Shooting guns for me is a lot like speaking Spanish (non-native speaker), If I don’t continually practice, my skill will diminish until it’s of no use to me.
Before college, I was in the U.S. Air Force as a military police officer (Security Forces) and carried a pistol and an M-4 every day, both abroad and at home.
After I got out of the military, I didn’t shoot a gun until my 4th year in college. Even with 4 years of carrying and training with a pistol, I couldn’t shoot a 20-yard target with a Glock 19 for my first 3-5 shots. Similarly, I have spoken Spanish for 5 years in college with conversational fluency and unfortunately, I can now barely get out 50 words.
I have now learned that to remain effective and safe, I must train smartly, safely, and practically. The first thing for me to secure was a stable shooting platform I can carry with me anywhere I want to go shooting. I was able to find the best portable shooting table and shooting rest for my budget that fills my needs.
Good luck and I hope you find the right shooting platform for your preferences.
Best Portable Shooting Table
When I was relearning how to shoot, I needed a durable, lightweight, easy to transport, storage-friendly, and weather-resistant shooting platform. I looked at 2 different brands (Caldwell & Birchwood Casey) that matched my needs and I decided after putting them on a table and comparing apples to apples.
We perfectly summed the Caldwell Stable Table Lite up in the title; lite (light). It only weighs 30 lbs and can hold up to 250 lbs without flexing. I noticed the Birchwood is stronger, but the added strength also increased the weight by 2 lbs. I’m looking for the lightest weight possible with the most durability possible.
Depending on the public/private range that I’m on, I could walk upwards of a mile from where I park. Even though 2 lbs doesn’t sound like a lot, when you’re carrying a Stoeger M3500 or Winchester Model 70 with a scope and a backpack full of other gear and ammo, it adds up quickly.
The low profile of the Caldwell shooting table won me over for my long walks with a lot of other gear on. I understand how some people would prefer a shooting stand that can handle the extra 50 lbs, but I’m only 5’9" and 175 lbs, even with my rifles and shooting rests I don’t get near 250 lbs.
The Birchwood Casey Ultra Shooting Bench has similar waterproofing as the Caldwell Stable Table Lite, but the Caldwell shooting platform is wider, lighter, longer, and more portable than the Birchwood Casey shooting table.
Another big decision I had was to choose the first generation Stabe Table or go with the Stable Table Lite. Although the Stable Table is stronger and can handle more weight than the newest portable model, I chose the Lite version because it’s 30 lbs lighter than the original shooting table and folds up easily and quickly.
Caldwell Stable Table Lite Vs. Birchwood Casey Ultra Shooting Bench
The Caldwell Stable Table won out because of its combination of low weight, portability, practicality, weather resistance, and price point. The Caldwell shooting table gives me 6" more in table length for my Massive 7mm Rem Bergara hunting rifle. A wider table allows me to position my body and rifle in multiple positions to line up with the game-changing, rotating table.
Going to my home range in the forest or playing chance at a public range has never been easier for me when I know I have a stable shooting platform that can slide in my SUV and take up less room than my guns. Finally, the seat on the Caldwell shooting table is higher to line up with the desk more for less stress or strain on your neck, shoulders, and back.
Caldwell Stable Table Lite
Birchwood Casey Ultra Shooting Bench
250 lbs Max
300 lbs Max
Ambidextrous, Rotating Table
Adjustable Table Height
fully Collapsable/ Easy transport handle
fully Collapsable/ Easy transport handle
The Most Versatile Shooting Rest Bag
When I started my search for a shooting rest, they immediately led me straight to the Caldwell Lead Sled, but I know I wanted someone thing more affordable and versatile. I chose the shooting rest bags because of how lightweight, durable, and versatile they are. There are many bags, but it came down to the Caldwell Deadshot Shooting Rest bag and the LYMAN Match Shooting Bag and Bag Jack Combo.
The Caldwell Deadshot Shooting Rest bag was my choice because it can rest on any material you place it on and it will stay in place after each shot. My preference is always for being lightweight and practical, so I don’t have to make too many trips from my car to the shooting line.
The problem with the LYMAN combo is I don’t want to carry a steel platform around to jack up my bags when I can carry a collapsable shooting table with lightweight and versatile bags that work for every gun I own. There’s no way I’m going to carry 13.5 lbs of extra weight when I would still have to carry a table to place the jack on.
With many comparable products, the price difference is only $10-$20, but the $85 difference in MSRP will almost make up for the shooting table and prevent you from buying more products. I would agree the jack is a pleasant feature for people who don’t have to carry it over 50 feet. The jack is bulky and if I learned anything from the Air Force, it’s to work smarter, not harder.
Caldwell Deadshot Shooting Rest bag
LYMAN Match Shooting Bag & Jack
Adjustable with Sand or rock (30 lbs recommended for rifles)
13.5 lbs (jack)
Adjustable with composite plastic material (30 lbs recommended for rifles
6" (front bag), 5" (Rear Bag)
10" (front bag), 4.5" (Rear Bag)
8.5" (front bag), 5" (Rear Bag)
600 Denier polyester
600 Denier nylon
$34.99 (Front & Rear bag)
Where Can I Buy The Caldwell Deadshot Shooting Bags?
The Caldwell Stable Table Lite is the lightest, most portable shooting bench at only 30 lbs with the capability of fully collapsing for easy transportation and storage. Even comparing the top competitors, the Stable Table Lite has a longer, wider shooting platform and is more affordable than its competitors.
The Caldwell Deadshot Shooting Bags are perfect for those shooters like me that like to travel fast and light with minimal gear. I want to use as few tools as I can for as many guns as I have. The Deadshot bags allow me to add up to 30 lbs of sand for shooting with my 30-06 or 7mm Rem Mag, but I can drop the weight for smaller caliber guns. I can carry the Deadshot bags into the woods for a portable shooting platform or sit perfectly still on any shooting table. I love the ability to change the amount of sand I use in the bag to adjust how much I carry into the field.
I’ve had the Caldwell Deadshot Shooting Bags and Stable Table Lite for over a year now and have had no issues. I can carry a shooting platform and portable shooting rest to any range I need to visit with these two Caldwell products. If you’re adamant about staying practical and saving money, Caldwell is the choice to make. Happy hunting and thank you for your time!