Load Development - Front Rest or Bipod?

Jan 9, 2006
60
5
8
Austin, Texas
#2
I am most consistent with a bipod shooting prone. So, that is how I test all my groups. I also like to dry fire a few times before I begin shooting groups to practice "driving the rifle" and trigger control.
Phil G
 
Jan 2, 2018
79
0
6
Lisco NE
#6
Everyone will like something different. For load development I use a rest like a lead sled or something similar to take as much of me out of it. After load work is done then zero and shoot as it will be used.
 
Mar 23, 2010
449
67
28
North Carolina
#7
When shooting off a bench, the bipod is hard to preload and will tend to bounce. I cut two notches in a plywood plate that slips over the bipod feet from the muzzle end. Then a bag of leads shot on the wood plate and the bipod is as solid as when shooting prone on ground.
 

eicas

Sergeant
Feb 1, 2012
180
34
28
54
Midwest
#8
When shooting off a bench, the bipod is hard to preload and will tend to bounce. I cut two notches in a plywood plate that slips over the bipod feet from the muzzle end. Then a bag of leads shot on the wood plate and the bipod is as solid as when shooting prone on ground.
Thats a great idea on the notched board. Never thought of it. Simple, yet effective! Ive always just used a homemade long sand filled bag but it needs readjusting as you shoot. Off to the shop to get my router and a scrap of wood!
 

Xander3Zero

Just a normal dude.
Aug 10, 2017
460
133
43
Rhode Island
#9
The goal for load development is to evaluate the loads while minimizing shooter error. Therefor I believe that you should perform load development in whichever position and with whatever gear minimizes shooter error for you. I like to practice prone, but that is not my best shooting position, so I like to shoot development at a bench with a front caldwell bag and a rear squeeze bag. I find the front bag easier for bench shooting than a bipod because the hard bench surface is not ideal for a bipod IMO.
 
Likes: arm017

arm017

Sergeant
Jun 5, 2017
412
104
43
Texas
#10
The goal for load development is to evaluate the loads while minimizing shooter error. Therefor I believe that you should perform load development in whichever position and with whatever gear minimizes shooter error for you. I like to practice prone, but that is not my best shooting position, so I like to shoot development at a bench with a front caldwell bag and a rear squeeze bag. I find the front bag easier for bench shooting than a bipod because the hard bench surface is not ideal for a bipod IMO.

I 100% agree w/ this sentiment. You hear so many absolutes, but the only absolute in my books is - shoot the way you are the most comfortable with the minimal amount of cross hair movement. That (for load development) is money. I personally am a fan of on a bench w/ bags. After giving all the standard front rests / bipods / prone a shot. Now obviously there is an upper eschelon of front rests that BR guys are using but that is probably more than what most prs guys are looking for.
 
Dec 16, 2017
40
1
8
#11
Was just playing around with this today. Started using the bipod on bench, went to shooting pack and rear bag. Real ground wasn't really available for prone - concrete only. Will stick with pack and car bag from now on for load development only. As others said - everything else will be how I intend to shoot.
 

Emerson0311

New Hide Member
Feb 17, 2018
4
0
1
Prince George BC
#12
I use a front bag or solid front rest and a rear bag off the bench. I have used a child's potty when at the range with the wife's van... I don't have a precision rifle, just hunting rifles with no brakes. I find it most important to hold the forend down hard, even with the 30-06. 338s and 375s holding the rifle solid even more important. If I don't, recoil opens up the groups a lot. A dedicated precision rifle would probably be much less "jumpy".
 

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Aug 10, 2001
5,483
748
113
Arizona, good place for me...
#13
If you can shoot well enough with a bipod to consider your results reliable, then the bipod will suffice.

Apparently I can't because I was not finding answers in a sequence of two range trips, so I went with a rest/bag instead on the next. Things settled right down.

And that's my answer to the OP question. Try and compare, because the original question makes an assumption that the only relevant variables are the bag or the bipod. Until you can shoot so that you reliably get the same results with either means of support, you are a critical variable yourself.

I learned a long time ago that anytime I do not include myself as one of the variables, I'm gonna regret it.

Greg
 

fxdrider

Full Member
Jan 3, 2014
265
30
28
Fredericksburg, Virginia
#14
And that's my answer to the OP question. Try and compare, because the original question makes an assumption that the only relevant variables are the bag or the bipod. Until you can shoot so that you reliably get the same results with either means of support, you are a critical variable yourself.

I learned a long time ago that anytime I do not include myself as one of the variables, I'm gonna regret it.

Greg
Hi Greg.
Didn't mean to imply those were the only variables. I'm just wondering if there's a clear winner in the arena of opinions on which is easier to be consistent with when shooting groups for load development. Turns out, there's not. Seems like most have their own idea of what's most consistent for them. As for myself(the biggest part of the equation), I'm going to do my group shooting from a front rest for now. When I find a node, I'll confirm it with the bipod, as well as other support methods. When I'm sure I've got a good one, I'll zero it from the bipod and check it against sitting, standing, against a barricade, etc.

Thanks for all the great replies.
 
Last edited:

G17C

Private
Feb 17, 2012
100
28
28
64
NH
#16
I have shot my best groups on a solid (no wobble) bench using bags and allowing the rifle to recoil in a consistent manner. That said, the rifle will recoil differently sitting on bags vs. being held and loaded on a bipod. Additionally, POI may be different between the two. For this reason, I'm more inclined to start load testing prone with a bipod and go to the bench only if I want further verification of results.
 
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