December 1st, 2012

Baney Weighs Merits of Heavy Sand

You’ve heard of Heavy Metal, maybe even Heavy Water, but what about Heavy Sand? Every serious shooter should know about Heavy Sand for benchrest sandbags. Heavy Sand can weigh up to twice as much as ordinary silica sand (sold as “Play Sand”). By filling your rear bag with Heavy Sand rather than silica sand, you can nearly double the bag’s mass, and that can translate to better bag performance. A heavier bag resists movement and stays aligned better during recoil. If your bag moves during recoil, or becomes misaligned from shot to shot, that can alter your point of impact and open up your groups. Adding weight to your rear bag is a simple, cost-effective way to shoot more consistently, with greater overall accuracy.

Heavy Sand for BR Sandbags

Jason tested and compared four kinds of sandbag fillers: Zircon, Chromite, Riverbed Sand, and ordinary Play Sand. Zircon is the heaviest type of sand readily available to shooters, followed by Chromite. Zircon is 98% heavier than Play Sand, while the black Chromite sand is 94% heavier than Play Sand. Riverbed Sand, commonly sold in pet stores as “Reptile Sand”, is less dense, measuring about 55% heavier than Play Sand.

Increase Bag Weight Up to 10 pounds
Compared to silica sand, how much extra weight can Heavy Sand (Zircon, Chromite, Riverbed) add to your sandbag? Up to 10 pounds, depending on the size of your rear bag. Check the chart below for the specifics. By filling a standard bunny ear bag with Zircon (vs. silica sand), you can increase bag weight by about 5 pounds. A super-sized BigFoot bag can gain 10 pounds in overall weight when filled with Zircon as opposed to silica sand.

Heavy Sand for BR Sandbags

To learn more about Heavy Sand (and where you can buy it), read Jason’s comprehensive Sand Comparison Article. It includes photos of the different sand types and links to Heavy Sand vendors, such as R.W. Hart (Zircon) and Sinclair International (Chromite).