Provide a Stable Perch For More Accurate Shooting
Having a shooting rest while hunting gives you support and stability when you need it most. They also reduce shooter fatigue by taking the weight of your weapon while you set up and take your shot, giving your arms a rest. Besides providing support for your rifle, they can improve your shooting accuracy since it negates any movement caused when you only hold your weapon in your hands.
What is a bipod?
A bipod is a shooting rest for your rifle, similar to a tripod or monopod. The difference is that a bipod has two legs instead of three or one. They are quicker and easier to set up than a tripod and provide more stability than a monopod.
Bipods provide you a place to rest your gun while aiming and shooting from uneven surfaces out in the field. The legs can be adjusted to improve your aim and shot. They can also be folded up into a compact unit. This simplifies set up and packing it away when you need to move around.
The benefits of using a bipod
Shooting without a rifle rest means that you need to use your arms and shoulders to stabilize your weapon. That, or your backpack, a log, a rock – you get the idea. These improvisations could work well if you are in a pinch, but they are not ideal. A rifle rest like a monopod, bipod, or tripod gives you enhanced stability and thus better accuracy when taking a shot. For example, you could increase your precision and accuracy when shooting tenfold while using a bipod.
Tired arms could make the difference between making the shot and missing. Bipods or other rifle rests give your arms and shoulders a break from holding your weapon steady for extended periods. This is especially useful and welcome if you prefer to hunt with heavy rifles that have less recoil.
More than that, a bipod frees up one hand in case you need to perform a task while still enabling you to keep your rifle level and stable.
Different types of bipods
Bipods come in different sizes. While each size has pros and cons, the size you need will come down to your personal preference. You will need to factor in the conditions in which you will mostly use the bipod, your body type, and the height that will give you the most comfort in your preferred shooting position.
Some bipods allow for plenty of length adjustment. With these, the legs are constructed in sections. These sections get progressively thinner towards the bottom as each section needs to be smaller in diameter than the previous one to slide into it when it is at the shortest height. The thinner portions of the legs could bend or flex under the weight of your firearm, compromising the bipod’s stability when it is set to its tallest height.
7 to 10-inch bipods are ideal for shooting while you are lying down. Their low height gives you the most stability. On the other hand, shorter bipods are not great when shooting steep uphill shots or hunting in taller brush.
10 to 14 inch bipods are great for shooting over tall vegetation. They provide more leg extension than lower-end models while still providing ample stability.
12 to 27-inch bipods work better when you shoot sitting down instead of lying down. It makes shooting over tall vegetation or taking steep uphill shots much easier, but you compromise on stability. If you do plenty of hunting in tall vegetation, you could go for a taller bipod and use your backpack, a log, or rock when you need to stabilize your weapon while shooting from lower down.
What to look for when purchasing a bipod
The features you look for in a bipod will depend on your needs, requirements, and preferences. Although price and weight are two critical factors to consider, you need to decide whether these are more important than factors like ease of use and durability. Here are some features to think about when looking for a bipod to purchase.
Easy leg adjustment
Your bipod must have adjustable lengths to accommodate for stable placement on uneven terrain. Fewer adjustment options mean that you can use it in limited conditions, and you could end up using that rock or log instead of the bipod that you carried all the way.
Some bipod legs can only adjust in increments that are dictated by predetermined lengths. The poles click into notches that are set about an inch apart. While bipods with predetermined lengths are convenient, they cannot be adjusted to accommodate exact placement. That means they won’t always keep your rifle level.
Bipods with fluid leg adjustment allow you to change the length of each leg with precision. These types of bipod legs can quickly be adjusted and locked into place. Spring-loaded legs can be adjusted, set into place, and retracted smoothly and effortlessly.
Some bipods offer adjustable leg lengths and the degrees to which the bipod legs can spread. This could add additional stability (with the legs spread wider) without compromising the height.
Swivel and locking systems
The bipod should not only be able to swivel from side to side, but it should also be able to tilt to get your gun level. Ideally, you should use this along with a bubble level situated on your rifle.
You should be able to lock the system in once you have set up your bipod precisely as you want it. Needing to constantly readjust or tighten components will lead to frustration and could even cost you a critical shot. Still, it should be easy enough to adjust to the system, especially if you need to move quickly.
The option to add leg extensions
You will most likely use a bipod with a particular leg length on most of your hunts. However, there may be times when you need a little more height. In these cases, having leg extensions will come in handy. These extensions screw into the bottoms of your bipod’s existing legs giving you the extra height when you need it.
Your bipod should be able to stand some rough treatment and extreme weather conditions. It should also be lightweight so as not to add unnecessary pounds – if it is too heavy to carry on your hunting trips, you are likely to leave it behind.
Look for a bipod constructed from high-quality aluminum and steel. Anodized aluminum parts will be even more durable.
Soft rubber feet will add to the stability that a bipod provides on uneven terrain. They offer some grip if things become wet and slippery and provide an added layer of protection to the bipod’s legs.
Some hunters prefer to have a free-standing bipod instead of attaching it to their rifle. This requires you to keep your bipod in a place where you can easily access it when you need it. Suppose it comes down to taking an unsupported shot or searching around for your rifle rest. In that case, you are likely going to take the shot, and you would have carried the additional weight of the bipod for nothing. Alternatively, you could carry it attached to a sling stud or swivel stud in the stock.
Other hunters would rather carry their bipod mounted to their gun with a Picatinny rail. This negates the need to carry an extra piece of gear. It also ensures that the bipod is ready to use when you are in a hurry.
How much does a bipod cost?
Rifle bipods come in a wide price range, but you get what you pay for like with many other products. Several factors influence bipod price, including materials and features.
Bipods that are under $25 are smaller and offer less in terms of leg adjustments. They are usually constructed from aluminum which makes them slightly less durable. Low-end bipods typically cannot be attached to your rifle. This means that you will have an extra piece of gear that you need to pack and keep track of.
Mid-level bipods can be purchased for between $100 and $200. They are often constructed from military-level material like steel. This makes these bipods more durable while not adding unnecessary weight to your gear. The legs generally extend further than low-end bipods, and they can usually be attached to your rifle.
High-range bipods cost over $200, but they are incredibly durable. These models are likely to have added features, including legs that offer more extension and are easier to adjust to precision.
Bipods take the weight of your firearm off your hands. They provide stability so that you can aim and shoot with precision. Lower-end models are often of lightweight aluminum design, while higher-end bipods are constructed from more durable materials. The size and features that you require depend on how you will be using the bipod, your body type, and your preferred shooting position.