Bipods are great. I love them. Years ago I when I was under the wings of two older gentlemen who had become accomplished highpower and benchrest shooters, I was told that there was no need for them. That if I laid prone the weeds or grass would obscure the shot and if I was in any other positions I could find something to rest on anyway. Like a fence post, tree limb, mother in laws back etc. And I was told rifleman used a sling to shoot with. I found this odd coming from a BR shooter that used a rest when not in the field but thats another story.
Of course years later and a lot of rounds later after college I had enough money to buy a harris bipod. Once i had it, I could not see how I ever lived without it. I believe firmly that rifleman should know how to use a sling. but, I also think to not used ever method of making yourself as steady as possible to make a precision shot is simply foolish. To me a sniper, no matter how accomplished, that has a chance to use a bipod and a rear bag or even a front and rear bag and does not is not the kinda guy I want taking a shot a inch past my head. It is not cheating. Cheating wins fights, not honor and fair play.
With this in mind I had seen camera tripods modified for years to be used in a myriad of sniping situations and instantly saw the brilliance of this simple rig. Lately after seeing more and more of the expensive camera tripods being used for the Larue OBR and the adapters to make them work together I got thinking about it again. Where we shoot it is often covered in knee high grasses during the warmer months. This makes it hard to get a shot at a coyote laying down and there is no handy tree branches or fence posts to use while standing up as I had been told years ago there would be.
I lusted for the more elaborate setups for a while but of course the price is pretty daunting. So I decided to use the my usual method of making something I want. And that is to get my Dad to help. He is of the generation that can do anything when almost nothing to work with. I am an idea man where my Dad is the one I go to that can actually make something of my crazy ideas. So together we were able to come up with a simple but highly effective tripod.
A trip to the local flea market and 8 bucks later, I had a very nice used camera/video tripod that was completely adjustable in every way and very high quality. It can be adjusted to be very short and tall enough to use standing with plenty of room left over for more vertical adjustment. The top will swivel and rotate and can be locked. The arm or moving the top fixture can also be swapped for a lefty or righty.
After getting the tripod, A half of a PVC pipe was secured with screws and epoxy. Then to make sure the forearm would be snug I glued on foam padding. This made a nice little rest without adding any weight. After it was dry I used krylon to subdue it with tan and OD green so it would not be shiny black and silver.
After everything was done I had to test it a few days later to make sure it was stable enough. I was not worried about stability when low to the ground, but when it is high up in the air thats when wobble starts. After taking it to the usual place and shooting it from a variety of heights and angles i have to pronounce it a success. I was able to hit skeet out to 300 yards using it and my rifle. It may not sound like a big deal but to do this while standing straight up is pretty nice. It is not as steady as bipods in prone and I don’t think I could make hits every time on a man sized target past 700 yards when fully extended but thats OK. No one takes shots at people shooting back at them from a full exposed standing position unless you are in a hollywoood action movie. As steady as it is even when at its lowest setting i would not use it for zeroing. The more the gun weighs of course the more it helps steady things but it has no way to support the firing and alternate killing hand when shooting. These are pretty big factors for precision and its a drawback with a tripod this high. When used to a tripod locked down with a rifle in it, the thing can pull off some amazing hits and give some serious versatility but nothing will beat sandbags and all the traditional stuff for zeroing and pure accuracy work.
But if you can find a good used tripod I say give making one of these a try. They are not hard to make and the components are not expensive. Why not add something that can fill a need like the tripod can. At least if you want something more specialized or better quality you can make one to try out if you really want/need this tool before you spend huge amounts of jack on the higher end models.