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Lead sled... worth the price?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Inebriated, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    Just wondering.. anyone have experience with the Lead Sled by Caldwell?

    Looking at one to help take some human error out of zeroing my rifles, since I'm playing with different optics pretty often. Sand bags work "ok" for me, but they're never a good height for where I'm shooting that day, and cheaper rests seem to have a lot of play in them (from the ones I've used, anyway).

    So would you pay the $124 for a Lead Sled?

    Oh, and does it actually reduce recoil by 95%??
  2. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    I have one of the older models, without the fine adjustments, bought it on a clearance sale somewhere. It works fine, as long as you have some serious weight in the tray to anchor it down, and a bench to shoot off of. It will allow you to adjust your rifle so the sights/scope/whatever are holding steady on the bullseye when you touch it off, but the rifle won't stay like that. Recoil will make it move, but that should be a given.

    There's a "cup" that the rifle butt fits into, and you can actually put that cup up against your shoulder to sight and fire, and if the rig is weighted down well it will absorb most of the recoil. Not exactly a great way to shoot, but it is a good tool to use for sighting in, which is what I think it's intended for anyway. I suppose once you're dialed in, you could use it as a steady rest for long distance shots if you wanted.

    I don't use mine that often, mainly because I had a big leather toolbag full of wheel weights wedged into the tray, and the whole damn thing was terribly heavy. Now that bag has been removed, the Sled is much easier to move around and I have some different weights to use. I need to sight some rifles in, so I may just put it to use soon.

    So I'd say yes, they're a good thing, but see if you can find a used one on Craigslist or one of the older versions that some store is trying to get rid of cheap. The newer ones are fancier with finer adjustments, but I don't know as that's worth the extra money.
  3. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Well-Known Member

    spend your money on a quality front rest and a nice rear bag. it's easier to transport, more versatile, just all-around better.
  4. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Not worth the price to me. A friend has one and I have tried them. While it does absorb the recoil and it holds the rifle perfectly still I believe it causes you to deveolp bad habits. You are not going to use one in the field hunting and recoil will have to be dealt with there. If you haven't gotten used to the recoil at the range, you will flinch in the field. Most rifles POI will be somewhat different when shot off a field rest vs a lead sled too.

    Another thing to consider. Rifle stocks were not designed to absorb 100% of a guns recoil. When shot the shooters upper body gives and moves back some. When shot in a lead sled the rifles stock absorbs all of the recoil. The sled does not allow the entire gun to move to the rear and stocks have been known to break from the strain.

  5. jehu

    jehu Well-Known Member

    I have one and it works very well for the purpose it was intended for which is to hold the rifle steady and solid to sight it in. It's not going to break your stock and managing recoil is a factor everyone has to deal with when hunting. The sled reduces the recoil some but by no means allof it. It's a good site in tool IMO.
  6. urbaneruralite

    urbaneruralite Well-Known Member

    The sled will stop the rifle moving back. It may not stop the scope if the mounts are not strong enough. If the mount stops the scope tube it may not stop the scope lenses if they are not mounted strongly enough.

    For hunting rifles a butterfly bag up front and a rabbit ear bag in back is hard to beat. You can adjust the height of the front bag by stacking other sand bags. I make the other bags out of old jeans legs.
  7. mcdonl

    mcdonl Well-Known Member

    I do both. When first zeroing a gun I use the lead sled then switch to rest/bag....

    If you use levers or AR/AK get the model with the curved arm that allow of external box magazines.
  8. Stealth01

    Stealth01 Well-Known Member

    I have a Lead Sled Plus that I use for zeroing heavy calibers and saving my shoulder. I do not shoot from it, just used for zeroing. And you can find them fo $99.00.
  9. helotaxi

    helotaxi Well-Known Member

    Since the rifle has to move for the scope to move, none of that makes any sense. Scopes get damaged from free-recoiling and weak mounts and are suceptible due to poor designs. Something like a lead sled would actually be beneficial for the longevity of a scope since it keeps the rifle from accelerating nearly as much from recoil.
  10. Dentite

    Dentite Well-Known Member

    Potential damage to the stock while using a lead sled makes sense due the stock taking all the recoil energy. Damage to the scope, no. If the action isn't moving, either is the scope.

    Now whether the recoil is enough to actually damage the stock I guess depends on the actual amount of recoil, type of stock, type of action, fit of action, bedding of action, presence and cushioning ability of a recoil pad, etc. Hard to predict but I could see some potential trouble for a heavy recoiling round with a steel butplate and a heavily weighed down lead sled. Again this is theory only, I have no personal experience with this happening.
  11. Carne Frio

    Carne Frio Well-Known Member

    If you have a bad shoulder, like I do, they are
    very nice to have when sighting in a larger
    caliber rifle.:D
  12. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Well-Known Member

    with a good front rest and rear bag setup, the lead sled becomes pointless. with heavy-recoiling rifles, the lead sled can actually cause damage. it'd be like hitting a pothole in a car with no suspension and solid steel tires. something's gotta give.
  13. Reloadron

    Reloadron Well-Known Member

    +1 on that note. Get a good front rest like a Wichita and a decent bunny bag for the rear.

  14. Sky

    Sky Well-Known Member

    The range I frequent has two that they let anyone use (free) I have used them on occasion when doing a zero on a particular weapon. They work and are pretty good for fine detail zeroing but unless I was having to zero something every week I would not put up with the weight and hassle of transporting the thing around to a range. If living in the country with my own range then I might have one but maybe not even then.

    P.S. the ones I have used have a recoil pad that the rifle compresses so as far as damaging a stock....I don't think so.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
  15. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Well-Known Member

    I have a lead sled, its a pretty useful tool to have when working up heavy handloads. I have never heard of a rifle being "damaged" in a lead sled, mine seem to hold up just fine.
  16. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Nonsense from somebody who has never used one. I wouldn't be without a LeadSled. I use it all the time and it is indispensable for load development in larger centerfire rifles. I have zero issues whatsoever shooting rifles off my hind legs but some are painful to shoot from the bench. In particular, a late model Winchester 1895 .405 with a steel buttplate. The Sled makes load development a breeze. Fact, I shoot better for longer periods with the Sled than you ever will without one.

    You're not going to use a rest and bags in the field either. Shooting from the bench has no value for anything but developing loads and zeroing. So this point is completely moot.

    More nonsense, the Sled absorbs the recoil. It's allowed to move and it's supposed to move. It's not rigidly mounted to a concrete bench. It is simply doing what your body would normally do. That's what it's for.
  17. Inebriated

    Inebriated Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies. CraigC answered the folks I was about to... this isn't to plink, it's to get consistent groups so I can see both the rifle's zero, and eventually try different loads and see what the rifles like best. I'll probably pick one up in a few days, and see how it goes.
  18. Mr_Pale_Horse

    Mr_Pale_Horse Well-Known Member

    We use one at Deer Camp, when all the hunters are checking zero, or zero'ing new gear. It is great for that volume of use.
  19. Pacsd

    Pacsd Well-Known Member

    Don't damage stocks? I'm here to tell ya they do and will. Using it, I cracked the stock ( very attractive wood) on my 270 and knocked the scope outta zero on my 7mm-08. I took it back to Scheels. I told them the story and was told "you're not the first one". I got a store credit that I used for a Caldwell 3 point "rock" and a butt rest. Do what ya want.
  20. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

    I'm not sure I'd call it "indispensable", but it's a HUGE help.
    I may be getting wimpy as I get older, but it's hard for me to remain consistent when shooting ladders with 50 or 60, 300 grain .338 rounds. The Lead Sled is much easier on my shoulder than a sissy bag and gives me more reliable accuracy, for more rounds.

    I don't normally use it for sighting in because it's a pig to tote around and I don't usually fire enough rounds to make recoil problematic.

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