Posted on: 2010-11-30 14:46:00 -0500

Having shot rifles using slings for years, I recently headed to the range with a new bipod for my first serious attempt at shooting with one.

I attached the bipod to the rail of my LaRue AR-15 and some 75 gr. Prvi Partizan .223 ammo. The good news was that I printed some 1.5" 5-shot groups at 100 yards. The bad news was that my first group was closer to 5” and that getting it down to 1.5" required considerable trial and error.

For my first group, I made a fist with my left hand and rested the toe of the stock on it. Opening and closing my fist let me adjust elevation. I got a cheek weld, found my natural point of aim, squeezed off a couple of rounds, and shot a truly awful group as the rifle jumped all over the place in recoil. The rifle felt very sensitive to trigger manipulation, with the slightest off-center pull throwing the crosshairs off target. I didn’t feel at all connected with the rifle like when shooting with a sling.

My groups improved when I slid forward to push my shoulder into the stock to pre-load the legs of the bipod and used my left hand to push the stock into my shoulder. I could then use my toes to make minor azimuth adjustments while adjusting the tension in my left fist to control elevation. This gave me a better interface with the rifle, but it still didn’t feel as solid as shooting with a sling.

All of this shooting was done with a 20-round magazine, which required extending the legs two notches. Using a 30-round magazine required extending the legs much further and using a support under my fist so that the rifle did not point over the target.

I swapped out the bipod for a sling at the end of the day to shoot a few groups and was surprised that they hardly opened from the ones shot from the bipod.

The main observation from the day was that shooting from a bipod requires as much attention to the fundamentals (natural point of aim, breathing, and trigger control) as shooting unsupported with a sling. A bipod does not relieve the shooter of the responsibility for good technique.