I'm Done with a Bipod on My Hunting Gun

DocB

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Oct 7, 2012
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480
Location
Windsor, VA (but heading for the Rockies)
Discovering the tripod and ball head has been the best thing I’ve tried in a long time. It did take me a few purchases to find the products that actually give me the stability to feel rock solid and make longer shots, and be light enough to carry without being a burden.
You generally get what u pay for, but I didn’t need to spend $1200 on a tripod or $700 on a head to get quality gear.
I am not familiar with all the terminology or technical descriptions but my experience boiled down to one factor......the top or base of the tripod, where the legs attach, can make or break your stability. The larger the diameter of the that round base, the better.
I first tried a traveler tripod, which was very nice and light. It had the center post that could extend the height. But the center was smaller and i could never quite get steady.
I then tried the same brand’s (Feisol) tournament model and it was night and day. It didn’t have the center section, which helps with weight, and the top base is twice the diameter. The weight is within a couple oz.s and folded length within 2-3 inches.
I use a quick release Arca plate on the ball head and a small 3” rail attached to the bottom of my rifles. I can’t imagine anything, other than a bench and sandbags, being more rock solid and mobile.
Bullmark, I find your setup intriguing, could you post a photo of it and how it sets up?
Thanks, DocB
 

Quicksilver338

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Dec 18, 2018
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Lynden
Like the OP states, FOR HIM in his situation based off that picture I wouldn’t use one either. I have made most shots from a bipod but that’s the terrain I hunt. High perches overlooking a valley or opposing hillside. My rifle is also capable of such hunting but not limited to. Prone really let’s me watch my impacts and react accordingly. At 776 yds on a bear I made the impact call quicker than my spotter could, I would never take that shot if I wasn’t prone. I have also taken a shot at 108yds off my hiking poles turned into shooting sticks with the wiser precision quick stix. I made a 440yd shot on a bear off a stump at a 22 degree downward angle and it seemed oddly easy and natural. I also do some PRS competitions in the off season which I give the nod to making awkward positional shooting feel much more natural. If you guys want to improve your game I greatly recommend getting into some form of PRS shooting for the sole purpose of making yourself more accurate and applicable in the field.

I don’t think a bipod is for everyone, but if you’re holding yourself back by not packing one then that’s not the smartest decision…I would always pack one just for that reason. It’s definitely more of a west coast hunter necessity though VS Midwest or east coast due to natural lay off the land. If you aren’t comfortable making a longer shot then a bipod isn’t going to improve that for you.
 

Joefrazell

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Apr 29, 2017
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975
I took the tripod out for a couple of range days this past weekend and was pleased. Prone I was stacking bullets at 100. I did see a half .5 moa shift low compared to off a bipod but the accuracy was just as good. Sitting I made hits on a 12" gong at 400 yards over and over. My wobble One was maybe 4-5" at 400 yards. It was very solid. Standing I took two shots and made both impacts. My wobble zone was about the size of the gong but I got lucky 😂. But I'll continue to practice. My father in law also made a hit standing at 400. I was impressed.
 

Bullmark

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Roanoke Va
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Bullmark, I find your setup intriguing, could you post a photo of it and how it sets up?
Thanks, DocB
Hello again...if you are like I was, roughly a year ago, you have very little knowledge of the current tripod setups. I saw a video and was instantly interested in trying one. So down the rabbit hole I went and I’ve just found what I believe to be a really solid set up. I bought another tripod before settling on the one in the pics. The most common way to run these things are to have a ball head attached to the top base of the tripod. That ball head will loosen and tighten, allowing you to move the rifle in any direction to acquire your target.
Attaching the rifle to the ball head can happen two different ways. The first way is a saddle, which is nothing more than a padded vice-like attachment. You lay your rifle in the saddle and tighten the sides....any movement now will require the ball head to be loose enough to move.
The second way, which I use, is to attach a quick release arca clamp to the ball head....many ball heads come with one already. You then mount a small arca plate to the bottom of your rifle. The rifle will then attach securely and once the clamp is tightened, it’s rock solid.
My buddy has several very nice wooden stocked rifles and he goes with a saddle, brand name “Hog Saddle”, because he didn’t want to attach anything else to his stock.
Both ways have their pros and cons. I think both are equally as effective in the field.
So in a nutshell, you need a tripod, a ball head, and one of the two attachment systems.
My advice on a tripod is to go with one that has a wider center base. The Feisol I have has a larger base, and is noticeably steadier than my first tripod.....which was also a Feisol, but a traveler model. It’s light as a feather, and short enough to carry anywhere. You can spend $1000-$1400 on some tripods but after a ton of research and review reading, I found that Feisol is a very well respected company and their products are the best dollar for dollar that I’ve found.
The ball head is another element where the choices are numerous. Feisol makes great ones, and I wouldn’t hesitate buying one. I’d suggest going a little larger....Feisol has a CB-30, 40, 50, 60, and 70. The 30 is the smallest and not large enough for this application. You can get by with a 40, but I’d go with the 50 or 60.
I got lucky and found an Arca Swiss ball head, used and in perfect shape. It’s about the size of the Feisol 60, and it’s rock solid and could handle the heaviest of rifles.
You can find the Feisol 3342, which is the one I have for $400, or used on rare occasions for less. Their cb50 ball head runs about $175....and some online stores will offer the two together for a discount.
You’ll see in the pics that the set up can be extended to be able to stand up and shoot.
I will be using mine out of a blind quite a bit and sitting with the tripod adjusted at a fairly low height, which the lower the less movement.
Last thing: you’ll see a 10lb plate hanging from the center hook. If you’re able to leave a weight of some sort in the blind it can really help stabilize things. Especially if you’re in a tight space and can’t spread the legs out very wide.
Feel free to pm me if you have any questions...
good luck.
 

Chico guy

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Dec 7, 2020
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Location
Northern CA
Bipods attached to my rifle are a love hate relationship. I hate the weight and when they catch on something. I love being able to drop down prone and have a rock solid shooting platform in seconds. The last big deer I shot would never have happened any other way. The terrain was open and I had one opportunity to hustle up and over a ridge, drop down and shoot before he was gone. The shot was taken in mere seconds after going prone and the buck died where he stood. I don't think I could have made a quality shot that quick with sticks or any other system. I would estimate 60-75% of my shots over the last 25 or so seasons have been off the same pair of Harris Bi-pods.
 

slas

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Dec 12, 2017
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Shawnee OK
View attachment 299359I'm always about "better to have and not need, than to need and not have", but I found a bipod on my hunting rig is useless FOR ME. Laying prone in the field is about like kissing your cousin. Yeah, the idea might might be tempting, but it still ain't right. 😄 I'll leave prone to the range/target shooting.

So, the shooting stick and field chair is where its at. Gonna start training for this style, along with standing shots, and reconfirm zeros.
I often do the same, next to a tree in cheap my ghillie suit. Works well. I often use a ghost blind with it to hide me a bit better.
 

RckyMtnRutt

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Mar 23, 2021
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Boise
Just took my antelope off my harris probably could have free handed it but the terrain was open 320yards...never had an issue with them being on my guns. Not with accuracy not with weight and when u need them most they are there!! I will say those guide safari shooting sticks are cool but then your hands are always occupied
 

memtb

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Dec 30, 2013
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Winchester, Wy.
Just took my antelope off my harris probably could have free handed it but the terrain was open 320yards...never had an issue with them being on my guns. Not with accuracy not with weight and when u need them most they are there!! I will say those guide safari shooting sticks are cool but then your hands are always occupied

Nah.....you just need a tracker, a packer or two, a guide and a gun bearer! Then your hands are free and your load is much lighter! 😉 memtb
 

WYO300RUM

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Mar 23, 2011
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1,850
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Wyoming
As a commercial shooter we never use a Bipod however I was on a holiday come camping trip with some mates out in the Simpson Desert and I fitted a Bipod on one of my favourite rifles for a trial and had an opertunity to try to nock down a Camel at about 700 metres so I lay down on to of a sand hill with the Bipod extended thinking this will be a record shot and just about when I was to fire I felt something going across my right leg so I froze and not taking the shot was all I could do - Yes a brown snake and it slithered off fortunatly so from now on no more lying down in the scrubb for me its too f--k--g dangerous for me
Brown snake . Not good. Could of be lethal... Lucky ! Lucky camel also.
 

Litehiker

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Sep 15, 2012
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Location
Mojave Desert, Nevada
HIKING POLES = SHOOTING STICKS

My Cascade Mountain Gear hiking poles have Weisner Quick stiX that instantly clip them into very stable shooting sticks.
And Weisner Precision makes products for converting your hiking poles to a tripod.

Would I ever have a bipod on my hunting rifle? Nope, not when I have my hiking pole bipod handy.

Eric B.
 
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