Damage resulting from too much lead on lead sled??

Ray B

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I'm considering getting a lead sled but I see recommendations by posters that having over 25 lbs of lead can cause damage to the firearms & scope. I can understand how the stock could be damaged because the recoil of the barreled action is pushing where they are mated to the stock and that push goes through the magazine well and grip as it pushes against the buttplate. So that if the buttplate is held quite solidly, the force will be to compress at the weakest points which would be a splitting of the magazine well and/or grip. I understand that, but how could the barreled action being heavily supported cause damage to the scope? It is along for the ride with the action and if the action is held firmly I don't see how it can be damaged. However, just because I don't understand something doesn't mean it isn't so- So, those more knowledgeable of the issue than I, please explain. Thank you.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Ray,

I can understand damage to the stock, but not to the scope.

For extended bench sessions, I would only use a EvoShield shoulder pad shirt. Then I got a 375 Ruger and decided it was time to buy a lead sled. I bought a Caldwell Lead Sled Plus and I use one 25 lb barbell type weight on it. It will hold two 25 lb plates, but I didn't want to go that heavy. The sled itself already weighs 10 lbs or so. So comparing shooting a 8 lb rifle/scope combo to a (8+10+25=43 lb system), the felt recoil goes down considerbly. The lead sled will still move as a result of the recoil and I want that "give" in the system.
 

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The optics are the most fragile part of the assembly. Think I still understand enough mechanics to see how it works. Inertia & the force to move the whole set up combined make me think it's possible to do some damage.

Not saying it will happen, just that I can see how it could happen.
 

matt85

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ive shot my 505 Gibbs MANY times from my lead sled with plenty of weight on it and have had no issues. i cant remember how much the weight was but 50 pounds was easily possible.

funny story... the 505 Gibbs ended up breaking my lead sled! it didnt happen quickly, just bits started to break off and the thing slowly fell apart. i probably fired the rifle maybe 100 times from the lead sled before the sled fell apart.

only way i could see a lead sled breaking any thing is if you bolted the sled to something that doesnt move. but i seriously doubt any normal lead sled weight would cause a properly build rifle to break.

-matt
 

Ridgewalker

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Free recoil, i.e. when the butt of the stock has virtually no resistance such as when it is shouldered, puts less stress on the stock and more stress on the scope and scope mounts.
Adding weight to the Leadsled puts more resistance on the butt of the stock consequently more strain on the stock to receiver/barrel mounting method (bedding, pillars, screws, wood graining, etc). No receiver movement, no scope/mount stress, but lots of stock stresses.
JMO

As has been stated in AH forum several times, "only shoot from the bench enough to get your gun sighted in, then only from sticks to learn to shoot". I do a lot of load development because it is a mental illness being a retired engineer, but I shoot my 22lr, 22 WMR, or 17HMR 20-50 rounds off the sticks every trip to the range. Often I shoot "crap" loads which tested bad off the sticks from my centerfires to get them emptied. I have "cheap" loads I developed as well to practice off the sticks such as Speer 235 gr SP in my 375 H&H. These cost half as much as the Barnes, Swift A-Frames, Nosler, Peregrine, etc. Trigger time is critically important time to learn and maintain shooting skills and I enjoy it.
Hope my rambling (old guy problem) helps?
 

JES Adventures

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The previous owner of my Blaser S2 in 470 NE used a lead sled and the stock craked at the pistol grip behind the tang. Therefore Blaser wouldnt warranty the stock. I had it repaired and used it on one safari then had it restocked.
 

mdwest

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Ray,
Then I got a 375 Ruger and decided it was time to buy a lead sled. I bought a Caldwell Lead Sled Plus and I use one 25 lb barbell type weight on it. It will hold two 25 lb plates, but I didn't want to go that heavy. The sled itself already weighs 10 lbs or so.

Same situation here..

I've just shot off of sandbags my entire life when doing extended bench sessions... but broke down and got a lead sled once I picked up a .375 H&H...

Using the sled alone brings recoil down somewhere in the light load .308 range for me.. I could sit there and put 100 rounds down range at a time with no issue if I needed/wanted to...

I've yet to put any additional weight on it.. and don't think I ever will unless I find the big bore bug has bitten me and I end up with something .416 or bigger in the arsenal (already thinking about it lol...)...

Shooting my 7mm WSM off of the lead sled was an absolute dream.. almost like shooting a .243.. just with a much bigger "boom" every time I pulled the trigger..
 

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I have found most of the criticism of lead sled use to be theoretical rather than built on actual experience. I have used mine for sighting in for quite a few years (bought it when they came out). And I use it on everything from .270 through .404. At the low end, it helps assure very tight groups, and at the high end it does the same while soaking up lots of recoil. Both factors result in fewer sight-in shots from the Bench. Most of my rifles have walnut stocks (I am of that generation), and I have never experienced any damage to a rifle or a scope through any, of what I am sure sure, are thousands of rounds I have fired off the sled.
 

Shootist43

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Has anyone discussed this issue with Caldwell, if so what did they say? Based on engineering and sound scientific principles "something(s) gotta give." For me, I'd just as soon the lead sled moved a little.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Well @JES Adventures experience is not the first I've read about. Is it on the more rare side for this to happen? Perhaps. But this is a simple matter of thinking about the energy involved here.

By using a lead sled, you're preventing a portion of kinetic energy transfer from the rifle to you the shooter. The more weight you use and the larger the caliber, the less as a percentage of the total energy and overall we're talking about.

It is an extreme comparison but useful to compare this as the difference between one ball on a pool table hitting another that is still. Some transfer of energy occurs and the ball that was stationary now moves is sort of like when shooting your rifle from your shoulder. Not a great comparison because the shooter has much more mass.

But at the other extreme is a ping-pong ball whacking into the side of a stationary bowling ball. The bowling ball basically doesn't move at all, there's very little energy transfer. The ping pong ball however compresses and goes flying off with virtually the same amount of energy but with a rapid change in direction.

You just can't deny the physics here. Will the build of the rifle and or characteristics of the wood come into play? Of course it will. But there is a breaking point. The scope is part of this system and will also be subject to this lack of energy transfer.

The more weight you use the closer you're getting to the idea of tying the rifle to a brick wall and thus that breaking point.
 

Clayton

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...However, just because I don't understand something doesn't mean it isn't so...

Can extrapolate this to mean: Just cause it ain't happened to me, don't mean it can't happen. But then we're still talking about possibilities of an event rather than any degree of certainty.
 

ChrisG

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I think the issue with the lead sled has been pretty well covered. I would say that it is possible to damage the scope though. When the rifle is locked into a lead slead, not matter how tightly it is strapped down, it will still get a bit of a running start as it compresses fabrics and straps, and the frame bends slightly to accomodate the energy before the whole things starts to move. But once it starts to move it is suddenly and abruptly stopped by the weight of the lead sled and everything uncrompresses. This all happens in a fraction of a second. What people don't always realize is that force is a function of acceration, which is inversely proportional to time (A=Vf-Vo/T). As time shrinks, and final velocity remains the same, acceleration or deceleration increase drastically. This in turn increases force drastically. If you accerate and then decelerate something heavy (such as a rifle or scope/mounts) in a very short fraction of a second, the forces involved are incredibly high. I would have to guess in the hundreds if not thousands of pounds depending on the rifles recoil. I believe that this rapid acceleration and deceleration is a double jolt to a scope that is designed to take recoil in only one direction, since all the lenses have just been jerked in one direction only to be slammed into the other just as quickly when using a lead sled. This never happens when you shoot the rifle against your shoulder as the rifle decelerates relatively slowly even though the initial jerk was quite abrupt.

In any case. I never use a lead sled as I like to see how well I can shoot the rifle, not how well a clamp can shoot it. Plus it gets you accustomed to the recoil. If you can do it off a bench, free standing is a walk in the park! I might change my tone if I owned a .577 NE or something I guess.
 

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I have a lead sled and have had issues. First of all I quit strapping the barrel down because I was having a problem of getting sighted in and without the sled it being a bit off. I think it makes sense hat the barrel strapped down is not natural and can affect the normal movement when a shot goes off.
Secondly my .416 Ruger was fired many times from the sled (barrel strapped down) and seemed fine. I went to the SAAM shooting school and the first shot from a bench and the wood cracked near the tang. I don't know what else to attribute the cracking of a brand new stick to but the sled.
I still use it all the time because I like it but I just don't strap the barrel down.

Regards
Philip
 

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Back a good kicking rifle up to a brick wall and pull the trigger and see what happens. Maybe nothing, once... keep doing it and the stock will break for sure and the scope may go astray as well. Matter of degrees.
 

lcq

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I've never had any issues using the sled. I use a bag of lead shot to weight it down and it moves under recoil, further the recoil pad compresses as well. Using the LS isn't like placing the butt on a tree there is enough give not to damage a rifle in good condition.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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I've never had any issues using the sled. I use a bag of lead shot to weight it down and it moves under recoil, further the recoil pad compresses as well. Using the LS isn't like placing the butt on a tree there is enough give not to damage a rifle in good condition.

You use "a" bag of lead shot and that's a big difference. I've seen guys at my local range putting much more to where I see virtually no movement of the sled.
 
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lcq

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You use "a" bag of lead shot and that's a big difference. I've seen guys at my local range putting much more to where I see virtually no movement of the sled.

You can't fix stupid I suppose. It is a gun, guns recoil and the object is to get them sighted in without being beat up and bruised. If those guys want no recoil they better wait till Phazers are available to the public.
 

lcq

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Back a good kicking rifle up to a brick wall and pull the trigger and see what happens. Maybe nothing, once... keep doing it and the stock will break for sure and the scope may go astray as well. Matter of degrees.

I would call that inelastic from my old physics courses. Definitely not real world unless the shoulder goes on a tree and the gun on the shoulder :)
 

vinnymbogo

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So I guess that makes me stupid? I have been around the profession of arms my whole life, and hunted constantly during that time as well. I have the great good fortune to own a few rifles and to have fired darn near everything up through .600 (though I didn't like that much at all.) In other words, I think I know how to use a rifle without awaiting phaser.

If I can employ a rest which shortens sight-in time while making the whole effort more precise, then I actually think that I'm pretty smart and probably don't need "fixing" as you so artfully put it. And, as I noted, I have actually used one regularly for what must be a decade with no issues at all with rifles or scopes, regardless of theoretical postulations to the contrary. It allows me to spend more range time utilizing the positions I will use on a hunt- to include sticks. For me, that all to the good ad not so stupid at all.
My interpretation of Icq's post was that he was in agreement with you about the use of a led sled.
 
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Red Leg

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My interpretation of Icq's post was that he was in agreement with you about the use of a led sled.

Probably right - just reparsed - deleted.
 
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