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Rifle Bipods & Tripods – What The Pros Use

This article covers the bipods and tripods the top 170+ precision rifle shooters in the country are running. It’s based on a recent survey I conducted of the top 125 shooters in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) and top 50 shooters in the National Rifle League (NRL), which are points-race leagues based on the biggest long-range, field-based rifle matches across the country. These results are from a wide sample of the most elite marksmen and experts in the field. (View other “What The Pros Use” articles)

Rifle Bipod

I’ve been surveying the top precision rifle competitors in country for several years, but I only asked about their bipod in 2014 – because for the longest time there were really only two these guys were using: a Harris Bipod or an Atlas Bipod. In 2014, Harris bipods were preferred 3 to 1 over the Atlas. But over the last few years, several new models have come on the market, so this year’s data was much more interesting!

A bipod is a foundational piece of gear for a precision rifle, and they don’t just help for prone shots. Some bipod designs are packed with features that help you get steady from a variety of positions and barricades. Like other rifle components, a bipod started off as a basic piece of gear with a straight-forward, but narrow, application. However, experienced shooters and creative entrepreneurs have caused it to evolve into a multi-purpose tool that can be leveraged for the shooter’s benefit in a variety of scenarios.

Here’s a look at the rifle bipods the top ranked precision riflemen chose to run:

Rifle Bipod

The Harris bipod and Atlas bipod are still the most popular among this group, combining to represent 83% of these top shooters. But there are several others on the list, and I’ll quickly give a summary of each brand and highlight some of the unique features that are compelling for the precision rifle shooter.

Harris Bipod

The Harris Bipod was the top choice of the pros again this year, being the choice for 45% of these shooters. The original patent for the Harris bipod was filed in 1965, and it’s remained largely unchanged over the past few decades. It has been the gold standard to which every other bipod design is compared.

There are several compelling features that make the Harris bipod a top choice:

  1. It deploys very, very quickly. You can flip the legs down from a folded position into their 90°, ready-to-use position in less than 2 seconds with one hand, or flip them back up with the same ease. This is the biggest selling point for going with a Harris over the Atlas. When you’re on the clock at a competition and stress is high, you won’t find yourself fumbling around with buttons to push or trying to get both legs at the correct angle. It is a very simple design that just works.
  2. The Harris bipod is very durable, because of its simple/robust design and high-quality materials. This is the biggest difference between a $20 Amazon-knockoff brand bipod and the $100 Harris bipod. Most of the parts are an aluminum alloy, but Harris uses steel on the critical connections or parts that might wear. This combo keeps it lightweight at just 8 ounces, but also ensures it is very durable. Military units have relied on the Harris bipod for years with heavy use in some of the harshest environments in the world. That’s not to say that it’s unheard of to see a broken Harris, but it’s rare.
  3. The spring-loaded legs and simple push-button release make height adjustments quick and easy with one hand.

Most shooters run the Harris HBRMS 6-9” Swivel Bipod with Leg Notches, with the HBLMS 9-13” model being the next most popular. In my measurements the HBLMS adjusts from 8-12”, not 9-13”. I’ve noticed a couple shooters might even keep one of the longer 12-25” or 13.5-27” Harris bipods in their pack, and swap out to it on a stage that requires a sitting or kneeling shot.

Harris Bipod

The Harris HBRMS is their shortest bipod with legs that extend 6 to 9 inches. Harris refers to it as their “benchrest” model. PRS matches are clearly not shot from a bench, but many shots are taken from prone positions and the height range of this bipod is ideal for most prone scenarios. If a shooter running a 6-9” bipod needs more height, they’ll typically just throw down their pack and put the bipod on top of that.

Harris Bipods

The M in the model name indicates the bipod has notched legs. The notches provide a few preset height reference points to make it easier to adjust both legs to the same height, or to make slight adjustments without overcorrecting.

Harris Bipod SwivelThe S in the model name indicates the bipod can swivel, which allows you to tilt the rifle from side to side. This makes it easy to get the rifle perfectly level on uneven terrain without fiddling with the leg heights. Even a small amount of rifle cant can result in a miss at long-range, and this feature can help a shooter effectively manage that on uneven terrain.

Harris seems to have a similar outlook to Jewell triggers: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” So their design has remained largely unchanged since it was first released. While the basic design is outstanding, Harris certainly isn’t winning any awards for innovation, which I predict will likely cause them to slowly be eclipsed by other brands – like Jewell. If you want it to do something it wasn’t originally designed to do 20+ years ago, the only way to make that happen is through innovation driven by third parties. The good news is since Harris has been the gold standard for so long, there are a ton of aftermarket accessories available to customize it a variety of ways.

Here are a few of the most popular after-market customizations for the Harris bipod that you’d see at precision rifle competitions:

  • Swivel Tension Lever – Virtually all of these guys run an aftermarket swivel tension lever like the KMW Pod-Loc. These allow you to quickly adjust the amount of tension it takes to tilt the bipod side-to-side (only applicable on the swivel models). The stock Harris swivel models have a fixed amount of tension that isn’t adjustable in the field, but these aftermarket levers and knobs allow you to reach up and torque down the swivel with one hand from behind the rifle. These handles are easy to install (watch video), and make it easier to operate the bipod swivel and ensure your rifle is cant-free before sending a round down range.
  • Quick Detach Connection – The swivel-stud attachment that comes from the factory leaves something to be desired in terms of how easy/quick the bipod is to attach or remove, and even durability. Many shooters replace it with a quick-detach mount for a picatinny rail (like the Harris mount by American Defense), or an arca-swiss adapter (like the Harris mount by MPA) that allows the bipod to attach to a 1.5” dovetail cut like how an RRS tripod would connect to the rifle.
  • Bipod Feet – Some guys like the factory rubber feet from Harris, but others prefer spikes or even the ability to change out feet quickly if needed. The Hawk Hill Talon Bipod Replacement Feet for the Harris Bipod are very popular, and will help you get a solid rest on a variety of surfaces. Harris feet are attached with a roll pin, which is a real pain in the butt to remove to change out the feet. The Harris Bipod Leg Adapters from Primary Adaptive Solution Systems allows you to use swappable Atlas bipod feet on the Harris, which you can change out in less than one minute and provides the ultimate adaptability to the situation.

Custom Harris Bipod

The street price on a factory Harris HBRMS bipod is usually around $100, but that may be misleading. If you include a KMW Pod-Loc for $25 and the ADM Quick-Detach mount for $75, which is similar to what most of these guys are running, you’re up to $200. If you replace the feet, that adds another $60 and if you go the swappable feet route you’d add another $45. So the all-in street price for the customized Harris bipod like most of these guys are running is around $200-300. While the DIY customizations can be a hassle, it does lower the entry price, and allows you to upgrade the bipod over time, which can help guys on a tight budget. I wish Harris or some third-party would offer pre-configured Harris bipods with these popular after-market accessories installed, because there seems to be a market for it (hint, hint).

Atlas Bipod

Atlas bipods have almost doubled in popularity among these top rifle shooters over the past few years, with 38% of these shooters choosing them (up from 22% in 2014).

Atlas Bipod

Atlas bipods offer a lot of innovative design features. They’re a huge departure from the Harris bipod. Some shooters even claim they’re even more durable than the factory Harris, especially at the connection point.

Here are a few of the compelling features of the Atlas bipod:

  • Legs can be deployed at a few angles: straight down (90°), or 45° forward or back. This provides a height adjustment from 4.75-9”, which is huge compared to other bipods.
  • Provides 15° of pan and 15° of tilt/swivel
  • Legs can be stowed forwards or backwards
  • Notched legs (similar to Harris)
  • Many great options for connection (from the very popular ADM QD picatinny mount to AI spigot mounts and others, all of which seem to be more durable than a sling stud)
  • Feet can be easily swapped out in less than 1 minute for other feet or leg extensions. Extensions are available from various companies from 3” to 6” to 17.5”, meaning one bipod covers a ridiculous range.

Now it’s not all rosy, and some shooters see a few drawbacks when it comes to the Atlas bipod:

  • Legs are slower to deploy and require some fine-motor skills and coordination to press a button and swing a leg – one at a time. This may sound knit-picky, but it can be a problem under stress.
  • Legs often get cocked to the side because of the panning feature. Some wish they could disable that feature because it just seems to cause one leg to be further forward than the other, which could affect how the rifle recoils and hurt accuracy. Unfortunately, the tension knob that controls panning also controls tilt/swivel – so if you tighten it down, it makes it hard to adjust your rifle cant. Adjusting the tension also isn’t as easy as a Harris with a Pod-Loc lever. The company clearly listens to their customers, because they’ve come out with a new model (BT65-LW17) that doesn’t pan (so the legs won’t get cocked to the side), and uses the KMW Pod-Loc to adjust the swivel tension.
  • Legs rotate or “walk” forward when you load the bipod. Again, the company listened to feedback and they fixed that feature on the Atlas PSR BT46-LW17 bipod, which prevents the legs from spinning. The Atlas V8 (version 8) still has this issue.

There are a ton of configurations available, which can make it a bit confusing to know which one to purchase. The most popular model among this crowd is the Atlas PSR BT46-LW17 bipod, which is also sometimes referred to as version 10. The version 8 Atlas bipod is still for sale, but the PSR model offers a few improvements. There is a tall version of the bipod available, but most of these shooters seem to prefer the shorter version. The Atlas BT65-LW17 Gen. 2 CAL Bipod is another great option that offers many of the same features as the PSR, except it has the CAL (Cant And Loc) feature with the KMW Pod-Loc and the panning feature is removed.

While you can find models of Atlas bipods retailing in the low $200’s, that price usually doesn’t include a mount. The most popular model among this crowd, the Atlas PSR BT46-LW17 bipod, has a street price of $320, and the Atlas BT65-LW17 Gen. 2 CAL Bipod is $300. That’s may be a shockingly high price for some people, but it comes ready-to-go and is very adaptable.

MDT Ckye-Pod

The MDT Ckye-Pod bipod is a brand new design. 10% of these top shooters were using a Ckye-Pod, although the design appears to only have been released in limited batches until this month. It might have been used by more, if it was more widely available through this past season.

Ckye-Pod Bipod

The Ckye-Pod allows the legs to be locked into multiple angles, like the Atlas, but it not only does that forward and backwards, but applies that same concept in another direction, with 5 positions for how wide the feet are apart. This provides a ridiculous amount of adjustment, from 4.5” to 15.5”! That allows it to be used from a low prone position all the way up to a comfortable seated position.

It’s tough to explain in words, so here’s a short, 1 minute video to see it in action:

Here are a few other features that seem compelling about the Ckye-Pod:

  • One-handed adjustable legs
  • Comes standard with spiked/claw feet, but accepts Atlas-style feet, which means they’re easily swappable
  • Separate knobs to adjust the tension for pan and cant independently, a smart improvement over the Atlas design
  • Built-in barricade stop
  • Push-button quick release mount available for picatinny or arca-swiss

The Ckye-Pod seems to have it all, but one obvious downside is the price. They’re selling for $500 for the picatinny model, and $550 for the version with an arca-swiss mount – so they’re definitely on the pricey side. That’s 60% higher than an Atlas or a heavily customized Harris bipod, so it will be interesting to see if these can get as wide of popularity as those other brands at that steep price.

Evolution Bipod

The Evolution Bipod, or EvoPod, by Modular Evolution, was used by 5% of these top shooters. The guys at Modular Evolution have an interesting idea for this bipod: “The EvolutionBipod replaces, shooting sticks, multiple bipods and heavy tripod adapters. Featuring lightweight modular accessories that all work with the main bipod hub! We are excited to offer futuristic solutions for modern-day hunters and shooters!” In the photo below, you can see the full bipod, as well as the a disassembled version of the “bipod hub.”

Evolution Bipod

The Evolution Bipod is available in a few heights: 7-10”, 8-11”, or 10-14”. I’d expect the shortest legs to be popular among this group of rifle competitors. This bipod has similar features to the Atlas, in that the legs can be set to 45 or 90° angles, which allows it to get down to a height of just 4”.

Here are a few other highlights of the Evolution Bipod:

  • Receptacles on the bottom of legs accept QD spikes and allow stacking of legs for flexibility of length and other accessories
  • Lightweight, removable, non-rotating, carbon fiber legs
  • Spring-loaded, extendable legs
  • ADM quick-detach lever for picatinny rails
  • 20° swivel with lever lock
  • Bottom of “bipod hub” is extensible, allowing you to attach a picatinny rail, flush cup for slings, barricade stop, tripod adapter, etc.

EvoPod Bipod

The Evolution Bipod seems very similar to the Atlas design overall, but seems to offer a few compelling features or improvements. The 7-10” version of the Evolution Bipod is selling for $330.

Other Bipods

Other bipods used by 1 or 2 of these top shooters included the Warne Skyline Precision Bipod, Accutac bipod, and Elite Iron Revolution bipod. I’d suggest checking those out, especially the Elite Iron design, which is a complete departure from traditional bipod design. I remember seeing it demoed at SHOT Show a couple of years ago, and it’s wild how it works. And if you thought these other designs were expensive, the Revolution bipod from Elite Iron is priced from $635 – $735! Wowza!

One last design I’d like to mention that was just released at SHOT Show 2019, is the Thunder Beast bipod. Thunder Beast makes the most popular suppressors among these top shooters, and they recently came out with a bipod design that caught my attention. It seems like all of these bipod designs either provide the flexibility of the Atlas design, with a push button leg adjustment for multiple angles … or the Harris, which is a quick deploy, but only allows the legs to be at 90°. You have to make a trade-off: speed or flexibility. Obviously in the precision rifle competition world, you want both … but the crowd is just about split between the speedy Harris leg deployment and the other designs that offer more adjustability. Well, Thunder Beast came out with a design that appears to do both. The legs are deployable WITHOUT the push of a button, meaning you can quickly sweep the legs down like a Harris. However, the legs can be adjusted to 45° after you’ve deployed to 90°. So you seem to get the best of both worlds. The guys at TBAC apparently have been perfecting this design for 2 years. Those guys are fanatical about precision rifle shooting in field conditions, so I bet it’s a capable product. I’d be shocked if you didn’t see some of these showing up at matches in the near future. Watch the video below or visit TBAC to learn more.

Rifle Tripod

Now let’s talk about rifle tripods. The idea of mounting a precision rifle to a tripod has really taken off over the past few years, and it’s surprising how steady and accurate you can be kneeling or even standing behind one. Masterpiece Arms really pushed this concept forward when they added an integral arca-swiss dovetail cut to their chassis, which allowed you to mount it directly to a tripod. So I thought it’d be interesting to ask these top shooters what brand of tripod they used. Here’s what they said:

Rifle Tripod

92% of the top shooters said they owned a tripod they use with their rifle. Only 13 of the 172 shooters surveyed said they don’t even own a tripod, but that did include one of the top 10 shooters in the PRS – so it’s not as foundational of a piece of gear as something like a bipod.

Clearly one brand dominates the precision rifle world when it comes to tripods, and that’s Really Right Stuff (RRS). 59% of the shooters who owned a tripod, use a RRS tripod. They are some of the best made, but also most-expensive tripods. RRS is a premium brand of tripods in the photography world, but they are also committed overtly committed to shooting sports. They even have a division of their company called SOAR (Sport Optic And Rifle), which is headed up by Michael Haenel, who’s experience includes being an instructor at the US Army Sniper School – so they know something about rifles and precision. They’ve been able to leverage their expertise from years of feedback, research, and development in the photography world, and are also constantly soliciting feedback from shooters.

While some chassis, like those made by MPA or XLR, now feature integral dovetail cuts that allow them to mount directly to a RRS tripod, there are a wide variety of adapters made by RRS and others that allow you to mount a chassis or stock to a tripod. And this isn’t just something that is good in the competition world. Over the past few years hunting, I’ve taken more animals from my rifle mounted to tripod than any other position. It works really, really well anytime you need a steady rest from a position higher than prone, and there are some relatively lightweight models on the market.

RRS is one of the most sturdy and easy to use designs available. I’ve literally seen a rep from RRS swing with his full weight on a rifle that was attached to one of their tripods. RRS tripods are ridiculously strong. Last year, they released a new tripod and ballhead, which I featured in an article as one of the coolest things I came across at SHOT Show 2018.

Precision Rifle on RRS Tripod

The TFCT-24L tripod with Anvil-30 ballhead shown above sells for $1365, so clearly RRS is one of the more expensive products on the market.

The second most popular brand was Leofoto, which represented 18% of these shooters. These tripods are a little more budget-friendly, with some models starting as low as $300, but most in the $500-600 range. They have many of the same features as those offered by RRS, like carbon fiber legs, arca-swiss ballhead, etc.

Feisol was the next most popular tripod, with 10% of the shooters. Feisol is another more budget-friendly tripod, similar to Leofoto, with many of their models running around $500-600.

Manfrotto is a very popular brand name in the photography world, and there were 5% of these shooters running a Manfrotto tripod. The Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 055 Aluminium 3-Section Tripod is a great choice for under $200 for the base tripod, and then you could add an arca-swiss tripod head from Leofoto or others and have a very capable setup.

All of those tripods, except RRS, were designed with photography in mind, not shooting sports. But there were a few other brands used by 1-3 of these top shooters that were designed specifically for rifle shooting, and I’d like to point those out.

Crux Ordnance makes a military-grade tripod kit that is easily recognizable. Its unique design allows easy and smooth operation even with the heaviest gear set up. Separate locking adjustment mechanisms allow friction adjustment without instability. Riflescopes and spotting scopes can be adjusted smoothly with one hand and a balanced position maintained without tightening. The Crux Ordnance tripod kit starts around $1360, but ranges up to $2500 depending on the configuration.

Crux Ordnance Tripod

Patriot Valley Arms offers the COMP-40 Tripod, which is ideal for these types of rifle competitions. The COMP-40 tripod runs $500, which includes the SC-44 Panning Ball Head. That’s a value when it comes to a capable, easy-to-use rifle tripod that can support 20+ pounds.

Other tripods used by one or two of these top shooters included Benro tripods, Gitzo tripods (of which the mountaineer models are very lightweight and handle weight well), Slik tripods, and Bushnell Tactical Rifle tripods.

About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. Cal has an engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and the ability to present technical information in an unbiased and straight-forward fashion. For more info, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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22 comments

  1. No love for Versa-Pod?

    • I guess not, Paul. None of these shooters mentioned using a Versa-Pod. Not sure why that is, but just know that’s what the data said. But if you love your Versa-Pod, don’t let this data steal your joy of using it. To each his own.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  2. Any word on types of ball head or saddle used?

    • No sir. I didn’t ask that question. It seems like most guys are running arca-swiss mounts of some kind, even the guys using stocks. But I’m sure there were guys using a Hog Saddle as well. That might be something good to ask on next year’s survey. I’ll add that to my list of new questions to consider.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  3. Does anybody use a rear monopod, instead of a back bag? Or is time too tight for that?
    Apologies if this is a silly question, PRS type shooting is pretty new to the UK.

    • Gareth, that’s not a silly question. I know some guys who like monopods when plinking, but I can’t remember ever seeing anyone using a monopod at a major rifle match. There may be a couple guys doing it, but it’s definitely not the norm. I think you’re right. I think the time limits are too tight, and a monopod isn’t as flexible as a rear bag. Many rear bags can be turned in various directions to give you anything from 1-6″ or more of support. A monopod might be good for when you have plenty of time to setup, or are on a fairly level surface … but that is rarely the case in these kinds of matches.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  4. Hi Cal,
    Any chance you can do a review of bags?
    I’m thinking gamechanger vs fortune cookie vs Warhorse Saracen vs tactucal udder…
    I’m in the market for a good bag and cannot decide…
    I’m thnking of the Saracen, but I dont know how it stacks up against the tactical udder, or the gamechanger.
    It would be interesting to see “What the pro’s use”…

    • Well, I have a post coming up about which bags these guys run. Those you named are certainly some of at the top of the list, so stay tuned!

      Thanks,
      Cal

  5. Altus Shooting Solutions (formerly Core) offers pre-built Harris bipods with the PASS adapters, and I believe a replacement center hub with QD. Also, don’t forget the 6″ and 18″ carbon fiber legs PASS offers (also sold through Altus, and others) that let you use a Harris or Atlas for seated positions without hauling a second bipod.

    • Thanks, Brandon. I’ve seen that, but I’ve looked at that product page on their website a couple times … but haven’t ever actually seen it in-stock. In fact, it’s out of stock right now. I’m not sure if that’s something they are still doing, or if it’s just so popular you can’t catch them in stock. That model also still has the factory swivel stud attachment on it, instead of something that could attach to a picatinny rail or arca-swiss rail. There aren’t many stocks or chassis among this crowd that still has a swivel stud on them, so you’d still have customize it after you get it.

      Either way, there is an opportunity for someone there. If Harris was smart, they’d do it themselves and call it the “PRS Edition” or “Premium Bipod” or something like that. But honestly, I tried to call Harris last time I did a post like this in 2015 to ask a few questions or even make a few suggestions, and they weren’t open to any of that feedback. It’s sad, but companies like that go out of business all the time. I’m not saying that Harris is going out of business anytime soon, but I do think they’ll be eclipsed by these other brands if they continue to refuse to adapt. You’re always either building your reputation or living off of it, and Harris seems to be living off of it … unfortunately.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  6. Larue Tactical makes a QD picatinny mount pre-installed on several Harris bipods, they also come with an upgraded tensioner. I run one and it’s very comparable to MPA’s and ADM’s.

    https://www.larue.com/products/harris-bipod-brm-s-and-lt706-qd-swivel-mount-combo/

    • Great point, Eric. I totally forgot about that one. I have even bought one of those before. I don’t love the LaRue QD mount as much as the ADM version, because it’s not as easy to manipulate with one hand. With the ADM I can reach up with one hand and take off the bipod in less than 2 seconds. Is that valuable? Who knows. It’s probably just a personal preference/bias thing, and I’m sure there some might prefer the LaRue, so thanks for mentioning it!

      Thanks,
      Cal

  7. Are you planning to do one on hearing protection? I’m planning to spend some money and am looking for guidance. Thanks!

    • Hey, Si. I didn’t ask about hearing protection this year, but have added it to my list of questions that I will consider asking next year.

      There are a ton of guys running the Howard Leight Impact Earmuffs, which are just $43. I assume you are thinking about spending more than that, but in my opinion you have to spend a lot more to beat those. I know Peltor makes expensive muffs, but I just don’t get it. It’s hard for me to see the value they offer over the Howard Leight’s. The Howard Leights are so thin too, which keeps them from getting in the way when you get your head down on a rifle.

      I personally invested in some custom-fit, in-ear, electronic hearing protection about two years ago, and love it!!! The model I use is the ESP Stealth, and I’ve worn them virtually all day for 7 days straight and would forget they were in. They are very comfortable, the amplification works well, and the battery last a long time (at least for in-ear protection). The hearing protection seems extremely effective too. Wearing earmuffs all day in the summer here in Texas sucks, and these keep you much cooler. They’re the same model that a lot of Olympic shotgun shooters use. I noticed the Applied Ballistics team was sponsored by ESP at the King of 2 Miles rifle match this past year too. It seems they’re one of the best models in the business, but they are very expensive. The ESP Stealth pair runs $2100. If you shoot a lot, or hunt with a muzzle brake on your rifle … they’re worth considering. I paid full retail for mine, and I’d buy them again in a heartbeat. I’ve enjoyed them even more than I thought I would. I’ve caught myself multiple times driving back from the range with them still in my ears, because you really don’t even notice them. That’s the kind of comfort you can get with a custom mold.

      There are a few other brands of electronic in-ear protection, like SportEar or Walker’s Game Ear, but I haven’t heard much about them. I have a buddy with the SportEar GhostStrike In-Ear Electronic Ear Pro, which runs $380-500 depending on where you get them. He likes them, but I don’t know how they compare to the ESP. SportEar also makes custom-fit versions of their ear pro, but it gets in the same price range as the ESP.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Cal

  8. Hola Cal Zant, I accompany the blog, congratulations for the work and thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    I would like to know if you have any article about the Coriolis effect.
    Thank you very much
    Humberto Claudino
    Porto Alergre – RS – Brazil

    • Hey, Humberto. Glad you have enjoyed the blog! I don’t have an article on Coriolis specifically, but I’d highly, highly recommend you check out Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting by Bryan Litz. He goes into that along with all the other factors you should consider when shooting long range, and does it in a very practical way that is easy for even non-technical people to understand.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  9. I’ve been using Harris bipods since they were $7.99. Luckily, they are good enough that I haven’t had to replace any- since they were $7.99!

    • Ha! That’s amazing, Milton. If it’s working for you, I’d stick with it! I always say, “Don’t fix happy!”

      And I personally use Harris bipods still on my match rifles. They are heavily customized, but they are the fastest to deploy and they’ve been a very durable product for me. I’ve never broken one yet.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  10. Another awesome jam packed post Cal. Great info from a great perspective. I think this is the greatest blog on the net! Excellent job.

  11. Still saving up for a RRS with the Anvil combo. Been using a Fotopro max carbon fiber with Hog saddle for a few years now. The Hog saddle is a great universal clamp but it does mar up finishes especially hydrodipped coatings.
    Also recently saw a Patriot Valley Comp-40 tripod in person and that tripod is BIG! 40mm legs of carbon fiber sexiness but also a 110lbs weight capacity (SC-44 ballhead capacity is only 66lbs though).

    • Chip the RRS with the Anvil head is really nice. I also used a Hog Saddle for a couple years before, and it’s nice on rifles that don’t have any other way to clamp into a tripod … but it’s not near as quick to attach/detach or as stable as these other mounting techniques. I do still use it for all my rifles that don’t have a arca-swiss rail on them, although all of my new rifles will have those rails on them.

      I’m not sure why you need all that weight capacity! People go a little overboard on that. Ultimately, I need something that holds 25-30 pounds, and anything beyond that is overkill and is likely just making the setup bigger, heavier and more expensive than it needs to be. I still love a Gitzo Mountaineer tripod that I bought a couple years ago, because it is barely tall enough and barely strong enough … so it is perfect. I know that might sound funny coming from an engineer, but it means it’s the most compact and lightweight setup possible … which is valuable in a lot of situations. I heard a quote once that said “Any idiot can build a bridge that stands, but it takes an engineer to build a bridge that barely stands.” It seems like most of these tripods are simply overbuilt. For example, on the RRS tripods, the weight rating is with the legs fully extended and sprawl at the most horizontal extreme possible. They can take a 40-50 lb. load like that! And I’m sure there is even a margin of error built into that, so I’d be surprised if they didn’t test it to support closer to 50-60 lbs. That’s cool, except I’ve NEVER seen someone actually use a tripod like that. And my rifle doesn’t weigh that much, even if I was loading into it. I tried to explain this to them in-person at SHOT Show last year, but they just really don’t want their products to fail … so they over-engineer everything. What that means for us is we have tripods that are heavier and more bulky than they really need to be. But, we could use them to support a car if we need to change a tire!

      Anyway, I almost went on that rant in the post … but figured it was probably based on my own personal bias, which I try to keep out of the posts. But I’ll be a little more free with my opinion in the comments! 😉 All that to say that I wouldn’t sweat the 66 lb. capacity on the ball head! I’ve never seen a 66 lb. rifle!

      Thanks,
      Cal

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