Handgun rests for load workups

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Bill in Oregon
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Handgun rests for load workups

#1 Post by Bill in Oregon » Fri May 10, 2019 3:38 pm

I have built a couple over the years, and improvised quite a lot, but never came up with what I would consider an optimal arrangement for testing revolver accuracy. I'm not talking about a Ransom rest -- just something very consistently sixgun-friendly. I have finally learned that besides a good stable rest, the other key factor for me is to have padding for my elbows, as it is my elbows that are usually driven into the bench surface by recoil and this leads to target fatigue.
what do you use for pistol/revolver testing and how do you isolate the various elements of recoil to allow for concentration? The revolvers I have in mind are heavy .45 Colt/.44 Magnum class, not the super-heavies such as the Linebaughs.

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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#2 Post by wm » Fri May 10, 2019 4:11 pm

Lots of empty shot bags filled with sand or rice have been my go to. IMO the trick is to only fill them up 1/2 to 3/4 of the way so they don't more closely resemble a brick rather then a pillow.

I've found being consistent with the placement of the firearm is easy, but staying consistent with my posture and position behind the firearm is easily over looked and can change point of impact. I think that is why I have better luck and better efficiency using the prone position then shooting off the bench.

Wm

P.S. I have a buddy who prefers and exclusively uses the seated position on the ground, back against the shooting bench, knees drawn up and used as a rest and he shoots freaking clover leafs …… I hate that guy. :lol:

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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#3 Post by JimT » Fri May 10, 2019 4:16 pm

For years I shot all sixguns ... including the Linebaugh and the Freedom Arms guns ... using a rolled up piece of carpeting on the hood of my International Scout. That was my machine rest. It worked well for me. The Scout was high enough and the carpet roll was big enough that I could stand up fairly straight ... my elbows did not take any impact on the hood.

I've tried other things since then and nothing really works as well. I dislike having to crouch down to shoot. Or having my arms in some position that is not normal. I like it when using a rest to be as close to standing up and shooting off my hind legs as possible.

That's me. But find a position that comfortable and natural as possible and then make something work.

I will add .. with Wm. I have shot a lot using that position ... seated, back against a rest, gun between my knees. Anymore I just have a hard time getting up and down. Once I am in position I am ok ... until I need to get up. :D

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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#4 Post by 6pt-sika » Fri May 10, 2019 6:08 pm

I bought a MTM “K Zone” rest not for handguns but for shooting AR’s with larger then ten round mags . While assembling I noticed they recommended it for handguns by removing the rear rest portion . I’ve used it with several 44 Mags and a 1911 10mm and found it very comfortable 8) https://www.amazon.com/MTM-K-Zone-Shoot ... B07NVW65CQ
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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#5 Post by AJMD429 » Fri May 10, 2019 8:05 pm

Generally I'd try to use a position that is at least 'attainable' and 'realistic' when afield (or if the intent is target-shooting, when at the range).

That way, your point-of-impact versus point-of-aim will at least be similarly related as to when you actually go out to use the gun.

In other words, if you are going to hunt when seated back-against-tree and resting on knees, it makes more sense to do that when sighting-in, than to use a sand-bag off a bench.
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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#6 Post by 765x53 » Fri May 10, 2019 8:33 pm

I have a milk crate full of Jean-leg sand bags lined with plastic bread wrappers (to keep them dry and prevent dusting) and filed with cat litter.
Much lighter and easier to handle than sand.

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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#7 Post by crs » Fri May 10, 2019 8:37 pm

Years ago, when I was doing a lot of .38 and .357 loading and shooting, I tried several pistol/revolver rests before finding one that worked well. If I still have it, I will send a picture and the name of it. As best I remember it was a three legged triangular based wood unit with felt lined places for the barrel and butt. That was back in the 70s; my how time flies!
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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#8 Post by vancelw » Sat May 11, 2019 7:57 am

6pt-sika wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 6:08 pm
I bought a MTM “K Zone” rest not for handguns but for shooting AR’s with larger then ten round mags . While assembling I noticed they recommended it for handguns by removing the rear rest portion . I’ve used it with several 44 Mags and a 1911 10mm and found it very comfortable 8) https://www.amazon.com/MTM-K-Zone-Shoot ... B07NVW65CQ
I have an old-style, cheaper version of that made by MTM that works well and is easier to use than dragging out all the sandbags. I like sandbags better but muzzle blast will wear on them if you let the barrel slip back :shock:
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Bill in Oregon
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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#9 Post by Bill in Oregon » Sat May 11, 2019 8:12 am

Some good advice here that has the wheels turning for a shooting rest that I can set on top of a shooting bench at the range that will allow me to shoot handguns from a near-standing position as well as harder-kicking rifles. Here is the "offhand bench" used by Holland and Holland smiths to test the regulations of their heavy big-bores. Makes a lot of sense.
Imagehollandbench by ComeWatson, on Flickr

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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#10 Post by earlmck » Sat May 11, 2019 11:21 am

Like you I tried different things over the years, but long ago came to a strategy where I arrange the bags so they stabilize my arms and hands and then hold the revolver with my normal two-handed grip to shoot. The bags don't touch the revolver, and I try to get the arms positioned as best I can to let them recoil similar to how they would off-hand. This is done at a regular shooting bench or my little shooting table or over the hood of the pickup. Though I have to say that they have grown pickups so big (and the kid has shrunk a couple inches also) that I'd need to park the thing in a ditch to shoot over the hood anymore.

25 years ago or so I was shooting my Ruger double-actions a lot and got to be a good shot. It seemed to me that the guns were shooting off-hand better than my sandbag load testing indicated they should be capable of doing and that is how I gravitated to the "test 'em like you shoot 'em" strategy. I no longer do enough revolver shooting for this to be a problem anymore :D
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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#11 Post by Bill in Oregon » Sat May 11, 2019 11:34 am

Earl, this kid "has shrunk a couple of inches" as well. :lol:

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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#12 Post by Grizz » Sat May 11, 2019 4:30 pm

I almost always stand when sighting in my guns, sometimes with my butt resting against a bench but usually I am in the woods when I do this. I start close, watch the bullets when the light is right, watch the movement of the front sight and observe its location when the gun discharges.

I generally use steel plates and don't shoot for groups, I just keep backing off until I can't reliably hit the plate. That gives me the info I need for practical field use. Although I do punch paper at ranges when I'm with my kids in Tx.

I will rest a gun for a couple of shots if the procedure above isn't working to see if the gun has a problem, a couple have.

My thought is that if I could count on having a bench or truck hood or sheltered location to reliably stock the meat freezer for the hungry tummys, then I would shoot that way. But most of the time the situation is fluid, I may be on the water, or on a side hill, or calling deer in, or stalking to range them, and so, when I set up my handgun for hunting, that's how I shoot it. I used to practice by walking the beaches at low tide and shooting clam shells at all ranges, rather than shooting a fixed target at a fixed range. But that's just me in the wilderness training myself to feed people, I didn't have any coaching or youtube experts to straighten me out.

So for the youngsters who are trying to decide how to prepare, try my setup. fill pop cans with sand and spread them around in the woods and then walk that trail and shoot the cans. The distances vary, the elevations vary, the light varies, and your brain will connect with your trigger finger eventually in such a way that you will think the shot, or see it come up, and your brain cell will connect with your finger tip and you will start training yourself, disciplining your muscle memory as some call it.

This works exactly the same way with rifles, the bead is the bullet.... Ciao shooters

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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#13 Post by Bill in Oregon » Sat May 11, 2019 4:35 pm

More sound advice, Griz. My take is that I do like to work up the most accurate bullet and powder combination I can for a particular sixgun, including chronographing, and once I know I have the mechanical accuracy covered, then practice from field positions. Your pop-can trail walks sound like excellent preparation. Down here, I could spray paint the occasional cactus paddle and achieve the same result. I realize that at the crucial moment, it is the nut behind the butt, or the idjit behind the grips that counts the most.

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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#14 Post by Grizz » Sat May 11, 2019 5:07 pm

Thanks Bill. I get that, it seems reasonable, but I'm just too disorganized to do all that fine record keeping! I'm just glad, that at least for now, we still get to go out and do this.

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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#15 Post by 6pt-sika » Sat May 11, 2019 6:08 pm

vancelw wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:57 am
6pt-sika wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 6:08 pm
I bought a MTM “K Zone” rest not for handguns but for shooting AR’s with larger then ten round mags . While assembling I noticed they recommended it for handguns by removing the rear rest portion . I’ve used it with several 44 Mags and a 1911 10mm and found it very comfortable 8) https://www.amazon.com/MTM-K-Zone-Shoot ... B07NVW65CQ
I have an old-style, cheaper version of that made by MTM that works well and is easier to use than dragging out all the sandbags. I like sandbags better but muzzle blast will wear on them if you let the barrel slip back :shock:
You’re well aware I take it of how few shots it takes for revolver gas to cut shot bags filled with sand .
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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#16 Post by AJMD429 » Sat May 11, 2019 6:30 pm

vancelw wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:57 am
...I like sandbags better but muzzle blast will wear on them if you let the barrel slip back :shock:
Yeah...you know that "little hole in the stock" on an M1A...? The blast from that blew a hole in a canvas sandbag I was using.... :shock:

What if a person has their hand there....! :shock: :shock:
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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#17 Post by vancelw » Sat May 11, 2019 10:26 pm

6pt-sika wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 6:08 pm
vancelw wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:57 am
6pt-sika wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 6:08 pm
I bought a MTM “K Zone” rest not for handguns but for shooting AR’s with larger then ten round mags . While assembling I noticed they recommended it for handguns by removing the rear rest portion . I’ve used it with several 44 Mags and a 1911 10mm and found it very comfortable 8) https://www.amazon.com/MTM-K-Zone-Shoot ... B07NVW65CQ
I have an old-style, cheaper version of that made by MTM that works well and is easier to use than dragging out all the sandbags. I like sandbags better but muzzle blast will wear on them if you let the barrel slip back :shock:
You’re well aware I take it of how few shots it takes for revolver gas to cut shot bags filled with sand .
Seldom if ever have I shot revolvers from sandbags. Never hunt with any of mine over 100 yards.
My Encores and Contenders get sighted in a might farther, and those higher calibers will creep back on you in a hurry. I've gotten rid of most of those and only have .222 Remington and .357 Maximum barrels now in pistol form. That's always subject to change on an impulse :D
Cylinder gas is exactly why I use single shots for long range handgun hunting.
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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#18 Post by 6pt-sika » Sat May 11, 2019 10:55 pm

vancelw wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 10:26 pm
6pt-sika wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 6:08 pm
vancelw wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:57 am
6pt-sika wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 6:08 pm
I bought a MTM “K Zone” rest not for handguns but for shooting AR’s with larger then ten round mags . While assembling I noticed they recommended it for handguns by removing the rear rest portion . I’ve used it with several 44 Mags and a 1911 10mm and found it very comfortable 8) https://www.amazon.com/MTM-K-Zone-Shoot ... B07NVW65CQ
I have an old-style, cheaper version of that made by MTM that works well and is easier to use than dragging out all the sandbags. I like sandbags better but muzzle blast will wear on them if you let the barrel slip back :shock:
You’re well aware I take it of how few shots it takes for revolver gas to cut shot bags filled with sand .
Seldom if ever have I shot revolvers from sandbags. Never hunt with any of mine over 100 yards.
My Encores and Contenders get sighted in a might farther, and those higher calibers will creep back on you in a hurry. I've gotten rid of most of those and only have .222 Remington and .357 Maximum barrels now in pistol form. That's always subject to change on an impulse :D
Cylinder gas is exactly why I use single shots for long range handgun hunting.
We start damage control this coming Friday and about a month ago I bought a Caldwell rest for use at this new place as I plan on using a 700 HB with a suppressor and after getting it and sitting on the couch watching tv with the rest set up in front of me and a rifle in it I decided to try my scoped Contender and scoped RedHawk , low and behold it works pretty well for them as well . https://www.midwayusa.com/product/39330 ... t-aluminum My plan is to take my camo bag chair and this rest out to the fence row set up under a tree and wait . Need to take the Thermacell also !
Parkers , 444 Marlin , 6.5mm's , Sika Deer and my family in the Philippines !

Go Manny Pacquiao !

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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#19 Post by 6pt-sika » Sat May 11, 2019 11:04 pm

38C570B1-EC3A-4521-891C-8418B6058A63.jpeg
That’s the Caldwell DeadShot Rest with my new to me Winchester Model 70 243 WSSM . That rifle mote then likely will get some damage control work as well . It amazed me how stable this rest is , when I ordered it I figured it would be kinda flimsy but it’s not .
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Re: Handgun rests for load workups

#20 Post by vancelw » Sun May 12, 2019 10:14 am

I got one of those in the magnum version for regulating my double rifles. Once I figured out where to adjust everything it works great.
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