Mark Ripley gets crafty and shows you how to build a high seat of your own
Shooting from a high seat not only gives you a better view out of the usual line of sight of your quarry, it also makes shots safer by increasing the downward angle.
And with the fallow season under way, late season bucks coming up and the ground still dry before the weather really worsens, now is a good time to get out and build a high seat.
Dry ground means you should be able to drive to your chosen spot to offload all the materials. Check out the list of materials in the box below – they will allow you to build a simple two-man high seat. For a single seat, simply reduce the width.
For the instructions, just read on…
Step 1: Sides of the seat
Start with a 3.6m length, which will be the main leg. Using a drill bit big enough for the shank of a coach bolt to pass through, drill a hole 50mm in from the end and in the centre of the widest side. This will be for the arm rest. Measure down 550mm from this hole and drill another, again in the centre, which will be for the seat base.
Now take one of the 2.4m lengths and cut it in half at 1.2m. This will be the arm rest. At one end, as before, drill a hole 50mm from the end in the centre. Now measure 800mm along and drill another.
What you need
- 15x150mm coach bolts, nuts and washers
- A box of woods screws about 80mm long
- A ratchet strap
- Some fencing wire and staple nails
- 3×3 lengths of 100x50mm (4×2″) timber
- 9×2.4 lengths of 100x50mm (4×2″) timber
- 1×1.5 length of 150x50mm (6×2″) timber
*All timber must be treated timber or it will quickly rot
Pass a bolt through this second hole and through the top hole of the 3.6m length, place a washer and nut on the end, and loosely tighten with the arm rest on top of the leg. This will give you roughly 400mm overhang in front of the leg, which you can cut back later when you can sit in the seat and determine the required position for your shooting rail.
Using the other 1.2m length you have left over, drill another hole 50mm from the end and bolt this through the second hole on the 3.6m length as you did the other piece. This will form the seat base. Now take another 2.4m length and drill another hole 50mm from the end and bolt it on top of the arm rest through the other hole. This will be the side diagonal section.
Keeping the armrest at 90 degrees to the leg, lay the diagonal 2.4m length across to the point that the end of it is over the leg, then drill a hole through it centrally 50mm in from the end.
From another 2.4 length, cut a 300mm piece to use as a packer. Drill a hole in the middle of this piece and bolt it to the end of the side diagonal with the bolt head towards the leg so that the packing piece can still sit reasonably flush with the leg.
Next, drill holes either end of the packer and, holding it in place on the leg with the leg still square to the arm rest, drill two holes through the packer and through the leg before bolting it all together. Lastly, drill through the seat base and the side diagonal where they meet and bolt together.
This is one side complete. Now repeat the process to make a matching one for the other side, but be sure to make it a mirror image, so in other words the side diagonal is on the outside of the seat and the leg is on the inside.
Step 2: Steps & seat
Next using the 2.4m lengths, cut five pieces 1.2m long to use as steps and screw these to the front of the legs, being careful to measure them equally. I would suggest the first step should be around 500mm below the seat base rail and they should be around 500mm apart from here, keeping the ends flush with the sides of the legs.
Cut the three lengths of 3m timber to 1.4m lengths to use as the seat base and back rest, screwing these in place with around a 50mm gap between them. It’s worth only doing the back two first on the seat base and then seeing how it is when you’re sat in it to ensure you can climb in easily and it’s comfortable.
Turn the seat over to its front and screw a 2.4m length diagonally across the back to the side diagonals, being careful to keep everything square.
Step 3: Installation
Your high seat is now ready to lean against the tree, which will be a two-person job.
Once you have the seat steady in position, carefully climb the ladder and pass a ratchet strap around the tree and strap the seat to it.
Once you are happy the seat is secure, you can now use the wider 1.5m plank to make your shooting rail. Drill a hole in one end and, once you’re happy with the position, drill through one of the front overhangs and bolt it in place.
You will now be able to revolve this piece of wood so it can be pushed out of the way when climbing into the seat. Simply wind a screw partly in in front of the shooting rail into the opposite side’s overhang.
You can now revolve the rail and lift it over the screw before placing the rail back in place. The rail will not push out forwards when you lean on it as the screw will stop it sliding forward.
Once this is all done, the overhang can be cut back to suit. It’s wise to staple fencing wire along all the timbers once it’s done, just in case any timbers rot or become damaged. The last thing you want to do is take a tumble with your rifle.
More advice and how-tos from Sporting Rifle
- How to get the best aim when shooting uphill or downhill
- Advice for young shooters from Robert Bucknell
- Rifle training tips from Will O’Meara
- Hunting high seats – what to do and what not to do
- Hunting knife technique: Tips from an expert