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mturner
05-08-2013, 08:05 PM
What is the best sand for filling a front bag. I only want opinions of short range BR shooters, that are limited to "sand only". Please give reason to support your opinions. The main thing I have heard is a front bag that is too hard will cause vertical. I also know some sands have jagged edges that help it to interlock. Some don't recommend heavy sand while others may. Also want opinions from other 30 caliber shooters whether or not a particular bag and sand combo is better for the added recoil and torque that we have to deal with. I am a believer that anything that works great for a 30 would work great for a 6mm or 22. If your scope, bedding, and bags is proven for a 30, then it shouldn't even break a sweat to handle a 6mm or 22. In other words, I believe a 30 caliber barrel is the quickest way to determine if you have an equipment problem. I personally have been off my game for the last two years. I believe I have found a front bag problem that started with the change of my front bag.

Michael

eww1350
05-08-2013, 10:37 PM
Hermit Crab Sand...I tried it and really like it because it stays up in the ears of my front bag without packing it skin tight...

alinwa
05-09-2013, 01:11 AM
Boyd Allen, could you share some thoughts re your discussions with Dave Dohrmann? I think he had some real insights and opinions in this area, as do you.

Al Nyhus
05-09-2013, 08:11 AM
Michael, in the front bags on my .30's (HBR, LV and HV), the heavy sand just never worked out. Bags used have been leather and Cordura, both the three lobe and integral sided styles. I've settled on fine silica sand (used in light duty sandblasting) and have found it to work very well. It doesn't 'pack' as time goes on and is fine enough to give a good fill. If you go that route, make sure you get a really fine grade of silica sand....a good body shop supply house will have it. I've seen a few bags that had been filled with some sort of 'sand' but had become rock hard as the 'sand' absorbed moisture.

Probably lots of stuff out there that will work but that's what I've found, for what it's worth. -Al

don carter
05-09-2013, 08:24 AM
Hi Michael, Sandy and I both use heavy sand. Not packed real tight. I periodically squeeze the front bag from front to back, especially near the corners. then tap on the top of the gun once or twice gently to seat it. We hold the gun when we shoot. I find it is vey important to have the front and rear rests lined up with the target so when you crank your front rest up and down it tracks in a straight vertical line. Shooting at a lower powder charge also helps. When we do those things lots of time the scope stays on the X. We shoot 30BR's with 118 gr. bullets. Don

paulie
05-09-2013, 08:34 AM
Not trying to divert the thread but,
should it be assumed that the Edgewood front bags with the hard reinforcing layer under the nylon between the ears would not be desirable regardless of the sand used ?

Tom Libby
05-09-2013, 11:56 AM
I have an Edgewood front and rear bag/bags and I use the heavy foundry sand in both and might be a little more compacted than most but I found that it works good enough for my wood stock by Tom Dixon to set a world record.

The secret to the world record was I had just 2,345 grains of sand in the front bag.:cool:

Boyd Allen
05-09-2013, 12:23 PM
Good morning all. I think that this might be a good place to start. http://www.accurateshooter.com/technical-articles/bag-sand-comparison-test/
Evidently, different rifles may "like" different bags, fill materials, and degrees of fill. I have seen rifles shoot well with front bags that I am pretty sure would cause vertical with mine. The good thing is that while we cannot all afford to experiment with different stocks, barrels, actions, etc, I would think that some experimenting with front bags, what they are filled with, and how they are filled, would be something that we could all do. Another thing that has come into the rest is the joy stick rests. Although I have not shot one (shocking I know), it seems to me that with the ease with which these are aimed, that perhaps tracking would be less of an issue, and so there would be less reason to get carried away filling a front bag so that it is too tight. Perhaps some of those who use that type of rest will share their experiences. In any case, as far as my personal preferences go, I like sharp (angular) silica sand in my front bags, and in the ears of my rear bags, leaving the front filled so loosely that the ears are not full all the way to their tops when the rifle is not in place. I also massage my front bag from time to time to redistribute the sand back toward the left side, and making sure that it is not piled up in the middle which reduces the rifle's roll stability. As a parting thought, I will repeat what I have told some new shooters from time to time. There is no tracking trophy. I say this to point out that if one is not careful he can have the tail wagging the dog, so to speak, letting concern for tracking, create a situation that is detrimental to accuracy.

KEITH MYERS
05-09-2013, 02:02 PM
I have an Edgewood front and rear bag/bags and I use the heavy foundry sand in both and might be a little more compacted than most but I found that it works good enough for my wood stock by Tom Dixon to set a world record.

The secret to the world record was I had just 2,345 grains of sand in the front bag.:cool:

There is always a comic trolling around.

markharp
05-09-2013, 04:07 PM
Thanks Mr. Libby,

Just got done counting the sand in my front bag. I was 49 pebbles/grains over your spec. I now feel ready for the SS.

Mark

Michael Huebner
05-09-2013, 06:55 PM
I use a kiln dried sand that you would use for paving or between pavers once they are laid. It packs in OK but does end up rock hard.
You can take the bag out, squeeze it a little, put back in the top, slide the gun up and back a few times and it is normally ready to go again.
I use the same sand in the Rear Bag (Edgewood), but pack it in a bit tighter. I dont believe I get vertical due to Bag/rest setup

I use a Protektor bag they custom made me for a Farley Rest with a Borden top. Stocks are Scoville

Michael

mturner
05-09-2013, 07:46 PM
Thanks for all of the replies. Currently I have switched back to my leather bag. It seems to guide the rifle better with less torqueing under recoil. The current sand in the bag is a fine blasting sand. Even though it is fine, it doesn't pack because it is very fluid like. Other sands that interest me at this point are the Hermit Crab sand, and Parakeet gravel. I just got off the phone with Bart, and he has gone back to old school methods (baby powder, leather, and plain sand). I have been using dryer sheets, but may also go back to baby powder. I had never spoken with Bart before, what a cool guy. Next question: Leather or Cordura, and what kind of slick stuff?

Michael

SGJennings
05-10-2013, 09:50 AM
Try HBN on leather. It's incredibly slick and it does not absorb moisture.

stiller
05-10-2013, 03:57 PM
but I talked with Speedy a lot and modified slightly his advise. What I did was get a protector bag with rabbit ears. I filled the rabbit ears fairly hard with parakeet sand from walmart. Not so hard they don't deflect, but don't slump either.

The bottom I filled with parakeet sand mixed with small aquarium gravel about half and half by volume. My goal was to not allow any packing. I am a bag squeezer and wanted some compliance in the bag. I wanted to be able to solidly squeeze the bag and have the gun move enough such that it showed about an inch on the target and returned when let go. I used to use a protector with hard sand and it would not do that.

I shoot a 30br and the old bag kept giving me vertical. After moving to the new bag it went away. The only issue is I think the sand tends to migrate to the bottom in the bottom and the lighter gravel floats up. I put the bag in the car upside down so the vibration tends to undo it as I travel around.

Not a world class shooter at all. Not even a local class shooter. Worked for me and made engineering sense to give a better damping and reduce vibrations (and its not so damn heavy to carry around).

Stonewall
05-10-2013, 05:57 PM
I was going to mention that many years ago there was a discussion on fill for sand bags here and Speedy had excellent comments on this subject.
That was three computer crashes back .....

I found that a mix of white sand and parakeet gravel works best in protector leather bags.
Pack sand bag to preference of shooting style .

With all the different sand bags on the market these days I think that the make and model should be mentioned in the discussion.


Glenn

mturner
05-11-2013, 12:54 AM
I was going to mention that many years ago there was a discussion on fill for sand bags here and Speedy had excellent comments on this subject.
That was three computer crashes back .....

I found that a mix of white sand and parakeet gravel works best in protector leather bags.
Pack sand bag to preference of shooting style .

With all the different sand bags on the market these days I think that the make and model should be mentioned in the discussion.


Glenn

Glenn,
Could you define "white sand". I live near White Sands close to Alamogordo New Mexico. From what I understand, our white sand is gypsum, not really sand.

Michael

alinwa
05-11-2013, 07:04 PM
Not to quibble, but isn't "sand" just small "whatever"....rocks/bones/gallstones?

"Sand" in FLA is seashells and coral......

Charles E
05-12-2013, 03:43 PM
Michael -- something I've played with just a bit, but not enough to say yea or nay:

Instead of making the bag & it's sand more soft & flexible, consider putting something between the bag and the pedestal. I've tried some foam with an old Hohen top -- the thin bag & outboard clamps make this easy. And with a Farley joystick Mark I (the older one), where the welded sides of the container also make it easy.

But really, you could rig something with any pedestal & top, I'd think. This is going to keep the forearm from bouncing so much, if indeed it does bounce, and if bouncing is a problem...

The foam I used was very hard. About as hard, or maybe harder, than the cheap flip-flop sandals they sell for $1.98 every summer. Too hard, I think. I never got back to trying different materials. A dense close coat foam was on the list, never got to it. But the notion of letting something other than rule-regulated sand do the heavy lifting is appealing.

Another thing I noticed, with my 30s -- .30BR, 30PPC, and a long-range 1000 yard 17-pound-almost-magnums -- was I got less vertical with the older pedestal/bag combinations. The worst was the Farley & and Edgewood bag with the stiffener in it. Except sometimes it wasn't. And two of those rifles were barrel blocked -- the .30 BR and the long range .30. The .30PPC is a glue-in. That might matter too.

I do believe this is going to turn out to be one of those experimental things, each rifle & perhaps bedding system etc. giving different answers. It will turn out there is no "best," if by best someone means brand of pedestal, bag, or even type of sand.

With testing bags, you're waiting for an outlier rather than a pattern, but I still believe you can use four-shot groups to test, with a 10-20 shot group to confirm.

* * *

BTW, still waiting for an answer on how to swage flash holes to a consistent diameter. You posted a picture of your tooling once, but I was too dumb to figure out how it worked. Just maybe a lot of words along with the pictures? Might be able to make the tooling if I knew what I was trying to do... I'm a firm believer that ignition doesn't stop with the primer going off.

mturner
05-13-2013, 01:11 AM
Charles,

I'm making you a drawing that I will reformat to a jpeg. Maybe it can be attached in a PM. If not, send me your email.

Michael

Charles E
05-13-2013, 10:47 AM
Michael, PM sent -- I hope.

xs hedspace
05-15-2013, 12:18 PM
I got me some Claryville Creek sand down the road from Gordon E's house, and I improved all the way to second from last in the last IR 50/50 shoot......;)

Greg Walley
05-15-2013, 01:04 PM
but I talked with Speedy a lot and modified slightly his advise. What I did was get a protector bag with rabbit ears. I filled the rabbit ears fairly hard with parakeet sand from walmart. Not so hard they don't deflect, but don't slump either.

The bottom I filled with parakeet sand mixed with small aquarium gravel about half and half by volume. My goal was to not allow any packing. I am a bag squeezer and wanted some compliance in the bag. I wanted to be able to solidly squeeze the bag and have the gun move enough such that it showed about an inch on the target and returned when let go. I used to use a protector with hard sand and it would not do that.

I shoot a 30br and the old bag kept giving me vertical. After moving to the new bag it went away. The only issue is I think the sand tends to migrate to the bottom in the bottom and the lighter gravel floats up. I put the bag in the car upside down so the vibration tends to undo it as I travel around.

Not a world class shooter at all. Not even a local class shooter. Worked for me and made engineering sense to give a better damping and reduce vibrations (and its not so damn heavy to carry around).

I got the same idea from Ed Watson and Gary Conaway many years ago - and this is what I use. Don't pack the front bag too hard. Remember the 1/4" deflection rule. A lot of poor shooting rifles have been fixed over the years by simply softening the front sandbag. I use heavy garnet sand in the rear bag...also not packed too hard.

Greg Walley
Kelbly's Inc.

JerrySharrett
05-15-2013, 03:36 PM
I got the same idea from Ed Watson and Gary Conaway many years ago - and this is what I use. Don't pack the front bag too hard. Remember the 1/4" deflection rule. A lot of poor shooting rifles have been fixed over the years by simply softening the front sandbag. I use heavy garnet sand in the rear bag...also not packed too hard.

Greg Walley
Kelbly's Inc.

Greg, guess what about the parakeet stuff. A few year ago we went to Wally World in Massalon to get some Parakeet gravel to fill some elbow rest bags. We ended up with one bag of Parakeet seed. I put it in my Edgewood elbow bag I has just bought. It works geat. Still in there. I'll show you tomorrow. I have thought of trying it in the front rest bag...someday.

eggman
05-15-2013, 03:48 PM
For the front bag on my Farley I like to use the black sand that can be purchased at Tractor Supply . I think it goes by the trade name "Black Diamond" . The granules are more jagged and they don't pack so hard and tight like other sands but I've never tried the pet store sands either. Also, it's heavier than play sand but not as heavy as the heavy black sand that Sinclair sells. Black Diamond comes in a big bag but is fairly inexpensive . FWIW

Rodney