So far we have a rifle, and scope + mounting accessories. We spoke about the selection of those items in previous posts. No doubt you are now keen to get to the range. Before you can do that there are a few things to sort out. The following article details the purchase, mounting and use of other necessary kit before you journey out.
Some accessories may be mandatory such as a bag or case to safely store your rifle
Supporting your rifle
The first thing we should think about is how we are going to use the rifle before we get into mounting anything. What positions are you going to be firing from? Are you shooting in a discipline that requires you shoot unsupported? Maybe you are allowed to use a sling, a sandbag/s or a front rest/bipod? Most of you guys are going to be shooting in either prone (laying on your belly) or sitting at a bench. For this article we will go with the majority and suggest we set up for the same.
Bags and Bipods
There are literally thousands of options in terms of supporting your rifle. For bench rest and F open shooters you will see the majority using VERY HEAVY rests which have fine adjustments. These are highly expensive and only really relevant for specific disciplines. I don’t use them myself and therefore I won’t make comment on them.
There are multiple events which allow the use bipods and bags. These are also the most popular forms of support used by casual target shooters, hunters, law enforcement and military.
There are several designs of bipod and all have pros and cons. I use a Harris bipod. Arguably the most popular of all.
The Harris bipods fold up which allows you to use the rifle in pretty much any position without it banging on structures ect. This makes it ideal for practical rifle comps where transitions and unusual shooting positions or environments are the norm. You can raise or lower the legs at the touch of a button. The notched leg versions are spring loaded and will shoot out to the desired position on uneven ground. I would suggest buying a “tilt” type which allows you to cant the rifle without fiddling with leg length. I also suggest buying an aftermarket lever to replace the locking nut which is used to control cant. The nut is very hard to tighten and you will find the rifles suddenly droops to one side if it isn’t locked down hard. There are a few companies making these folding type bipods. I would avoid the cheap clones. A company called Atlas produces superb quality bipods which looked very nice to me and have had great reviews. At present I’m quite happy with what I have so I have yet to field test one properly.
If your discipline allows it you may benefit from a non folding bipod. These offer enhanced stability but are more cumbersome. They cannot be swiftly removed or folded so they are of little use if you need to move with the rifle into different positions. This rules them out for practical/tactical type events. They make an ideal platform for static long range comps when rules allow. There are numerous types available ranging from home made right through to uber expensive. Most have height adjustment either via leg length or angle
A bipod from UK based Third Eye Tactical which uses leg angle as height adjustment
There is little point in recommending specific bipods or brands. I use the two shown above and both have proved superb. I recognise that there are many other excellent options. For folding types I would be looking to spend between £50-£200. I would budget £150-300 for the fixed leg type. Pretty much anything in those budgets will do a good job. The one thing I would always seek to avoid is accessories touching the barrel of the rifle. It is likely to effect the barrel harmonics and therefore accuracy will suffer. The cheaper folding leg models often attach to the barrel.
Modern rifles tend to have mounts of some kind at the forend of the stock which will attach to a bipod. Check which you have and ensure the bipod you select will mate with it. Many bipods come with several fittings to allow a ;