Sandbags have been used for steadying shooters perched in the benchrest position or even the prone position for decades. The one problem, though, with filling sand bags with sand is that the sand and dust from the sand seems to instantly adhere to any surface of the firearms with even the slightest bit of lubricant on it. The last thing any shooter wants is their firearm covered with something as abrasive as sand. Just ask... and always thank... our troops returning from the Middle East.
The gals and I started using pea gravel years ago in our sandbags, but it usually came in fifty-pound bags, plus it needed rinsed and dried to get much of the dust and dirt off of the little rocks. Then in a moment of fleeting brilliance... an idea popped into my aging mind...why not use aquarium gravel.
I had received a set of Cabela's Shooting Bags for a gift from my main gal a couple of years ago and decided to try our idea. A quick trip to Walmart, the simple price of $3.48 for a five-pound bag of aquarium gravel, and we were on our way. First, we cut a plastic water bottle in half for a funnel, then filled the bags with the aquarium gravel. A little shaking to settle the gravel and everything looked great.
Next, I folded the opening's flap over and tucked it in place... gave it a few good shakes and drops on the floor... and no gravel, no dust, no problems.
The two bags held about a bag and a half of aquarium gravel, which gives them decent heft to stay put while shooting. We don't have the leaking sand or sand-dust problem and they're not as impossibly heavy to move around as a friend's bags are who used lead shot as a filler.
If you prefer some of the good ol' classic shooter's sand bags and can still find a reloader or someone who has the old-style cloth shot bags laying around... they work just fine too. If not, you can easily sew up some sand bags using the legs from some old blue jeans or work pants.
Just fill the sandbag up almost full of aquarium gravel... we chose white, but they also have tan and black gravel available for you tactically correct folks.
Just sew the end of the sandbag shut with some heavy-duty thread and you have an adjustable gun rest that will last for years without the problems of sand getting all over your firearms.
Go ahead and try it... and if you don't like it, you're out... like... five-bucks.