For long range shooters, whether big bore or rimfire, a good bipod has become a staple for every rifle. Other than adding a scope to a good rifle, adding a bipod is probably has the largest impact on rifle and shooter accuracy.
Try to find a rifle being used in PRS or NRL competition that doesn’t have a good stable bipod. If you spend the time to watch one of those matches you will see them being used in very creative ways. They are not just for shooting prone or from a bench.
What makes a good rifle bipod?
Stability is the #1 requirement for a high value bipod. Most are produced from light steel or aluminum but material doesn’t matter as much as a tight fit – no loose tolerances of moving parts. The material must be strong enough to maintain those tolerances through tough use.
When we talk long range accuracy, a movement of a fraction of a thousandth of an inch translates to huge misses at long range. The further the range, the larger the miss. A good bipod must not move. Although there are some bipods that swivel just below the mounting point, designed for AR15’s and close up combat shooting, these are not what we are referring to or desire for long range work.
The right bipod for us should only retract and fold the leg for carry and do so with out adding wobble when supporting the firearm. Weight should be as light as possible while providing strength to insure no damage through rough use.
When carrying the rifle any weight savings is precious a most long range rifles, even rimfires, are heavier than sporter rifles. Strength of the bipod remains paramount but any weight savings due to design is important.
Adjustable to allow quick adjustment of both legs to accomodate uneven terrain. With accurate long range shooting as our goal, we must ensure the scope is level. A great bipod will allow this to happen quickly. You can purchase bipods with the ability to cant the rifle in order to attain a level scope.
This feature is good if speed on shots is important. But another swivel point on a bipod is just another area where wobble can be introduced. This is personal preference so I’ll leave this option up to you.
The bipod should be adjustable so it’s easily accomplished with one hand, the weak hand. Once in the prone position, or any other awkward position, shooting position must not have to be shifted to adjust the bipod.
Height of the bipod must match a normal long range rifle requirement at center of extension allowing needed flexibility on both sides. AR rimfire rifles might require longer legs.to accomodate longer magazines. Sling stud mounted bipods in my opinion are best for long range rifles.
Rail mounted bipods are good for what they were designed for which is quick change and flexibility at what we would call short range. This is perfect for a tactical combat situation but no rail is stronger than a rifle stud. For long range shooting the more solid the base the more accurate the shot will be.
The Series s Harris Bipod rotates to either side for instant leveling on uneven ground. The hinged base has tension adjustment and buff springs to eliminate tremor or looseness in crotch area of the Bipod.
This is an improved version of the original leg notch Bipod. The legs eject by spring action. Four height settings from 6 to 9 inches. Weight is 13 ounces. This unit is used by over 75% of the competitors in the Precision Rifle Series. This is not a random occurrence, it is for a reason. It is strong, durable, flexible, and it works.
Take a look at some of the PRS action in the video below created by Precision Rifle Network. This Harris is also the choice of the military. One reason for this is they remain functional even when caked with mud or other debris. It has been proven in two wars and survived the test of time.
Harris Engineering is renowned for making the best rifle bipods available. This unit has new engineering which ensures it’s stability throughout all movement. It swivels for adjustment for uneven terrain but does not wobble. The price is slightly over $90. The old saying “you get what you pay for” has never been more true than it is with this unit. Check the current price on Amazon.
The 1A2-BRM lm Harris Bipod is an improved version of the original leg notch Bipod. The legs eject by spring action. Four height settings from 6 to 9 inches. Weight is 10 ounces.
Although not quite as heavy duty as the S-BRM above this bipod is still very stable and tolerances are tight to eliminate wobble. I wouldn’t hesitate to put this unit through the paces. It will hold up as well as any and provide a super stable shooting platform.Check it out here on Amazon.
Upgraded Mount Tension Screw The bipod is built with upgraded mount tension screw which is high strength and has deep enough threads to hold tension. 5 settings of the leg length The bipod legs have 5 notches. You can extend and lock the bipod legs to any of the notches you desire by slightly pressing the button. Foldable design
The springs on the legs make it easy to fold the legs up and are not over tightened which makes easy work of keeping silent when hunting. Superior Quality Made from Carbon Fiber materials, the bipod is lighter, stronger and built to last. One real positive for this lighter unit is that it is so light, it doesn’t upset the balance of the rifle should the need to take an off hand shot arise.
Normally if you are using a bipod you have committed to a long range shot from a stable position. The weight of this unit allows flexibility if needed. This unit comes with both a rail and a stud mount. Again, stud mount recommended.
The carbon fiber component is another move forward for bipods. This is the first one I have trialed and can tell you it is super light. I banged it around quite a bit just to see if it would break with normal heavy use but found no problems. I expected there to be some movement or giving in the carbon fiber legs at least when loading the bipod before a shot.
I saw none of that and actually found the legs to be very stiff and strong. I am not a chemist but I have been told that carbon fiber is as strong as aluminum but much lighter. This seems to be true. This is the least expensive of the all bipods picked but certainly offers a lot of value at slightly less than $30. Check it out here on Amazon.
Lighter, stronger-Carbon fiber is “soft outside and strong inside”, the weight is lighter than metal aluminum, but the strength is higher than steel. High &low temperature resistance,corrosion&fatigue resistance-Carbon fiber bipod can be used to any environment, it can hold the rifle more stably and shoot more accurately.
Better hand feeling-The surface of the carbon fiber bipod is more slippery, the pattern looks more stylish. It feels better and experiences better, brings you unprecedented ease. Easy installation-It comes with picatinny adapter and hex wrench, easy to install Adjustable leg length, return spring.
Adjustable leg length (5 settings) with return springs, you could adjust the length to meet different needs when hunting. Check it out here on Amazon.
Do all shooters agree with my requirements for a good bipod?
Of course not. There is nothing that everyone agrees on. Around 20% of the competitors have opted to use a bipod that is rail mounted and most do it with great success. I have stated above several times that I don’t believe these mounts are as stable as a stud mount and I do believe that, but who am I to argue with results.
Although I don’t recommend this bipod simply because it is a rail mount, I would be remiss to not mention this unit in an article on bipods. It is a well engineered piece of equipment.
Will the $20 bipods work just as well?
There is a reason that the pros don’t use the cheaper $20 variety of bipods. Having tried a couple of the off brands myself, I can say that they are not as stable, tolerances aren’t as tight and all of the requirements I discussed above may or may not be met depending on the manufacturer. I have found that in life, one way to be successful is to listen to and mimic others who have achieved what you want.
There is a reason 75% of the pros use Harris bipods and it’s not just so they have the name on their shirt. Results are what matter. As long range rimfire shooters, I won’t discourage you from buying one of the cheaper bipods. Any bipod is better than nothing. But when you want to get serious, try to upgrade to those I have recommended above.
Bipod accessories that can drive more accurate shots
Fits all the “S” Series (swivel) bipods, replaces the Tension Adjusting Knob for an easier and firmer Level Control. Allows Harris “S” series bipods to adjust the swivel tension quickly and easily by providing extra torque to adjust and lock the tension. 100% American made Ultralight, only 1.1 oz Heat treated Steel and hard aluminum alloys.
Black anodized finish. Check them out here on Amazon.These are very inexpensive at around $28 and can make life much easier when fast adjustments are needed.
Replacement feet for Harris Bipods. Made from anodized aluminum with a stainless steel spike, the Hawk Talons will help you “get a grip” in the harshest shooting conditions. On dirt, wood, stone, sand or concrete, the Hawk Talon design provides greater stability for precision shot placement.
Easy and quick installation. Instructions and a video included to make everything goes smoothly. They are sold here on Amazon.
There are much more expensive bipods on the market than what I have recommended above. Check out APO LRA ,Elite Iron Revolution, or Versa Pod. These are much higher priced overall than my recommendations. I truly do not believe they are better suited for long range rimfire shooting than those above.
In our game, keeping costs down make sense. Having a scope on a rimfire rifle that is more expensive than the rifle might make sense. But it doesn’t make sense to me to have a bipod that is more expensive than the rifle, especially when the best performance can be had for much less.
Our rifles also don’t generate a lot recoil which means they generate much less wear on accessories and components than big bores. The bipods I recommend above are over kill from this standpoint. On our rimfires they will last forever.
Take my word for it, the bipods discussed above are not only the best values in the market but also the best tools for the job that we do. Shoot long range rimfire. As with most long range rifle accessories you can spend as much or as little as you want to spend. There are several variables that determine the final cost. My intent here is to recommend the best values in bipods for long range rimfire shooting.