Left is the Model 50 Super-Short Versa-Pod and right, the Military all-steel Versa-Pod with integral 1913 Picatinny mounting hardware.
Reviewed by Marcus O’Dean
People who knock around rifle ranges with me know I am not a fan of detachable bipods on rifles for a few reasons, so when I received some Versa-Pods to review from their new Australian Distributor, Pro-Tactical, I scratched my head a bit.
Tempering this with the knowledge that most of my Field Class target shooting brethren in Alpine Target and hunting Club love these Versa-Pods and routinely used them at 3-position shoots, I bit the bullet (sorry) and really looked into these bipods. As I watched the better operators among those Versa-Pod users, I realised one thing above all else, that is the ability to instantly detach the bipod unit from the rifle by way of a spring clip on the side of the feet unit, leaving the unobtrusive and lightweight Universal Mounting Adapter (UMA) attached to the forend. The flexibility of this system means that you can mount different length Versa-Pods to the rifle for different events or situations instantaneously – very handy.
The Model 50 Super-Short Prone Bipod shown close-up on author’s Savage Model 25 .17 Hornet. Notable are the optional sleigh feet for soft ground use, the knurled locking knobs , top to tighten on rifle mount and bottom to control cant.
The Versa-Pods I reviewed were:
the Model 50 Super-Short (5-7-inches) Prone Bipod fitted with spade feet and
- the Military Series 9-12-inch Model with integral Mil-STD-1913 (Picatinny) Rail fitting.
The Model 50 is made of Aircraft-Grade Aluminium and Steel on hard wearing components and normally comes with non-skid rubber feet – the sleigh feet, for use on softer ground, are available as an option. Once the feet are attached to the UMA, you can tighten the grip on the spigot – at the forward end of the UMA – by tightening the upper, smaller knurled ring; this gives a bombproof attachment.
Being a very low model, it is ideally suited to range use where the shooter has no rear rest and supports the butt with the non-trigger hand to attain a super-stable, ultra-low prone position, suitable for the rested prone elements of tactical matches or similar.
While other commonly available bipods offer a laterally swivelling base as an option, this comes standard on the Versa-Pod, with a locking feature, so slight slopes in the ground, the angle of which falls between the adjustment available on the notched extendable legs, can be be eliminated by slightly canting the legs.
The spigot on front of UMA slides into a sleeve on top of the feet and is locked in place by a spring-loaded release and further by a knurled locking ring collet.
I gave this civilian version of the Versa-Pod a workout in a 300 metre Sniper Match recently, where we had to hit a 4-inch circle during twenty 4-second snap exposures and I came out of the day with a third place in State-of-the-Art classification with a 90/100, hitting the bull 10 out of 20 times, and missing it by not much on the others . The top gun on the day only managed 93, so I thought that with a bit more practice with this system, I may be able to claw back top place in future.
The Military Series was somewhat problematic because I don’t possess a “tube gun” or any rifle that has 1913 rails anywhere on the forend – I know I am a little pedestrian in that regard – but the concept of this adapted Versa-Pod is slightly different to its civilian counterpart. As it’s for military use, it is constructed entirely of good old steel and it does not come in two parts, rather the mounting base will already be on the rifle,that is the 1913 (Picatinny)rail either bolted to or integral on the forend. Attachment of the feet unit is accomplished by tightening two hex-head bolts on the side of the integral top 1913 claw mount. The feel and function of this unit was pure utilitarian and it feels and looks a rugged bit of kit.
Common to both Versa-Pods is a large knurled knob on the lefthand side which allows a lockable cant control function that operates though about ten degrees (my estimate). The feet can be deployed in extended mode by depressing two spring clips at the base of the upper-outside steel feet tubes, the strong springs propelling the feet out instantly. Then you adjust the height of the unit by pushing the feet back until the appropriate adjustment notch milled into the inner leg is reached.
Showing how the Versa-Pod legs mesh with the Universal Mounting Adapter (UMA), which remains on-rifle . The legs can be instantaneously taken off and put on again, hence the “Versa” in the name.
Overall, the Versa-Pod bipods appealed to me more than any other detachable bipod system out there. They come in all different practical lengths suited to hunting, target or operational work, incidentally. Whether they are the equal to a sandbag is now a burning question in my mind that I will have to resolve sometime soon. So yes, these Versa-Pods are good.
Ask for them at your local gun shop. Dealer enquiries to Pro-Tactical. Email email@example.com or phone Roger at 0457 760 822.