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I don’t know anyone who would if asked, say they didn’t want to improve their shooting. It’s natural that we want to improve and there is one piece of that will really help with your accuracy and consistency in the field. That piece of kit is a bipod. I would never consider heading out into the field without one fitted to my rifle.
Those of you who shoot a lot will understand that while there are techniques to aid accurate shooting from an unsupported, standing positions. These techniques are really only applicable in competition shooting where certain disciplines prohibit firing from a rested position. When using firearms in the field or in combat being able to rest your rifle either firing from a prone position or using a tree or other similar support not only provides a more stable base to shoot from but provides better cover and concealment from your quarry or the enemy.
Having a bipod means you permanently have a rest attached to your firearm ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. There will be no need to find a tree or another support to lean against. It also lifts the muzzle of your rifle and supports the fore end in the prone position. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t practice shooting from an unsupported position. You need to become familiar with that as well but the supported shot is always going to be more accurate and consistent than one which isn’t supported.
If you doubt the added stability provided by a bipod just try a simple experiment. Turn the magnification on your scope up as much as you possibly can. Now, look through it at a target without a rest. Even in a prone position without a support such as a bipod for the fore end, you will see a lot of movement through the scope. If you have a powerful scope, up around 12x magnification or more you will even be able to detect your pulse in the movement of the scope. Now try again with a bipod; it won’t completely cancel out all that movement but it will make a huge difference.
I would never go into the field to hunt without a bipod, it really does make that much difference.
Bipods make it really easy to stand your rifle next to your latest trophy too.
Bipods come in various shapes and sizes, some features are more important than others and some are absolutely vital. Consider the following features and functions of your bipod:
A Bipod fitted to a picatiny rail on an M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System.
Image Source: Knight’s Armament Company
QD studs or weaver rails are the normal way of securing a bipod to your firearm. Any bipod which connects directly to a barrel should be avoided as I said earlier. There will be more specialises bipods and even tripods for automatic weapons used in the sustained fire role.
Standard bipods attach to a QD stud with an adjustment screw which tightens a pair of metal ‘pincers’ onto the QD stud with a small stud that engages with the hole in the QD stud to make it very secure. Likewise, weaver mounted bipods tighten up around the standard weaver rail on your weapon.
Make sure that when they are attached and folded they do not interfere with the operation of the firearm. For example make sure the legs, when folded don’t interfere with the release and reloading of a magazineor with other accessories such as lights attached to your rifle. Also, consider the noise of deploying or folding your bipod legs. Make sure they don’t bang against your moderator or that when you release the legs that they don’t flick out with a loud noise. For this reason, neoprene moderator sleeves and rubber feet on your bipod are a must.
Folding bipods can easily be deployed while on the move with just one hand and provide an immediate support for your firearm. With the fore end supported already that leaves you a free hand allowing you to work the bolt of a bolt action rifle without having to adjust your position or sight picture or make other adjustments with your now free hand.
While firing I would suggest you use that free hand to brace the stock of the rifle against your shoulder. This adds even more stability and with your fist and forearm braced under the stock your weapon is now effectively supported on a tripod. This is an exceptionally stable shooting position and can really improve your consistency.
Not only that but it reduces the fatigue of having to support heavier weapons while firing or waiting in a firing position. A bipod is an absolute must for rifles and larger weapons, I never go into the field without one.