Table of Contents
Definition of a Rifle Bipod
Rifle bipod means (‘bi’ – two) and (‘pod’ – stand or support), hence a ‘stand or support with two legs’.
A bipod can be a crucial accessory for shooters, particularly when involved with precision and long-range shooting. Its purpose is to provide stability and support to the rifle, enhancing the shooter’s ability to maintain a steady aim and make accurate shots. The bipod typically attaches to the underside of the rifle’s frontend and allows the shooter to rest the rifle on a surface while maintaining no contact with the barrel. This negates interference with the barrel’s natural harmonics. See our article on Barrel Harmonics.
How a Rifle Bipod Works
Rifle bipods function on the principle of stability and can also contribute to recoil reduction. By resting the rifle on a good bipod, the shooter gains a stable platform that minimises movement, which are common challenges when shooting from unsupported positions. This stability is particularly important for consistent shots at long range. The bipod’s design can also aid in reducing recoil, mainly by adding weight to the rifle, mitigating the impact of recoil on the shooter’s shoulder.
Types of Rifle Bipods
There are several types of rifle bipods available, each catering to specific shooting scenarios and preferences. Some common types include:
These bipods have a fixed length and are suitable for stable shooting positions. They are typically lighter when compared to other systems. They also offer simplicity and reliability but lack the adjustability of other types.
Swivel bipods allow the rifle to rotate horizontally to some extent (some do 360 degrees). This is particularly useful when targeting moving objects or engaging multiple targets without shifting the shooter’s position significantly.
Tilt bipods provide a tilting mechanism that enables the rifle to be canted left or right. All important when maintaining your rifle and scope in the vertical plane. This feature is beneficial when shooting on uneven terrain or engaging targets on slopes.
These bipods come with adjustable legs, allowing the shooter to adapt to various shooting positions and heights. They are versatile and suitable for dynamic shooting scenarios.
Some makes come with legs that are notched at set intervals others have a variable adjustment. There are types also that have the ability to replace the entire leg to adjust height.
Components of a Rifle Bipod
A typical rifle bipod consists of several key components:
Picatinny rail mount
Picatinny’s rail mount system provides a stable mounting platform that is quick to attach and detach allowing the mount to be positioned forward and rearward along the rail.
Arca-Swiss rail mounts
This mounting mechanism was developed by the Arca-Swiss company in the 1990’s for use with cameras. It’s quick release system and versatility soon found a home in the firearm industry however and is widely used. It’s ability to be moved fore and aft along the rail without detachment makes it the fastest mounting system around.
Swivel studs mounts
These simple mounts are similar to the stud used to attach a sling to. Cheaper than rails as most sporting rifles come with the fitting as standard.
M-Lok (Modular Lock system) was designed as a firearm accessory mounting rail system by Magpul Industries Corporation. The system comprises of slots in the handguard to which accessories like bipods can be mounted. These slots are designed to put attachments only in the places they are required making use of “negative space”.
Like Magpul, a company, VLTOR Weapon Systems, developed a universal mounting system and called it KeyMod. It was designed to take place of the Picatinny rail system.
Bipod’s legs in most cases are extendable and collapsible, enabling height adjustment. Some bipods also feature independently adjustable legs to accommodate uneven terrain.
The Harris bipod (pictured) has leg adjustments notched at 1″(inch) intervals.
The head assembly holds the rifle’s stock securely at the front and provides the swivel or tilt functionality, depending on the bipod type.
Adjustable bipods have controls that allow the shooter to modify leg length, swivel, and tilt angles as needed for optimal shooting comfort and stability.
Pros and Cons
Advantages of using a rifle bipod
Disadvantages of using a rifle bipod
A rifle bipod is thought by many as an essential tool for shooters seeking accuracy, stability, and recoil control. With various types and features available, selecting the right bipod depends on the shooter’s preferences and shooting conditions.
In a competition like PRS (Precision Rifle Shooting), I, like many others, find a good bipod a must.
General range target shooting, I personally prefer a sandbag (shooting bag).
Likewise, hunting, I would rather find a good bit of suitable terra firma than lug around the added weight. Other people I know, it would seem like their bipod is an addiction. (I am convinced one bloke takes it with him in his swag at night. No proof……yet!).
Yet again, it is a personal choice and horses for courses. It appears that, overall, a well-chosen rifle bipod can greatly enhance a shooter’s performance across the discipline.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
The best bipod for your needs depends largely on what you use it for and of course your budget.
- Target shooting: A heavy bipod may suit you here as you don’t have to lug it far and the extra weight will help absorb some of that recoil on bigger calibres.
- Precision Shooting Series: A bipod that can be easily adjusted to different shooting angles and slopes. Not to mention positions, the competition can include some shooting positions that can only be described as cruel and unusual so versatile adjustments are really useful.
- Hunting: You might like something that is light if you are going to hump your gear through heavy scrub and up and down Yama’s all day.
All up there is no simple or single answer here. Do your research, talk to people and nail down what may be one of the better investments you make in the sake of accuracy.
If the lack of a bipod means you will be shooting unsupported then there is no doubt a good bipod will increase your accuracy. If you have the ability to use a sandbag or good shooting bag then there is not going to be much in it.
Bipods are useful when there is no easy support available for your rifle. Open grassland may be a scenario where the grass is too high to just lay prone using a shooting bag, where a long legged bipod may be the perfect option. They can also be very useful shooting up or down very steep slopes. The bipod feet may have the option to dig in and give that extra bit of support. Overall a good bipod can make you more stable in a large variety of situations, which, in turn, should translate into making make you a shooter.
Use of bipods in not only the military but other tactical organisations is commonplace now and many have one in their standard issue kit.
No you do not “need” a bipod for long range shooting. Most of the time! It can, however, when used well, make an accurate shot when it may not be possible otherwise.
The best size bipod depends largely on the nut behind the bolt. You. Your body size and chest/shoulder area can play an important part in whether you can get comfortable with the bipod size. Your environment also plays a part. Do you need a bit of extra height to shoot over low vegetation and so on.
Some rough rule of thumbs:
- Stability – Lower is better
- Prone – Lower is generally better
- Steep uphill shots – Higher is better
- Vegetation – Higher is better
- Versatility – Mid height is better