What Is A Lead Sled?

If you’ve spent serious time at the range zeroing in your rifle, you may wake the next morning with a sore shoulder. You wonder, “Is there a better way to do this?”

The repeated firing and recoil that comes with sighting your weapon can cause pain or damage in your body. If you’re worried about or have this problem, it may be time to consider buying a lead sled. But what is a lead sled?

A lead sled is a weighted shooting rest made by Caldwell and designed specifically to reduce recoil. Used at the shooting range, this rest can be used to zero in rifles by removing the possibility of human error almost completely. While the lead sled can hold any rifle, it’s especially useful for absorbing the recoil of big game calibers such as the 375 H&H or .458 Magnum.

Let’s look more closely why you would need to use one and how it works.

what is a lead sled


If you struggle to zero in your rifle quickly or get tired from repeated shooting, the lead sled may be a fit for you. The key is the recoil absorption. You still need to hold the rifle up to your shoulder once mounted in the rest, but the difference is astounding.

Caldwell produces the sled in three different types at different price points: Original, Solo, and DFT. Rifle Optics World suggests that you may not need lead sleds if you aren’t worried about recoil or getting the most accurate zero possible.


The Caldwell lead sled is a shooting rest that works by distributing the recoil of a gunshot through the frame and into the lead-weighted bags. By placing your rifle in the rest, you can adjust the elevation from the muzzle and stock to get your reticle on target.

Placing the weights into the appropriate place, you can zero in your rifle faster with less ammo by firing and adjusting. Each bag of lead shot weighs in at 25lbs, and you can use up to four bags to stabilize your sled.

Because the shooter is all but removed, adjustments are more effective. You won’t get tired and make mistakes in your shooting that throw off the process either.

See this video for an in-depth description:


Recoil Reduction – The lead sled reduces recoil up to 95%.

Adjustable – Adjusts to fit different rifle sizes and elevations from several angles.

Stock Protecting – The firm frame protects the stock from repeated firing and disburses the recoil into the weighted bags instead of the stock.

Heavy – Between the weighted bags and sturdy frame, the lead sleds are difficult to move and carry making them less portable.


Checking the answer and resources above you can now explain what is a lead sled. They are really helpful for sighting your rifles quickly and absorbing the recoil, especially the large caliber ones. If this is something you want, you may want to go look at the Caldwell lead sled. 

Have fun, and keep on shooting!

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