A Comprehensive Introduction to Bipods – What to Look For
Accuracy is everything when it comes to hunting. Not only do you need to ensure that you can hit the animal at a long distance, should the shot require it, but you always want to get an organ hit to give the animal a clean and quick death. To achieve both of those things you need to stay as steady as possible because any movement magnifies at a distance.
Even a movement of a millimeter at the shooting point can translate to much more at the target, which could be the difference between a clean kill and a buck that gets away only to die later, miles away. One way to minimize the movement at the shooting location is to use a bipod which gives you extra stability and allows you to hold at the rear with both hands if you wish.
What is a Bipod?
A bipod is a stabilizing device which sits either at the start of the barrel, along the length of the muzzle or even in the center of the body of the rifle, depending on the weapon and your preference. It’s called a bipod because it has two legs, one on either side, that sit on the ground or the surface that you’re shooting from the keep the weapon still as you’re pulling the trigger.
Why Do You Need a Bipod?
A bipod isn’t essential, but it can make a huge difference to the accuracy of your shot, particularly if you’re new to hunting. When you’re stalking and shooting in the field, a bipod might not be practical because you may be required to shoot from a crouching or standing position, but when you’re in a blind, there is no excuse.
By setting up your blind correctly, you can typically shoot from a seated position and use a bipod, both of which will increase your accuracy tremendously and all but ensure a successful shot.
Popular Bipod Brands
There are a variety of different bipod brands to choose from, but two of the most popular are Atlas and Harris, both of which are premium brands. Of course, you can find mid and entry-level products, but the difference between the brands at these levels is minuscule, while both Atlas and Harris produce outstanding bipods that can last a lifetime.
Not only are the materials used in these products exceptional, but the engineering allows for more advanced bipods which can move with the recoil or give you swivel for shooting on uneven surfaces.
What to Look for in a Bipod
When you’re buying a bipod, you must be realistic about your budget. Harris and Atlas make amazing products, but if they are out of your reach, you must accept that and look for cheaper alternatives that can offer some of the same performance without the extra benefits that you might not need.
For almost all of us, adjustable height is incredibly important. Not only does it help multiple shooters to use the same weapon, but it also allows you to shoot from standing, crouching and laying positions at a variety of angles.
Plus, if you need to adjust slightly to follow an animal you can more easily do this with a bipod that can elongate to give you a stable shooting platform in a different position and surface. Typically, quality bipod legs can be adjusted independently of each other to allow you to balance on inclines.
The last thing that you’re thinking about when you have a buck in your sights is being careful with your equipment. Rather than worrying about whether the bipod is going to shatter when you go to take the shot, choose a product that is made using high-quality metal that is going to last.
Swivel or Fixed
The biggest difference maker, besides brand and quality, is whether the bipod is swivel or fixed. A fixed bipod cannot ‘rock’ side to side to adjust for an uneven surface whereas a swivel bipod allows you to twist the rifle in your should to counteract the incline of the surface the bipod is set on. For hunting in the field a swivel bipod is vital, but from a blind, it’s often much less important.