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Sandbags

14 Aug 2016
@ 09:40 am (GMT)

Christopher Howse

Just wondering what sort of sandbags people favour. I have been looking at things like Bulls bags that are an X shape when you look down the end profile, They say they grip the stock as the rifle settles into it.
i have used different front rests and bag combinations but am looking for a simple easy to cart bag or bags to just take to the bench for initial sighting in, load testing and just plinking or having a shot.
I want something that will aid accurate shooting but at a reasonable cost and minimal set up time with simple gear.
There are newer versions like the Bulls bag X7 etc. and 2 piece bag sets
i also read you can source Zircon sand or Chromite sand that may be twice as heavy as a common fine sand.
One claim is that these X shaped bags will grip the fore-end stock and reduce the "Felt Recoil" that seems to make sense but does it work? Would the heavy sand help when recoil is a consideration?
Sighting in a .458 win mag on the bench does feel a lot different to shooting it from a standing position.
Thoughts and opinions appreciated and of course id really to like to hear about other peoples experience particularly where sighting heavy calibres are concerned.

Replies

15 Aug 2016
@ 06:46 pm (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Sandbags
15 Aug 2016
@ 08:26 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Sandbags
Hi Christopher, I had a look at the link and I cannot condone this type of sand bag as it forces the shooter to adopt the modern silly shooting methods that have eroded the general quality of shooting world wide.

The bags were otherwise a nice design, just poorly implemented, feeding into current trends, more sheep unwilling to deviate from the flock.

Sand bags are easy to make. Find old jeans of your own or from a second hand store, fill with sand or kitty litter, use electrical tape to tie off the ends. Don't sew them- the electrical tape is best because you can remove it and reposition to get your height and density correct. Use a block and bag up front or two bags. Use a one bag at the rear. Job done. It may not look as fancy as a tactical accuracy certified bag (whatever the hell that is) but looks can be deceiving.

15 Aug 2016
@ 08:30 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Sandbags
Actually, I see they have a toe and heel bag called the X-7 (as you initially pointed out). That would be nice. Its a pity they did not show this in the rolling photos.
15 Aug 2016
@ 08:58 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Sandbags
OK, looks like I am done teaching the U.S course (at least for now) so I can post a bit more here.

Yes, the deeper the V, the lower the felt recoil. Also the denser the media, the lower the recoil (bag does not shift as opposed to rifle shifting)- but only if you can sink the forend into it. If the rifle sits on top of a flat bag, recoil will be less linear. The more linear the recoil, the better.

Recoil will get you when the rifle can recoil up, out and back. Sometimes you won't see much upward recoil if you have a good forend hold, but you will get a lot of left or right movement. So a dense V shape can help arrest this.

Obviously, the POI will differ vastly between a dense V bag versus shooting in the field with a heavy recoiler like the .458 you mentioned over a pack or shooting sticks etc.

The straighter the stock, the lower the felt recoil.

Realistically, some of the big African guns would be better fitted with varmint stocks. For example, the Sendero is about the right shape and barrel contour for a .458 loaded to full pressures if used without a brake.

Hope that helps a bit.
16 Aug 2016
@ 12:10 am (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: Sandbags
Some interesting claims on their site but anyway.....

I have made a front bag with a V or cradle in the top similar to the larger bag in their 3 bag set. The base being a large square around 10" with the top around 6" filled with sand and kitty litter.

Dose it absorb recoil, mmmmm, a little compared to sitting up on top of a front bag that's to tight. Helps direct recoil is a better way to put it & definitely helps with sideways jump etc. as Nathan has said.

Technique, technique, technique, repeat, repeat, repeat, is what l drum into myself. If it isn't build on a solid foundation or changes from shot to shot all the fancy do-dads are not worth a pinch of shit.
16 Aug 2016
@ 07:15 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Sandbags
Yeah make them! I did...
Old jeans are good like Nathan said. I used pea gravel as that was all I could find. If you get beach sand wash the salt out of the sand!!!! You don't want to wreck your rifles with salt dust getting in the action....... taste the sand you have before you use it to be safe.
how would water in a bladder go?
16 Aug 2016
@ 05:47 pm (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Sandbags
I use old jeans as well - filled with kitty litter. My only additional advice is to use the unscented litter (unscented - not used!), otherwise the smell is overwhelming and tends to linger!
16 Aug 2016
@ 07:06 pm (GMT)

Ricardo Laborin

Re: Sandbags
Potpourri scent goes hand in hand with the .458....
22 Aug 2016
@ 11:01 am (GMT)

Christopher Howse

Re: Sandbags
Quote:
Potpourri scent goes hand in hand with the .458....

Yeah i suppose it is a bit on the soft side. perhaps i should have looked for a .577 T Rex or a .600 overkill or whatever they are. Africa is a dream but the .458 was on sale and is an affordable calibre to reload. maybe I will get to hunt buffalo in Australia sometime.
From a standing position the .458 is not that bad but when ive sat at the bench and shot it the recoil seems pretty stiff and i figure its because its coming dead square on and i am probably sitting more rigid to.
as for what nathan said about straighter stocks its the CZ550 safari which i believe has the straighter American styled stock as opposed toi the predecessor Brno 602 which have a European influenced hogs back stock and some say the straighter stock has less felt recoil
As for the Sendero styled stock a .300win mag Sendero is on the wish list.
i let rip with a couple of shots from the .458 after work the other day and it was so much fun i had to do it again. Now to graduate to the 500gn projectiles.
FYI its bedded with match grade bedding.
Thanks for the feedback on sandbags, so it sounds like some steady bags for rests and hold that forend and see how it goes.
26 Aug 2016
@ 09:50 pm (GMT)

Dale Wilhelm

Re: Sandbags
I made my own sandbag using a similar shape to the Bulls bag design recently. Have used it for sighting in the .22 off the roof of the land rover and it was brilliant. Next it was used for load development off a bench with the 6.5-284. The problem I found here was it wasn't high enough up off the bench, easy fix sit it on top of my solid rifle case. Next issue was that due to the length it didn't give much room for gripping the foreend of the stock (as per Nathan's comments). A bit of adjusting and I managed to a thumb and two fingers right at front of the stock. The results were 2 out of 5 groups at 1/2moa and worst at 1.5moa so it can't have been too much of an issue. The rifle is braked which made a big difference.
If I was to make another one I would use the same shape but make it shorter in length but taller in height to help with both issues.
Cheers
Dale
21 Sep 2016
@ 10:02 am (GMT)

mark whiteley

Re: Sandbags
I would just like to add that bags of rice can easily fit into the legs of jeans without taking the rice out of the bag to protect the rice and is basically what I have used for years now
regards mark
21 Sep 2016
@ 09:00 pm (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Sandbags
Plus, if you run out of .458 ammo and are starving, rice tastes better than kitty litter...not that I know this for a fact of course.
22 Sep 2016
@ 03:20 am (GMT)

mark whiteley

Re: Sandbags
Quote:
Plus, if you run out of .458 ammo and are starving, rice tastes better than kitty litter...not that I know this for a fact of course.


LOL LOL LOL
26 Sep 2016
@ 10:30 am (GMT)

Christopher Howse

Re: Sandbags
So I purchased a generic brand X bag type sandbag. I wear my jeans as work wear till threadbare.
So my EBay X bag by straight shooter shooting supplies Australia cost $50 Posted and that seemed OK to me as it seems like quality cordura type material with some no slip where it grips the rifle and is shaped suitably as the bag is intended.
Using creek sand from a dry outback creek the same as we use in concrete it weighs in at a whopping 15 kilograms filled with sieved creek sand.
My idea is to have a quick and handy sighting in rest that is ready to go when I throw it on the bench.
Maybe I would use kitty litter if I did it again to save some weight
Will post again when I get to try it
26 Sep 2016
@ 01:32 pm (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Sandbags
Good luck - just remember you can't eat sand either.
26 Sep 2016
@ 07:18 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Sandbags
You can eat Bulldust though. It's an Australian delicacy. Fine and gritty it gets every where! Think powdered water and that's the only way to describe it! It would probably make a good sand bag filling if you could contain it?
29 Sep 2016
@ 03:28 am (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Sandbags
Quote:
You can eat Bulldust though. It's an Australian delicacy. Fine and gritty it gets every where! Think powdered water and that's the only way to describe it! It would probably make a good sand bag filling if you could contain it?


The bulldust would need a superfine material to hold it in. Something synthetic and non-porous. Parachute type material, jeans wouldn't do the job.
13 Nov 2016
@ 09:34 am (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Sandbags
Just finished making some bags. I used old work pants that I got from an Op-shop. I stitched them inside out on one end, then turned them out the right way and filled them with vermiculite (a light weight hydroponic medium). I then stitched the other end back up.

The vermiculite has jagged edges and tends to hold its shape once you mould the bag to your desired shape. It's also a crap load lighter than sand. The bags were about 10kg each with sand.

The one with tape on the end is more full to allow for more height if needed.

The one without tape shows the end with the stitching on the inside. It was a rewarding process to put them together.

13 Nov 2016
@ 02:57 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Sandbags
Good job, Andrew. Let us know how they are to shoot across. If they turn out like you hope, I have about 10kg of perlite that needs a new home. Thanks for the hot tip.
05 Dec 2016
@ 07:06 pm (GMT)

Simon Foley

Re: Sandbags
Also interested to hear how they go. Decided to make some sandbags for load testing last week and had a canvas bank bag that I filled with slightly damp white bedding sand and sewed closed. Not stuffed to capacity but fairly full. Took it to the local range on the weekend anticipating 5 shots in the same hole as the sandbag would remove all human error of course.

Group sizes doubled from my usual and rifle felt like a pig to control. Was bouncing around like I was shooting on a bipod off concrete. Range has concrete tables and I was wondering if the damp sand was compacting too hard and transferring that solid concrete bounce. I had moulded a very shallow V in the top of the bag so rifle was resting on top of the bag. (Only read the above comments today so will try a deeper V next time) Tightening fore-end grip and sling made it worse and eventually found reasonable consistency by slacking off sling and grip substantially.

Was thinking that I should try something softer like kitty litter and then the final group of the day on a fresh target was really good and of course I am now thinking that it was technique to blame, too used to shooting over a softer backpack. Don't really want to be constantly remaking sandbags so will persevere for another round with the dense sand and then if I really can't keep it consistent and controlled will test an alternative with a lighter sand or kitty litter type fill. Will continue to watch this thread for sandbag technique and etiquette.
05 Dec 2016
@ 07:46 pm (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Sandbags
"You can eat Bulldust though. It's an Australian delicacy. Fine and gritty it gets every where! Think powdered water and that's the only way to describe it! It would probably make a good sand bag filling if you could contain it?"

The only "bulldust" I'm aware of around here comes straight from the source in big gobs or sometimes a semi liquid. I wouldn't eat it. I suppose if you picked it up dry and pulverized it it could work in a sandbag. The only other type I'm familiar with shows up sometimes in the "OFF TOPIC" postings....
03 Jan 2017
@ 08:13 am (GMT)

Simon Foley

Re: Sandbags
Hey Andrew, how did the vermiculite sandbags go. I tried a clay kitty litter sandbag on top of the dense sand one I had made earlier and started to get the results I was hoping for. Was also a lot better once I made a deeper v to seat the rifle in. Seems like clay litter works well with a 308 recoil
04 Jan 2017
@ 06:28 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Sandbags
The only "bulldust" I'm aware of around here comes straight from the source in big gobs or sometimes a semi liquid. I wouldn't eat it. I suppose if you picked it up dry and pulverized it it could work in a sandbag. The only other type I'm familiar with shows up sometimes in the "OFF TOPIC" postings....[/quote]

Another wonderful discovery was how to distil bulldust. By refining it, the bulldust was used to power the Random Excuse Generator. The latter machine works by condensing bulldust. This then goes into the verbal randomiser compartment and then into the alphabet chute. After being filtered a number of times, it reaches the self-defeating circuit breaker and random excuses are then generated ad infinitum. The operator then chooses which one best fits his or her needs.

https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D1zJ69bqS-80&ved=0ahUKEwjv7NeujqnRAhUKnpQKHSv-D5wQo7QBCCAwAw&usg=AFQjCNFn4egzKJwwLuHPAIHv9Yj569A5BA
08 Jan 2017
@ 10:10 am (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Sandbags
Hi Simon,

I've not had a chance to use them yet :( My local range shuts down from mid Dec and opens again in February. I'll post the results once I get back out.
15 Feb 2017
@ 07:51 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Sandbags
Hey guys,

As promised... The vermiculite bags went well, to a degree. They were a bit shallow, I couldn't get the right angle. I ended up blocking the first on up with my gun bag. They went well in the end.

I think next time though, I'd put more in it. I still can but I'd have to unstitch it and fill it. I haven't got the effort for that.

On another note. I shot a group about the size of my thumb nail, 3 shots in a triangle all touching, 100yd range with a 22. Still not quite sighted in though the group was about 40mm low and 50mm to the right. I gave the scope 8 more clicks (1/4" at 100yds) that should bring in it into line. I'm happy with 40mm low at 100yds. It's only a 22 and I really don't think I'll be using it beyond that range.
 

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