Getting perfect accuracy using bipods, bags and stands

There are often times when we need some support for the rifle when we’re shooting in the bush. The longer the distance, the greater the need. Where accuracy is a requirement, we need rifle stability. 

Spotlighting at night is another reason for a solid sighting platform.

Perhaps a good starting point is a straightforward, uncomplicated bipod. There is quite a range available up to and including those worth $400 or more. I suggest you do your homework to get exactly what you require. 

Gun rests for accuracy
Good stand setup on bench. Not that the spiked ‘claws’ of the front stand have been unwound to allow it to be moved easily. Rifle is Tikka in 6.5×55

I have used several Harris Bipods for over 30 years or so without problems. I normally equip a rifle used for spotlighting with a bipod. We have a portable tray that projects over the cabin of the utility, which is a good, solid sighting platform and ideal with the bipod.

The situation gets a bit more complicated in the daytime. For all long-range shooting, there must be rifle stability to provide a stable sight picture. 

Gun rests for accuracy
The ultimate long-range set-up in .22/284. A rifle like this must be shot off the bench

The front may be either a bipod setup or an adjustable stand made for the purpose; such a set-up is normally shot off a portable bench, which has proven to be invaluable over the past 25 years or so. The bench may be concealed in the open or allow shooting out of a blind. 

Some bipods incorporate a swivel, but I have never thought that one was necessary.

Tip: The adjustment screws on this type of front stand are usually pointed to provide ‘grip’ on the bench or other surface. Withdraw them until the base is smooth. You can move the front stand quickly using your left hand while controlling the rifle with your right hand.

There are specific adjustable stands that allow for different types of stock. Almost invariably, the rear of the stock is supported by a sand bag. Just be aware that if there is a rear sling stud on the stock, it should be removed. 

Gun rests for accuracy
Typical benchrest setup with a rifle chambered in 6mm PPC. There are lesson to be learned there

The rear bag should be tight enough to allow the stock to slide in the bag’s vee.

The biggest front stand has its origins with benchrest shooters. It will accommodate a rifle with a 10cm (4”) wide forend (such as F class) and has a screw-type vertical adjustment. Each leg is also individually adjustable. 

It is made for the heaviest of rifles for long-range work. Such a rifle is impossible to shoot off-hand, and a proper stand or bag set-up is a requirement. 

A distant target is unlikely to know of your presence. You will have plenty of time to range the target and consult the ballistic table to see exactly where the projectile will fly in relation to the line of sight and exactly where the projectile will land. The combination really shines on the far side of 300 metres or so.

Gun rests for accuracy
This is a good long-range set-up. Standard Harris Bipod nice firm rear bag on a portable bench. Rifle is a stock standard Ruger 77V in .243 firing a range of projectiles, making it very flexible

While the rifle and cartridge are further supported by a good long-range telescopic sight, it is the supporting tools — the bags, bipods and stands — that allow you to have a perfect sight picture before applying pressure to the trigger. 




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Ron James