Looking for comments regarding setting up a Ransom Rest Master Series.

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Post by jlow on 6/8/2019, 8:09 pm

I was lucky recently to acquire a used one.  It does not come with either a windage base or base plate – actually good for me as I needed to keep my cost at a reasonable level.  So the question is how best to set it up?

I have downloaded the instruction from the Ransom International website and read it.  I understand it is best to mount it on a ¾ or 1” plywood and attach two wood strips at the front and back to “keep the center of the mount board from contacting the bench.  I also understand that it is best to attach the above using 3-4 C-clamps on a concrete bench.

Here is my problem – we have no concrete bench at our club, we however have a large square block of concrete with 4 threaded rods embedded.  I am thinking that this would be an ideal attachment point.  The problem is of course it is not a bench with edges.  My thought is I could use a corresponding size 1” thick board with holes at the appropriate location and lock it down to the concrete block using the appropriate nut/water using the threaded rods.


So the next question is how to adjust windage.  My thought is to attach four 500 lb horizontal toggle clamps to the 1” thick board and use them to lock down the rest/plywood setup (so a total of 2,000 lb pressure).  This seems to allow a lot of flexibility in terms of windage adjustment, and the easiest to lock it down.

What do people think of these ideas?  Not really looking for a pat in the back, but specifically looking for things/problems that I have not thought of with this setup?  I will be testing only a 9mm semi-auto.

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Post by bruce martindale on 6/8/2019, 9:47 pm

Mount to whatever you can, preferably something heavy and has damping. Don't sit on the table or bench it's mounted to.

Windage can come from moving the target.

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Post by Ed Hall on 6/8/2019, 10:09 pm

Depending on how much work you're willing to do for windage, You can choose one hole as your pivot and make the other holes into short arcs.  Then use large washers to add contact when cinched down.

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Post by jlow on 6/8/2019, 10:29 pm

Bruce – I think I address mounting solutions .  Yes windage can come from moving targets but in a public 50 yard range, even though I don't mind the walk, that calls for a lot of time out which is not so popular with the other shooters.

Ed – Yes, thank you for the idea of putting in a hole in both the rest and base board and using a pin through both of them as a pivot for windage adjustment – that is a great idea.

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Post by radjag on 6/9/2019, 12:52 am

I'm kind of interested in this issue also.

I don't have a RR - but could consider getting one if I could find a convenient place/method to locate it.

I imagine that for it to work properly a large permanent concrete block or similar is needed - it would be hard for me to ask a "public" range to allow me to cast a large solid block of concrete.

But, has anyone built a kind of bench/block out of say heavy pressure treated lumber weighted down with sand bags or possibly concrete paving blocks? Maybe build in a seat/bench. Put a couple of large wheels on one end. Move it like a wheelbarrow off/on a utility trailer, then load it up with the concrete blocks. Leave it "semi-permanently" at a quiet spot on the range - but have the ability to easily remove it if the need arose. The actual RR mounted on heavy bolts so that it can be stored safely after every session.

Any comments/suggestions?

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Post by willnewton on 6/9/2019, 5:02 am

I think that folks go to ridiculous effort sometimes for mounting a RR.   If it really needed 2000 lbs of weight to resist movement, then it would not be possible to shoot the pistol with one hand, because the recoil would kill you.

Several folks have posted great test groups with a 4x scope and sandbags only with a little care or just using a simple rest to help steady the pistol. I have even heard of folks outshooting a RR while firing from the prone position!

The RR folks even have video of the system sitting freestanding just using a heavy 30-35lb baseplate alone without a clamp in sight.

Yes, you need something sturdy and immobile to mount the rest on.  BUT you also need to avoid careless bumping of the rest itself while operating. It is also more important that your gun is mounted properly in the RR and that you are using consistent technique.  Bad operation of the RR will have greater effect than a decent mounting surface.

The base could weight 1,000,000 lbs, but if you can’t learn to mount the pistol correctly, can’t learn to swap out a magazine while the gun is mounted without moving the pistol point of aim, can’t operate the RR repeatably, or can’t actuate the trigger bar consistently, your test results are doomed from the start.

There is a reason they are nicknamed “Random Rests” and it has way more to do with operation than mounting.

Mine is mounted to a metal machine tool base filled with bricks that might weigh 100 lbs total.  The base is bolted to a concrete slab (shop floor).  Shooting tiny groups is not a problem.  I spend way more time making sure I change mags carefully than stressing over the base.  A bad mag change in the RR will do more damage to a test group than a bad base!  Wink
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Post by jlow on 6/9/2019, 8:12 am

Thanks for writing in.  Yes, I agree 2,000 lb pressure seems excessive but why not do it if it is easy and cheap.  The horizontal toggle clamps cost $5.99 each at the local Harbor Freight store, so why cheap on them when the rest cost me $350 even used?  The point is to ensure ABSOLUTELY no movement, even the smallest.  Stopping movement has nothing to deal with being scared of recoil.  I shoot large caliber centerfire rifles that makes the recoil of my handgun like squirrel farts.

That video of RR folks posted with the 30-35lb baseplate alone IMHO was a disservice to the users.  Their PROOF that it did not move was that the rest did not VISIBLY move a piece of plastic next to the rest.  Anybody who knows anything about the proper operation of a RR knows that even a minute movement (not visible to the eye) in angle could significantly change the point of impact downrange 50 yards away.

I completely agreed that careless bumping of the rest is bad and proper mounting of the pistol is important.  My post in no way minimize the importance of these factors, it is just directed at a different list of variables that also needs to be addressed.

I understand the problem with mag change.  Anything that relates to touching the gun is a problem.  However, I am not worried about that as I do not envision shooting more than 19 round groups out of my gun.

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Post by willnewton on 6/9/2019, 8:41 am

I agree with your post and of course, doing what you can is worthwhile.  My post was mostly trying to point out that there is a lot of ways to throw off the results and focusing on extreme base infrastructure is not always necessary.

I will have to say something about your magazine capacity comment.  Sure you can get your 10-shot group from a hi-cap mag.  Smile

BUT If you really want to learn about and diagnose issues with your pistol, then you need to test the same way you shoot Bullseye.  Load five rounds and then load five rounds. (or shoot four, leave one chambered, and load five for a SF type mag change) Magazine tuning makes a difference.  Not only having them shoot similarly, but knowing how they behave on the first or last round or during a mag change.

I don’t have a dozen magazines per gun.  I have two that shoot the same group. Laughing

You will have a good time with the RR.  It is a teaching tool that will show you some interesting and often unexpected things about the pistol, the ammo, and even yourself!
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Post by jlow on 6/9/2019, 9:11 am

Thanks again for your inputs – it is much appreciated.

I should clarify, I am not a bullseye shooter but a tactical action shooter.  I came here because I know a lot of the best pistol shooters reside here and so I think it is an excellent place to learn stuff. 

For my matches, depending on which one, I use either 11 or full capacity so testing in the manner I describe is probably more realistic although as you pointed out, probably not the ideal way to get the best groups.  Will probably take some time to learn a bit more about idiosyncrasies about my mags as I go along.  To start, I will probably just use one mag and loaded to 10 rounds.  My training was a research scientist so dealing with one variable at a time is always the way to go.

Yes, I am excited to have the RR and to learn a lot more about pistol precision reloading.  I am a pretty seasoned precision rifle reloader but for some reason never done any experiment with pistol reloading even though I have reloaded and shot pistol for many years.  Another challenge and learning experience!

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Post by jglenn21 on 6/9/2019, 9:31 am

I prefer to load 6 rounds in the magazine then fire the 1st round away from the group area. Fire the next 4 rounds and reload the Same magazine with five.  Continue to fire the remaining rounds.. this has consistently given me the best results.and the fewest flyers.
 Yes different mags will give different groups quite often. This is why you will on occasion, see someone use a single magazine in SF.

 This method will show you the pistol's potential.
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Post by jlow on 6/9/2019, 9:37 am

Appreciate the input and tips!

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Post by CR10X on 6/9/2019, 10:12 am

I've found that for best results over the long term;  the RR should be mounted to a heavy wooden (in our case Oak) base.  Dense, composite plywood will work too.  Then the base should be bolted to a heavy concrete base or pedestal with steel bolts or steel frame embedded in the concrete.  Usually 24 or more inches in diameter and about 4 or 5 feet in the ground for the base, and use re-bar to make a good base if you can. Just a steel post embedded in the ground will generally become loose over time. (And it doesn't take much to mess things up.)    

You might think you want steel on steel or concrete, etc., and RR bolted directly to the base to ensure no movement.  But what you really need is a stable layer to dampen the vibrations / shock and yet remain stable to ensure good results and long life for your setup.  And yet, not be able to move or shift over time like clamps, etc.  

Be sure to understand how the compression spring works and do not over tighten. 

However, as with everything else I post, you may proceed as you think fit.  I've only been doing this for over 30 years plus and still welcome the chance to learn. 

CR

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Post by jlow on 6/9/2019, 10:43 am

Thanks for your reply.

So this “
large square block of concrete with 4 threaded rods embedded
” described my original post is what we have at the range.  I have always wonder why it is there but now that I am getting into a RR, my thinking is it was originally put there by the club for use with a RR, that is really the only thing that makes sense.  It has embedded in it several threaded rods which also makes perfect sense as a solid base for a RR.  It is big, something like 2’ square at the top and at least 2’ high, painted yellow for attentions to avoid tripping.  Our club has many bullseye shooter so having one also makes sense….


Being a tactical shooter, I of course have always ignored it as an odd anomaly, so I don’t remember much details except for the above.  My plan is to go there this week and get exact dimensions and see if it will work as my RR base.

Right now my thought is to attach “a corresponding size 1” thick board with holes at the appropriate location and lock it down to the concrete block using the appropriate nut/washer using the threaded rods.” And mount the RR on to a ¾ or 1” plywood and attach two wood strips at the front” and clamp this on to the 1” thick wood base with the horizontal toggle clamps.

About the compression spring – I understand it’s purpose but have not seen any instructions in terms of how much to tighten.  Can you please elaborate?

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Post by Wobbley on 6/9/2019, 11:16 am

What is the approximate diameter and center-to-center of these 4 threaded rods?

You could also use two 3-4 inch channel irons with matching holes as a boltable base. Or weld something up.
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Post by jlow on 6/9/2019, 12:41 pm

I don't know yet because as mentioned earlier I have always ignored the thing :-) .  Going to go in this week with tape measure, calipers and a camera to figure out what I am dealing with.

In terms of a solution, I am a woodworker but unfortunately have no skills dealing with metal, so will probably just build something up with wood.

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Post by jglenn21 on 6/9/2019, 12:50 pm

As CR noted check the tension spring every time you start out.. my base plate is 1" plywood with a steel plate under neath that the ransom plate bolts to. It does have the recommended front and rear pads that happen to be oak.
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Post by jlow on 6/9/2019, 12:52 pm

So what would be the correct tension if you are using a 3/4" plywood with the front and rear pads?  I have seen nothing from the company regarding this.

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Post by jglenn21 on 6/9/2019, 2:37 pm

If you are referring to the tension spring it's a measurement of compressed length. 1.5 "
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Post by jlow on 6/9/2019, 2:53 pm

Thanks!  I am also interested in finding out how this number was derived?

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Post by jglenn21 on 6/9/2019, 2:58 pm

Have to ask the company.. it's always been the  method for tensioning the spring
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Post by fc60 on 6/9/2019, 3:05 pm

Greetings,

I built a concrete pad for barrel testing and Random Resting.

I have three pieces of rebar buried in the concrete with 1/2-20 threads machined on the portion sticking out.

Place a nut on each stud with a washer facing the plywood mounting board.

On top, I use another washer with a hex nut.

The washers are large in diameter, about 1 1/2" with a 1/2" hole. Heat treated washers would be best; but, for limited use stamped mild steel ones work fine and are cheap to replace.

I do not use a torque wrench, I just tighten all three nuts by "feel".

To drill the holes in the mounting board, try this....

With the Random Rest attached to the board and a gun mounted in the grips, align the sights so you are on known target at 50 yards. Then, with a dead blow hammer, strike the wood base just above the studs and the they will transfer the location for drilling the mounting holes.

If you make the holes a bit 'generous' you can allow some left right adjustment.

Enjoy your new tool. Be sure to post images of your results.

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by jlow on 6/9/2019, 3:41 pm

Jimmy G - thanks for that piece of info - much appreciated.

Dave - I love it!  The idea of putting nut/washer under the board is a great idea, I will have to copy that.  The dead blow hammer on the wood base is basically what I plan to do to transfer the drilling points.

It appears that you mounting your RR board directly to the concrete base, my guess is you have the windage base so can skip a step.  Since I don't have the windage base, I need to add one more board in between.

In terms of photos, I will post them when I move along.  Here is an image of the RR after I cleaned it up and put in my new grip holders.
Looking for comments regarding setting up a Ransom Rest Master Series. Img_1710


Last edited by jlow on 6/10/2019, 7:29 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by fc60 on 6/9/2019, 6:43 pm

Greetings,

Yes, I was blessed with a used Random Rest with the windage base attachment.

When you are up and running, pay close attention to sanding and cleaning the friction disk.

The disk will glaze with use creating erratic recoil and vertical stringing.

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by jlow on 6/9/2019, 7:11 pm

Thanks for that bit of wisdom!  Is there a recommended method to refresh the friction disk?  Is it just sanding?  If I use a random orbital sander, any recommended grit of sand paper?

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Post by NuJudge on 6/9/2019, 7:18 pm

I have a Ransom rest downstairs, a project for retirement.  

The plans on the Ransom rest website reminded me of a cargo pallet clamped to a foundation.  

I'd love to see pictures or links to pictures of something I can fit in my SUV and C-clamp to a typical benchrest.

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