DIY Shooting Rest

Introduction: DIY Shooting Rest

About: I am a third year Architecture student who is interested in art, design and engineering. I am always looking for new projects and new ways to build things, and always enjoy Instructables because it is a gre...

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

To make your own gun rest, you will need:
  • 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.
  • Screws.
Also, a vice comes in handy if you don't have anyone else helping you with this project.  You can use it to hold pieces while you are screwing them together.

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.



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    14 Discussions

    I'm going to try using moleskin or those furniture pads on the forend rest and stock supports to avoid scuffing.
    Another option is to only secure one of the plywood triangles to the base, and use a lag bolt with a wing nut to tighten and hold the rifle in place.

    Craft foam is an inexpensive option.

    Went out to the garage and made one tonight! Will try it out a day when it's not raining or snowing... Thanks for the inspiration!

    1 reply

    Did a couple modifications to the design. Thinking about using 3/4" x 4" ash or maple.

    Added two slot/slide bars (bolt, washer and wing nuts) to make it adjustable for multiple size guns. (Height & Length)

    I guess if you wanted the legs to fold under for transport you could add two more on the legs.

    2 replies

    The other feature I was thinking about for lower caliber rifles (pellet, .22, etc) was the option to make 10 degree angled legs (facing to front and back, slightly angled to the corners) with a threaded rod attached to the tops at the same angle of entry so as the legs are not straight up and down and so they would be detachable in the four holes with a wingnut and washer. This would raise the whole system up to the desired height but have the ability to break it down quickly to load it on an ATV or in your trunk.


    I made your gun rest the only thing I'm going to try and improve is by putting a tension bolt thing I'm the 2x4 that your barrel suits in so I can adjust the height for my gun barrel

    1 reply

    what was used to clamp the gun to the rest? I plan on making this very soon.

    1 reply

    The gun isn't clamped to the rest. The box that holds the butt-stock and the cradle that holds the fore-stock have fabric placed over them, so the whole rifle is pressure fit into the holders. If you wanted, you could use a ratcheting strap, but you would have to be careful to not damage the finish on your firearm.