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Harris bipod vs. newer high-end bipods (GGG, Atlas, Bobro etc.)

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Z-Michigan, May 10, 2010.

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  1. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    I'm looking at getting a nice bipod or two to share among several rifles, primarily for paper punching work and some expensive plinking. I'm interested in comments on some of the newer bipods and a comparison to the standard, the Harris.

    As background, I've been using a cheap UTG bipod for a couple years with decent results, and just recently got a Harris S-L bipod which is far, far nicer than the UTG and overall pretty good - but feels like a living fossil when I hold it. I can easily imagine the exact same bipod being sold in 1958, and I see a few improvements that could be made. The Harris is a quality piece and really stable, but I don't like attaching using a sling swivel stud, and I can see a benefit to a pan feature (I do have the swivel model).

    So I'm browsing what seems to be a whole new generation of bipods, all seem to be new in the last 5 years or so and all seem to be similar in three ways:
    -height - only 7-10" or so range for all
    -attachment to the rifle using a picatinny rail, which seems much sturdier and more durable over long-term use
    -cost in the $200 range (ouch)

    The bipods I'm lumping together are:
    -GG&G bipod (both light and heavy versions)
    -Bobro with the collapsing triangle design
    -Accu-Shot Atlas bipod
    -TangoDown bipod
    -Rock Creek SOPMOD bipod

    Among these the GGG and Atlas are the most appealing based on their apparent features and design. The TangoDown costs near $200 with plastic legs, the Bobro is pushing the price barrier ($240?), and I don't like Rock Creek's attitude of not selling certain feet to civilians (c'mon guys, bipod FEET! It's not like we're talking HE warheads...). But I haven't handled any and I'm not yet sold on a particular one.

    So what I'm asking is this: for anyone who owns one of the bipods I'm listing as newer, how do you like it and would you buy it again? And how would you compare it to a Harris bipod, if you've also used one of those?

    How would you compare the method of attachment? Most of the rifles I want to use a bipod with (which are all .223 or .308) have neither a stud nor a rail, so I would be adding one or the other to each rifle in order to use it.

    How about the height of those bipods? My Harris is the 9-13" model and I find that just about perfect. Do you ever find that these shorter models in the 7-10" range are too low? A lot of my shooting will be at a private range with lumpy, sloping ground and relatively tall grass.
  2. Juice Boxes

    Juice Boxes Well-Known Member

    Check out Larue they mesh the tried and true Harris with their own ingenious mounting systems.
  3. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    i'm not a rifle guy per say, but i have a friend who is way too serious. he says if you can't afford the Parker-Hale, the next bext bipod is the Versa Pod...which is a copy
  4. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I have shot Harris, an old GG&G design, and the AI/Parker-Hale. Now I use the P-H on all my AI rifles. It is heavy and expensive, but has some features that make it better for practical shooting than the Harris. The GG&G I had was a complete no-go, but that was the very first one they came out with.

    In the practical shooting events I shoot and administer, the most popular bipod by far is the Harris "L", swivel. After that, the AI shooters tend to use the AI/PH bipod with a few exceptions.
  5. johnmcl

    johnmcl Well-Known Member


    If you wouldn't mind expanding a little, what good features do you find on the Parker Hales over the Harris bipods?
  6. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Compared to the Harris, the AI bipod has more yaw/play (useful to prevent tension on bipod legs when moving around in position or on moving targets), never hops, is more easily deployable and stowable with one hand, and is more easily adjustable when in position, and has no external springs. It's also built like a tank.
  7. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the helpful responses. Juice, I hadn't known about the Larue options; not really what I'm looking for, but always good to know about more options!

    Zak, I was hoping you would chime in. I do have a follow-up or two:

    Are these shooting events mostly the long-distance precision shooting competitions, or also 3-gun type competition? (I'm guessing no one uses an AI in 3-gun, but I don't claim to know for sure.)

    The Parker-Hale- how heavy are those? They are pricey but not quite as bad as I thought, at least when already considering $200+ bipods. Weight and cost were the two features keeping me from even looking at them.

    Do you find a mechanical pan feature to be a significant benefit, vs. the Harris panning by a combination of dragging its feet and a bit of flex in the legs?

    Is it safe to assume that most competitors are spending so much on other gear that they would have one of the bipods I mentioned in my first post if they considered it better than the Harris?

    Finally, the Harris I bought is the S-L with smooth legs that only lock at full extension or by using the friction lock. Can anyone compare for me those legs to the notched legs that are also available? I was originally going to buy the notched-leg model but read a review elsewhere where someone was claiming that the notched legs were plastic and not sturdy, so I decided to take my first dip with the smooth legs.
  8. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    At events like the Steel Safari and the NRAWC Sporting Rifle Match, which are both long-range matches shot in the field in the natural terrain in which the shooter only gets one shot at each target.

    I haven't weighted the AI bipod but it's pretty heavy. Of course, the average rifle used by a top-10 competitor at these matches weights 16-19# (incl. rifle scope bipod sling suppressor if used).

    I wouldn't characterize "pan" as the primary benefit of the play-- I would describe the benefit as preventing tension from loading up on the bipod legs if I need to move the rifle a little bit but the bipod feet cannot easily slide (or cannot be moved for a different reason), which is pretty common on the nonuniform surfaces in nature. The surface could be rock, roots, or whatever, but let's just use gravel as an example. If you have a Harris bipod set up on a gravel surface, its feet will naturally fall into the little holes in the surface (ie they'll end up settling into local minima in the rough surface). Then if you need to change the direction of point of aim of the rifle by panning it, since the bipod legs are snapped into position and spring loaded, tension on the legs will build up very quickly as the rifle is panned even a small amount (like the difference in shooting a target 20 yards to the side of the last target you shot). Since the AI bipod legs are not really snapped into position with spring pressure on them, it tolerates a lot more movement without putting tension on the rifle. Tension on the rifle will want to release as soon as it has a chance to, resulting in bipod hop, or unintentional bipod/rifle movement during recoil.

    When using the Harris bipods, I was never able to quickly adjust the length of the legs with one hand when in position. With the AI, I keep a firing grip on the rifle with my right hand; as I push the button on the rear of each leg I just use my right hand to rotate the rifle the opposite direction to allow that leg to lengthen (each leg has a spring inside to extend the leg as far as is allowed when the button is pressed). This is very quick.

    With regard to money and bipod use-- I can't remember seeing bipods other than Harris and AI at any of our matches out here. I think most people stick with the Harris because they are cheap, it's what they know, and it's super easy to connect to almost any bolt rifle with no modifications.

    On the GG&G, I don't believe the legs are spring loaded to extend when the knob is turned. I consider this feature very useful in the AI bipod. Also, it requires more dexterity or more hands to deploy/retract the legs. I haven't handled the other ones but looking at their designs it's not immediately obvious that they support the kind of operation that I want in a field, precision rifle bipod.
  9. .378 Wby

    .378 Wby member

    I have a Rock Creek on a Rem. 700 SPS, .308 Win., Leupold Mark 4 50mm, mil-dot. Jewell trigger.

    I've looked hard at this bipod and don't see any difference between it and a Harris. I tend to use a Caldwell Rock rest rather than a bipod.
  10. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    I have found the GG&G to be the best bipod that I have ever used. I believe Zak, must have gotten a lemon. The Bobro is similar (same basic design) but is more costly and a bit bulkier. I have the heavy version with swivel, but I think the light version would probably work just as good. The Versa-pod is another good design, and will likely be the next that I purchase simply due to the cost. I also use a Harris, and it works well, but I don't consider it as well designed and robust as th aforementioned so it resides on my .22LR target rifle.


  11. pdd614

    pdd614 Well-Known Member

    I have used harris, accu-shot atlas, and the mike rock sopmod bipod. I consider the harris to be complete junk. The harris fell apart on me after only a few uses, so into the garbage can it went. It is a toss up between the atlas and mike rock. I fitted the atlas with a larue mount which is nice, but I can deploy both legs at the same time on the mike rock with one hand. Both bipods are rock solid.

    btw, that whole thing about mike rock not selling the feet is a non-issue. Mine came with claw feet, and so did all the other guys i've seen run them. I've actually never seen anything but claw feet on a mike rock bipod.
    Last edited: May 11, 2010
  12. lvfd01

    lvfd01 Member

    I shoot F-Class and use the Sinclair F-Class Bipod, rock solid and improved my scores by at least 5. Sinclair also has a really nice Tactical/Varmint Bipod, don't have one but have shot a buddy of mine.
  13. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    The Harris is a field Bi-pod, and it works well for that. Not quite as stable as some others, but inexpensive, easy to adjust, and easy to use on rifles without rails (like all of mine). When I do benchwork, I usually use sandbags, so I have no real need for a bipod geared toward benchrest work.

    The only other Bi-pod I have is a prince on my AR-50. That thing in a beast, could probably be used as a jackstand if it had another leg.
  14. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    Thanks again for all the responses guys, and keep em coming if anyone else has something to add. The GGG is still sounding interesting after Maverick's comment, and on the assumption that Zak's gen I was a lemon or just a function of being first generation instead of second.

    I'm aware of the Sinclair "Tactical" bipod but my biggest complaint about the Harris is that attaching via swivel stud seems weak and outdated, and I'm not going to spend $200 for a bipod with that feature.

    Not to be repetitive but can anyone with a Harris leg notch type bipod comment on the material, stiffness and strength of the inner/lower legs? I don't have any local stores that carry that kind of thing so I'm not likely to see one in person unless/until after clicking "order" at the Midway website. (Again, I own a Harris S-L smooth leg bipod so I'm familiar with all other aspects of the design.)
  15. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    The one I had was the first gen without swivel.

    Let me ask you this-- if you are prone in shooting position, how exactly do you adjust the height of one or both bipod legs up or down?
  16. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    I have one and find it to be a great improvement over the original without notches or swivel. It has a little bit of play (like all Harris), but it isn't bad. That said I use it on the 10/22, so it doesn't get used terribly hard.

    I really like the swivel feature, and wouldn't have purchased it without. The height is retained by the nut on the legs, with no notches or stops. I loosen it, let them fall all the way down tighten it most of the way, and let it slowly drop to the right height. It can be inconvenient, but not much of an issue for me, as I am not timed during competitive shooting events, but I can see the issue for someone like yourself.
  17. PedalBiker

    PedalBiker Well-Known Member

    My Harris has no pan or tilt, is a bit noisy for hunting and is hard to adjust leg height in the field. It is light, affordable, easy to attach and has held up fine.

    I'm looking for an alternative too.

    I wanted to add, I don't like how the Harris ties up the sling swivel, but I just went ahead and added an extra swivel for slings on my hunting rifle. I really like the Safari sling (call me lazy) and it won't work with a Harris Bipod's sling attach point.
  18. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Do you find having to loosen and tighten the nut problematic from the prone position?
  19. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    Not much more so than a button, but there are certainly better designs for that aspect. IMO the biggest problem is where they put the dang nut...right in the front [headslap]...seems to me the sides is a better option, but what do I know? [​IMG]
  20. .378 Wby

    .378 Wby member

    Just for the record, the previous Rem. 700 PSS (Police Sharp Shooter) I owned had TWO front sling lugs and a Harris bipod. One of the studs had stripped loose. I'm guessing because the bipod provides a fair amount of leverage on the stud.

    As mentioned above, not the leading edge technology for mounting an accessory. I'd look for a design that fits on a rail.

    I'm a big fan of a target benchrest, have never used a bipod for any serious work.
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