Caldwell's Lead Sleds, and shooting sleds in general, provide an easy way to save ammo and obtain greater accuracy. Whether you're zeroing a new optic or getting comfortable with a new long gun, a shooting sled provides stability and fine adjustments to get on-target. That's perhaps more important today than ever before, wherein ammo rifle prices have, in some cases, tripled.
The Lead Sled Solo Shooting Rest
Caldwell's "Solo" Sled is the lightest, smallest, and simplest of their shooting sleds. It provides a steel frame, a weight tray, rubber bits for securing your long gun, and some adjustment knobs for leveling the sled and raising or lowering your barrel.
Sled Specs & Measurements
- Weight tray: 11"L x 6"W x 1.5"D
- Buttstock pad: 1.9"L x 1.9"W x 4.2"D
- Cradle-to-pad distance: 22.25"
- Width between front legs: 16"
- Tray-to-barrel height: Approx. 7.5" (adjustable)
- Sled dry weight, empty: 14 pounds
- Weight tray capacity: 25+ pounds
How a shooting sled works
A shooting sled immobilizes your long gun and prevents any other factors - like shooting stance, recoil, trigger squeeze, and physical movement - from affecting the difference between your point of aim (POA) and point of impact (POI).
This is accomplished by cinching your long gun down to the sled, wherein the front barrel cradle - in tandem with a velcro fastener or clamp - and rear buttstock cradle prevent any rifle movement. To prevent the sled from also moving from recoil, the weight tray is loaded with sandbags or free weights.
Why use a shooting sled?
Those factors we discussed above can negatively affect your ability to zero your long gun. By eliminating all factors beyond the physical difference between POA and POI, one can more easily make accurate adjustments to optics or iron sights to obtain a proper zero.
A sled like the Caldwell Solo becomes even more useful when zeroing at, say, 50 to 100 meters. By helping to provide tight, accurate-to-POA shot groups, fewer total shot groups and wasted ammo are required to obtain a good zero.
A sled can help new shooters, too
Learning to shoot can feel intimidating. There is no shame in admitting recoil and muzzle blast complicate the process of learning good trigger squeeze, breath control, aim, and sight picture. Immobilizing a new shooter's firearm and reducing felt recoil with a sled allows him or her to focus on learning those important fundamentals of marksmanship.
Even experienced shooters can benefit from using a sled. Often find your shot groups hitting high and low, or low and left? Using a sled allows you to easily confirm whether your sight picture or eye relief are inaccurate, resulting in parallax error. Twtichy on the trigger? Learn better trigger squeeze by shooting without anticipating recoil and muzzle rise.
Lead Sled Solo Setup & Review
Video review now available!
The Solo is relatively simple, so setting it up out of the box is straightforward. The sled comes partially assembled; all you'll need to do is attach the front mount and install the lever arm spring that aids in raising and lowering your muzzle with the provided adjustment knobs.
Tools: You'll need a 19mm socket and wrench. An SAE 3/4" wrench and socket works, too.
1. Confirm All Parts Included
In addition to the sled itself, make sure you've received all components necessary to assembled your Lead Sled Solo. Pictured left to right, you should receive:
- (1) Support arm w/ Velcro
- (1) Threaded adjustment knob
- (2) Hex-head bolts
- (2) Flat washers
- (1) Nylock nut
- (1) Spring
2. Remove Front Support From Pivot Arm
The front support for the sled ships attached to the main pivot arm. You'll need to remove it by loosening the hex-head bolt shown above.
The shooting sled's provided bolts and nylock nut requires a 3/4" (SAE) or 19mm (metric) socket or wrench.
3. Insert Spring and Reinstall Bolt w/ Washers
With the front support removed, insert the spring between the sled's bottom and top arms. Raised nubs on the arm and sled indicate where the spring should rest. Then install one flat washer on the bolt, and insert the bolt through the plates and arm.
On the opposite side, insert the other flash washer and tighten the nylock nut to the bolt. Ensure the bolt is snug, but loose enough to allow the pivot arm to raise and lower without binding.
4. Install Adjustment Knob
Next, remove the plastic cap from the adjustment knob. Thread the adjustment knob through the threaded hole in the pivot arm. Once the threads exit under the arm, reinsert the plastic cap on the end of the knob. The capped end of the knob should rest atop the bottom arm on the sled, as shown above.
5. Install Front Support / Cradle
To install the front support cradle, remove the plastic threaded knob closest of the end of the threads. Insert the threads through the hole at the end of the pivot arm. Next, reinstall the plastic knob you just removed. Adjust the height of the cradle by turning the top-most threaded plastic knob, then secure the cradle by tightening the bottom knob.
6. Install Front Arm
Lastly, secure the front arm to the weight tray using the two remaining hex-head bolts provided in the kit. Each bolt requires the same 19mm or 3/4" socket or wrench used earlier. Washers are not required for these two bolts.
Using the Lead Sled Solo
Using the Lead Sled Solo is easy. Most long guns will fit the rear buttstock and front cradle mounts as shown above. Simply adjust the front cradle height to ensure your long gun is parallel with the pivot arm, and fill the weight tray with bags of shot or free weights to prevent the sled from moving under recoil.
If you're resting the sled atop an uneven bench or surface, either side of the front support can be individually adjusted to level the sled.
With your rifle levelled in the shooting sled, fine adjustments of the muzzle height, relative to the target downrange, can be made by turning the threaded adjustment knob on the pivot arm.
DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the world of DIY gun building, you likely have a lot of questions and rightfully so. It’s an area that has a lot of questions that, without the correct answers, could have some serious implications. At RangeOften.com, we are by no means providing this content on our website to serve as legal advice or legal counsel. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research around their respective State laws as well as educating themselves on the Federal laws. When performing your own research, please be sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.