Introduction: DIY Shooting Rest
Hello Instructables! We recently bought a new rifle for the upcoming deer hunting season, and we are looking forward to using it. However, before the firearm can be anywhere near accurate it needs to be sighted. With the last gun that I sighted, we tried using the 2 shot sighting method which, although simple in theory, was quite difficult without the proper equipment. So this time I decided to look around for gun rests while at the outdoors store. There was a great selection, but prices were from $150 to $350, all for a rather simple piece of equipment that keeps a gun in the same spot. I figured I could make one for much cheaper, so when we got home I got working in the garage.
Step 1: Materials
- 1-3 hours, depending on how finished you want your carpentry to look and how much experience you have with woodworking.
- Scrap plywood (at least 1/2" thick) and scrap 2x4's (at least 7' worth).
- A Drill and Drillbits.
- A screwdriver and/or a screw-bit for the drill.
- A power-sander and/or sandpaper.
- A saw.
- Wood glue.
Step 2: Rough Cutting
From the plywood, you will need to cut 4 pieces. These will make up the partial box that holds the stock of your firearm.
The first two pieces that you should cut are the partial triangles. I did this by cutting a rectangle and then marking a spot 1" from each corner on opposing sides and then marking out the line between the two. Then I cut down the line and voila: two triangles that are almost exactly the same size! you should make sure that the height of the rectangles will not interfere with any of the moving parts of your firearm, or else you could damage the gun, gun rest, or hurt yourself while trying to use the rest.
Next, you will need to cut the two rectangles that make up the back and bottom of the box. The important part here is that you cut the pieces wide enough so that the box, when finished, will fit the stock of your firearm. The way I constructed the box, the rectangles were attached to the edges of the triangles. This means that I needed to make the rectangles wide enough to fit the stock of my rifle+1" for the two 1/2" thick pieces of plywood. The other size that is important for the rectangles is the height of the rear rectangle. It covers the back edges of the triangles so it must match them in height. The length of the rectangle on the bottom of the box doesn't really matter because it can extend in front of the stock.
After cutting all of the pieces I ran them over the belt sander to take off all of the splintered edges.
Step 3: Building the Box
I glued and screwed the whole box together to get it as strong as possible. It needs to be strong because it's job is to contain the recoil of your gun.
I started by gluing one of the triangles to both of the rectangles, and then adding the other rectangle after I had all of the other pieces attached.
Step 4: The Base
The base for this gun rest is essentially a few sections of 2x4. I cut a section at least as long as my rifle that is attached directly to the box with screws. It is important to align this piece as close to parallel with the walls of the box as possible. The sections of 2x4 underneath the main piece are to bring the rest off of the ground and allow adequate room for clamping the rest to benches, atv's, or whatever other solid surface you might shoot off. I also drilled 3/8" holes in the corners of the lower 2x4's so that if I am using the rest on the ground I can put tent pegs through them to keep the rest from shifting backwards.
Step 5: How to Use
So, to use this gun rest you will also need a lot of foam padding or cloth. You will wrap the butt stock of your gun in whatever padding material you are using and place it in the box. You will then pile padding underneath the fore-stock of the firearm until you get the gun to the desired level. Then use your favorite method of sighting to set your gun to pinpoint accuracy!
The best part about this gun rest is that it is so simple that you can make it in under an hour. I am yet to sight in the gun on it but am rather confident that it will work. I will update the instructable with the results and some more photos in the near future.
Thanks for reading my instructable, and Happy Hunting!
Step 6: Update #1
So, after placing the gun in the rest I quickly learned that it took a lot of padding to keep the front of the stock level. I ended up deciding to build a holder for the forestock out of more 2x4's.
Depending on the dimensions of the firearm you will be using, the placement of the front rest and the height of the front rest may vary. I created the rest out of three pieces of 2x4, two of them cut to 9" and third cut to 5 1/2". I created two 45' cuts in the short length to create a nice nock for the gun to rest on. It helps to keep the gun centered and aligned with the shooting rest. The whole front assembly is glued and screwed so that it cannot move around at all.
With this attached to the rest you only need to use about three rags for the buttstock and three rags for the forestock, rather than a whole pile. It also helps to automatically center the firearm and will keep the gun from jumping too much or compressing the padding that would otherwise support it. It will also make it much easier to clamp the gun to the shooting rest to keep it from moving, which is essential for the two-shot sighting method to work.
Step 7: Update #2
We got the shooting rest out in the field to sight the rifle! It works great.