Bags ‘n’Beans

Fill a bean­bag, mess free - Russ Dou­glas tells us how.

Airgun World - - Contents -

Whilst sourc­ing the new MTM High-Low shoot­ing ta­ble (see page 56 of this is­sue), I wanted to give it a thor­ough test; to try it on grass, as the de­sign­ers in­tended, and a hard sur­face – cue the some­what Heath Robin­son use of a length of chain as a safety ‘spi­der’. I also wanted to try it with two styles of ri­fle, plus shoot­ing from bench-rest bean­bags as well as an ad­justable bi­pod.

The very help­ful Claire, at John Roth­ery Whole­salers, sent through their un­filled Cald­well Bal­lis­tic ‘Dead Shot’ shoot­ing bags on loan, to ac­com­pany the MTM High-Low ta­ble. These bags are very stur­dily built from bold green ny­lon/cor­dura ma­te­rial, with a softer black suede-like cov­er­ing for the stock­cradling sur­face on the larger bag. The smaller rear bag also has a plas­tic cara­biner clip to at­tach to a ruck­sack or belt – very handy.


The next job was sourc­ing fill. I’m ever-aware of my tem­per­a­men­tal and frag­ile back, and didn’t want to hurt it fur­ther by lug­ging heavy kit about so I wan­dered into my lo­cal Hob­by­craft on my lunch-break and bought a 0.5 cu.ft bag of poly­styrene beads. These are per­fect to al­low ad­just­ment whilst tar­get­ing, with­out weigh­ing a ton. I reckon the bag took a cou­ple of litres of beads to fill, in the end, but a word of warn­ing here; the beads cling by static and get EVERYWHERE, so it’s best to use a large di­am­e­ter funnel, and take it slowly.

For the bunny-ears-shaped, rear bench rest bag I looked at the smaller beads and de­cided to source some­thing heav­ier. Whilst chat­ting to Mike, at the lo­cal ‘Mon­trose Guns & Tackle’ I’d been warned off us­ing sand, which would be too heavy any­way, and plas­tic hobby/craft beads proved pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive.

An on­line search found a 1kg bag of small, plas­tic, mis­shapen beads, which I felt would weight down the rear bag, and once that was full – us­ing ap­prox­i­mately three-quar­ters of a kilo – I added the left­overs to the larger bag, to add a lit­tle weight to the poly­styrene pri­mary fill.


There’s a very se­cure Vel­cro-sealed flap on both bags, and once opened, a plas­tic funnel that I found un­der the sink and sourced from a pound shop, proved the per­fect de­vice for fill­ing the small bag. Re­peated shak­ing and squeez­ing got the fill into all the nooks and cran­nies, re­sult­ing in a very sturdy rest. There’s also a mesh win­dow en­abling you to see the fill ap­proach­ing the top.

For the larger bag’s bulkier poly­styrene beads, I jury-rigged a larger funnel, from a card­board ce­real box, opened out and formed into a cone. Try as I might, I couldn’t pre­vent some of the light­weight beads from spilling out everywhere, so I sug­gest a larger di­am­e­ter cone – pound shops are your friends here. Duct tape proved to be a god­send when it came to pick­ing up the stray beads, and there were none left on our lounge car­pet. Ahem, writer’s li­cence used here.

Shake the bags to en­sure that no beads are caught in the flap, be­fore seal­ing each with the Vel­cro and fold­ing over to se­cure.

“you can sim­ply move the bags around on your cho­sen bench-rest ta­ble”


At the range, whilst shoot­ing, you can sim­ply move the bags around on your cho­sen bench-rest ta­ble. Slide the rear bag for­ward/ back­ward be­low the an­gle of your shoul­der stock’s un­der­side, to get the sight­ing el­e­va­tion roughly, and then gen­tly squeeze the lighter front bag to fine-tune the tar­get within the crosshairs – job done!

Af­ter pro­longed test­ing, I found that the poly­styrene beads in the front bag had com­pacted slightly, but there’s still plenty left in the bag – pro­vid­ing I find a mess-free way of get­ting them in there, of course. I

I hoped this wouldn’t be messy.

Gauze sta­tus win­dow and se­cure Vel­cro flap.

Slide bead bag for rough aim­ing.

Squeeze front bag to fine-tune aim.

Aftermath – thank good­ness for duct tape!

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