Homemade rifle bench rest

Updated February 21, 2017

A rifle bench rest provides a comfortable place to fire rifles when the gun is test-fired. The bench serves as a base for the sandbags and supports used to hold the rifle securely in place while it is being “zeroed in.” Many rifle benches are homemade. Although some sportsmen, those with enough land for their own rifle range, can build a permanent rifle bench, most will build a portable rifle bench.

Planning a Rifle Bench

The builder of a rifle bench can tailor-make the piece to fit. The basic design of a rifle bench is a thick L. The base of the L will be pointed down range when the rifle bench is used. The sportsman sits in the space formed by the two legs of the L shape. The width of all parts of the rifle bench surface can be custom-built to fit the shooter. A larger sportsman may want a larger bench.

The height of the bench can also be adjusted to fit the sportsman. The shooter usually sits on a stool when using the rifle bench. The bench should be built at a height comfortable for the sportsman.

Building the Rifle Bench

The top of the rifle bench needs to be quite thick and heavy. A laminate of two pieces of three quarter-inch plywood works well for the top. This provides enough thickness to make a bench top that will not flex.

Legs for the bench are made of one-and-a-half-inch-diameter pipe. These pipes attach to the bench top by a threaded coupler welded to a metal plate that is attached to the bottom of the bench top. The couplers are angled to provide stability for the shooting bench.

The legs can be unscrewed from the coupler for ease of transportation.

Several other optional elements will make the homemade rifle bench more useful. A cutout can be made in the bench top to provide a hand hold for carrying the disassembled rifle bench. Additional brackets can be mounted to the bottom of the bench top to hold the legs when the bench is being transported.

Some shooters also may wish to permanently mount the rifle supports used for test firing guns directly to the rifle bench. This removes one more possible point of movement from the process of checking out a gun’s accuracy.

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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.