|Ugly Bag of|
I searched for previous threads and found the most recent being 4 years old. Perhaps some things have changed.
I am looking to buy a bipod for my MLOk AR for prone shooting. But I plan to buy a longer-range bolt action for target shooting at 500 yards out. Can I buy one bipod for both rifles? Or is better to have one for each different use?
Also, there is a very yuge price range on bipods, from $20 to $500+. What makes the expensive ones better? What features should I look for?
Please note I don't know the lingo for these, so your thoughts, explanations and opinions are appreciated!
Endowment Life Member, NRA • Member, Gun Owners of America & Member, Arizona Citizens Defense League
At one time, not really all that long ago, Harris bipods (and copies) defined bipods, and they are still used by many shooters, including professionals like military snipers. Then B&T Industries introduced the Atlas line and although they were generally more expensive, many people appreciated their features and they became very popular, and still are.
In the past few years bipod offerings have exploded—fortunately for those who want choices, unfortunately for those who are trying to decide what to choose. I have all the good bipods I need and will probably ever need, so I haven’t made any attempt to keep up with what’s available, but some thoughts, including some based on my personal preferences.
Nonrotating legs. The first Atlas bipods have been criticized because their legs rotate freely and when deployed on some surfaces and they are “loaded” (forward pressure applied), they don’t always stay in position as well as they should. I never found that to be an issue, but I almost always use Atlas models with spiked feet. Newer offering from the company don’t have legs that rotate.
Interchangeable feet. I much prefer spiked feet, but if you’re shooting off the hood of your car or some other surface that you don’t want to damage, some sort of rubber feet is better. If you think you’ll ever be shooting from different surfaces, the ability to change the feet is important. Although it’s not universal, some manufacturers specify that they use the Atlas style of feet, and it seems to be becoming a sort of de facto standard. I have Atlas rubber feet and their long spike style (for ice/snow), but for the vast majority of situations I like the Hawk Hill Custom spikes, and replaced the factory spikes of my Ckye-Pod bipod with them.
Notched legs. Although I’m not even sure they’re still available, Harris bipods originally had smooth legs and the length was controlled by tightening with a screw clamp. That allowed more adjustment options, but there were significant disadvantages to the type, including the possibility of the screw loosening, the bipod leg collapsing, and your rifle and scope falling off the shooting bench onto the concrete floor. I would avoid smooth leg Harris bipods for that reason alone, but also because their legs are about impossible to adjust with one hand.
Pan and tilt. Panning is changing the left/right angle without shifting the position of the bipod, and tilt (or cant) is rotating the rifle from side to side. If the bipod will never be used except from a stable, flat surface like a bench, neither is too important. For most other applications, though, both are at least a convenience, and often a necessity. It’s useful if the tension for both movements can be adjusted to increase or decrease the force required. A too-loose tilt tension, for example, can allow the rifle to tip over on its own and fall off a bench onto the concrete floor.
Pan and tilt tension is often a set and forget matter, but it can still be useful to be able to adjust it without tools. I just acquired a lever adjustment from Short Action Precision to replace the knob adjustment of my Ckye-Pod, and that makes it much easier to adjust the tension and then lock the rifle tilt in place.
Leg angle. One of the advantages of the early Atlas bipods over the Harris line was the ability to set the leg angles at 45 degrees forward or back, rather than just straight down. The ability to do that can be useful for different shooting surfaces or as a major height adjustment. The Ckye-Pod also allows changing the leg spread angle from narrow to medium, to wide. That’s a feature I really like, especially when shooting from different surfaces or with different rifles. Like the pan/tilt feature, being able to change the leg angles isn’t too important if all shooting will be done from stable, level surfaces.
Attaching to the rifle. Early Harris bipods were designed to attach to a traditional rifle sling stud, and they were a little fiddly to put on and take off. My Atlas bipods have quick detach heads to attach to a Picatinny rail section. That’s possible with Harris bipods, but I had to purchase a separate head adapter. Another common attachment system these days is the Arca-Swiss rail. My Ckye-Pod clamps directly to the Arca, but I had to get an adapter to use the Atlas bipods on the Arca system. Quick detach can be handy when we don’t want the bipod hanging off the rifle.
Height. One Harris bipod was very short and intended for only bench shooting. Most bipods are intended for shooting from a bench or the prone, and are too short to shoot from kneeling or other elevated positions. I have seen bipods that permitted shooting from the standing position. It’s obvious that the taller they are, the heavier and more inconvenient they are to carry. If they’re too tall, then of course they cannot be used from low positions. I use tripods if I want portable support for shooting from elevation positions.
Suitability for rough conditions. A couple of disadvantages of the Harris models were the exposed springs and because the low section of the leg that’s most exposed to mud and dirt slides up inside the upper section. The Atlas and most others, I believe, have the easily-dirtied lowest section of the legs on the outside of upper sections, which is a better design.
Ease of length adjustments. The Ckye models allow lengthening the legs by just pulling on them. Others required some sort of release mechanism that must be pushed or pulled on. Some Harris models had spring-loaded length adjustments.
Other. The Ckye has a “barricade stop” incorporated into its head. I don’t use it myself, but some shooters find it useful.
Cost. The Atlas is more expensive than the Harris models, especially their knock-offs. The Ckye-Pod is crazy expensive, especially the double- and triple-extension models. The proliferation of new offerings has made good models much more affordable.
There are probably other factors to consider these days that I’m not familiar with. Research and reviews are critical.This message has been edited. Last edited by: sigfreund,
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The thread from four years ago probably has a lot of good info in it. Not a lot has changed in bipods.
As for costs, Harris and MagPul are the cheapest I would go. Twice, when I was young and not making much, I bought cheaper bipods. And I got what I paid for. Harris Bipods were the popular choice back in the 90s and early 2000s. And they are still good. I bought a Magpul bipod two years ago. Haven't had much opportunity to use it, but it seems well built.
Atlas and others in that league I don't have experience in. I know they are highly regarded but I can't justify the expense at this time.
Mounting systems is what you need to pay attention to especially if you want to move the bipod. I recommend plan to eventually have a bipod for each gun that you want a bipod for. Harris bipods rely on a clamp that attaches to the sling stud. You can buy the stud for standard AR rails. Or just get a Magpul bipod with the MLOK attachment and then when you get a bolt, see what options that rifle has.
The big options/upgrades for them are the ability to pan (move the gun side to side) an swivel (adjust the angle when shooting from an uneven surface). If you are doing a lot shooting off the range then those options will be useful. If you get those options, make sure the bipod can lock once you set.
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A bipod is typically used to support the front end of a firearm to allow a more stable shooting position. It normally has two legs. Often these legs fold up. Most commercially available bipods are black in color. Bipods can be used on multiple rifles if they share attachment methods, but not at the same time. I prefer Atlas, Harris, and Thunderbeast bipods, but have others. They each have strengths and weakness. If you are not in a hurry a pile of sandbags works just as well to hold up the front of the rifle. Pay attention to what others around you use and ask them questions. Or just buy one and use it Harris are the least expensive and a solid choice, Atlas cost more but add some features, Thunderbeast are expensive but worth it if you need the specific features they have. Some folks really like the Crye, I don’t feel it adds anything that the other three don’t bring. There are also some really good rifle specific bipods, but if you don’t shoot that rifle, they are not applicable.
I am cheap and couldn’t see spending that much money on a bipod. I had several Harris Bipods. One day at the range I found a guy who let me use his Atlas Bipod. The legs don’t rotate so you can load the bipod. You can change the feet-our tables are wooden-so spikes on the feet just work!
I went home and bought one that day. Atlas offers a military discount, you just gotta ask.
Totally worth it.
Now I have a small section of rail on both ARs and on two Element chassis. I swap the bipod from gun to gun. I chose the quick release lever with cant and pan. So I could also use the bipod for hunting. You can tighten up the wheel under the bipod to remove that feature if you want to.
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I have 2 or 3 Harris bipods that I've had for upwards of 35 years now, all the short version, a couple of which have the tilting head, and they still work well. The mounting uses a QD stud as sigfreund said and requires a screwdriver to tighten, which has bitten me on a handful of occasions when I found myself without said screwdriver. I picked up an Atlas bipod a few years ago and like it a lot. It has a QD picatinny rail adapter and I use it on multiple different rifles with no problems. I find the Atlas easier to load, if that matters to you.
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|Ugly Bag of|
Hey guys, thank you for all the information. It gives me a good starting point as to what to consider.
Endowment Life Member, NRA • Member, Gun Owners of America & Member, Arizona Citizens Defense League
Like everyone else, I’ve got several Harris’s they’re lite, quick to deploy & cheap. I’ve got a couple Versa-Pods which I haven’t seen discussed here. They have a short & longer version, both of mine pan & tilt as well as extend and have different feet … the biggest drawback is they are heavy and kind of clunky but I like it for my beltfed. I also have an Atlas. I have it on my precision guns JP Enterprise 6.5 Creedmoor AR10 most of the time but will put it on my SiG 716 DMR & SSG3000 308 & 6.5 Creedmoor.
I’m mostly retired now and keep saying I’m going to “thin the herd”, when I do, I’m going to buy a few more of the Atlas. I’ll keep the Harris’s but I won’t be buying any more of them, same with the Versa-Pod.
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I guess you have to ask yourself what does success look like?
For me, I love shooting prone supported off a sandbag. I like to traverse the rifle as I scan, so when a target is identified, I'm most of the way there; just have to be mindful of my ABCs [and not waste time repositioning the rifle, adjusting myself etc.] Bottom line; I like/need lots of traverse/pan/tilt
~10 yrs. ago, some guys in the Army had Harris bi-pods on their M4s, now mostly those little ones that pop out the bottom of the broom handle grips. Not my thing, but I'm a minimalist.
For my current M16A4 style build; I've gone with the Magpul bipod. ~ $100; lot of negative leaning reviews about slop/play. BUT, based on my likes as listed above, that is exactly what I want. While not installed/tested yet, it is very nice and well made. ~ 50% composite, but feels more that strong enough for my intended purpose, certainly no more of a weak link that half the other components on the rifle.
What does this refer to: “Spring tensioned legs”?
Tensioned in what way?
there is spring tension that holds the legs folded, there is more resistance mid travel, then they kind of snap into place when fully extended (Once fully extended they lock in place, have to push buttons on the side to unlock). Moving, running, jumping etc. aside from seriously snagging on something, no way they are unintentionally deploying.
For the money I’m happy with Magpul’s Mlok bipod on my DD5. I could see where some would complain about slop, but I’ve tightened mine to minimize wobble while still being able to pan and tilt to utilize back-up sights. The adjustable legs are nice and it is definitely lighter than the Harris bipod I have on other rifles.
I assume then, that they are like the Harris legs that are held folded by just the spring tension. That is somewhat of an advantage for fast and easy deployment: just pull the legs down into position rather than the necessity of pushing on a lock button to release them as with tripods like the Atlas or Ckye-Pod. And if they lock in place after being folded down, then that avoids the possibility of an unintended collapse as is true of the Harris models.
And I see that the feet can be changed to the Atlas style which is a good feature. Like most Magpul products, the bipod seems to be well thought-out and reasonably priced.
|quarter MOA visionary|
HUGE Atlas fan.
Got them when they first came out and never looked back.
Solid unit albeit a tad expensive.
Just get the appropriate connector for your rifle.
I have a Harris BRMS with a pod lock which adds the ability to adjust for tilt to level out the rifle on uneven surfaces and then lock that tilt adjustment in.
I have no experience with the Atlas or Cyke bipods but I hear that they are very good.
I had a brief hands on experience with the magpul bipod and I didn't care for the wobbly nature but perhaps that can be adjusted out. I only handled it on a rifle for a few minutes so don't take that as a comprehensive review.
There are adapters out there for almost every bipod now to attach it to either picatinny rail or the newer Arca rail standard that has moved from high end heavy camera use into the precision rifle world.
I made my first foray into PRS shooting last winter and learned much.
Being able to level out your rifle is crucial, if your rifle/scope are canted, you will miss at long range. Panning is nice as well.
Depending how far into the weeds you want to go, you may want to consider a rear or perhaps both a front and a rear bag in addition to or instead of a bipod. There's really no one right answer but if you are doing any kind of precision shooting you really should have a rear bag.
Cole Tac, Armageddon Gear, Wiebad, etc... All make great bags. Almost an overwhelming assortment.
My only bipod is an FTR unit, as seen below, (unsure of the brand) sourced from NikonUser on here when he upgraded his FTR rifle to newer/better.
It's bulky & cumbersome, and takes a bit to get set up (all screw-down adjustments), but awesome for stability.
May look into some of the 2-legged units mentioned here for non-range use for the AR & when in the field with the Tikka.
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|Chilihead and Barbeque Aficionado|
I use an Atlas CAL (Cant and Lock). It’s just outstanding. Well made from quality materials in the USA. I got it with a QD mount, so I can transfer it from rifle to rifle. Highly recommended!
I previously owned a Magpul bipod. It was ok. I also had a Harris bipod, and hated it. The rifle jumped on the bench after each shot. I don’t think the Harris rubber feet are as grippy as they should be.
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Atlas. Well made and top notch Bipod. Just not a fan of shooting from one. Prefer the front rest when it is feasible.
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