DIY sand bags for shooting

Written by aaron kopf
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DIY sand bags for shooting
Learn how to bag sand for your own homemade shooting rest. (sand ripples image by Greg Pickens from

Sandbags are simple objects with a variety of uses. While some use sandbags to protect their homes from rising flood waters, others use them for aerobic exercise. Firearm enthusiasts often use these sand-filled bags during target practice. Placed on a flat surface, the sand within the bag conforms to the firearm to create a custom-sized rest with a surprising amount of stability. You can use sand of any grain to make your own specially sized sandbags.

Things you need

  • Builder's bags or hessian sacks
  • Trowel
  • Small-grain sand
  • Twine or duct tape
  • Scale (optional)

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  1. 1

    Place your builder's bag or hessian bag on a flat work surface. Pull open the end and fold down the edge to make the following procedure less messy.

  2. 2

    Scoop the desired amount of sand into the bag. Shooting rests usually contain between 6.8 and 9.07 kg (15 and 20 lb). of sand. Too much sand makes the bag unwieldy, while too little sand diminishes the stabilising effect of the bag.

  3. 3

    Roll the bag opening tightly within a few inches of the sand surface within. Don't roll the bag entirely, as a completely full bag will not conform to the shape of your firearm.

  4. 4

    Seal your bag. If you choose to use twine, wrap several loops around the bag opening and pull the knots very tight. Twine-wrapped bags usually leak, so place your freshly wrapped bag into another contractor's bag or hessian bag and wrap the external bag for extra security. If you choose to use duct tape, wrap several layers around the sack, noting the relatively stiff tape will hamper the conforming ability of the sandbag.

Tips and warnings

  • Use pea gravel instead of sand if you are in short supply of the finer filling material.
  • Experiment with different amounts of sand in your bags. Fuller bags will support more weight, but will "give" less than identically sized bags with less sand. Remember, the goal is to provide a steady, custom-moulded platform for your firearm.
  • Weigh your preferred sandbags to have a simple benchmark for future homemade sacks.

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