Hunting can take hours, especially when you’re waiting for your prey or chasing after it. The hours can also wear you down. So you might be tempted to rest for a bit while waiting. However, you can miss your kill opportunity the moment you put down your weapon — this is where a shooting bench comes in handy. It will also give you invaluable stability for your rifle. A shooting bench is also a great help during long practice sessions at the range. We are guiding you through the whys and hows of buying a shooting bench.
Why Would You Need a Dedicated Shooting Table?
In most shooting videos, you will see that the shooter is often standing. If you’ve ever spent time at a shooting range, you know that standing for hours can be exhausting. This is also true when you’re hunting game. A shooting bench helps in improving your accuracy while maintaining a comfortable shooting experience. Aside from providing comfort and stability, your bench can hold your shooting gear. Your ammunition, accessories, and equipment are more accessible when laid out on your bench.
With these in mind, it’s easier to see why one will need a shooting bench. Whether at the range or out hunting, a shooting bench will serve a valuable purpose for the avid gun user.
Types of Shooting Benches and Tables
Shooting benches come in many shapes and sizes. For easy categorizing, we can break them down into different types:
- Do-it-yourself: There are various plans available online for making your own shooting bench. Materials can range from wood to concrete or metal. You can do a DIY for some plans.
- Portable: This refers to benches that are easy to fold, transport, and store. Some can be disassembled and reassembled easily.
- Adjustable: Some benches are height-adjustable. You might be able to adjust the table or armrest too for more customization options.
- 360-degree swivel: Some shooting benches offer 360-degree mobility for the table. If it comes with a chair, the chair might have the same flexibility too.
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How To Choose the Best Shooting Bench?
Owning a shooting bench will serve you well and there are some advantages to having a shooting bench. Choosing your shooting bench should take a few factors into consideration:
- Comfort: Choose a shooting bench with a padded seat. Some benches also have foam pad armrests. Depending on your height, you might also want to choose an adjustable shooting bench.
- Reliability and durability: Invest in one that is reliable and will not wear out easily.
- Steadiness: A stable bench contributes to a better aim.
- Space: Your shooting bench should accommodate your body space. There should also be enough space for your gear and other items, including food and drink.
- Portability: A shooting bench should be lightweight and easy to transport. A shooting bench that can be stored is a plus.
- Price: There should be a balance between affordability and quality.
Shooting Bench: Pros and Cons
- Aids in accuracy especially for extended shooting
- Provides easy access for your gear
- Provides comfortable positioning
- Added bulk when traveling
- Can easily be expensive
Best Shooting Benches for 2021
We’ve reviewed the six best shooting benches.
|Gymax Folding Shooting Bench|| ||$175 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Caldwell The Stable Table|| ||$208 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|X-Stand X-Ecutor Shooting Bench Black|| ||$129 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Muddy Swivel-Action Shooting Bench|| ||$210 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|MTM HLST High-Low Shooting Table|| ||$125 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Caldwell Lead Sled DFT2 Shooting Rest|| ||$186 Shop NowClick to read my review|
The Gymax Folding Shooting Bench is ideal for hunting, target practice, sighting, and dialing in scopes. Weighing at 35 pounds, it is quite lightweight for a shooting bench with seat. Its compact and foldable frame makes it easy to use, while its steel frame lends more durability.
You can adjust its height from 7 inches to 9.5 inches, making this a convenient shooting bench. This shooting bench is ambidextrous and can be configured for both left and right shots. The bench and seat are well-padded and covered in polyester, offering comfort and keeping your firearm scratch-free. Since this shooting bench can be set up quickly, you can take it anywhere for shooting.
- Compact and foldable
- Adjustable shooting height
- Well-padded seat
- Polyester covering protects your firearms from scratches
- Not as portable as advertised; can be hard to lug around
- Not great on uneven terrain
Caldwell is a trusted brand for shooting tables. Its Stable Table is one of the best shooting benches for rifle shooting with a simple yet integrated design. The weatherproof tabletop is molded plastic with a rigid metal frame underneath. The flexible seat is also molded plastic, weatherproof, and padded for comfort. You can adjust this seat from 16 inches to 22 inches in height.
The Stable Table has cleaning forks that you can insert into the carrying handles to secure your firearm. For the legs, you can improve their stability by inserting anchors or stakes. The feet are also adjustable for terrain leveling.
The Stable Table might be heavy at 60 pounds, but its portability makes up for the weight. You can disassemble this shooting bench in 5 minutes thanks to quick-release pins. Afterward, you can break it down and carry it in seven separate parts.
Another plus is its ambidextrous design that allows for 360-degree movement. The Stable Table has fewer joints compared to other shooting tables, so you can set it up for various shooting types. One neat detail is the tabletop’s perimeter rail that keeps ammo from rolling off the top.
- Stable and durable metal frame
- Stable tripod with adjustable feet
- Quick disassembly
- Ambidextrous with 360-degree movement
- Weatherproof benchtop and seat
- Perimeter railing keeps small objects from falling off the bench
- Weight rating is only 275 pounds
- Parts are not intuitive so installation can be hard at first
The X-Stand X-Ecutor Shooting Bench has many features that make it a good shooting table. It weighs 35 pounds, which is relatively lightweight for a shooting bench with a seat. It also has a weight rating of 300 pounds, making it an accommodating bench for heavier users.
This shooting bench is made of steel with a 360-degree swivel seat that’s padded for comfort. You can finely tune the bench and adjust elevation through micro-adjust turning knobs. The X-Ecutor shooting bench is also portable and easy to store. It splits into two pieces ― the folding legs and the top ― which you can fold up. For storage, this shooting bench also features handles for hanging.
The gun rest has a rubber-coated surface to protect it against slipping and skid marks. This also protects your firearms from scratches. As a plus, this shooting bench comes with two gear pouches that you can use for your ammo and accessories. This table works well in uneven terrain thanks to its adjustable legs.
- Padded seat with 360-degree swivel
- Turning knobs for precision tuning and elevation
- Lightweight with a considerable weight rating
- Portable, storage-friendly
- Adjustable for uneven terrain
- Two gear pouches
- Small table space
- Paint is not scratchproof
- Uncapped square tubes are a scrape/cut hazard
The Muddy Swivel-Action Shooting Bench is another ambidextrous shooting table. It is a little heavy at 42 pounds, but its weight rating of 300-pound is great for heavier shooters.
The padded seat and top both swivel at 360 degrees. They have a vinyl cover made from non-scratch coated rubber to protect your firearm. The adjustable gunrest is also rubber-coated for the same reason. There are armrests for both the left and right sides, extended for additional comfort.
The steel construction makes this shooting bench pretty durable. It can be assembled or broken down easily, with added two gear pockets for extra bench storage.
- 300-pound weight rating
- Rubber coating keeps firearms scratch-free
- Padded seat and extended double armrests for comfort
- Two shell pockets
- Ambidextrous design with 360-degree swivel seat and top
- Short distance between benchtop and seat
- Rough edges
- Seat padding is not too comfortable and can be improved
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The MTM HLST High-Low Shooting Table is the only table on our list without a seat. The aluminum tripod legs are adjustable in height from 18 inches to 55 inches. They can also be locked in place for added stability. Because of the features of the tripod legs, this shooting table works great on uneven terrain.
On top of the tripod legs is a heavy-duty plastic tabletop. The whole table just weighs 10.41 lbs, making it lightweight and portable. Left- and right-handed shooters benefit from this table’s ambidextrous design.
There aren’t plenty of extra features on this shooting table. If you just want a simple table that does its job well, the MTM HLST is a great option.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Ambidextrous design
- Durable, stable, and adjustable tripod legs
- Great on uneven terrain
- Plastic tabletop is a little thin and flexes a bit too much
- Not recommended for smooth, hard surfaces
The Caldwell Lead Sled DFT2 Shooting Rest is unlike the others in our list. It’s not a full table, but its thousands of ratings earned it a spot on our guide. It weighs a solid 24 pounds, which is heavy for its size while still lightweight enough to carry around.
You can tweak several parts to this shooting rest. For one, you can adjust for windage. The front end can be adjusted up to 2.5 inches, with an oversized wheel on smooth ball bearings. The rear can be adjusted for elevation as well. The shooting rest has easy-to-use adjustment knobs. They let you adjust the rest without removing the gun. The dual-frame design has an 18 inches length adjustment. By sliding the front cradle back and forth, you can fit rifles and shotguns for virtually any size.
The dual-frame design, along with the rear cradle, helps in reducing recoil. You also get a baffled weight tray that can accommodate up to 100 pounds of lead shot. The front rest and rear cradle are made of nonmarring material, securing your gun without damaging it. The front rest and rear cradle are skeletonized for efficiency. The nonskid rubber feet of this shooting rest help keep it secure as you’re aiming.
- Windage and elevation adjustment
- Knobs for adjustment without removing gun
- Can fit rifles and shotguns of any size
- Nonmarring material protects your gun from scratches
- Recoil-reducing design
- No seat
- May have quality control issues
- Not as portable as other units
Spending hours shooting can be exhausting. A shooting bench will help you during long periods waiting for your prey, or at the range trying to keep your rifle stable. It will greatly improve your firing experience. In this review, we recommend the Gymax Folding Bench. It is a good compromise between stability, portability, and price.
We’ve featured two items from Caldwell in this list. If you want to know more about them, you can check out our review on Caldwell Shooting Supplies. There are other options you can use for securing your rifle, such as a tripod or bipod.
If you have any questions, send us a message or get in the comment box below.