Harris BipodStay on Target
By: Mike Schoby
Between big game hunting, sitting in a waterfowl blind and trying to catch trout, I like to shoot varmints. Calling coyotes, shooting over a large prairie dog town and popping rock chucks off shale cliffs eats up a lot of my spare time. As much as I like varmint hunting, I don't like missing them, which is quite a common occurrence as the targets are small, the distance often long and the shooting position often unstable. While nothing can be done about the distance or the animal size, you can significantly steady your aim with a Harris bipod.
I have been shooting with an adjustable Harris bipod for the last few years for everything from elk to prairie dogs, and I love them. They work great for many types of hunting, but really shine in the varmint fields where the shots are long, and you can shoot for several hours in one area without significantly moving.
This last year, I have been field-testing the Harris Ultra Light pivoting bipod on a Remington 700 in .17 Rem and fixed Benchrest model on a Reminton VSSF .22-250. During this time, I used these rifles to hunt coyotes, prairie dogs and rock chucks and have used the bipods in a variety of terrain and positions. So far I have yet to see a situation where they were not handy and quiet, as well as providing a more steady shot than without one.
Harris bipods can easy be attached to any rifle with sling swivels. You simply, remove the sling and attached the bipods directly to the sling stud. On the bipod, a screw draws it tight against the stock of the rifle. On the VSSF, I was not worried about the stock's finish, as it is an extremely tough synthetic model that would not be scratched, but on the .17, it had a reasonably nice piece of oiled walnut that I would prefer to keep relatively scratch free. To my relief after several trips and a lot of hard use, there is not a single abrasion, dent or scratch from the padded "foot" of the Harris bipod on the stock.
Both of the models, like all Harris Bipods fold up and stow away neatly under the barrel of the rifle and they can be instantly deployed by simply hinging down the legs. Each leg is adjustable with both pre-set lengths and custom setting. For example, the legs on the long model (adjustable from 13.5"-27") could be pulled out and would instantly snap into two pre-set detents for length. But they also can be "fine tuned" to any length and set with the half turn of a knurled knob. The rifle can still be carried with a sling as the bipod has its own attachment for a sling swivel on the base.
While both models have their pros and cons I preferred the longer pivoting model for most of my use. It could be used both for sitting and kneeling shots as well as lying prone (uphill or downhill shots are more comfortable than flat prone-because of its height). The pivoting function is also priceless. In the field, a level shooting area is about as common as a prairie dog that doesn't move. If the ground is not completely level, the scope/rifle will cant to the left or right, and without the pivoting function, small adjustments must be made to one of the legs of the bipod. This is too slow to be practical for most hunting situations, but with the pivoting head, the legs can be uneven and the rifle can simply be turned so that it is level.
While for most shooting I favor the longer model of Harris, there is also times when the bench model is perfect for the task at hand. When sighting in from a bench, shooting prairie dogs while laying prone in a level field or shooting from the hood of a truck, the only bipod that works well is the short benchrest model with vertical adjustments from 6-9" (this model can be had as either a pivoting or non-pivoting model).
The Harris bipods are lightweight, sturdy and handy for many applications. While I mainly used them for varmint hunting, I have also used them on big-game rifles for plains game hunting in Africa, bear and elk hunting in the mountains and open country muzzleloader mule deer. Whatever the application, if you are looking for a steadier, more accurate shot, it is hard to beat a Harris bipod.
Harris bipods are available in five non-pivoting, four pivoting and both a pivoting and non-pivoting benchrest model. In addition to the standard swivel attachment Harris also offers adapters for Remington pump and semi-auto's, Ruger mini-14's, AR-15's and a barrel clamp.