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  #1  
Old 08-03-2020, 04:41 PM
M-Peltier M-Peltier is offline
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Bipods-The good the bad and the expensive!

For a long time I have been intrigued with the long distance aspect of shooting marksmanship. Bipods seem to be an integral part of shooting accurately from varying positions. Admittedly I have always used......cheap versions. Probably why I never liked them much and mostly chose sandbags as a rest for accurate long distance shooting. But recently after discussing this with my son, who is stationed in Alaska with the US Army, I decided to jump in with both feet and spend a ridiculous amount of money trying some of the best bipods and mounts on the market........best money I spent in a long time.

Im going to make this short by eliminating several right off the bat. That would be the Harris clone made by Champion and the Magpul bipod. I will also make this statement: If your not willing and able to spend 300-400 on a bipod (or more), stop reading. Any less and you might as well stick to sandbags or a rolled up towel. They are about equal.

Things get interesting real fast when you step it up to an Atlas or MDT CKYE bipod. I actually got two Atlas Bipods as I had three rifles I wanted to outfit with quality gear. The big learning curve was mounting. My first inclination was just a simple Picatinny rail on an M-Lock with a QR mount. And I did go this route with one of the Atlas's for an AR308. The real learning curve started when I learned about ARCA Swiss rails. If you don't know what they are, do a google search and read up. They are the slickest way to mount a bipod to a bolt action precision rifle. The bipod can be removed almost instantly and leaves the stock very slim and streamlined for traditional handling of the rifle with out the discomfort of the "Cheese-grater" piccatiny rail. MDT makes a lot of different lengths and are good. My favorite mount and ARCA rail is made by Area 419. I ran across this company in my quest and there product is among the nicest quality I have ever experienced. Absolutely first rate.

First the Atlas BT46. I can see why our Military snipers like them. It is a Robust and well engineered piece of kit. Lots of options for feet, mounts, and leg extensions. These legs don't rotate and its the strongest Atlas makes. The legs pivot forward and backward, but they don't spread (more on that later). I opted for an Area 419 ARCA mount and their barrier stop. This was mounted to my McMillan stocked custom Savage with a short 4.5" ARCA rail also from AREA 419. Their mount and rail are unique and have a very smooth scallop shape to the outer edge. These scallops are nicely radiuses and smooth to the touch, but act as a means to lock the mount solidly when attached. This literally eliminates any chance of the bipod sliding when using the barrier stop or loading the bipod hard. If I could have only one all around bipod, that I planned to use on varying rifles, this would probably be it. Rotating the legs front or back is done with a simple push of a button, and extending them is simply pulling down it them. they lock automatically into grooves in the inner legs and they have a knurled ring that works like the collar on an air chuck to retract them. Pull down on the collar and push the outer leg up to retract. It wasn't difficult to do, but it was at times a challenge to get adjusted quickly. Its a slightly awkward process.

Now the CKYE steps it up a notch. It did everything the Atlas did but better, and it had a few tricks of its own. It was the most expensive. The single biggest advantage of this bipod is the legs spread. In three of the acompanying photos you can see it in action as just by spreading the legs it can be taller, the same or shorter than the atlas. The adjustment to the telescoping legs is much more tactile and easy to adjust instantly just by grasping the lever and pushing it up. It came with the ARCA mount and barrier stop already attached. It also swivels 360 degrees, so even though the legs don't rotate to as many positions as the Atlas it actually can just by rotating it around 180 degrees.
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2020, 04:50 PM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is online now
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An excellent thread subject. +1911 for starting it.

When I first looked at bi-pods, I too was taken aback by the cost of better regarded bi-pods.

But with prior experience with photography tri-pods, I wasn't completely surprised. I started with a low-cost one (photography); and I very quickly learned its limitations...with a lot of frustration. The "cost savings" weren't worth the hassles/limitations.

So with that photography experience as background, with rifle (AR) bi-pods, I skipped the cheaper stuff and went straight to Atlas. Wilson had an Atlas bi-pod on their website, and as a long-term WC customer, I figured that if Wilson put it on their website, then it must be a good product. And so it is.

Even so, I now kind of wish I'd gone with a still higher-end Atlas or other bi-pod.
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  #3  
Old 08-03-2020, 06:54 PM
scubadad scubadad is offline
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Very informative. Now there is no doubt that the Caldwell on my savage is a pos.
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  #4  
Old 08-03-2020, 07:27 PM
M-Peltier M-Peltier is offline
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I didn't mention much about the feet. Atlas seems to have set the bar here as its the only thing that seems to be standardized to some degree between bipods. The feet that come with the Atlas standard are just an unassuming rubber pad that works ok, but does not seem too exciting. The other options are a hybrid spike/claw arrangement and (my Favorite) the straight up spike. That spike looks dangerous. if you extend the legs out far enough it would be like a double spike weapon. They are robust and very strong, when loading up on the bipod you can just feel them plant into the ground. They don't budge. I may be swapping them over to the CKYE or ordering a set for it.

The single biggest revelation for me was the loading of the bipod to steady the rifle. The robust design of the better bipods allow a good amount of pressure that really stabilizes the rifle for the shot. I shot some of the best groups yet today with these and am thoroughly hooked. Once the feet are securely planted, forward pressure with your shoulder against the stock "Loads" the bipod and it just plants it there. Usually my center point of my reticle bounces a little with my heart beat. It almost goes away entirely once set up.
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  #5  
Old 08-03-2020, 08:41 PM
Plantar5 Plantar5 is offline
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Good topic and review M-P. The MDY/Arca rail setup looks sweet. I’ve got 3 Atlas bipods, 1 dedicated to my AI rifle via a spigot and the other 2 rotatefor my other PRs, ARs and hunting rifles. I do have a Harris on my VQ .17 HMR which actually works fine for me, maybe because the small caliber/recoil.

I’ve been meaning to put a 1x2 at the shooting bench where I shoot for good BP loading.

So, did you mount ARCA rails to all your long guns?
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  #6  
Old 08-04-2020, 07:51 AM
M-Peltier M-Peltier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plantar5 View Post
Good topic and review M-P. The MDY/Arca rail setup looks sweet. I’ve got 3 Atlas bipods, 1 dedicated to my AI rifle via a spigot and the other 2 rotatefor my other PRs, ARs and hunting rifles. I do have a Harris on my VQ .17 HMR which actually works fine for me, maybe because the small caliber/recoil.

I’ve been meaning to put a 1x2 at the shooting bench where I shoot for good BP loading.

So, did you mount ARCA rails to all your long guns?

A solid brace on the shooting bench is a great idea. My shooting bench is not very stable, that's why I chose to test them prone on the ground.

I mounted Arca rails to the two pictured. My Bergera Ridgeback and my McMillan stocked Savage.

The Bergera was easy as it has Mlock rails. Because of the Mlock design of the Graboe stock I had to grind off two of the Mlock locating tabs on the back of the MDT Arca rail. It was not much trouble to do so.

The McMillan stock was a little more involved to mount such a little rail section. From the factory the stock came with one sling swivel stud near the tip of the fore end. I should have spec'd two when I ordered it. But since I have a pretty well outfitted shop here at home, I was able to install two additional T-nuts exactly as McMillan did when they installed the first sling swivel. A couple of normal twist drills and a 3/4" Forstner bit and a dab of epoxy to permanently secure the T nuts are all it takes.

The other bipods are either sling swivel mounts or Picatinny rail mount. For now the rifles they may/will be used on are not really precision or serious rifles for long distance. I will just keep them as is for now. If for no other reason than for show and tell for those that would like to see a comparison.
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  #7  
Old 08-04-2020, 10:39 AM
HarryO45 HarryO45 is offline
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I was lucky to have a very competitive Mentor / Platoon Sergeant. Every year our Battalion had a platoon competition, there were about ten elements of the competition. One of the elements was a Platoon defensive live fire exercise that was conducted after an eight mile force march. The idea was a Platoon would move to the range and set up a defense under a par time (I forget the time but it was kind of a challenge to move that fast and then set up). At the end of par time, the range officer would start a computer generated array of pop up targets - identical for every Platoon. The Platoon that would hit the most targets the fastest would win. It came with serious bragging rights. Targets were all over the place, some at about 700M some where at 25M. The range was nicknamed “the million dollar range” - it even had some moving targets. Most platoons carried only weapons / ammo and moved easily to the range. My PSG planned to carry tripods for our machine guns, squad radios, E-tools, and he had scrounged up some M16 bipods. The extra weight was not well received by the Platoon members.

I agreed to the plan, and dispite the extra weight we moved to the range pretty fast. We laid in the machineguns on tripods, and then dug shallow trenches in front of each Rifleman to accommodate our bipods. The idea was for the Rifleman to dig the non-adjustable bipod down low enough to accommodate a prone position and steady the weapon with forward pressure.

We ripped through the course, the M60 gunners only focused on the furthest targets and got great hits with the tripods. The riflemen took the bulk of the targets and covered their sectors with well aimed fire. We won that stage of the competition by a great margin.

I am a true believer in the use of bipods. I believe bipods should be attached to the outside of every rucksack. Today I keep one under the rear seat of my truck.

I am not a long range shooter but I make sure all my scoped rifles have a capability to add one of my several bipods.

I use Atlas bipods... your post makes me want to look at some of the newer stuff. I have found that the greatest limits with a bipod are to prevent it to go lower... rather than higher. Of course terrain is always a factor, I am always looking for a position with excellent field of view in conjunction with a low bipod. If you can find that position then there is no better. 20 round magazines are nice to have.
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  #8  
Old 08-04-2020, 11:56 AM
Ohgunchick Ohgunchick is offline
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I've only used Atlas bipods, but I love them. Only bipod I'll use.
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  #9  
Old 08-04-2020, 12:53 PM
USMM guy USMM guy is online now
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I have an Atlas on my Accuracy International.

A great piece of kit as the brits would say. I have a Harris on my M-24 clone. Really no comparison between the two. That is going to change soon. I think the Harris bipods are OK with casual light plinkers. But that is about it. If you want a good one you really do have step up and fork over the money
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  #10  
Old 08-04-2020, 05:15 PM
Plantar5 Plantar5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-Peltier View Post
A solid brace on the shooting bench is a great idea. My shooting bench is not very stable, that's why I chose to test them prone on the ground.

I mounted Arca rails to the two pictured. My Bergera Ridgeback and my McMillan stocked Savage.

The Bergera was easy as it has Mlock rails.

The other bipods are either sling swivel mounts or Picatinny rail mount. For now the rifles they may/will be used on are not really precision or serious rifles for long distance. I will just keep them as is for now. If for no other reason than for show and tell for those that would like to see a comparison.
I really need to remember my screw gun/screws/1x2 to mount in front of the shooting benches at the club I belong to. (See the pic). The leading edge of the bench top is just plywood so it would be a snap and not intrusive.

I see myself trying an MDT bipod but undecided on the ARCA rails, so far.
If I get the MDT BP, I’m held to the pic rail mount. They seemed to priced the same regardless of the mount. If I was starting fresh, it’d be a different story.

I just set up a new Daniel Defense Delta 5 and shot that with one of my Atlas’ pic rail QD mount the other day. Its solid. Its funny/ironic because I waited 18 days for the pieces of pic rail for the bipod mount; I could’ve went ARCA rail!...I was bitchin’ about it in a post on here ...

Good stuff M-P.
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  #11  
Old 08-04-2020, 05:28 PM
M-Peltier M-Peltier is offline
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Originally Posted by HarryO45 View Post
I was lucky to have a very competitive Mentor / Platoon Sergeant. Every year our Battalion had a platoon competition, there were about ten elements of the competition. One of the elements was a Platoon defensive live fire exercise that was conducted after an eight mile force march. The idea was a Platoon would move to the range and set up a defense under a par time (I forget the time but it was kind of a challenge to move that fast and then set up). At the end of par time, the range officer would start a computer generated array of pop up targets - identical for every Platoon. The Platoon that would hit the most targets the fastest would win. It came with serious bragging rights. Targets were all over the place, some at about 700M some where at 25M. The range was nicknamed “the million dollar range” - it even had some moving targets. Most platoons carried only weapons / ammo and moved easily to the range. My PSG planned to carry tripods for our machine guns, squad radios, E-tools, and he had scrounged up some M16 bipods. The extra weight was not well received by the Platoon members.

I agreed to the plan, and dispite the extra weight we moved to the range pretty fast. We laid in the machineguns on tripods, and then dug shallow trenches in front of each Rifleman to accommodate our bipods. The idea was for the Rifleman to dig the non-adjustable bipod down low enough to accommodate a prone position and steady the weapon with forward pressure.

We ripped through the course, the M60 gunners only focused on the furthest targets and got great hits with the tripods. The riflemen took the bulk of the targets and covered their sectors with well aimed fire. We won that stage of the competition by a great margin.

I am a true believer in the use of bipods. I believe bipods should be attached to the outside of every rucksack. Today I keep one under the rear seat of my truck.

I am not a long range shooter but I make sure all my scoped rifles have a capability to add one of my several bipods.

I use Atlas bipods... your post makes me want to look at some of the newer stuff. I have found that the greatest limits with a bipod are to prevent it to go lower... rather than higher. Of course terrain is always a factor, I am always looking for a position with excellent field of view in conjunction with a low bipod. If you can find that position then there is no better. 20 round magazines are nice to have.
That course sounds right up my alley. I attended the first 6 Fort Benning 3-gun challenge tournaments and several stages over the years were actually set up on the sniper ranges there. One year it was a mock town that was set up next to, I think it was a 3 story, building over looking the town. You actually started the stage set up behind one of the AMU's provided sniper rifles to engage several HVT's at about 500 yds. Then you transitioned to your own rifle to engage the remaining targets (LaRue auto reseting) that were sprinkled around the town. Oh yeah, the best part was my squad (actually all squads) was transported there in a Stryker, ready to go and moving fast, They dropped the door and you were hustled into the building with artificial machine gun fire going on all around you. The whole time your escort was screaming to go, go, go, go, until everyone was in the building. It was one of the best stages in the history of 3-gun. And a stage only The AMU could put together.

I highly recommend the MDT CKYE, it will accommodate a dizzying array of positions.
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  #12  
Old 08-05-2020, 08:13 AM
hardluk1 hardluk1 is offline
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I'm not a long range shooter other than some range fun with 22lrs or to check my hunting rifles then I use a 40 year old hoppe's adjustable bench rest and leather bags . I do have an old set of shooting sticks that works well from a kneeling or sitting position by changing the spread on the legs that's worked well in the field a couple times . Better for turkey hunting . Rubber hose over the last 4 inches and fine braided nylon tread weaved around both sticks in a grooved ring so there rather flexible but stay together . I've kept it attached to my small back pack until or if its needed . Thats been rarely .
I use a rubber dipped screw in step for a rest in a tree with my old climbing stand
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Old 08-05-2020, 09:34 AM
HarryO45 HarryO45 is offline
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I use a rubber dipped screw in step for a rest in a tree with my old climbing stand
I don’t know if this is off subject or not, and we seem to be OK talking about a steady shot outside of a bipod. In the tree stand, I have been tying length of 550 cord about four or five feet above my head it lies agains the tree. If I find myself in an awkward shooting position I reach to the running end of the cord, and pull it into my support hand against the rifle. Then I can move the rifle supported for about 240 degrees around the static end of the cord. I have improved the system (at least for me) by using that surgical tubing tied off on the running end of the cord. I gives me better grip and in if need to make an elevation adjustment at the last moment I just apply some pressure to the rubber. Steady and pow. Easy to carry and very practical. I even made one for my truck pack... the running end is made from a old Kevlar bowstring. I figuare I could use it on a rapid fire rifle and would not melt like the 550 cord.
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Old 08-05-2020, 01:06 PM
USMM guy USMM guy is online now
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I have been planning to upgrade the bipod on my M-24 clone.

And while I was planning to go with another Atlas. I make give one of the Spartan precision Valhallas a try. They are looking pretty good to me.
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Old 08-06-2020, 05:07 AM
hardluk1 hardluk1 is offline
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Harry045 Good idea . Thanks
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Old 08-06-2020, 06:22 AM
Plantar5 Plantar5 is offline
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L

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Originally Posted by USMM guy View Post
And while I was planning to go with another Atlas. I make give one of the Spartan precision Valhallas a try. They are looking pretty good to me.
Interesting. Looks nice. Appears to be a lighter version of the Atlas 5H with an entirely different mounting system. Anyone in the US stock them?
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  #17  
Old 08-06-2020, 06:31 AM
M-Peltier M-Peltier is offline
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The Spartan Precision does look interesting, though the mount is a concern for me. The adaptor looks a little bulky when the bipods removed. I think the adjustability and stream lined characteristics of the ARCA rail are going to be hard for me to ever give up. If they come up with an ARCA mount version/adaptor, I'm in.
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  #18  
Old 08-06-2020, 06:56 AM
HarryO45 HarryO45 is offline
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Originally Posted by hardluk1 View Post
Harry045 Good idea . Thanks
I forgot to mention: knots... you want to tie knots in cord and tube. Cold hands wet cord are why - also helps you index. No slipping during serious business.
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Old 08-06-2020, 07:09 AM
Plantar5 Plantar5 is offline
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No one seems to have any MDT CKYE in stock. I also saw where one or two were discontinued?? Oh well, I guess this too will have to wait.
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Old 08-06-2020, 12:39 PM
USMM guy USMM guy is online now
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Somebody must stock them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plantar5 View Post
Interesting. Looks nice. Appears to be a lighter version of the Atlas 5H with an entirely different mounting system. Anyone in the US stock them?
A guy had one at the range the other day. That is what got me interested in them. But I did not ask him where he got it. He had it on a nice custom build AR in .224 Valkyrie. Nice rig!
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  #21  
Old 08-06-2020, 02:55 PM
HarryO45 HarryO45 is offline
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That course sounds right up my alley. I attended the first 6 Fort Benning 3-gun challenge tournaments and several stages over the years were actually set up on the sniper ranges there. One year it was a mock town that was set up next to, I think it was a 3 story, building over looking the town. You actually started the stage set up behind one of the AMU's provided sniper rifles to engage several HVT's at about 500 yds. Then you transitioned to your own rifle to engage the remaining targets (LaRue auto reseting) that were sprinkled around the town. Oh yeah, the best part was my squad (actually all squads) was transported there in a Stryker, ready to go and moving fast, They dropped the door and you were hustled into the building with artificial machine gun fire going on all around you. The whole time your escort was screaming to go, go, go, go, until everyone was in the building. It was one of the best stages in the history of 3-gun. And a stage only The AMU could put together.
I have shot the Fort Benning Multigun Challenge for last two years. I am registered for this year... hope it happens? I have my doubts.

The last two years have been fun, but no Stryker assaults or even Jon Boats (i assume you know what I mean by that). I watched some of the speed demons use some tripods for a couple of stages. It is still a lot of fun, but it sounds like you had the mac daddy of cool stages.

It is a great three days of shooting and definitely the highlight of my annual matches. I get smoked every stage, the competition is fierce. Agree the AMU has some pretty cool resources for a three gun match.
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  #22  
Old 08-06-2020, 07:47 PM
M-Peltier M-Peltier is offline
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Originally Posted by Plantar5 View Post
No one seems to have any MDT CKYE in stock. I also saw where one or two were discontinued?? Oh well, I guess this too will have to wait.
Thats crazy. I got mine at Brownells just a few days before I posted. Doesn't surprise me though. It seams the world is going crazy for anything gun related right now.
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  #23  
Old 08-06-2020, 07:55 PM
M-Peltier M-Peltier is offline
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Originally Posted by HarryO45 View Post
I have shot the Fort Benning Multigun Challenge for last two years. I am registered for this year... hope it happens? I have my doubts.

The last two years have been fun, but no Stryker assaults or even Jon Boats (i assume you know what I mean by that). I watched some of the speed demons use some tripods for a couple of stages. It is still a lot of fun, but it sounds like you had the mac daddy of cool stages.

It is a great three days of shooting and definitely the highlight of my annual matches. I get smoked every stage, the competition is fierce. Agree the AMU has some pretty cool resources for a three gun match.
I do indeed remember the Jon boat. And the Parachute harness, The short barrel shotgun breacher, M240 SAW, M203 grenade Launcher, Etc Etc.

And talk about getting smoked. My very first Ft Benning 3-gun (also the inaugural 3-gun match) I get squaded with Taran Butler. Talk about humbling. At least I won guns at a few of them after that. Lol
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  #24  
Old 08-06-2020, 08:08 PM
Flight Medic Flight Medic is offline
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Gonna diaagree with you on the Magpul bipod. Ive been able to consistently hit 1000 yards using it on my 6.5 Grendel AR. I can front-load on it, whereas my Atlas BT10 I cannot because, once forward pressure is applied, the legs roll along the surface allowing the bipod (and the rifle) to creep forward. Perhaps its no "better" than a sandbag, but its a sh*tload more portable.






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Old 08-06-2020, 08:51 PM
.45_COLT .45_COLT is offline
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It isn’t very compact, but the LRA light tactical model is VERY rigid and stable. Very well made also.
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