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Caldwell's Lead Sled Plus

July 13, 2012
Bill Waugaman , Ohio Valley Outdoors

To sight in any type of firearm, using a stable rest from which to shoot is an absolute necessity. Over the years, I've used sand bags, bean bags, bank bags, ziploc bags, rolled up blankets, pillows, rolled up jackets, bipods, tripods, cardboard boxes, home made wooden standsany of these sound familiar?

Unless the sight picture is the same from shot to shot, it is difficult to determine if a problem exists with the firearm, the sights, the ammunition or the shooter. The opportunity to write an article comparing four different rifles (see the Sept/Oct Ohio Valley Outdoors Magazine) pushed my need for a good quality shooting platform to the forefront. To compare multiple rifles using a variety of ammunition and having others help with the shooting, a Caldwell Lead Sled Plus was chosen.

The Lead Sled Plus, weighing in at 15 pounds, is built solidly. The 1" tubular frame has 1.5 mm walls, the weight tray is 2 mm thick, the cradle plate is 2.5 mm thick and the butt stock rest is 3.43 mm thick. The two stress points not welded, the butt stock rest and front weight plate, are bolted to the frame using 8mm allen head screws. Some minimal assembly is required; all the necessary tools are included - 2 allen wrenches and an open end wrench.

Article Photos

Caldwell Lead Sled Plus

The butt stock padding and cradle bag are made from durable 600 denier polyester. Where the cradle bag comes in contact with the forearm of the rifle, a synthetic leather is used. A similar synthetic leather is used in the middle and the back side of the butt stock padding.

The weigh tray is adjustable from 11 " to 14 ". It will hold two 25 pound Olympic barbell weights, or up to 100 pounds of lead shot. Caldwell offers weight bags designed to hold 25 pound bags of shot, or they can be filled with another weight medium, such as sand. The optional Caldwell weight bags are made of 600 denier polyester, have a zippered closure and carry strap. These bags come in two sizes and are the same green color as the Lead Sled Plus.

There are two adjustments for elevation. A screw with rubber foot in the rear adjusts the frame up and down as needed. The elevation adjustment for the firearm is done using the elevation wheel to change the height of the front rest. Once set, the elevation ram is locked down with a special 'j-hook' bolt. Windage adjustments have to be done by moving the Lead Sled Plus left and right. If a windage adjustment is important to you, check out the Lead Sled DFT or FCX models.

The concept behind the Lead Sled Plus reducing recoil is all based on weight. Using a Lead Sled Plus with 25 pounds of weight is like adding 40 pounds of weight to a rifle. For example, take a rifle/scope weighing 8.5 pounds in .30-06. Using the Lyman formula calculation (, the recoil energy and velocity would be:

----- Rifle/Scope -----
Total Weight8.5 lbs
Bullet Weight150 gr
Muzzle Velocity2847 fps
Powder Weight58 gr
Recoil Energy18.2 ft lb
Recoil Velocity11.7 fps
----- Rifle/Scope/Lead Sled Plus -----
Total Weight48.5 lbs
Bullet Weight150 gr
Muzzle Velocity2847 fps
Powder Weight58 gr
Recoil Energy3.1 ft lb
Recoil Velocity2.0 fps

This is not an exact science and there are some variables, but the concept is still the samethe weight reduces the recoil.

Does the Lead Sled Plus have any shortcomings? Not really. Only one improvement would be suggested to Caldwell replace the included open end wrench for assembly with a box end wrench.

The Lead Sled Plus is one of 16 different shooting rests Caldwell manufactures, 4 of which carry the Lead Sled moniker. The Lead Sled Plus is actually the next generation of the original Lead Sled with improvements. After using one for a couple months of extensive shooting and then watching a lot of different people use it at the Savage Range Day, this is an accessory that any serious shooting enthusiast should have. The MSRP for the Lead Sled Plus is $159.99 and it comes with a 1 year warranty.

First Published August 2011



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