Stability, stability, stability. A very important aspect of putting good shots down range is having the proper equipment to gain stability with your rifle. This means the proper bipod that works for yourself, your gun, and the environment that you’re shooting in. All of this can get a little confusing as to how to make it all work together especially with everything that is on the market, so let’s break it down.
Bipods are a must for a precision rifle. This goes for both heavy guns and lightweight. Where it gets specific is what kind of discipline that you are shooting in. Does the bipod need to deploy fast? Does it need to get more height than others? How does it attach to the rail of your gun specifically? This all goes into your decision on what bipod and accessories to buy.
Deploying the legs. This means that while on the clock you may need to pop both legs of the bipod out from their stowed position as many precision rifle matches don’t allow you to have them deployed when starting the stage. Many bipods allow you to do this without a button but simply pressure to the bipod. When stowing those legs, a button may need to be pressed which sometimes also needs to be done on the clock. Easy deploying of the legs and stowing is important to look for when purchasing your intended bipod.
The Height and Leg Angle
Leg height. For precision gas gun matches bipod height is not as important as it can be in matches such as hunter matches which may make you shoot over grass or on downsloping terrain. Bipods on the market can get pretty high these days, some even get your gun up as high as a tripod would. Remember though, the higher you go on a bipod, the less stable it can be.
When getting to that height also remember that buttons may need to be pressed. There are two different ways that bipods can push their legs out. One, some bipods make the user press a button in and pull the leg for each position. This is time consuming and requires two hands. Other bipods will allow their legs to be fully extended with one click of a button. This is much easier and quicker to do when in the prone position. So before buying, check how those legs extend.
Some smaller shooters will want bipods that are shorter. This is due to needing to be lower to the ground to be comfortable in the prone position. Ensure that the legs start out short enough or check how the legs can be angled. There are bipods on the market that allow the legs to be angled forward and locked into position. This is mentioned as “45 degree mode”. This allows for a lower to the ground bipod height. Remember though, always angle bipod legs forward, not backward.
Cant Angle and Tension
Bipods also have options of cant and the tension of that cant. Cant simply means how the gun lays left to right. No cant means that the gun is straight up and down, some cant tension means that the gun can lean left and right. Oftentimes the tension lever is to the rear of the bipod, facing the shooter, so that the shooter can adjust the tension from the prone position. If shooting one static target, the shooter may want no cant and to keep the gun perfectly level. A lot of shooters like to be able to adjust the tension of this so that there is enough tension that the gun can be canted but only with some force applied. No tension means that the gun can fall to the side and become unlevel much too easy.
Strength of the Bipod
When choosing the right bipod the weight of your gun needs to be taken into account. If you are running a heavier 20lb rifle, that bipod needs to be able to hold that weight with no bending or becoming loose in the tension of it. If you have a lighter gun, say 12lbs, that bipod needs to be a little more lightweight but still strong during recoil. Ensure that you look at what the bipod is made out of and research how it is holding up for other shooters. There have been bipods that are considered strong for a 10 lb gun but have broken under the weight of a 20 lb gun.
Hint: Titanium is a great choice when choosing a strong material for this piece of equipment.
Accessories and Rail Attachment
Bipod feet are fun. Weird I know but they really are. A lot of bipods on the market today have removable feet, either by coming unscrewed or by turning and removing from a detent. This allows you to put what feet work for your environment. Some of these options for feet are taller feet, spiked feet, rubber padded feet, etc. If you are shooting on a metal rounded tunnel, rubber feet may be best. If shooting on grassy clay type ground, spike feet will help remove some of that slipperiness during recoil.
Ensure that before you buy any aftermarket feet though that they are compatible with your bipod as some feet are proprietary to that specific brand/make of bipod.
Attaching the Bipod to Your Rail
Depending on the type of rail that you have whether it is ARCA, Picatinny, M-LOK, etc., your bipod needs to be able to connect to that rail as well as with a Quick Detach (QD) method. This is due to the possibility of needing to use the bipod in the beginning of the stage, but at the end of the stage there may be a small cubby hole that the gun needs to go into and shoot out of that isn’t conducive to fitting a bipod into. Thus, that bipod needs to get ripped off the gun and fast. Usually this is accomplished by adding an adapter with a throw lever.Changing out your bipod connection point requires an adapter. There are a ton of these on the market these days and switching them out is easy to do at home with a self help video that companies often provide. Simply search “rail type” “bipod type” and “quick detach adapter” when looking for adapters.
All of this information may also make you want to rethink your rail system. Bipods in the competitive precision rifle world work best when they have the freedom of moving back and forth on the rail. This is due to some positions such as a barrel that isn’t very wide, thus needing a bipod that is able to be pushed back a bit on the gun. Or in the other sense, prone always is best when the bipod is furthest out on the rail allowing for more stability. The easiest way to accomplish bipods that can move back and forth on the rail quickly and easily is installing an ARCA rail and an ARCA adapter for your bipod. ARCA is a simple system that creates a long rail with a shelf. Your ARCA adapter then can slide on that shelf back and forth and just clamp down when in the appropriate spot. This is totally discipline based though, it may be wanted for more of a race gun type of match rather than a field match.
As you can see, a lot goes into making the best decision on what bipod to throw onto your precision rifle. One size definitely does not fit all and you may want three different bipods for three different guns.
Don’t forget, all of this is fun! Try things out and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, it is all part of the fun of the game.