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February 3rd, 2020

Rear Sand Bag Tuning — Fill Levels, Sand Types, Bag Designs

With the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) taking place this week in Phoenix, we are reprising this discussing of rear bag designs and fill levels. By “tuning” your rear bag you can reduce hop on shot-firing and help your rifle track better. All that can translate to better scores, particularly with large-caliber rifles.

Tuning Your Rear Sand Bags

Over the years, noted gunsmith and a Benchrest Hall-of-Fame inductee Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzalez has learned a few things about “tuning” rear sandbags for best performance. On his Facebook page, Speedy recently discussed how sand bag fill levels (hard vs. soft) can affect accuracy. Speedy says you don’t want to have both your front and rear sandbags filled up ultra-hard. One or the other bag needs to have some “give” to provide a shock-absorbing function (and prevent stock jump). And you want to tune your fill arrangements to match your shooting style. Free recoil shooters may need a different fill levels than bag squeezers (who a softer bag but harder ears).

SAND BAGS & HOW TO FILL THEM by Speedy Gonzalez

I was asked several times by competitors at the S.O.A. Matches and F-Class Nationals as to how I fill my sand bags for benchrest competition. Here is a copy of a reply I gave several years ago:

Back in the old days, Pat McMillan told me: “You can not have two bags filled so hard that you gun bounces on them in the process of firing round at your target, especially if you have a rig with a very flexible stock. The bags must be set up in a manner for them to absorb the initial shock of the firing pin moving forward and igniting the primer.

Then [they must] maintain their shape and absorb the second shock wave as well the rearward thrust and torque of the rifle. What happens to the rifle when this is not done? Well let me tell you. The rifles have a very bad tendency to jump and roll in the bags. This causes many of those wild, lost shots that one can’t explain.”

Here’s some Good General Advice for Bag Set-up:

1. You should not have TWO hard bags [i.e. both front AND rear] in your set-up.

2. Heavy sand magnifies these phenomena.

3. If you are a bag squeezer, pack ears hard and leave bag pliable enough to squeeze for the movement required. You may pack front bag as hard as rules permit.

4. Free recoil shooters pack both bags firm, but not so hard as to allow stock jump. Especially if you have a stock with a very flexible forearm.

5. We use play-ground sand, also know as silica sand. I sift mine to get any large impurities out then mix it with 25% to 50% with Harts parakeet gravel to the desired hardness that I am looking for. The bird gravel keeps the sand from packing itself into that solid as a brick state.

Speaking of bricks — another thing that happens when shooters employ that heavy zircon sand is the ears form a low spot under them from recoil and then tend to rock back and forth with the rifle causing many low shots to crop up. Edgewood makes an Edgewood/Speedy rear bag specially reinforced under the ears to eliminate this scenario.

General Thoughts about Bag Construction and Ear Materials
I do not like the solid double-stitched leather bottoms. While this seems like a good idea, I see more shooters have problems because of them. They tend to slide around the bench and or slide with the rifle on recoil. The standard Protektor with Cordura rabbit ears and an Otto ring bag with a Cordura front would be what I would suggest to the new shooter or one of the Edgewood / Speedy rear bags, these mimic the “Donut” and feature a ring of leather around the bottom circumference that keep the bottom from rocking on the bench or ground[.]

One last note –If you use the Cordura bags, keep them sprayed with a good silicon spray or “Rain-Ex”. This keeps them from getting sticky. — Speedy

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May 10th, 2014

Huge Discounts on Bald Eagle Front Rests from Bullets.com

Need a high-quality front rest at an affordable price? Here are some of the best deals we’ve seen in years. Bullets.com just announced a massive price cut on its Bald Eagle brand front rests. Both the regular rests and the deluxe rests with flex-shaft windage adjustments are on sale. (These windage-adjustable rests are great for F-Class shooting.) Windage-adjustable rests start at just $215.00, while the conventional rests are marked down to $179.95 (less than half the original price!) Choose from Cast Iron or Aluminum bases, triangle or slingshot (wishbone) footprints. These are high-quality rests, with CNC-machined parts. They have been used successfully by many top F-Class and benchrest shooters.

Bullets.com shooting front rest Bald Eagle Sale

Bullets.com tells us: “These rests were originally designed by a Benchrest shooter and refined by a member of the U.S F-Class Open Rifle Team. The rests have been thoroughly tested and proven to be reliable and capable of quick and accurate adjustments during string shooting.”


Bald Eagle Shooting Rests with Windage System ON SALE

BE1004 – Triangle, Aluminum, Reg. $425.00 — SALE $215.00
BE1005 – Slingshot, Aluminum, Reg. $425.00 — SALE $215.00
BE1006 – Slingshot, Cast Iron, Reg. $475.00 — SALE $235.00

Bullets.com shooting front rest Bald Eagle Sale


Bald Eagle Shooting Rests without Windage System ON SALE

BE1128 – Triangle, Aluminum, Reg. $375.00 — SALE $179.95
BE1130 – Slingshot, Cast Iron, Reg. $399.95 — SALE $179.95
BE1129 – Slingshot, Aluminum, Reg. $375.00 — SALE $179.95

Bullets.com shooting front rest Bald Eagle Sale

Along with offering super deals on front rests, Bullets.com has also slashed prices on its front and rear sand bags. Front Bags are marked dow to $27.50, while Rear Bags are on sale from $52.50 – $64.50. Large-diameter F-Class rest feet are also on sale currently. Get more details at Bullets.com.

Permalink Competition, Hot Deals 4 Comments »
October 29th, 2012

Gear Review: SEB Front Bag for Pedestal Rest

We’ve had our original SEB coaxial front rest for a few years now and we are impressed with its quality and performance (although the SEB NEO Rest is even more sophisticated). One of the great features of the original SEB Rest is the front sandbag. It employs double-layer construction on the sides and bottom, and has a unique microfiber material on the surfaces contacting the stock. The bottom of the bag is hard and flat, so the bag sits nice and square. We whole-heartedly endorse the SEB front bag — it is an outstanding product, affordably priced at $40.00, shipped (unfilled) anywhere in the lower 48 states. (SEB NEO front bags are $45.00 shipped to lower 48).

SEB coaxial rest bag

We’ve tested both 3″-wide and 2 1/4″-wide SEB front bags and they work great. With guns ranging from 22 lbs. to 10.5 lbs. we’ve found that that SEB front bags perform very, very well. They hold their shape, and don’t “hump up” in the middle. The microfiber material, in our opinion, is superior to either Cordura or untreated leather. Even without stock tape on your gun, the microfiber allows the rifle to slide very easily. With stock tape, friction is super-low. You don’t need to put silicone, sailcloth lube, or powder on the front bag — it’s not necessary.

Less Vertical, Better Groups with SEB Front Bag
One of our testers was experiencing vertical when shooting a 6 PPC with a different front bag. He tried both leather and Cordura front bags, and experimented with various amounts of sand fill, but the results were unsatisfactory. The leather and Cordura bags either did not hold their shape, or, with more sand fill, they were too hard and the gun jumped. Then our tester switched to a SEB front bag. He noticed an immediate improvement in gun handling and his targets showed reduced vertical with the same load. Problem solved.

Bag Works with Other Front Rests Too
field tested productWhile the SEB front bag is optimized for use with the original SEB coaxial rest, it can be adapted to other front rest tops. The standard version is made from black microfiber with brown leather, but it is also available with black leather sides. The standard vertical thickness for the 3″ or 2 1/4″ section between the ears is approximately 1″, but other dimensions are available on request. The latest SEB front bags have a filler spout on each side. SEB front bags are available in the USA from Ernie Bishop in Gillette, Wyoming. Call (307) 257-7431, or email ernieemily [at] yahoo.com. The standard SEB front bag sells for $40.00 including shipping to lower 48. Front bags for SEB NEO rests, either one-piece or Tri-lobe style, cost $45.00 including shipping to lower 48.

SEB coaxial rest bag

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February 9th, 2010

Gear Review: SEB Coaxial Rest and Rear Bag

Mark Trope, Webmaster of the Gun Owner Network website, has written a very thorough review of the SEB Coaxial front rest. Mark’s SEB Rest Review covers all the bases, showing how the rest works with a variety of rifle types, including both wide-forearm match rifles and narrow-forearm sporter rifles.

SEB Coaxial Rest Review

Mark provides dozens of good photos of the rest, including many close-ups showing the fine points of SEB’s impressive design. The review shows how to set-up and level the rest, and how to tune the “feel” of the joystick to suit your preferences. Some rest users prefer the joystick to move quite freely, while others prefer to dial in some resistance so there is no chance of movement when you remove your hand from the joystick.

SEB Coaxial Rest Review

After covering the features and performance of the SEB Rest, Trope turns his attention to the SEB “BigFoot” rear bag. He explains why it’s a super-stable choice in rear bags, one of the best products available. You’ll note we acquired a SEB BigFoot rear bag for our latest AccurateShooter.com Project Rifle (see story above). After providing tips on how to fill the bag with heavy sand, Trope shows how to adapt a RubberMaid “ActionPacker” plastic storage bin to carry both the SEB Front Rest and the BigFoot Bag.

SEB Bigfoot bag eview

If you are considering the purchase of a joystick-style front rest, or joystick-style rest top, you should definitely read Trope’s Rest Review. It will definitely help you identify the features you need, so you can make an informed decision, whatever brand you ultimately choose. To learn more about the SEB coaxial rest, or to place an order, contact Sebastian Lambang’s American dealer, Ernie Bishop:

Ernie Bishop
306 West Flying Circle Drive
Gillette, WY 82716
(307) 257-7431
ernieemily [at] yahoo.com

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