By Serena Juchnowski
When I first started high power, I had the bare minimum of equipment, much of it borrowed. As I got more involved and competitive in the sport, I started acquiring my own gear, one item of which was The Original Bob Sled AR-15 Single Load Magazine.
When I started high power I had two borrowed magazines. For rapid fires I would load one with eight rounds in advance, and the other with two rounds in the last seconds of prep time, having used it for dry firing beforehand. I would use those same two magazines for everything, hurriedly reloading at 800 aggregate across the course matches with two strings of rapid-fire sitting at 200 yards and two strings of rapid fire prone at 300 yards. It was always a struggle to reload the magazines without breaking position between subsequent strings.
I now have four magazines of my own, in addition to The Original Bob Sled. The single loading Bob Sled has made an incredible difference. It is not something that will revolutionize scores, but is definitely a time saver and takes the pressure of loading extra magazines off of your mind so you can focus on the shot at hand. One might say that you can just use a regular empty magazine during standing, for dry firing, or for slow-fire prone. This is true, but I really like the extra weight and feel the Bob Sled has. I have shot with a regular twenty round magazine as well as the Bob Sled and much prefer the Bob Sled. I am almost spoiled now, missing it if I am shooting someone else’s rifle or helping coach other juniors. I pick up their rifle, only to find that something feels “off.”
The sled has a groove in it to hold the round and help feed it into the chamber. Many advise competitors to take as many steps towards consistency as possible. This includes using one’s finger to guide the round into the chamber before closing the bolt, rather than just trusting that the round is perfectly set in the sled. I must admit, I do not always do this and occasionally jam a few rounds in the bolt as a result, but that is solely my fault, not a failure of the sled. One has to be careful to use the sled as intended and not get lazy and throw the round in without letting it rest in the groove before closing the bolt. The sled will not hold the round in the groove if you tip it sideways, so be sure to check that it is properly inside before closing the bolt.