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First, let me acknowledge that past postings seem to indicate that benchrest shooters overwhelmingly prefer rests as superior to bipods. I am posting in this forum because benchrest people seem to be the most interested in the physics of shooting and might be more knowledgeable in this area.

The conventional wisdom I've read in past postings seems to be that shooting with the rifle resting directly on top of a hard, unyielding surface (such as a log, ammo can, concrete bench etc.) can cause the rifle to recoil away from the hard, unyielding object, resulting in a higher POI. Since the "bounce" is only generally upward and is in an otherwise random direction, a worse group will also result. It seems as though having the rifle resting on a more yielding material (like a sandbag, backpack, etc.) eliminates the "bounce" and, therefore, eliminates the problem. Assuming what I've stated is true (correct me if it's not), why then are bipods okay, if not as good as rests? Is there enough yielding built into their design to keep the "bounce" from occuring? Is the magnitude of this problem worse with harder recoiling cartridges and virtually negligible with .22LR so it's really a moot point? Thoughts?
 

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My thoughts

I find the bipod does bounce. More so with heavy recoiling rifles. But even a bolt action .22 from the bench with a bipod as a front support will bounce. A semi automatic .22 will bounce even more. Placing the bipod on a piece of carpet helps, but you will get some bounce.

As to why are bipods okay; I think this has to do with circumstances. Perhaps a shooter doesn't have a solid front rest or a solid bench upon which to place a rest. When I go to the country to shoot varmints I use a bipod. I've found my portable shooting bench, front rest and rear bag aren't all that "portable" in the Ozark hills. A bipod is far better for me than shooting offhand and it's truly portable.

A quality bipod has it's place and it provides a more solid rest than shooting offhand.
 

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Uniform from shot to shot.

As I see the problem, at least with rimfires: If there is some torque in the legs of a bipod when recoil begins, and if the torque or strain in the legs is not the same from shot to shot, you will get point of impact variation. Just a little horizontal movement from one bull to the next can put strain on the legs if the tips of the legs do not move (slide) on the supporting surface.

In ARA matches where bipods are allowed, I understand some shooters set their bipod legs on a smooth sheet of polished aluminum or glass, so the leg tips will slide without sticking, resulting in no leg torque. I have also heard that a sheet of wax paper between the legs and the smooth plate helps prevent leg strain.

Carrying along some wax paper and a sheet of plate glass while you are in the field might be ackward. Better to accept a little lower standard of accuracy while hunting.

As for front bags on a tripod rest: I have found that packing the front bag with lots of sand so it is "hard" and then applying baby powder or spray silicon to the bag (both bags), that the rifle will recoil with no bounce. Anyway, the bullet is out of the muzzle by the time the rifle has recoiled less than .010". When it comes to high standards of accuracy, maybe we should be a little more concerned about barrel vibration, rather than rifle bounce.

Joe
 
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