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View Full Version : Please critique this bench



oldpup223
06-15-2011, 11:26 AM
This is a bench that I want to build for our range but first I want many opinions. Flame away
Thanks Denton11377

Centerfire
06-15-2011, 05:56 PM
old pup, Try a search for Concrete Shooting Bench. I am sure you will find the many posts that are there with pictures.
I suppose a bench is in the eyes of the user. If your happy it should be fine.
You did not mention if you were making 1,2 or 60 benches.
Centerfire

Vern
06-15-2011, 08:11 PM
Several things....
1st Make a ply wood template and put it on top of the cinder blocks so you have a mock up to scale and you will know quickly about the size and height in reality.
2nd There was a recent thread last month or 2 about building benches at a range. And last year there was another range..long range built around huntsville tx that could glean you some info.
Other than that it doesnt look too bad. Just make sure the tops are secure and wont loosen later and that the back end actually has enough room for bags and elbows with a little left over.

The benches at our range are way way toooo small at that area. I dont know what it is and its the u shape not the one you have which I like better

Boyd Allen
06-15-2011, 08:54 PM
Just a couple of things to consider...
Short range Benchrest requires muzzles to extend past the front of the bench. I would set up a rifle of that type, with a 20" barrel, on a rest and bags, on a prototype top, and see how it translates into body position. It may be that the tail could be longer and the front a couple of inches shorter....perhaps. Also, as has been mentioned above, the attachment of the legs to the top is critical. Don't use mortar. It will loosen over time. The other area of concern is the attachment of the legs to the slab. If you drill the slab, and bond in rebar, for each cell, and then grout all cells, you should be OK. In the absence of volunteer block masons, I have heard that good results have been obtained by using a suitable adhesive in place of mortar, with rebar and grout. Pouring bench tops right side up gives better control of the finish. Just don't get too carried away with rounding the edges where you are going to need support at an edge for your rear bag. Of course the tops will have reinforcing steel, and you will not want to make them glass smooth. Perhaps some sort of hardener would also be in order, (and a range rule about pounding in rest points.) The height and general layout seem to be good. Years ago, I headed up a project that involved pouring 42 monolithic, steel reinforced concrete benches. From that time, I have taken a strong interest in bench design. Prototype in wood and don't hesitate in making changes. Do all of your evaluations with an adjustable stool. With a fixed bench, that is is the only way to allow for differences in shooters' shapes and sizes. I believe that it is easier for a short shooter to use a taller stool to get comfortable at a bench, than is is for a tall shooter to sit on a short stool. Better a little too tall, than a little too short. Good luck with your project.

Bob Kingsbury
06-15-2011, 09:56 PM
would suggest you rethink the round rear leg and 8x8 blocks. the smaller block does not seem to stand the test of time.

Viper8
06-16-2011, 12:19 AM
Make the tail two or three inches longer and the angled section shorter by the same amount.

kvisser
06-16-2011, 05:15 AM
Build a brick (solid) wall at the front instead of the two front legs. You can then paint a large bench number on it. It helps a lot with setting the flags.

Kobus Visser

oldpup223
06-16-2011, 08:45 AM
I like what i hear so far so just keep them coming.
We have 10 benches now and a lot of shooters have objections to their height, length and tail dimensions as do I so the next 15 we build we want a lot more input.
The rear round leg is steel pipe filled with concrete. The front two 8" blocks are also and all have re-bar set into the base before filling and top edges are standard edged like the edges of a sidewalk 1/2" radius i think. We ar thinking of a light broom on top finish.
Thanks to all that have responded so far.

Dick Grosbier
06-16-2011, 09:23 AM
There are benches very similar to these at a Pennsylvania range I sometimes frequent, everybody complains they are 1/2 block to tall. I think this is your situation.

Boyd Allen
06-16-2011, 09:56 AM
The benches at Visalia are 34" tall, and no one has complained that they are too tall. It is my belief that some shooters, even very experienced ones, may have evaluated bench height relative to fixed height stools, or chairs. I think that this is a mistake. Knowing that the non competition shooters are not going to bring adjustable stools with them, and that differences in shooters heights and builds make a single stool height undesirable, the club that runs the Visalia range has provided a selection of stool heights. I find that this approach works very well. IMO a half block shorter, which would be 30" is too short. This is where prototyping starts to show its advantages.

wolf gray
06-16-2011, 11:17 AM
Oldpup,
You might want to send an email to Bill Wynne(hab@wcc.net) and ask him about the benches we built last year. I think he is the one that did most of the planning on them. They are concrete tops with square tubing legs with cross welded braces. We have had many compliments on them. I'm sure has some pictures he can send for you to look over. These are 1st class benches for sure !

Best,
Dan Batko

"Where are we going and why am I in this basket?"

oldpup223
06-16-2011, 03:27 PM
The benches we are using now are 36 1/2" high (too tall) 38" wide (too narrow) the tail is only 11" wide (far too narrow) and is 20" long (???) bench is a total of 55" long (cant get barrel off end easy)
These are just some of the reasons we want a little better design.
Thanks Denton

Vern
06-16-2011, 09:43 PM
Oldpup you are right about the broom finish. Some of our benches are so slick my bag begins to move sideways with recoil.
Also try to find the solution to making the concrete harder. Remember some of the shooters dont have much respect for other peoples property and pound the he$$ out the pointed legs to the point of chipping out the top without regard ....

Octopus
06-17-2011, 06:07 AM
Look around town. We found a concrete shop that made residential yard concrete items. At the end of the day they usually had concrete that had to be dumped. We worked out the design details and they made the benches along with round legs as a range donation. PM me with your email address and i will send you details.

Octopus

David Halblom
06-17-2011, 07:23 AM
would suggest you rethink the round rear leg and 8x8 blocks. the smaller block does not seem to stand the test of time.

The 8x8 block will work very well if you fill the center w/ concrete and a couple pieces of rebar. I would suggest that if you want to use a round back leg, use 12"and rebar it to the pad.

I compliment you on you 6' centers between the benches. Too many ranges are way too tight between benches. And the 34" height is just about perfect. I don't know that there is a perfect height, but 34" fits most everyone from little, short folks to giants.

Be sure not to use HARD concrete. I believe it is referred to as 6000#. The surface of that stuff will chip out and blowup at a blink. It is like glass. Great for highways, lousy for benchtops. And a "rough" surface will go a long way toward being more shooter friendly. Wood trowel will leave enuf texture, a soft broom a bit more, a stiff broom is probably too much.

bozo699
06-17-2011, 09:45 AM
The 8x8 block will work very well if you fill the center w/ concrete and a couple pieces of rebar. I would suggest that if you want to use a round back leg, use 12"and rebar it to the pad.

I compliment you on you 6' centers between the benches. Too many ranges are way too tight between benches. And the 34" height is just about perfect. I don't know that there is a perfect height, but 34" fits most everyone from little, short folks to giants.

Be sure not to use HARD concrete. I believe it is referred to as 6000#. The surface of that stuff will chip out and blowup at a blink. It is like glass. Great for highways, lousy for benchtops. And a "rough" surface will go a long way toward being more shooter friendly. Wood trowel will leave enuf texture, a soft broom a bit more, a stiff broom is probably too much.

I agree with David, I would like to add some like to attach a adjustable stool off the rear leg of the bench to accommodate right and left, short and tall shooters that don't have there own stool, I think this is a bad idea as when sat on the bench will move some even though it is concrete and rebar.
Wayne.

oldpup223
06-17-2011, 09:55 AM
I agree with you on that. We were going to add those on our benches and then considered the liability as someone would eventually get his or his kids fingers into the works then there would be hell to pay.
Denton

david dumas
06-18-2011, 10:05 PM
I can tell you fron personal experence that the bench's @ MGGOA in Dublin Ga & Pallmetto Gun Club in Summerville SC are different,,,,,, BUT,,,,,,,are nice and both are GREAT to shoot off of,,,, the wooden top bench's @ Canastogo Gun Club are nice too! remember ya don't need to reinvent the wheel for something to be nice,,,,,,,,

the wind is my friend,,,,,,,,

DD

Andy Cross
06-19-2011, 12:26 AM
I have shot on quite a few benches and none of them were bad but just about every one of them had some irritating thing I could have done without. Others didn't think what I was complaining about was an issue. So irrespective of what design you decide on you won't please everyone.

On the subject of material a friend is thinking of building two benches on his cattle ranch. He has access to some nice granite. Has anyone shot off a granite bench top ? Obviously it would not a polished surface but I am thinking it might be too hard to tap the BR's feet into.

Andy.

Bill Wynne
06-19-2011, 07:24 AM
Please don't let me see you tapping holes for the legs of your rest on the concrete top of a bench that I built. If a concrete top is too slick you can fix it with muridic acid. It will eat out the cement and leave a "sand" finish. Be sure to have enough water handy to flush off the acid.

Denton, I like your bench design. I believe it is about as good as you can get. Personally, I like the moveable feature of the ones that we build at the San Angelo Gun Club.

Bill

LHSmith
06-19-2011, 07:44 AM
Having designed and built concrete benches for two club ranges, I have went from block leg construction to poured legs (sonotubes). I got this idea after seeing vandals shoot up the block legs of the new benches while under constuction at the Sulphur Springs (PA) club. It also offers the best leg room. And, yes you will never please everybody.

Andy Cross
06-19-2011, 08:50 AM
Please don't let me see you tapping holes for the legs of your rest on the concrete top of a bench that I built. If a concrete top is too slick you can fix it with muridic acid. It will eat out the cement and leave a "sand" finish. Be sure to have enough water handy to flush off the acid.

This is a practice that is done quite often on concrete benches down under. They get holes chopped out in them every where. Granite might just stop that form occuring.
Andy.

bozo699
06-19-2011, 10:22 AM
We have rubber mats cut to fit our concrete bench tops, they don't move around under recoil and the feet of your rests grab it nicely, myself I prefer the round s.s feet with rubber bottoms that Sinclair sells for about $12.00 My rest doesn't move around with them either.
Wayne.

Bill Wynne
06-19-2011, 11:19 AM
Please don't let me see you tapping holes for the legs of your rest on the concrete top of a bench that I built. If a concrete top is too slick you can fix it with muridic acid. It will eat out the cement and leave a "sand" finish. Be sure to have enough water handy to flush off the acid.

This is a practice that is done quite often on concrete benches down under. They get holes chopped out in them every where. Granite might just stop that form occurring.
Andy.

I know bad habits are hard to break but there are less destructive ways to achieve the same results.

Bill