an assembly of unistrut for the legs. Unistrut is a C shaped channel used on most often in construction to hold pipes, conduit, etc. It is designed to be bolted together with connecting peices. It comes different guage metals, and a 1 1/8 and 1 5/8 rectangular or square sections. It would be possible to design a very rigid structure which could be quickly bolted together on site. If you wanted to spend a good bit more for lighter weight the same thing could be done with an aluminum, section called 80/20.
I made a top out of 3/4 plywood that is held in place on my "work mate" with a 2X4 attached to the bottom of the plywood. I have also made tops for the "work mate" in this fashion for reloading, bullet casting and butchering.
I have a copy of plans using a set of folding table legs, and can be adjusted to left or right handed, and the height can be adjusted.If you send me a p.m. I'd be happy to thow them in the mail for you. ( I don't have them downloaded.) I built 6 of these for the guys at my local range, and it seems to be a good design.
I can't think of any portable benches being sturdy enough for benchrest shooting (as in making really small groups with heavy rifles). Have you considered shooting from the prone position and using sandbags as a rest?
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