Bipod or sand bags for load development

odoylerules

Private
Belligerents
Apr 25, 2017
118
38
34
I’m asking for load development only. I would hunt, practice and compete with a bipod. I know I should work on my consistency with a bipod, but sometimes I get frustrated during load development, especially group shooting, because I think it’s me when that flyer pops out of the group, or the weird impact on the long range ladder happens.
What do you guys do?
 

Lkwoolsey

Private
Minuteman
Oct 31, 2018
75
33
24
I've always used sandbags, either prone or bench rest. Better, more stable position is going to give you a better idea of the load development. Just my two cents.
 

ingraham

Banhammer
Banned !
Minuteman
Aug 11, 2018
189
327
69
49
Most shooters I'm acquainted with, including me, get different results off a bipod vs. sand bags (or a backpack, for example). Some of us get very similar, but still different results, and some of us get _very_ different results. It appears to me to be, in significant part, a matter of learning how to manage the recoil using each type of rest. Yes, your rifle may be 'jumping' under recoil off the bipod, particularly if you're shooting off a hard surface. It could be other things, though.

My own suggestion is to either practice a bit with the bipod before you make the final decision to use it for hunting, or else just revert to what you're used to & comfortable with for this year, and practice in the off-season with the bipod for possible use next year.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lkwoolsey

MinnesotaMulisha

Head MF Door Keeper
Belligerents
Jul 30, 2013
1,296
931
219
Lincoln, NE
I've always done load development with a bipod and a rear bag.

I shoot mostly matches and some shooting is done prone, but mostly off of a tactical udder.

I feel confident that being able to hit plates at 4 or 500 yards off the udder, I would have no problem shooting off of a pack in the same manner to take game.
 

clcustom1911

Cop/Paramedic
Belligerents
Oct 23, 2017
947
978
99
Southern Kommiefornia
I do load development with what I will shoot from: Bipod and rear bag. Position is sitting at a bench at a square range which doesn't like shooters to go prone, unfortunately. Hey, they have to deal with the general public who can sometimes be scary when handling firearms, so I understand. I know for me prone is better for recoil management and overall more stable platform.
 

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Belligerents
Aug 10, 2001
5,969
1,211
219
Arizona, good place for me...
Consistent accuracy has its basis in the full set of factors involved in the shooting process.

Change one, and you change the process; hence you change the outcome. So develop as closely to the way you'll be shooting the eventual load, that will give the most appropriate result.

Greg
 

parkerg31

Private
Minuteman
Jun 3, 2018
54
15
12
The ammount of load you put on your bipod will change your group when load developing because the more load that you put on the more it will mess with barrel harmonics. Ive always used a bipod to load develop and get repeatable groups off of a bag, but make sure i'm not loading the bipod while doing it.
 

Fauropitotto

Private
Minuteman
Dec 7, 2018
18
12
6
With a free-float handguard, there's no way loading the bipod can interfere with the barrel harmonics. Right?
 

want2learn

Private
Belligerents
Sep 7, 2013
178
21
22
I'm so glad this question was posed by the OP. I've been curious about this myself.
 

parkerg31

Private
Minuteman
Jun 3, 2018
54
15
12
With a free-float handguard, there's no way loading the bipod can interfere with the barrel harmonics. Right?
Go listen to long range university podcast episode 22. They talk about it towards the last 30 minutes I think. The whole podcast is super good to listen too tho. It’s two marine corps scout sniper instructors and a PRC national champ discussing how the bipod does just what I said.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BudgetBuilder

Fauropitotto

Private
Minuteman
Dec 7, 2018
18
12
6
Go listen to long range university podcast episode 22. They talk about it towards the last 30 minutes I think. The whole podcast is super good to listen too tho. It’s two marine corps scout sniper instructors and a PRC national champ discussing how the bipod does just what I said.
Where to find this?

Google has not been helpful with "long range university podcast", and I can't find the episode listing on the PRC podcast. Long range pursuit podcast doesn't go to ep 22
 

AMGtuned

Just white trash with money.....
Belligerents
Minuteman
May 6, 2018
487
307
69
Maine
Free float handguard, properly installed and torqued: check
SS heavy barrel: check
StraightJacket barrel system to eliminate barrel whip: check
PROPER bipod loading technique: check

You're not supposed to try and push the bipod down to your target. "Loading" the bipod is actually minimal forward pressure. Doing so with a non-FF handguard may be a different story. I load work up using my bipod, and rear bag. No problems yet. Not even a little.
 

parkerg31

Private
Minuteman
Jun 3, 2018
54
15
12
Where to find this?

Google has not been helpful with "long range university podcast", and I can't find the episode listing on the PRC podcast. Long range pursuit podcast doesn't go to ep 22
I use the podcast app on my iPhone
 

Fauropitotto

Private
Minuteman
Dec 7, 2018
18
12
6
Very interesting! I'd like to have the opportunity to listen to the whole episode when I get into handloading again. I'm sure a lot has changed over the past few years.

BUT, about loading the bipod on free-float handguards, I think it's heavily dependent on the design of the mount and the chassis. They mentioned that some flex has a significant impact on the harmonics of the barrel system and even describe a method of testing this. The method they describe is not a great one because it does not decouple the effect of loading up the bipod on the shooter. If someone is comfortable and practiced in shooting a particular way in a particular sequence, asking them to dramatically change the way they shoot could very very easily change the groups they produce.

More to the point though, they seem to suggest not loading up on the bipod at all, and it's given me a lot to think about. If I accept that loading the bipod in a consistent manner changes the harmonics of the rifle system in a consistent, then I also have to accept that load development can be tuned *for* a given system to produce consistent results. But without the load, all that force is reduced significantly.

Since I'm just getting started in this adventure it's difficult for me to judge content because I don't know the knowledge or skills to put into practice some of these concepts.

Thanks for pointing me in a fascinating direction with a very interesting resource. So much to learn!
 
  • Like
Reactions: parkerg31

parkerg31

Private
Minuteman
Jun 3, 2018
54
15
12
Very interesting! I'd like to have the opportunity to listen to the whole episode when I get into handloading again. I'm sure a lot has changed over the past few years.

BUT, about loading the bipod on free-float handguards, I think it's heavily dependent on the design of the mount and the chassis. They mentioned that some flex has a significant impact on the harmonics of the barrel system and even describe a method of testing this. The method they describe is not a great one because it does not decouple the effect of loading up the bipod on the shooter. If someone is comfortable and practiced in shooting a particular way in a particular sequence, asking them to dramatically change the way they shoot could very very easily change the groups they produce.

More to the point though, they seem to suggest not loading up on the bipod at all, and it's given me a lot to think about. If I accept that loading the bipod in a consistent manner changes the harmonics of the rifle system in a consistent, then I also have to accept that load development can be tuned *for* a given system to produce consistent results. But without the load, all that force is reduced significantly.

Since I'm just getting started in this adventure it's difficult for me to judge content because I don't know the knowledge or skills to put into practice some of these concepts.

Thanks for pointing me in a fascinating direction with a very interesting resource. So much to learn!
no problem man I’m glad I could point you. That’s what this website is for!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fauropitotto

XLR308

Major Hide Member
Belligerents
Minuteman
Mar 22, 2018
1,932
1,606
119
Grand Junction, Colorado
For load development I am probably the oddball here, I prefer to use a Sinclair Heavy Varmint windage adjustable front rest and a rabbit ear bag.
The only caliber I ever had much discrepancy with when switching between the front rest and bipod was 308win but that was due to poor technique on the bipod and totally on me.
Once I figured out how to load the bipod properly the differences narrowed quite a bit.