It's in the BAG!
Having a well-designed shooting bag makes a big difference. Using standard Caldwell pattern shooting bags with any sort of magazine fed rifle, you find that the bag sits so low, it doesn't clear the bench well. It also will "monopod out" on the bench. This entirely defeats the purpose of the bag...
Not so fast. Having a well-designed shooting bag makes a big difference. Here's why...
I typically try to do all my shooting in a practical manner and avoid the bench as much as possible since it can ruin you in a hurry. However, I do like to use it to sight things in just so I can remove any possible error on my end from the equation.
Using the pretty standard Caldwell pattern shooting bags, I've ALWAYS had difficulty with any sort of magazine fed rifle such as the AR15, AK series, FAL, etc.. The bag sits so low that even with lower capacity magazines, I have issues with it not clearing the bench well as well as monopoding out on the bench (entirely defeating the purpose of the bag). I'd end up having to sit the bag up sideways in order to find sufficient clearance. That isn't much better. The bag is not as stable as it should be since it's not sitting properly.
I also encountered this issue even with more conventional rifles such as Mosin Nagant or most hunting rifles as I'm 6'0" and the bags never come up enough to let me sit comfortably on the bench. Being uncomfortable makes bench shooting pointless! Of course, most rear bags out there are even smaller than the front bag and using the front bag in the above described manner makes the rear bag useless as well. Additionally, most bags out there seem to be filled with sand so if it gets wet it turns into a brick!
This is why I'm now a religious user of the Crosstac Big Front Bag we've come up with. It's about twice as high as most other shooting bags. And the Crosstac Rear Bag is about the size of a normal shooting bag so you have enough clearance for magazine fed rifles or taller users. We've also outlawed the use of sand in bags here at Crosstac. Why? We fill the bags with walnut chips because they're firmer but still malleable, and they play nice when it's wet outside.
More tales from you favorite gun nut at Crosstac coming soon!
-Josh "Angry" Norris.
You can purchase the Big Front Bag in our online store.