I’d have unlimited access 24 hours per day and 365 days per year. Better yet, I wouldn’t have anyone banging away one bench over with an SKS while I’m trying to squeeze every ¼ MOA out of a precision custom rifle. Having the place all to myself was the goal, but building a range also meant building my own facilities, and that included a shooting bench.
I didn’t want a shooting bench — I needed a shooting bench. When I test rifles for publications, I can’t lean over the hood of my Tahoe with the rifle rested on a rolled-up jacket to determine accuracy. A writer needs a dead-solid platform from which to test the accuracy potential of rifles.
No folding table or mobile setup will do. When a rifle shows up for evaluation, I have a duty to the publication to evaluate it fairly, a duty to the manufacturer to shoot it to its potential, and a duty to the readers to conduct an unbiased test. All of this means that everyone is counting on me to get it right: no “wobbly bench” excuses allowed.
Steady benches can be built from wood, and that’s certainly the easy way to go, but I wanted to do this project once and do it right. I live in southeast Alabama, which means lots of sunshine, rainfall, heat and humidity — factors that are hard on lumber.
Did I mention that my range does double duty as a cow pasture? That’s right, a 1,500-pound bull may decide to use my precious bench as a back-scratcher. To do this right, the bench had to be built from poured concrete.
That’s when I set out to build the ultimate shooting bench that would invite accurate shooting for generations to come.
Construction happened in three phases: first creating the slab foundation, then the support pillars (legs), and finally the table. I’ll discuss each phase, starting with the foundation:
<h2>Lay the Foundation Forms</h2>Begin by picking a suitable spot with a direct line of sight to your target berm. Level the ground by digging to uniform depth, and build a form using 2x4s. Ensure that the form is level with the ground, square to the target and measures evenly from corner to corner. Stakes hammered into the ground at regular intervals will ensure that the form doesn’t swell outward under the mass of wet concrete. Leave the stakes in place until the concrete sets.