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January 31, 2006

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The Lead Sled--America's Shame?

After much prayer, meditation, and fasting (well, no, no fasting, screw that) I have realized that our deterioration as a nation is not due to our addiction to gasoline, Internet porn, a Congress that has pretty much given up, a pinheaded President, or Senator Hillary R. Clinton's nightmarish, nonstop whoring after the Oval Office. No, it is due to the Lead Sled.

In case you're not familiar with this infernal device, it is a metal pan upon which is affixed a rifle mount. To use, you lock your rifle in the mount and throw lead-filled shot bags on the sled. Then you aim the rifle and shoot, and the monstrous combined weight of sled and lead completely eliminates all recoil.

If you use the Lead Sled you will not suffer from detached retinas, blinding headaches, crying jags, spinal injuries, or any of the other neat stuff that recoil can cause. That's the good news. The bad news is you will be a sissie boy, a girlie man.

Friends, listen to me: The way you learn to shoot a rifle that kicks is by shooting a rifle that kicks. My brother, a sixth-degree black belt (Tae Kwon Do), tells me of martial arts experts who have gotten their asses whipped in real fights because they spent almost all their time pulling their punches in a dojo. If you decide that you would like to shoot a rifle that kicks, you will not learn to handle it by locking it into the Lead Sled. You do so by shooting it for real and getting your brains scrambled.

Good shooting begins with the acceptance of pain. Great shooting begins with the love of pain. Do you think John Wayne would have used a Lead Sled? Do you think John Wayne would have appeared in Brokeback Mountain ? You have been warned.

Comments

Eric Swanson

Mr. Petzal,

Great comment. I have to admit that I am a young gun. I am 25 and yet I learned to shoot off of a single shot 12. That old gun could almost lift me off my feet when I was 13 and yet today I love having shot it. I know that no matter how much kick my gun has it won't knock me as hard as that did and I have no fear of recoil. People are asking for things to be way to easy now a days. I think that part of doing things is living will all the pain and joy that comes with it. Thanks for the post.

Eric

Smith Dewlen

Dear Dave;

I agree with you on the practice sessions required for shooting any firearm. Especially those that really have a punch.

However, the Lead Sled is not for the practice session. It is supposed to allow a more accurate sighting in process. I am sure we agree that heavy recoil lessens the ability to obtain an accurate zero.

I have not used the Lead Sled and therefore am unable to approve its use or to disavow it.

I do wonder if its use would generate a different recoil pattern and therefore produce a false zero.

Your opinion, after trying one, would be of interest to me.

Smith Dewlen

Wendell Nickerson

I have a lead sled and a 338 win mag that I dearly love. The 338 is my deer and elk and everything gun. One gun tends to make you more skillfull. Sighting it in is torture and punishing.When I am checking loads and new bullets I'll continue using the lead sled thank you. It's a great invention, and no I don't intend on seeing "that movie" either.

David Beebe

I do not have one lead sled I have two. Both Marlins .444 and a 45/70. I love to shoot both of them especially the 45/70 with 405 gr. bullets. I want to try the new Hornady.

Mike Ashbaugh

I use a lead sled for its intended purpose, to sight in a new scope or a new load. I have been shooting since I was 4years old and know about recoil.The Lead sled is the greatest thing to come along since sliced bread. After sighting in high power rifles on the sled I find they are right on, from the sholder, or the sand bags.Yes John Wayne was smart enough thae he would have used one ,and, he would NOT be in that broken movie.

Darion Williamson

I purchased a lead sled last year after taking a major punishing trying to sight in my new 12 guage slug gun. First, you dont STRAP your gun in, it sits on the rest like any other. Second, after numerous shots with the slug gun and knowing the next one is going to hurt, it was a joy to shoot until I had a perfect zero with the lead sled.

I'll keep it thanks and Im not a sissy boy or girly man.

robert giron

I AM 70 YRS OLD WAS A 30 CAL AND SILLOUETT COMPETETOR . I HAVE PUT LITTERLY THOUSANDS OF RDS DOWN RANGE. I HAVE FIRED RIFLES ALL THE WAY TO A 600 NITRO. SO I AM NO STRANGER TO RECOIL.I ALSO OWEN SEVERAL HAND CANNONS. BUT FOR WORKING UP LOADS ON BIG DOUBLES AND BIG BOLT GUNS I THINK THE LEAD SLED IS A GREAT TOOL. AFTER THE LOADS ARE WORKED UP THE SLED IS RETIRED AND THE OFF HAND AND BENCH WORK ARE IN . I ALSO AM A MARTIAL ARTIST AND THE NO PAIN NO GAIN DOESN'T ALWAYS APPLY BELIEVE ME IT IS ALSO A MEDICAL FACT5 THAT AS AGE INCREASES SO THE TOLERANCE FOR PAIN DECREASE....BOB G

Donald S Brown

Pinheaded president? I thought Clinton was out of office.

Charles Moon

Lets stop the praise and get down to real facts now. 1- For most guys (not all) 90% of their shooting of their new deer/elk/moose gun occurs during the sighting in period. After that its only shot a few times a year.
2- I am an avid weightlifter, and if you can't handle 405lbs on the bench you DONT put it on the bench.
3- If you can not handle a gun for the sighting in period...you are a girly man-wussie -period-!!
Charles Moon

E. FLEMING

Hello Mr. Petzal,

Until the advent of laser bore sighting instruments, I've always done my "sighting-in" across a sandbag. Yes, shot after shot from a 30-06 or .375 H&H mag is somewhat punishing but it certainly develops an appreciation for recoil, steadiness and mathematics. The bruises are a great reminder of what fun I had the day before. I'm nut's about my new .45-70 and can't wait to put a few +P Garret rounds through it!! As for "Broke Back Mountain"....Jerimiah Johnson would probably have a stroke. I doubt he'd think much of our current political situation either.

Troy  A-Z

If you are tired of getting beaten up by your rifle, then it is time to put it down and work with something smaller for a while. Besides you don't always need to use the largest hammer in the tool box to drive a nail through a board.
Shoot what you are comfotable with and learn to shoot it well.
Now it is time for me to go back cruising porn using government monitored search engines, maybe they will learn a little something.

Rob S

Petzal, You're awesome!

Flea

Oh, like John Wayne wasn't gay. Pfffffft.

O Garcia

What is it with Field & Stream shooting editors and their infatuation with John Wayne? First Warren Page calls John Wayne a "man's man", and now Dave Petzal speculates on whether the Duke would have starred on "Brokeback Mountain". Since John Wayne was a screen name and the real man was Marion Morrison, who knows what he might have done given the right offer $$$ by Hollywood?

John Wayne was also a phony. He was the Western movie hero who actually hated horses. He was the war movie hero who did all he could to evade military service. Yeah, yeah, he was Stryker, the sergeant who shaped recruits into Marines, and he was that Colonel from "The Longest Day" who asked the medic to sew him up so he could continue fighting, but that was about it. I'm sure whatever "John Wayne" could do, Ernest Hemingway (a real person) would beat him. Boxing, hunting, name it. And in a make-believe world, in a fantasy gunfight, I'd still pick Yul Brynner over John Wayne anytime. The King of Siam would outdraw and outshoot the Duke 99 out of 100.

Next time, Mr. Petzal, if you want to stoke our machismo, use celebrities who also happened to be real life heroes. Jimmy Stewart, in addition to being a really nice guy, flew bomber missions over Hitler's backyard. Lee Marvin served in WW2. Ted Williams flew Navy and Marine planes in WW2 and Korea. Warren Spahn was in the Battle of the Bulge. And Christy Matthewson suffered horribly from being gassed in WW1, never regaining his baseball career.

John Wayne? As Owen Wilson says in Shanghai Noon, that's a terrible name for a cowboy.

David E. Petzal

About the "pinheaded president" comment, let me ask you this: If you owned a business, would you leave George W. Bush in charge of it for eight years?

About John Wayne: I was being ironic. A great many actors served heroically in World War II, but Wayne was not among them. He did, in fact, dodge the draft. I am a fan of his as far as movies go, but in real life Wayne was as much of a hero as Dick ("Five Deferments") Chaney.

Matt Oursbourn

Dave -

I usually enjoy your writing, but right now I'm shaking my head with disgust. After a little criticism, you fold up like a paper bag and retract your earlier statements. I'm sure if John Wayne were around today, you wouldn't be saying such things. It's easy to criticize someone posthumously. Also, anyone who has never served in the military has no right to criticize anyone else for not serving. And, you can be damn sure John Wayne never would've had anything to do with a disgrace such as "Brokeback Mountain."

Back to the original topic, I agree that the lead sled is an atrocity. I've been shooting 12 gauge shotguns, .270 Winchesters, and my uncle's .44 Mag Redhawk since I was eleven and weighed about 75 pounds. Without a doubt, learning to deal with recoil makes you a better shooter.

Mike Clifford

Shooting is like drinking, is it not?
If you're going to drink- drink like a man (spare me the Light beer, please).

If you're going to shoot.....you get the point.

Ben Bryant

I've just purchased a Lead Sled and the main reason that I acquired it was to sight in my rifles.

Recoil to me is not a major concern, but pointlessly shooting over and over and not being zeroed in is a waste of time and ammo. So any new product which facillitates more accurate shooting on my part is definitely welcome.

Eddie

I really like the 17 HMR

Tony A

John Wayne was an actor....was paid to act. Yes, I think he would have starred in Broke Back Mountain had anyone the balls to make said movie while he was alive. Petzal, You should learn to stay on subject.

P.S. Look up 3-A and 2-A status. No mention of that being a "dodger" in those Selective Service Status interpretations.

JA Demko

I can easily see John Wayne playing in Brokeback Mountain. Randolph Scott co-starring.

CC Schwartz


A Lead Sled is a load development tool. Very useful
for big bores that generate a lot of recoil FROM THE
BENCH. Use it to develop your loads and then practice from hunting postions and the sticks.

David A. Hughes

Does "taking" recoil make a man? Was John Wayne 'all man?" I use my lead sled because i want to accurately boresight and sight my own guns. At age I owned, and used extensively, a lee enfield .303 sporterized with a hacksaw, a wood rasp, and a piece of broken glass for the fine work. I shoot, free hand, every thing from 12 ga. to .44 mag. to .300 mag. to .45 acp. I guess maybe ( by your logic) boresighting is a girly man thing to do since t deprives one of the opportunity to demonstrate to others at the range just how macho one can be by 'taking' recoil over and over, regardless of whether one hits what one is aiming at. John Wayne? Arnold the governator? W? might as well throw in another farce: ronald mcdonald reagan--mr. movie maker during the war. No doubt all of these paragons would 'take'recoil; who cares what they hit? kind of like their various poolitical acreers, no? ( except the duke of course ; i still enjoy his movies--the cornier, the better) who carsws what they did; it's all in the image, right. Manly men standing free and tall at the range, large bore to bruised shoulders, unflinchingly pouring lead hither and yon, no doubt from $3500.00 or more pieces while dressed in the finest of tailored safari clothing. (expletive deleted). My concern is getting the damernd thing sighted in so I can hunt, so I can hit whaty I aim at. If the lead sled facilitates hat process, (and it does) then I, for one, am secure enough in my own masculinity not to give a damn. And the movie? who cares? what is it they say about homophobes and latent homosexuality? Yes, I saw the movie. I thought it was somewhat of a flop although I thin I know what the director was trying to express. My wife of thirty four years, however, loved it. And, just for the record, she doesn't shoot; I own --and shoot as often as I can-- all the guns, and we are both foaming-at-the-mouth, die-hard, died in the wool liberals.

Dr. Ralph

Calm down man... you mouth foaming liberals will probably be back in the Oval Office around 2017. That is if you have learned your lesson by then and don't try to break a 230 year precedent of white male presidential rule. Again...

Tyler K.

Thats a great point. Why should we ever nominate a minority or female for president? They would never win because of the "precedent" of only electing white males. Wow. Maybe people thinking like you are the reason we haven't had a minority president. Also, I've been shooting 12-gauge slug guns since I've been 12 and I've never cried about it.




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