Introduction: Shooting Bench Elevation Modification

I have a nice folding shooting bench that I purchased on sale at Cabela's last year for a South Dakota prairie dog hunt.  It's not very heavy and it makes a pretty stable shooting platform.  The table top and center column separate from the base and both pieces fold nearly flat so it was easy to transport and set up.  I was mostly satisfied with the purchase, especially since I got it at 40% off, but I did have one complaint.  The table was set at a fixed elevation.  If you were shooting up hill or down hill you couldn't adjust the angle of the table.  After some consideration, I decided to remedy this shortcoming.

Step 1: Fixed Length Table Support

The table pivots on a center column and is supported by an 1-1/4" square tube fixed length support arm.  This support arm is pinned to a bracket at the center of the table and fastened to the center column by a hinge bolt.  My solution was to remove the fixed length support arm and replace it with an adjustable one.

Step 2: Removing the Factory Support Arm

To make my intended modification I first needed to remove the factory support arm.  This was rather simple as all I had to do was remove one pin and one bolt.

Step 3: Prepare Support Bracket for the New Arm

I chose a 3-point tractor hitch top link to replace the factory support arm.  At first glance it looked like this would be an easy swap.  But, like most projects it took a little more work than was expected.  Still, it was not too difficult.  The factory arm was held in place by a 5/16" pin and a 5/6" hinge bolt.  The pivot point eyes on the top link were 5/8: diameter.  So, the first thing I had to do was find bushings for the top link eyes.  I couldn't find any off the shelf bushings at my local hardware store that were 5/8" OD and 5/16" ID so I decided to fabricate them.  I ended up buying a 5/8" diameter nylon rod from Fastenal for the bushing stock.  The mounting brackets were about 1-1/4" wide so I cut 2 pieces of rod that length and bored a 5/16" hole through both pieces.  After a little sanding both bushings fit perfectly into the top link eyes and the brackets.  There was just one problem...

Step 4: Fitting the Adjustable Support

The support arm mounting bracket on the center column was made from 1-1/4" C-channel.  The bolt hole was drilled in the center of the bracket.  That makes the pivot radius in the bracket about 5/8".  The outside diameter of the top link eye is about 1-7/8" which requires a pivot radius of about 15/16".  So, to make the top link fit a little modification of the bracket was required.  An angle grinder made quick work of the bracket modification and we were back in business.

Step 5: Installation Complete

After notching the center column mounting bracket the installation was quite easy.

Step 6: Testing the Installation

The table section was placed back on the base and and the elevation adjustments were smooth and easy.  The table is still a solid platform to shoot from.   All that is left to do it paint the new parts and go to the range.