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Caldwell Lead Sled DFT

June 16, 2013
Bill Waugaman , Ohio Valley Outdoors

Two years ago, I wrote a review on Caldwell's Lead Sled Plus and it became one of my necessary shooting accessories. Over the last couple years, it was used to help evaluate the accuracy of a several rifles and check the patterning characteristics of a Winchester SX3 shotgun for my reviews. The Lead Sled Plus was a real shoulder saver, especially when shooting round-after-round of 3" and 3 1/2" shotgun shells. Several friends tried it and they ultimately purchased one for themselves.

In the next couple months, I have two firearms reviews already scheduled. The rifles are a Windham Weaponry (AR-style) modern sporting rifle and Savage's new B-Mag in .17 Winchester Super Magnum. I'm also going to be reviewing Winchester's new Varmint-X ammunition in .223 and .243. These reviews will have specific requirements that dictate the need for stepping up to the Lead Sled DFT (Dual Frame Technology). The Lead Sled DFT serves the same functionality as the Lead Sled Plus, but is enhanced with design features that give it added flexibility and user control.

The most obvious feature is the dual frame design that allows the DFT to hold detachable magazine rifles (including modern sporting rifles) and lever action rifles. There is over a 1" gap between the dual tube frame allowing the needed clearance. Lever action rifles can be cycled without removing the rifle from the cradle. Higher capacity magazines for modern sporting rifles can be used but may extend down into the back half of the weight tray.

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The front cradle assembly on the Lead Sled DFT is engineering artwork. The assembly will move forward and backward about 16" on the dual frame. This allows for the forearm on shorter rifles to rest in the cradle, not the barrel. Once the cradle assembly is properly positioned on the dual frame, it is secured in place with two locking cams to prevent any movement. Elevation of the cradle is controlled using a threaded 7/8" diameter ram that moves up and down by turning a wheel that rides on ball bearings. There is 2 1/2" of elevation adjustment for the cradle. Once the cradle is at the desired vertical height, it can be secured in place with a tightening knob to prevent any movement. The DFT cradle assembly also features a windage adjustment that is controlled by turning a knob. Even if the Lead Sled DFT happens to shift slightly under heavy recoil or gets bumped, a couple simple adjustments and you're back on target.

There is a rear elevation adjustment that gives 1" of vertical movement from the back of the DFT. The adjuster has a rubberized foot that says in place when the screw is turned. I find that the front cradle elevation adjustment is good for the initial adjustment and the rear elevation adjuster is great for fine tuning.

The design engineers at Caldwell put added emphasis on the construction of the front shooting bag and rear butt support. Both are made from denier polyester and synthetic leather for durability and to protect the firearm. The rear butt support has thick foam filled sides to securely hold the rifle or shotgun in place. The front shooting bag is designed for extra stability by having tapered sides to support any shaped forearm. It is secured in place by metal uprights on both sides of the cradle assembly that further help to retain the shape and fit of the shooting bag.

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Caldwell Lead Sled DFT

The Lead Sled DFT is build rugged with the serious shooter in mind. The frame is made from 14 gauge steel tubing with a black anodized finish. The extra large baffled tray is also made from 14 gauge steel and will hold up to 100 pounds of weight. Even before adding any weight to the tray, the Lead Sled DFT comes in at 24 pounds. Some assembly is required. This is easily done using the included tools and following the instructions.

If you need a rugged shooting platform that has the ability to fine tune for windage and elevation, this is the platform for you. Likewise, if you shoot lever action rifles or firearms that have long magazines, the DFT will fit your needs. For shot gunners testing patterning characteristics, you can load up the weight tray and those 3 1/2" shells won't beat you up from the recoil.

The Lead Sled DFT has an MSRP $249.99 and comes with a 1 year warranty (actual prices can vary from retailer to retailer). For more information on all of the Lead Sled models and other Caldwell products, check out their web site at:

Fact Box

The Lead Sled DFT is build rugged with the serious shooter in mind.



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