View Full Version : SS Rifle Rest Project

03-17-2006, 10:44 AM
Back in '95 or '96, not long after I'd started subscribing to Precision Shooting magazine, Dick Wright did a review of a heavy (30+lbs.) benchrest front rifle rest made by Gary Hayes. Gary used(s) 316SS throughout, and even though there was only one B&W photo in the article, you could see the excellent workmanship. I told myself that when/if I ever got a decent lathe & mill, I'd make one of these rests for myself.

Well, the lathe was purchased in Dec. of '04, and the mill a year later - I figured the rest project would be as good a way as any to familiarize myself with the mill (my first, and the only one I've ever operated) and the Newall C80 DRO I bought & installed. A trip down to the Surplus Yard in Wichita for some SS & brass was necessary, then the chips started flying (more like the strings started stringing with stainless).


I had just gotten started boring out the hub when the lathe's single phase motor crapped-out for the last time - I'd already had it out of the motor cabinet several times to clean up the starting circuit's contact points, and had even replaced them with a new set - and had made up my mind that the next time it screwed up was going to be its last. I'd purchased a good heavy duty 3-phase motor locally, and ordered a TECO FM100 VFD from Dealers Industrial, which arrived the morning before I took off for the SHOT Show in Vegas.

After getting the VFD wired in, I worked pretty steady on the project to finish it in time to display on my table at our club's annual gun & collector show. There was a delay while waiting on a tool order - I needed better quality taps to thread the stainless, so ordered several R&N gun taps (spiral point), along with Titex parabolic flute cobalt drills. The combination of cobalt & the parabolic flutes has worked very well in even the toughest of the ??? alloys I picked up at the Yard - I'm a believer in these drills, and will be purchasing more of them (Cleveland & Titex) as needed. Dittos on the gun taps - sure beats 4-flute plug-style Hansens, which are all I can find locally.

I wanted a fine finish pass on the hub & legs, so used 222 T15 inserts in Warner toolholders - they give a nicer finish than the TCMT 32.51 carbide inserts I had at the time for the cheap import 5/8" shank toolholders I got with the lathe. However, I think I'm starting to see some rust on the tops of the knobs that were finished with the T15 inserts - it looks as though perhaps there's some steel off the inserts imbedded in the SS, and it's starting to rust. I recently bought some surplus Sandvik 32.51 finishing inserts off e-bay, and they appear to work at least as well as the T15 inserts for light finishing passes.

The mariners wheel for fine elevation adjustments is made of brass - couldn't find any bronze during my rummaging at the Yard. I drilled & bored the hole, then threaded it to fit the 1-14NF threads of the post with a Carmex internal threading tool & laydown inserts. Holes for the 304SS 3/8" spokes were drilled then reamed for a snug, press fit.

The top is 2024-T3 plate, rough sawn, then milled to suit. I used a HSS tool in a flycutter to finish the face surfaces of the plate, rather than leave the mill surface. In retrospect, I'm wondering if leaving the mill surface would be better - the finish I left with the flycutter (even with a pretty conservative feed rate) seems rough enough to have a tendency to gather & hold dust. If there were a local anodizer, the best course would have been to have the top's parts plated.

Overall, it was a fun project, and I got a lot of complements on the finished rest at the gun show. Best of all, it's something I can enjoy using, and seems even more stable than my rusty old Hart rest - but then, it's nearly twice as heavy as the Hart.

[This message has been edited by flatlander (edited 03-17-2006).]

[This message has been edited by flatlander (edited 03-17-2006).]

[This message has been edited by flatlander (edited 03-17-2006).]

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[This message has been edited by flatlander (edited 03-18-2006).]

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03-17-2006, 11:05 AM
Go to PhotoBucket (http://photobucket.com/) open account upload your photo's... cut and paste the IMG TAG into the posting block and submit.

[This message has been edited by Tinkerer (edited 03-17-2006).]

03-17-2006, 03:09 PM
I will be interested to see the photos. Gary P. Hansen

03-17-2006, 03:58 PM
You need to use the image tag on both sides of the link to the picture you wish to display here. "" in front of the link and "" on the back of the link WITHOUT THE QUOTES. Doing so will make the picture show up in your post.

The link you posted takes us to YOUR loggin page for your photobucket account. We cant do anything on that page without your password.

03-17-2006, 04:08 PM
Sorry guys, it's beyond me.

03-17-2006, 04:44 PM
I'll show you how its done...


This link takes you to a picture of the Google logo.

If you copy/paste that link into you post it shows up like this:


If you ADD the image tag to the link it looks like this:


Front of link----> http://www.goog <----

tricks_06.gif <---- Back of link

[This message has been edited by Schutzhund (edited 03-17-2006).]

03-17-2006, 04:51 PM
Send it to me Via email and I will post it.
Any thing to see the darn thing.

The tame Wolf !

03-17-2006, 04:58 PM
Lol,THAT would be the EASY way Wolf!

I'd like to see him learn how to do it since it's so easy. Its just hard to communicate board code via the net. Once he figures out how its done he will be able to share his pics here and elsewhere on the net.

03-17-2006, 05:03 PM
If he does.Oh and perhaps with the new board it may be impossible for a while.

The tame Wolf !

03-17-2006, 05:31 PM
More detailed instructions on how to post pictures can be found here:

Your Old Dog
03-17-2006, 06:08 PM
would really like to see your rest.

there's two parts to posting a picture. First you have to have a place to put it on the web. I have my own website so I use that. Most other guys seem to use PhotoBucket. Once the pic is posted you call it up on your screen so you can "copy and paste" it.

Then you come to this forum and in your thread you put the curser on a line with no words on it and do a "left click" on you mouse and hit "paste". It will put your copied address line there like so.....


Now to make it so others can see it put in front of it and on the end leaving no spaces. That's all there is to it. Now, where's the damn picture http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

03-17-2006, 06:38 PM

What do I win? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

03-17-2006, 06:43 PM
Nothin, the Moon is too big

The tame Wolf !

03-17-2006, 07:24 PM
Aw right, you guys, I'll give it another shot. I couldn't even get the damned photos into the album on Photobucket so I could see them. All I got was about 2/3 of the first one, and never could get the site to put the 2nd photo into my album. Finally got disgusted with the whole thing and went back out to the shop to work on the 2nd rest - much more satisfying, and not nearly as frustrating.

03-17-2006, 08:37 PM
sounds like a triple whammy 'win' project; you got to learn some new tricks, upgrade one of your machines, and have a better bench rest too. I used one of those orange Lyman aluminum rests for probably ten years, then a guy traded me a trigger job for a heavier metal rest he made. It was better, but had too much slop between the base and the pillar. About three years ago I machined some delrin bushings and a better top; now it's actually good enough to replace some day with something more serious! My buddy Dan still shoots off that orange Lyman; he can generally outshoot me on any given day. As others have said, looking forward to pictures, Flat. Your sister Ann give advice???

03-17-2006, 09:02 PM

I'll make the whole process a bit easier for you. It is much easier to upload your pics to tinypic. You dont even need to set up an account to do it.


03-17-2006, 11:49 PM
Good grief! - tinypic you say! How the heck did I get this huge file posted? This is all pretty embarassing - all I really wanted to do was post a couple of shots that'd fit the page. At any rate, thanks for the help - sorry I'm such a dunce at this.

03-18-2006, 12:15 AM
Flatlander...don't worry about it. Most of us where dummasses with the whole posting of pics thing when we first started too http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif
After you figure it all out you'll laugh!
Nice rest you made!
Now I REALLY miss my old place in the country. I had a 300 yard range and bench setup about 20 feet behind my house.
The ol' lady had me move it a couple hundred yards further. Something about the loud noise or something http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

03-18-2006, 01:11 AM
Originally posted by flatlander:
Good grief! - tinypic you say! How the heck did I get this huge file posted?

Lmao! We'll work on image resizing next week!

Nice work on the rest! Shes a beaut!

[This message has been edited by Schutzhund (edited 03-18-2006).]

03-18-2006, 01:16 AM
Click here to get the Image Resizer Power Toy for Windows (its free!): http://download.microsoft.com/download/whistler/Install/2/WXP/EN-US/ImageResizerPowertoySetup.exe

With that, you can right click on an image file and choose "resize image" and make a COPY of the picture in whatever size you'd like. I used 640x480 for the pic I just posted for instance.

03-18-2006, 01:21 AM
BTW, what kind of Lathe and Mill do you have?

03-18-2006, 01:30 AM
Nevermind..its coming to me... a Jet 13x40 Lathe and...a Jet JTM-2 Mill... *nose bleeds

03-18-2006, 06:46 AM
I guess we got the big picture now.
Thanx for steping up and makeing the effort.

A pic. is worth 1000 words.

The tame Wolf !

Your Old Dog
03-18-2006, 08:02 AM
Flatlander, thanks for taking the effort. Great job on the pic as well! It will likely be copied off on everyones computer before the week is out!

03-18-2006, 10:30 AM
Well, now that everyone knows what an ignoramous I am when it comes to posting photos, I'll add a little more information -

The main hub was turned from a drop I found in a scrap bin at the Yard - its OD was 3.75", and it's magnetic, so I suppose it's 400-series stainless. I couldn't find any 2.5" material for the bushing that slides inside the hub (for rough elevation adjustment - the threaded mariners wheel gives fine adj.) the day I bought most of the material, so I turned it out of another one of the 3.75" drops. The OD of the bushing is 2", with a 2.250" flange 1/2" thick at the top. The legs (and all the knurled knobs) were turned out of 1.375" dia. stock, and are also magnetic. There are SS 5/16 x 1.5" SHCSs under the mariners wheel that thread down into the top of each leg and lock them into place.


I bought a stick of SS 3/8" NC all-thread at a local hardware store and cut the leg leveling screws from that. They were then drilled so that points ground from .250" drill rod could be loc-tited into the bottoms. I didn't bother to harden the points - we'll have to see how well they stand up when used on concrete bench tops.

Speaking of drill rod - I ordered both water & oil-hardening rod from Enco, and they came in the same order - does anyone know which color paint denotes which type of drill rod? One's red, the other yellow (Ah yes, more ignorance on public display).

There's a SS 5/16 CS socket head screw holding the aluminum top to the threaded post. I used 10-32 SHCSs to secure the rails to the top; the rails are clamped over the leather "ears" of the sandbag, holding it in place. The aluminum side plates or ears can be adjusted via the 10-32 SHCS you see in the photo to put more or less side pressure on the sandbag; I used roll pins set into each side of the ears for them to pivot on.

Thanks to all you guys for the encouragement to get the photo posted, especially Shutzhund's tip on tinypic.com - I still don't know why I couldn't get the photos to upload to Photobucket.

[This message has been edited by flatlander (edited 03-18-2006).]

03-18-2006, 12:38 PM

That is a nice!

As to posting a picture, I don't even have a digital camera, know how to use one properly, or get the pictures out to the computer. So you are WAY ahead of my simple and slow mind!

Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."

03-18-2006, 04:49 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by flatlander:

Speaking of drill rod - I ordered both water & oil-hardening rod from Enco, and they came in the same order - does anyone know which color paint denotes which type of drill rod? One's red, the other yellow...


The red is O1 (Oil Hardening)

The yellow is W1 (Water Hardening)

03-19-2006, 12:36 AM
Schutzhund, thanks again. That drill rod is awfully handy stuff to have around - I need to get some more of it in assorted sizes.