War Wagon Part 2 — Details of Skratch’s Mobile Shooting Bench
After we ran a story on the New Mexico War Wagon, readers wanted more details about this well-designed mobile shooting bench belonging to Forum member John H. (aka “Skratch”).
John told us: “My brother-in-law and I built this mobile bench a few years ago. The axle, wheels and tire are a tag axle from a small Chevy car, obtained from a salvage yard for about $35-$40 a decade ago. The tubular frame is drill stem, while the bench-top and seats are 3/4′” plywood. Under the plywood we fitted rails so we can slide our target stand under the benchtop for secure travel. The total cost for everything (including storage box) was about $250-$300.”
We set the bench and seat heights so that, with adults, the rifle sets straight level to the shoulder. For the smaller ‘younguns’ we just use a sofa pillow to raise them up. (Yes, adjustable seat heights would be great.) The ammo box holds our rifle rest, sand bags, spotting scope, and miscellaneous gear. Options are a couple of lawn chairs, and a cooler of brew (for after the shooting is done).
Click on image frames to see full-size photos
Some readers wanted to know how John’s War Wagon is positioned in the field and if it is ever detached from John’s ATV. John answers: “We do unhook the 4-wheeler for target-checking unless we have an extra along which is usually the case. That way we can level the table front to rear. We have an umbrella from a patio table to provide shade on extra warm days.”
Potential Modifications and Upgrades to the War Wagon
When our buddy Mark LaFevers (AccurateShooter.com’s chief fabricator), saw the war wagon, he was impressed. Mark, a professional welder by trade, is now thinking about building a similar rig — with some enhancements. Mark told us: “The thing I like best about the design is the simplicity. It has enough features to get the job done without any frills, bells and whistles. There is always the danger as one adds items that seem like they would be desirable, that the unit becomes too complex and loses its fun aspect. Still, I would try adding a few things.
I like how the builder has added stabilizers at the seat locations. For areas with steep or uneven terrain , I would consider adding a trailer tongue jack to be able to level front to rear, or disconnect from the ATV to go check targets. I would also consider not hard-fastening the bench-top to the frame, but rather mounting it with screw-jacks to be able to level it independently from the frame, both crosswise and lengthwise. Being able to level the benchtop may not be necessary in flat prairie country, but it would be helpful on hilly or uneven terrain.
I would also make the seat height-adjustable. That would accommodate different shooter body sizes and shapes. Height could be adjusted with a threaded seat column, which you can buy cheaply online. You could even mount a slider to allow front-to-rear seat movement. This would allow you to move back for longer rifles and forward for smaller rifles or Encore-style pistols.
Of course, there are other possible “creature comfort” options. If you really wanted to “pimp your ride”, you could include an umbrella stand, gimbaled beer holder, the mandatory water-misters, and a mobile sound system….
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