F-Class Front Rest Project
How to Convert Your Pedestal Rest For Ground Use
By Larry Medler
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Rifle Silhouette Shooting
It seems like I have finally thrown the towel in on trying to shoot with the bi-pod. After trying for slightly over two years with the bi-pod and only just starting to feel some control after I got the rifle weighting 29lb-4oz. My first shooting sessions at 600 yards were with my shooting coat and sling. Gun shot great and everything felt normal complete with nub left hand. Only issue was the left side bolt release on my AR-15 Match Rifle. However the right hand release I added the single shot magazine fixed that. The weather got hotter so I tried the bipod and I have never looked back to the coat and sling. Shooting the no recoil AR using the bi-pod is flat out fun. However I never had that warm fuzzy feeling that I was in control. The rifle movements through recoil seem to vary too much and were all over the place. I tried boards under the front feet, I added weights to the front feet, I replaced the hand stop with 3 and 6 pound weights, tried rear sand bag rest, made an attachment for rifle stock to ride parallel on the rear sand bag rest, and I even made a solid adjustable rear rest.
I did manage get the under control at times so it would hold the 10-Ring through recoil but I could not figure out how to do it 100% of the time. Rifle always seem to be wobbling and before going back to sling and coat I decided to try my bench rest. So I finely tried my bench rest at ground level and started to see the control I was looking for once again. However the heights and height adjustment on the bench rest set up needed some refinement for this type of ground shooting. So here is how I converted my bench rest into a ground rest.
Since the ground shooting position will only be flat and in line with the target by accident, the ground rest needs more adjustment then the bench rest. Also the ground rest feet must be suitable for ground use, i.e. large enough not to settle into the ground deeper after each shot and small enough to obtain a good steady position on the ground. The pointed feet on bench rest stand are 3/8 rods threaded with 24 threads per inch and would provide no support on the ground. My first attempt at shooting with the bench rest at ground level was to mount it on a large board to give it support on the ground and some elevation. After a couple of shooting sessions using the bench rest at ground level I decided to convert my bench rest into a ground rest by replacing the pointed feet with larger feet and more elevation adjustment.
First I looked for some long 3/8 bolts with 24 threads per inch but could not find any long enough ones which were fully threaded. So I when to my Production Tool Supply Catalog and found a three foot thread rod and some knurled knobs that I could thread for to fit the threaded rod. The large ground feet need for the end were first planned to be made from grease cups from a trailer axle. However I notice the fence post caps on my fence were exactly what I had in mind and cheap. So $1.35 for the threaded rod, $.89 for each of the post caps, and $4.35 each of the knobs I converted my bench rest into a ground rest.
I decided to cast the threaded rod into the post end caps using molten lead. Little extra weight can hurt anything. So I made a little fixture to hold the rod the straight and in the center of the end cap while pouring the lead and while the lead hardens. Only problem the lead would not stick to the end cap so I mark the lead and cup, removed the cap and mixed up about 30 grains of epoxy in the cap and glued the lead onto the fence post cap while the lead was still warm. I had a notion that the cap may be a mould. I decided on six inch rods to start. They should be plenty long enough and always may be shorten.
No matter how much elevation adjustment you have it would be enough someplace and there are limitations to what you may add to a bench rest without interfering with the rifle. As it turns out I have slightly over three degrees down before adding stuff under the rear bag and about 6.5 degrees up. I can easily get an extra 1.5 degrees by put a couple pieces of an old mouse pad under the rear bag. The new ground rest feet normally fit over a 2.5 inch pipe so they are slightly larger than that in diameter. The fence post cap has an almost round top on it. This shape on the cap should provide a good ground foot on the rest which will not dig into the ground after each shot and provide good solid support. The following pictures show the process I use to convert my bench rest into a ground rest.
The new feet run 2 pounds – 12 ounces each and complete ground rest now weights in at 19 pounds – 14 ounces. So my bench rest gained 8 pounds – 4 ounces going to a ground rest with the larger feet. Now my range bag with the ground rest, rear bag, couple boxes of ammo, Plotting book, and miscellaneous stuff is now weighting in at 43 pounds – 8 ounces. Good thing my Starlight Gun Case has the “Off Road Wheels”.