February 8th, 2012

The $49.99 DIY Range Cart — Courtesy Harbor Freight

Creedmoor Sports Range Cart CRC-1Some High Power shooters on the Forum asked about carts for carrying their gear to the range. You can certainly purchase a factory-made, purpose-built cart that folds up and has all the bells and whistles. The Creedmoor Sports CRC-1 (photo right) is a proven, quality product that works great. You’ll find these used by top shooters at Camp Perry. But the Creedmoor CRC-1 cart costs $499.95.

For a tenth that price ($49.99), plus a few dollars more for do-it-yourself enhancements, you can have a heavy-duty cart that will haul all your gear just fine, though it doesn’t fold up.

Check out the Harbor Freight Welding Cart, item #65939. This cart is ON SALE right now for just $49.99. Overall size is 29-1/2″ L x 20″ W x 49″ H, and width between side rails is 18″. The wheels (with tires) are 20 3/4″ in diameter for smooth rolling. Consider that, if you made your own cart from scratch you could easily pay $30.00 or more just for the large-diameter wheels and axle. Do note — this cart has air-filled tires. Be sure to inflate before you go to the Range!

As sold, the Harbor Freight Welding Cart isn’t quite ready for range use. But it’s easy to add plastic side-panels on the bottom unit, and fit a barrel-holding system on the cross-tube. I also suggest bolting/welding on extra spacers on the most forward underside edge of the bottom so that, at rest, the cart tilts slightly back. This ensures rifles and gear won’t flop forward. (A bit of extra lift also keeps the bottom plate out of the dirt and gravel.)

How to Upgrade Welding Cart for Range Use
Get a block of hard foam rubber. Cut keyhole slots in the rubber to grip the barrel and umbrella/scope stands. Mount the rubber block to the cross piece with self-tapping screws, or drill a horizontal channel in the rubber so the whole block fits over the cross-tube. On the lowest leading edge of the welding cart box (at ground level, front), fit a block of wood 2″ high (you can also fabricate metal extensions). This will make the cart lean back a little more, which helps stabilize the contents on sloping terrain.

You’ll want to enclose the sides of the bottom box area so small items don’t fall out. You can tack-weld aluminum side-plates if you want a fancy appearance. I prefer to just cut sheet plastic from a home improvement store. These plastic panels can be attached with screws or even zip-ties around tubing.

Run the plastic side panels up high enough that stuff like hats and muffs don’t fall out. After transport you can transfer ammo boxes and small items to the upper box (attached to the back side of the cross-tube).

The hardest component to find may be the hard rubber blocks for the barrel keeper, but you can also make a barrel-holding block out of wood, with some carpet to protect the barrels. The nice thing about the rubber is that it can be cut to snap over the barrels so you don’t need straps. Likewise, you can drill a hole transversely through the rubber, then slot it from the bottom and it will slide over the horizontal tubing with no fasteners needed.

Comment: This cart is heavy and it takes up a lot of space. You’ll need a station wagon, SUV or pickup truck to haul it around. But it’s cheap. The money you save on a range cart could pay for a new Krieger or Bartlein barrel, AND some new brass. Those things (new barrel and brass) will likely improve your scores more than having a fancy $500.00 range cart.

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August 7th, 2010

Shooting Bench with Wheels Rolls into Position

Here’s an interesting new product that earns major points for innovation. Shooters Ridge has invented a shooting bench with wheels AND flip-up sides so it can serve as a field transporter. the Shooters Ridge new bench/cart is officially called the Voyager™ Shooting System. The Voyager features large 20”-diameter wheels with tubeless tires, a generous 12” cushioned seat and weather-resistant frame and hardware. The wheels come off allowing the Voyager to fold flat for storage and transport. The Voyager is surprisingly solid in the field, but we would recommend you chock the wheels, or dig in the rear handle/foot to stabilize the cart during firing. Current “street price” is about $320.00, and we’ve seen the Voyager cart as low as $309.99 at Tactical-Store.com.

Voyager Shooting Bench

Videos Show Voyager System Used as Cart and Shooting Bench
Shooters Ridge has two excellent videos on its website that show the Voyager bench/cart in use. They show varminters rolling the cart into position, setting up the bench, and then shooting. CLICK HERE TO VIEW VOYAGER VIDEOS (Select Voyager from sliding menu on Video Page).

While we prefer field benches that isolate the seat from the bench top, the versatility of the Voyager impresses us. You can use the Voyager to get your gear in and out of the field easily, yet it sets up quickly as a mobile shooting bench. If you’ve ever hauled a 100+ pound shooting bench around a varmint field you know it’s no fun. With the wheeled Voyager, you can easily roll to a new firing point, hauling your gear along with you. The folks at Shooters Ridge also say the Voyager is sturdy enough to haul game out of the field.

“Varmint hunters, big game hunters and all-day target shooters will appreciate the versatility of this new shooting bench,” stated Tom Knudtson of Shooters Ridge. “Whether it’s hauling game or gear, the Voyager is a rugged piece of equipment that pulls double-duty in the field. In my opinion, its quick conversion to a shooting bench is an amazing advancement.”

Voyager Shooting Bench

COMMENT: The concept of an easy-to-move bench that works as a cart is a good one. This editor has built a few gun-carts before. With wheels, wood, frame, and axles, one can easily spend over $125 just on materials. So, the $320.00 price of the Voyager is pretty reasonable, considering its hauling capacity and design features.

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