What is a Lead Sled?
For shooters that still do not know the Lead Sled and its purposes, it is a type of shooting rest that has been engineered to hold the rifle and assist in the recoil energy decreasing. According to the Caldwell, it can achieve an incredible 95% reduction of recoil energy. Therefore, it is currently the best tool to remove an important variable: the human error. To sum up in a very rough way, it is a rest rifle that lessens the recoil generated by the shot.
The shooting sports are usually associated with painful recoil that are the results of the working mechanism of a firearm where a large amount of energy is generated and ends up having to go somewhere, which in this case is our shoulder. Powerful caliber firearms logically produce more recoil energy, which will cause the shooter to have reactions like flinching or trigger jerking, which are reactions in anticipation of the shock that will hit your body. Flinching or jerking the trigger, in anticipation of recoil is a very common negative factor in a shooter’s accuracy.
How does Lead Sled work?
To understand how Lead Sled works you need to include some basic math. Recoil can be described as the equal and opposite reaction to the momentum of an ammunition cartridge projectile (bullet) and gunpowder charge upon firing of the cartridge. This momentum is imparted to the firearm, causing it to travel from the opposite direction of the fired bullet. The resulting energy, or recoil energy, of the firearm can be calculated using the following equation derived from the Law of Conservation of Momentum:
* If you want to calculate in a simpler way, just use this recoil energy calculator.
As can be seen in the above equation, by increasing the “Firearm Weight” variable we will automatically be decreasing the “Recoil Energy”. This can easily be seen in larger calibers, where guns are always heavier than those of lower caliber.
The Lead Sled reduces recoil by adding weight to the shooting rest. The gun rest is a rigid structure. Thus, when firing is carried out, the firearm and the shooting rest end up becoming a single weight. Mathematically, the weight of the lead sled can be added to the firearm weight to yield the total “Firearm Weight” as used in the Recoil Energy equation above. As you can see, total Firearm Weight is inversely proportional to recoil energy, so, adding more weight to the lead sled will reduce the recoil energy. Current Lead Sled models can accept up to 100 lbs of extra weight (bags of lead shot) to increase overall weight. Although, lead shot is the best choice of weight due to its portability, uniformity, and availability.
What differs the Lead Sled from a traditional Rifle Rest?
The recoil reduction is the differential point of the Lead Sled for the other shooting rests, which even holding the firearm does not reduce the recoil in an expressive way. A traditional gun rest just holds and stabilizes the firearm, but does not restrain it. The recoil-reducting gun rest uses various methods to dissipate or absorb the recoil energy. Usually these equipments consist of a base, which has a movable carriage, with the gun resting on and fully affixed to the carriage. To allow linear motion, the carriage is moveably attached to the base.
Can I use it with my Shooting Bench?
Sure. During the accuracy tests of a firearm, the shooter commonly shoots the gun positioned in a shooting rest, which must be fixed firmly on a shooting bench. The shooter then fires the shot the way he feels better. This type of arrangement eliminates the human variants caused by the impossibility of the body to sustain the firearm in a perfect way, avoiding reflexes, tremors, etc. However, firing from a bench has the disadvantage of subjecting the shooter to more “effective recoil”.
The recoil energy does not increase when you shoot from the shooting bench, but more recoil energy will be transferred to your body if you are sitting. The standing position allows the whole body of the shooter to flex and partially absorb the recoil energy. In the sitting position only the torso can flex and absorb the recoil. Because of this phenomenon, when firing with a stronger caliber of a bench we end up feeling an unpleasant sensation, better known as “kicks like a mule”.
What are the most renowned brands of Lead Sleds?
The best-known brands among shooters when we talk about Lead Sled are Caldwell and Primos. Caldwell is the owner of the patent that has registered the weight adding shooting rest. They have a number of different models, ranging from the simplest, such as the Lead Sled Solo to the more advanced ones like the Caldwell Lead Sled DFT, which uses a technology called Dual Frame or the Caldwell FCX, which is known for the excellent mobility and amplitude of the firing angle. The Caldwell Lead Sled collection are probably the best option on the market these days.
Caldwell Lead Sled Models
Famous brand in the world of shooting sticks, Primos also invests in other types of shooting rests, possessing a very successful model of lead sled. Although it does not have the patent for the product, its gun rest works in exactly the same way as the Caldwell Lead Sled, having as its main feature the possibility of adding weight as well as the Caldwell models. Undoubtedly an excellent option for those looking for a quality equipment, but with a lower price.
Primos Hunting Lead Sled Models