As a hunter, you always seek something that will give you an advantage in the field. Scents, camouflage, calls, even the ammunition you choose – almost everything in your hunting setup is there to provide you with an advantage. But what about adding a bipod to your rifle? Let me tell you why having this accessory is about more than being tactical; it is about helping you bag your next trophy.
What is a Bipod?
If you are unfamiliar with bipods, you might imagine a scene from your favorite war movie, envisioning the machine guns with a giant, clunky contraption stabilizing everything for the gun crew. While that may be the beginning of bipod evolution, it is not the hunting bipod of today.
Modern bipods come in several different configurations, including short-legged versions for rest shooting, long-legged ones for shooting from kneeling or standing, and even quick-deploy sticks. Although the different styles vary slightly, they share two key components: they are easy to deploy quickly and offer a two-legged platform to stabilize your shot.
Why You Might Use a Bipod for Hunting
The main reason hunters choose to use a bipod is shot stabilization. You use a mechanical device instead of relying on your muscles to hold and stabilize the rifle. This allows for less movement, less fatigue, and better shot placement.
When is a Bipod a Good Option?
Still hunting is the best time to deploy a bipod. Whether in a stand, ground blind, or long-range position, a bipod makes sense. It is beneficial when overlooking a specific trail, opening, or feeder, as you can set the rifle for the “perfect shot” and wait.
Bipods are also helpful when stalking open country. Whether you use sticks or an attached model, they can be tucked out of the way on the move and quickly deployed for the shot. When you find yourself aiming at a perfect mule deer across an open field with nothing else to steady your rifle on, the bipod can be the difference between a filled tag and a missing shirttail.
If you move through thick cover or over rough terrain, leave the bipod at home. Not only will it get caught on every branch or snag you pass, but it will also add unwanted weight to your setup. The exception to this would be when you plan on shooting at extreme uphill or downhill angles. In this situation, the bipod can help you hold the required adjustment to make up for the raised point of impact encountered when shooting at steep angles.
Choosing a Bipod
As with any accessory, the first step in successful bipod use is selecting the suitable model. What you choose will depend on several factors, including where you will be hunting, what rifle you will be using, and whether you will still be hunting or moving. Let’s take a look at some of the options.
Leg length – one of the first features to consider is leg length. If you are shooting from a stand or ground blind, this is not as much of a factor; just buy one that fits your stand setup. But if you will be hunting from multiple locations or stalking, a wide range of leg length is vital. Most entry-level models will adjust from approximately 6″ to 13′. Extra-long models can extend to almost 30″ but will add weight and bulk when stowed.
Range of motion – The more adjustments your bipods have, the more helpful they will be in the field. The best models will allow leg angle, shooting angle, and leg length to provide the greatest flexibility.
Attachment method – like any accessory, it is essential to select a model that will work with your rifle, or rifles, if you will be using it with multiple platforms. Picatinny rail attachments are common on new rifles and can easily switch between platforms. If using a gun with a sling stud, you must purchase an adaptor or select a different bipod model.
How to se a Bipod
Although there are multiple methods for utilizing a bipod, the basics follow the same general procedure:
- Adjust the bipod to match the ground, rock, log, etc., you will be set up on.
- Take a solid, square position behind the rifle.
- Put moderate forward pressure into the stock with your shoulder. This will remove any slack in the bipod and provide the steadiest platform.
- Adjust your shot and, time permitting, lock the bipod in place to prevent unwanted movement. Many times, this step is not possible, and it is not necessary, but it does provide more stability when possible.
Although a bipod will only solve some of your problems and is suitable for some situations, it can be a game changer for many hunters. Even an average shooter can increase accuracy by adding a bipod, resulting in more successful hunts and better memories. If you’re shooting long range or hunting deer, be sure to check our picks of the best hunting rifles for long range and the best rifle for deer hunting!