Selecting the Right Bipod for Long Distance Shootingfusiongroupusa
A solid bipod is an essential piece of equipment for long-range shooting. Do to its seemingly simple—even trivial—nature, it’s often purchased with little forethought and becomes a point of frustration for many students. We’ve seen bipods break, come loose, and even fall off; bipods which are far too tall, and bipods purchased the night before a class with the wrong mounting system for the rifle.
To avoid these common issues, we’ve put together a few key points you need to consider when shopping for a bipod for precision shooting.
For precision shooting, a bipod is used to create a stable shooting platform in the laying (prone) position. They are a lightweight, portable equivalent to shooting from a bench rest or sandbags. Used in conjunction with a rear squeeze bag (we’ll talk more about this in a future article), the rifle is supported with almost zero interference from the shooter. Because any amount of muscle tension can translate into misses even at moderate distances, proper support of the rifle allows the shooter to lay behind the gun in a relaxed position and make solid hits at long distances.
Comfort and stability in the prone position are the key factors to consider in purchasing a bipod of the right length. If you’re shooting in a position other than prone, you’ll be using methods of support besides your bipod, which we will teach you in the Long-range Precision 2 class. We call these “unconventional positions.” In the Long-range Precision 1 class, 90% of your shooting will be from prone.
A 5- or 6-inch tall bipod is ideal for the majority of shooters. Most quality bipods have some length adjustment, such as 6-9 inches, allowing you to adjust the height for uneven surfaces, thick jackets, and high-angle shooting. Remember, you can always add length to a bipod which is slightly too short; but it’s nearly impossible to shorten a bipod which is too long.
As with any rifle parts, there is a lot of junk out there in the realm of bipods. An inexpensive bipod may look the same as its more expensive counterparts, but flimsy materials and poor construction can degrade the stability and render the bipod nearly useless. Look for high-quality aluminum, replaceable and serviceable parts, and manufacturers with a long-standing reputation for quality. For the more budget-minded shooter, consider the Harris HBRM 6-9 inch bipod with leg notches. This $100 option will serve your basic needs, but doesn’t have as many adjustment options, serviceable parts, or interchangeable accessories as more expensive models. For the “buy once, cry once” crowd, we find Atlas bipods, such as the Atlas BT10 ($280), offer many excellent features.
Most bipods are designed to mount either to a sling swivel stud, or to a picatinny rail system on the stock or chassis. Never buy a bipod which mounts directly to the barrel. Which style you buy will be largely guided by your rifle stock or chassis: If you only have a sling swivel, be sure you get a bipod that will mount and tension to it properly; if you have a picatinny rail available, that option will provide you with added surface contact, lateral stability, durability, and the option to quickly remove the bipod if desired.
Do you have more questions about bipods? Contact us directly.