Shooting Bench Construction

By Mike Nelson

A good shooting bench, although relatively simple, does imply some general parameters. A shooting bench must be solid, sturdy, and ergonomic.

The benches shown here are three-legged designs with separate stools. Though many designs integrate the seat with the bench, separating them simplifies construction and gives the shooter more options for seating. The three-legged design makes the bench stable, the framing and bracing make it sturdy and the height of 36" makes it ergonomic.

This design does not accommodate both left and right handed shooters equally, but the plans could easily be mirrored to favor the left-hander. The advantage of three legs for stability was selected over equity and moving the seat to the right of the table, or turning the table a quarter turn, would provide a left handed shooter with an equally good shooting platform.

Both benches use 4x4 posts for legs. The bench using 4x4 and 2x4 joists (shown on the left) is heavier; the bench using 2x6 and 2x4 joists (shown on the right) is easier to construct and should be as sturdy. I suggest that you select the materials that are most readily available; the difference in stability is negligible. After considering both designs, I selected the 2x6 version. To minimize maintenance, I used treated lumber.

The finished bench was decked with solid, 5/4" decking material, mostly scrap from a home deck construction. Though this was the most expensive material considered, it is also the most permanent and the most convenient. The frame was made of green treated lumber and assembly was with coated deck screws. The total cost should be about $50, for green treated materials; the use of the more expensive decking boards would add about $30.

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