Marksman's Box

The Marksman's Box

By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff

The Marksman's Box is a relatively simple product, yet a good idea. It was invented and is hand made by Gene McCarron, right here in the USA. As of this writing, Gene has hand assembled and sold around 800 Marksman's Boxes, so while only a few years old, the product is well proven and in widespread use.

This is one of those products that makes you wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?" Basically, what we have here is an ammo box that also serves as a surprisingly steady and flexible shooting rest for rifle or pistol. With the optional ball-head mount, you can even attach your spotting scope to the Shooter's Box.

The box itself is made of 0.25" Lexan plastic painted OD green. The hinges and hardware are steel, fastened by machine screws and nuts. Closure is by means of a 1.25" web strap that also serves as a rifle or pistol rest. (More about that function soon.) There is also a web strap handle on one side of the box (not the top). The Marksman's Box external dimensions are 16" long, 7.25" wide and 4.5" deep. Inside of the box, there is one transverse partition to help keep the contents in place and increase lateral rigidity. Capacity is about 10-12 boxes of factory loaded .308 Win. rifle ammunition, depending on how they are arranged.

The OD green Marksman's Box has a decided utilitarian appearance. As one staff member declared, "That is a man's box!"

Marksman's Box
Illustration courtesy of Gene McCarron.

The Marksman's Box is large enough to accommodate most spotting scopes, although this is prevented by the height of the internal partition. If one were to cut a semi-circular notch in the middle of the partition to cradle a scope, there would be room for a spotting scope in the middle of the box and a couple of boxes of centerfire rifle ammo on each side of the scope (four boxes total). We may make this modification to our sample Marksman's Box to see how it works.

Gene glues small, triangular pieces of rubber to the corners of the bottom of the box to serve as feet when it is in use as a rifle rest. We suggest that feet on the narrow side of the box opposite the carrying handle would be a nice addition, since that is the natural way to set the box down when it is not in use as a gun rest. While we are on the subject, actual rubber feet would be functionally superior to the little rubber triangles currently used and are available from practically any hardware store.

A ball head mount (the same as is used for small photo tripods) for a spotting scope is an available option with the Marksman's Box. When the box is open, the ball head for the scope mounts through a slightly oversize 0.25" hole drilled in one of the steel straps that reinforces the top of the box by means of a large wing nut/stud. We found this scope mounting system adequate, but feel that a better idea would have been for the manufacturer to have threaded the 0.25" hole, screwed-in a stud, and spot-welded it in place. This would make the mounting stud permanent and eliminated the need to fiddle with the combination wing nut/stud now employed to mount the ball head.

Marksman's Box w/scope
Illustration courtesy of Gene McCarron.

Okay, enough description, how does the Marksman's Box actually work? Very well, thank you. While there is no positive, mechanical latch to keep the top closed and your ammo inside the box when it is being carried and transported, the top strap, fully tightened, does an adequate job. What you put inside stays inside.

Once you get to the range, or field in the case of varmint shooting, loosen the strap, open the box and your ammo is readily accessible. "Fold" the top so that the leading edges slot into their notches and attach the ball head using the supplied wing nut, then screw your spotting scope onto the ball head. The final step to transform the ammo box into a shooting rest is to fix the top strap at the proper length to support your rifle at a convenient height for your shooting position and style. There is a lot of adjustment latitude here. Used as a portable rest, the Marksman's box works well from a shooting bench or in the prone position in the field. Unfortunately, it is not tall enough for use in the sitting position in the field. The box would have to be huge to make that possible, too big to lug around, which is a pity.

Marksman's Box used as a pistol rest
Illustration courtesy of Gene McCarron.

In the field, you will find that the Marksman's box does not need to be on level ground. The "slack" in the web strap rest eliminates the necessity to level the box. This makes it possible to use the Marksman's Box from the sloping hood of a vehicle. The same slack makes traversing the rifle no problem while in the rest. It is a flexible system that is also surprisingly steady. To demonstrate that, Gene used his vintage 6.5x55 Model 1896 Swedish Mauser rifle (fitted with a target scope) over the Marksman's Box in an F-Class 600 yard match with good results (3rd place out of 20 competitors).

Order your Marksman's Box online directly from Gene at The online price is $95.00 + $12.00 shipping = $107.00 total. Add the optional ball head for mounting a spotting scope and the total (including shipping) is $127.00. Once you've tried the Marksman's Box, you will consider it money well spent.

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