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Aluminum Shooting Bench

Forums Benchrest Benchrest Talk Aluminum Shooting Bench

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    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    Hey everybody,

    While I am waiting on my compressor I thought that I would design and build a Shooting Bench. Hopefully this Bench will give me a “slight” advantage in shooting some unwelcome Squirrels on my property. 

    These photos are just the skeleton with the Top and Seat/Storage to be added a bit later. The legs are made out of 2x2x1/8wall aluminum square tube. This makes the unit strong and very stable but keeps the weight very light. The Top and Seat/Storage framing are made out of 1x1x1/8 aluminum angle with the “flat leg” turned out to fasten whatever material I choose for the Top and Seat.

    I added a set of wheels so that I can easily move the Bench anywhere on my property. I added a single ground contact in the front to make this a Tri-Pod Stance for stability even on uneven ground. This will look a lot better after I clean up the suit around the welds and give it a good acid bath. Now I need to decide what material (s) to use for the Top and the Seat/Storage. Originally I planned on some exterior finished grade of plywood, but I have decided against that. I am now considering 1×6 Poplar boards sanded and stained or 1/8 aluminum plate? The Poplar would look really nice and would be “friendly” to my guns but would add a bit of weight. The aluminum would be very light weight, weather resistant and even with a good coat of paint would not be as “friendly” to my guns. I am open to any suggestions about the material.

    Be safe and have a great day,
    ThomasT

     


     

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    rob_g
    Participant
    Member

    A couple ideas for the top might be sheet plastic such as UHMW. Another might be the plastic deck boards. The deck boards would look nice and stand up to the sun and rain 

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    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    rob_g

    A couple ideas for the top might be sheet plastic such as UHMW. Another might be the plastic deck boards. The deck boards would look nice and stand up to the sun and rain 

    Hello rob_g

    Is the deck board the material I would find at Lowe's or Home Depot. a manmade material?

    Be safe and have a great day,

    ThomasT

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    TheIceman
    Participant
    Member

    Depending on your weight, and the diameter of the bolts/pins holding the wheels, you may get some bending or deformation where the bolts attach to the angle aluminum. If you do, try using a solid axle that runs from wheel to wheel, to eliminate most of the twisting force. I really like your design overall, though. Make sure to post pictures of the finished product!

    James

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    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    TheIceman

    Depending on your weight, and the diameter of the bolts/pins holding the wheels, you may get some bending or deformation where the bolts attach to the angle aluminum. If you do, try using a solid axle that runs from wheel to wheel, to eliminate most of the twisting force. I really like your design overall, though. Make sure to post pictures of the finished product!

    James

    Hello James,

    No problem with the wheels / weight setup. I have used this on many projects and no problems. The angle is 2x2x3/16 and the bolts are 1/2-inch with a nut on both sides of the angle. 

    I will go to Lowe's in the morning and look at their Trex deck boarding, looks like real wood and comes in different colors. Good suggestion from @rob_g

    I will post more photos as soon as I complete the Top and Seat.

    Thank you, be safe and have a great day,

    ThomasT

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    Hummer57
    Participant
    Member

    Nice, wish I had that ability!

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    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    Hummer57

    Nice, wish I had that ability!

    Hello Hummer57

    Thank you, and it is just a matter of having the right welder and some years of experience. I just gave the frame one acid wash and it looks a whole lot better now. I will give it several more baths before final assembly.

    Be safe and have a great day,

    Thomas T

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    TheIceman
    Participant
    Member

    Hello James,

    No problem with the wheels / weight setup. I have used this on many projects and no problems. The angle is 2x2x3/16 and the bolts are 1/2-inch with a nut on both sides of the angle. 

     

    Awesome! Didn't know if they were 1/8 like the square tubing. That thing is going to be ultra light when you're finished with it! What are you going to be shooting with?

    James

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    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    Hello again James,

    I am "brand new" to PCP air gun, just received my first rifle, Umarex Origin 22cal , last week and that will be the gun for now. However, I already have my eye on several more that I most likely will wind up with in time. I have had several break-overs and pump rifles in the years past but the PCP has me hooked. Just love the way this thing shoots, so much like a 22LR. I have a 50-yard range set up on my place but I go to the gun range in Huntington quite often with my other guns. After my compressor comes in I can see myself shooting a lot every day at targets…plus the many squirrels here.

    Be safe and have a great day,

    ThomasT

     

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    IPA55
    Participant
    Member

    Trex deck boards are heavier than wood. Made some end tables out of the leftover trex from my deck, were too heavy to move easily,  were very stable. 

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    rob_g
    Participant
    Member

    You can also get 11" x 1/2" thick fascia boards that would be lighter. Coroplast comes in different thicknesses and would give a light top even if you had to double it up. A fold down lifting handle on the front might come in handy. Cup holders would help keep the top clear :)

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    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    IPA55

    Trex deck boards are heavier than wood. Made some end tables out of the leftover trex from my deck, were too heavy to move easily,  were very stable. 

    Hello IPA55,

    A friend was just over visiting and we discussed the Top material and he told me that the Trex was heavy. I will look around at Lowe's tomorrow and see what else they have.

    Be safe and have a great day,

    ThomasT

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    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    rob_g

    You can also get 11" x 1/2" thick fascia boards that would be lighter. Coroplast comes in different thicknesses and would give a light top even if you had to double it up. A fold down lifting handle on the front might come in handy. Cup holders would help keep the top clear :)

    Hey again rob_g,

    I do plan on a folding handle…..now about the cup holders, that is another good idea. I think I have seen the Coroplast on that TV program "This Old House", I will look at it tomorrow. 

    Another option is to use the 1/8" aluminum plate and cover that with a sheet ( cut to fit ) of rubber mat material. The mat can be removed for cleaning but would really protect the guns. Still thinking and appreciate all the suggestions.

    Be safe and have a great day,

    ThomasT

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    rob_g
    Participant
    Member

    A buddy just had the plywood floor of his pontoon boat covered in Linex (pick-up truck box liner). If you wanted to use 3/8" plywood with the Linex covering it you would have a nice weatherproof, tough, non-slip surface. Your aluminum plate with a 60 durometer urethane would be very gun friendly. Further ideas might be rings or other mounting system for an umbrella for a little shade. If you really want to keep up with the kids you need Bluetooth lol

    Link

    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    rob_g

    A buddy just had the plywood floor of his pontoon boat covered in Linex (pick-up truck box liner). If you wanted to use 3/8" plywood with the Linex covering it you would have a nice weatherproof, tough, non-slip surface. Your aluminum plate with a 60 durometer urethane would be very gun friendly. Further ideas might be rings or other mounting system for an umbrella for a little shade. If you really want to keep up with the kids you need Bluetooth lol

    Hello rob_g,

    There is a Linex shop in Lufkin ( the closest town to me ) and I will go by and talk to them. Umbrella is another good idea…but "bluetooth" ? ( I know you were kidding ).

    Be safe and have a great day,

    ThomasT 

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    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    Hello everyone,

    I added a brace support to the Seat even though it really didn’t need it, and I added the Folding Handle. Then gave it a second acid bath before the thunder storms rolled in and brought it into the shop and reinstalled the wheels. All of the welding should be completed so it is ready for the Top and Seat material. Bye the way, the Frame less the wheels only weights 20-1/2 pounds so no matter what I use for the Top and Seat it still will be very light weight.

    Be safe and have a great day,
    ThomasT

     

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    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    Hello everyone,
     
    Due to all the thunderstorms in the area I cancelled my trip into town to look for material to use for the Top and Seat. I had some cabinet grade 1/2-inch thick plywood left over from another project so I decided to go ahead and make a temporary Top and Seat. I drilled some 3/16-inch holes in the 1-inch angle and also in the plywood and used some 3/16" counter sunk flathead stainless screws to hold everything down. Counter sunk the holes in the plywood so that the top of the screws would be below the surface. I can use this for a while and take a bit more time to decide what the final material will be. The plywood did not add much weight ( did not weight it ) to the total of the Bench but this thing is rock solid and extremely stable. I am most pleased with the way it turned out, now I need some better weather so I can do a bit of shooten…..

    Bye the way, the package/box in the background is my new compressor and now I cannot wait to have a look at it.

    Be safe and have a great day,
    ThomasT
     

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    davelarson
    Participant
    Member

    Nice shooting bench! That is going to make shooting sessions a lot of fun. It definitely looks really solid and stable, and that you can move it easily is perfect. I wish I had one that I could load into my truck for when I go shooting at a friends house, it’s always the weak link in a shooting session somewhere else ( unstable table equals bad groups )! Nicely done.

     

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    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    davelarson

    Nice shooting bench! That is going to make shooting sessions a lot of fun. It definitely looks really solid and stable, and that you can move it easily is perfect. I wish I had one that I could load into my truck for when I go shooting at a friends house, it’s always the weak link in a shooting session somewhere else ( unstable table equals bad groups )! Nicely done.

     

    Good morning Dave,

    Thank you, if all goes as planned I will be able to use the Bench today. I have to get some oil for my new compressor and do all the required break-in. Then hopefully get in some target practice and maybe a squirrel or two.

    It is rock solid even with the light wood top and it feels really good sitting and viewing through the scope. I do plan to make a seat pad that will raise me up and make sitting more comfortable. It is so light that loading it in the back of my truck should be no problem. I am going to check with the local gun range and see if they care if I bring it with me when I shoot the 100-yard targets. There is a large gap between the 100-yard range and the 22cal range and I would like to set up in that area if they will let me. 

    If enough folks wanted a set of plans, I would be glad to draw up and convert them to a pdf file format so that they could be downloaded and printed out.

    Thank you again, be safe and have a great day.

    ThomasT

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    ThomasT
    Participant
    Member

    Hello everyone,

    I had a quart of Truck Bed-liner "paint"(?), so I decided to put a coat on the Top and the Seat of my Shooting Bench and I really like the looks. This is that "rubber" material so it will make the surface more gun friendly, water proof and non-slippery. Note the "storage" area on the seat that I framed out, this will be a handy little item. Now I will have to wait and let it dry real good, the squirrels will be safe until tomorrow.

    Be safe and have a great day,
    ThomasT

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