Things That Don’t Suck: Harris Bipods

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When I first encountered Harris Bipods I had no idea what they were, or who made them. My brother, Randy, and I had organized a Pronghorn Antelope hunt in Wyoming and our outfitters – SNS Outfitters & Guides – recommended that our rifles be equipped with rests that could be used for shooting from a prone or sitting position. When I asked Randy what these were, he said not to worry about it because he had a spare.

Fast forward several months and we were in the arid environs of eastern Wyoming. I was prone, with my rifle resting on a Harris BR model bipod and looking through my rifle scope at a Pronghorn standing 285 yards away on the opposite hillside.

The crosshairs were rock solid and when I came down from the recoil of the 7mm Remington Magnum the buck was toppling over. It’s hard to express how wonderful it was to walk up on this symbol of the American West.

Along with a Mountain Lion, also taken in Wyoming, the Pronghorn mount adorns the wall of my trophy room/office that is closest to my desk. It means the world to remember that clear, bright morning when I captured that memory. But, I couldn’t have accomplished this dream without the solid rest provided by the bipod, the name of which I didn’t know. I returned the bipod to my brother and headed back to my home in Georgia.

Mike Arnold for TTAG

For my next encounter with the Harris products we have to fast-forward over a decade. It was 2018 and Zach Waterman who heads up Nosler marketing sent me a Model 48 Nosler rifle chambered in 22 Nosler to review. I decided that it would be great to include a field rest that might be used by North Americans for various hunting applications.

So, still as naive (read: ignorant) as before, I gave my older brother another call and asked him the name of ‘that bipod you loaned me for the Pronghorn hunt.’ With that information in hand, I called Lori from Harris Engineering to see whether they would be willing to loan me one of their bipods.

They were more than willing, and sent me their HB25CS rest straightaway. My trial with the 22 Nosler included several different types of rests, but the Harris bipod (used while seated on the ground, rather than prone) provided equivalent accuracy even when compared to the bench.

Left-to-right: groups obtained using Nosler E-Tip ammunition and the Harris HB25CS bipod at 100-, 200- and 300-yards.

In conclusion, both Harris bipods I’ve used have allowed for fantastic accuracy. The BR resulted in a trophy antelope taken at a range that was extreme, at least for me. In turn, the HB25CS helped to produce sub-MOA groups even at the longest distances attempted.

Harris’s bipods are tough, well-made and affordable for just about any shooter. Any product that can help provide that kind of accuracy at the furthest distances I intend to attempt at the range or while hunting and do it at a reasonable price deserves my allegiance.

comments

  1. avatar Blue says:

    I’m new to shooting and I don’t understand the grouping in the target picture. Could you explain how this happened?

    1. avatar Jon says:

      Welcome to the fold.

      Could you be more specific? Are you referring to group size? Group placement relative to the target? Vertical or horizontal variation within a group? All of the above?

      1. avatar Blue says:

        Yes, group sizes for what I assume are different distances? 100, 200, 300, correct?

        1. avatar Pull my Mag says:

          Harris Bipods don’t suck, they pinch. Try the Magpul. Here’s some good pics of the Magpul
          https://professorprepper.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-magical-magpul-bipod.html

        2. avatar Jon says:

          There are some guys here who know a lot more about shooting technique than I do. They probably know some advanced techniques that will multiple your accuracy greatly. I only know the basics and i do them well, so that is what I will address.

          When target shooting, typically I will shoot 3-5 groups of 3 rounds on each target. Three rounds gives you a good idea of how comfortable you are with your shooting technique. 3-5 groups gives you a good idea of how consistently you apply your shooting technique. Usually the more experience you are, the less groups you need to evaluate your consistency and technique. This may explain why the author only used 3 groups. To each his own. As a newcomer, don’t be afraid to use as many rounds as you need to gain consistent groups. If you find yourself missing more and more often; stop. Take a break. Your eyes and muscles are likely fatigued. Give them some time to rest. Then pick up the rifle and try again.

          Now on to the targets. Im not sure if the author was aiming for the center of the target on each group. If he was, then he needs to zero his scope. If he was not, then his groups are ok. I am going to assume that he was not aiming at the center of the target for the purpose of demonstrating how the bipod affected the tightness of his groups.

          First Target – 100yds. The two holes close together are excellent shots. The hole off to the right, he may have squeezed the trigger too quickly or jerked the trigger. Jerking the trigger USUALLY causes the bullet to stray from the target on the horizontal(ish) axis. Overall, the 100yd group is good, not super ninja sniper awesome, but good. I would be happy with this group.

          Second Target – 200yds. The group is round and not linear. This is good. Overall this is a pretty good group for 200yds. The highest hole indicates that the shooter squeezed the trigger for this shot when he was at a different stage in his breathing than the other two shots. Incorrect breathing during trigger squeeze causes the bullet to stray from its target on a vertical and/or diagonal axis.

          Breathing technique – some people hold their breath when they squeeze the trigger. Some people exhale and then squeeze. I exhale. Holding your breath is bad for one reason: Your lungs are like a balloon. Imagine resting a rifle on an inflated balloon and trying to balance it. It won’t go well. If you exhale, you deflate those balloons. Hypoxic and Anoxic drive also play into this but that stuff is too complicated for our purpose. The overall idea is that the more deflated your lungs are when your squeeze the trigger, the less your chest will affect your accuracy.

          Third target – 300yds. This is a great group (for me). I would be happy with this group. See how this group is very similar to the 100yd group but a little more spread out. The same techniques deficits that apply to the 100yd group apply to this group.

          Overall, the process for shooting a rifle goes like this:
          1. Get sight picture
          2. Exhale (dont force it out. exhale normal)
          3. Squeeeeeeeze-bang (bang should be a surprise, do not anticipate)
          4. Maintain sight picture
          5. Breath
          6. Release trigger or reverse travel
          7. Repeat 1-6
          I probably missed something in this and someone here will probably correct me. But these are the basics. Practice them (a lot) and master them before you try any tactical tom-foolery and become a range ninja.

        3. avatar Blue says:

          Wow thank you!

        4. avatar Jon says:

          Not sure how new you are to this site but don’t be afraid to ask questions about shooting. Some of us will help out when needed. Just be prepared with thick skin and discerning eyes for some of the responses from some other folks.

    2. avatar Sarge605 says:

      Blue,
      If you haven’t already, find a reputable company for training. It helps to have an experienced set of eyes watching to see if your fundamentals are correct, no matter which discipline you are interested in.
      It will also help you when you need to separate the wheat from the chaff-with information and equipment, which in the long run, can save you a ton of money.
      An experienced shooter who can explain what and why they do what they do can also be of great help.

  2. avatar DW says:

    So… you admit you’ve used exactly 2 bipods in the history of the world, and that because they worked they are the greatest?

    Got it.

    Go away.

    1. avatar Arc says:

      Not sure who you are addressing…

      So far I’ve used Harris (my issued IAR), Ohuhu(personal AR10), a garden variety M60 steel bipod on my heavy hitter, and may have played around with a grip pod / plastic bipod fore grip.

      Guess what I learned? They all do the exact same thing. The legs might deploy differently but other than that, its just a stand for your gun. As long as its not cheap plastic from a dollar store, it will work fine.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      People who know guns know Harris bi-pods are not just worth the money but in a class by themselves. They are copied by others for a reason. I never considered them overpriced and the copies don’t save enough money to justify buying them.

  3. avatar Mister Furious says:

    They are great; but too expensive. For 50% less you can get one that’s 80% as good.

  4. avatar Reason says:

    He doesn’t look too young. Must have led a sheltered life. Harris has been around a long time. They are the ones everybody else is copying.

  5. avatar bob says:

    Might want to add to that article that the military has been using them for decades.
    This article needed a lot more experience before writing.

    But yes, they do not suck.

    1. avatar Arc says:

      Yep, they are on the IAR/M27 rifles and work well enough. The only problems were usually gummed up legs due to dirt and grit, but its to be expected since everything gets dirt in it. Dirt was the most annoying thing, not being able to get the legs all the way back in, or pull them out. Sometimes a spring wouldn’t be able to deploy one of the legs and it would need to be manually pulled down.

      A few had bent legs but they still worked, not sure if anyone broke the legs off. I want to say there was one case of dangerously high motivation but I simply don’t recall.

  6. avatar Duane says:

    I have used Harris bi-pods for over 3 decades they work well. I own 5 or 6 of them.

    I did a elk hunt with SNS had a good time and killed my elk.

  7. avatar Thomas says:

    The kind of competitive shooting I do does not allow any kind of rest, other than skin, bones, and muscle…or the use of a scope. Try shooting 200 yards, offhand, no sling, iron sights…

    1. avatar Arc says:

      Sounds like table one rifle qual, minus a sling.

  8. avatar daveinwyo says:

    Does the military still use those spring loaded clamp on bipods for the M16 variations?
    I thought they were kinda cool. I have a couple in plastic I use for my rifles w/o a bipod mount. A 9″ and a 14″ version. Light weight, easy to pack and pretty stable for the average shooter. Work great on a 10/22. No adjustments though, fixed height.
    Some of my rifles have dedicated bipods.
    Good article, but other products are just as good for less $$.
    PS Thanks to all re my request for ammo info for 6.5 CM. Very helpful!

  9. avatar arc says:

    Lets see here, Harris bipod for $100+ which is supposedly what I had on my M27/IAR in the USMC…
    Or…
    A China brand Ohuhu bipod that is essentially the exact same damn thing for ~$17…

    Yeah, I opt for the $17 Chinese bipod and its pretty solid in construction. Its a metal bipod, same design as the Harris, the parts aren’t magically different because it has an expensive brand name on it. No really, you are paying for the brand, not the part.

    1. avatar Sarge605 says:

      The Chinese have been stealing from American companies for ages.
      Unless you are really abusing a Harris-I own two-it will last a lifetime, and the money stays in the United States. A Chinese knock-off may last a while,or it may not, but try getting your money back if it breaks. Why go through the aggravation of having a piece of equipment break, when you are enjoying yourself?

      1. avatar Arc says:

        Scroll to the bottom for TL;DR.

        Given its pretty much identical to the Harris, I doubt it will break. You would need throw your rifle off a cliff or utterly abuse the product to break it. If I use my bipod as a pry-bar and break it, another brand new Chinese special is literally $14.99 on auction sites and a used safe queen of the same or similar model costs less than a box of popcorn and is every bit as effective. If I abused a $100 Harris or a $300 Atlas, abuse probably isn’t covered under the warranty and I doubt I’m getting my money back anyway.

        Short of buying a plastic bipod from the dollar store, its probably not going to break. Almost every plastic bipod / grip pod / whatever, cheap and expensive that I saw people using, usually ended up broken or impossible to deploy because of dirt getting in it. That said, even the Harris bipods were getting stuck from dirt and sand from time to time and getting the legs out would be a pain.

        We aren’t just in the “Trump slump” we are in the bottomed out market for guns and accessories. I was selling off a few higher end scope rings and high cap mags for some winter heating money and seeing what I paid then and what, at best, I might get now for essentially unused equipment, its unlikely I’ll ever buy gun related stuff as “new” again. There is simply too much barely used closet / safe queen gear to ever justify it. Like wise, paying $65 – $300 for brand name or “American made” accessories is unjustifiable, neither the price tag nor brand will make you shoot any better.

        The “American price” usually has nothing to do with the cost of manufacture and everything to do with the fact that people are dumb enough to pay it. If you want to pay for Harris name on the bipod and a fancy box, more power to you, but I know better.

        Its Chinese philosophy and culture that if a business can’t keep its IP and secrets, well, secret, they don’t deserve to keep them. Maybe America should get hostile with the Chinese and demand all their IP if they want something made here in America. As much as I want to buy American, I’m not paying the jacked up American price unless its for a product that is either already very expensive or the Chinese variants are known to have quality control issues. Even then, Japan or Taiwan probably make a better model than America anyway. Country of origin isn’t as meaningful as the brand’s quality control, the Chinese will cut corners only if you let them and never inspect your product.

        On a side note, I got a China brand laser/light combo for my pistol as well and IIRC was around $25. Laser holds its zero and otherwise functions fine. Had a French name to it but don’t seem to be on Amazon anymore.

        TL,DR: If you want to over pay 4-10x for a name brand bipod that is more or less identical to any off the shelf China clone, go for it, but its not going to last any longer or make you shoot any better.

        1. avatar Sarge605 says:

          ARC,
          I was lucky(?) enough to get into shooting relatively late in life. I tried to cut corners a couple of times by buying lesser stuff, and now subscribe to the “Buy once, cry once” motto. While anything made by man can fail, buying goods of a known quality is, for me, the way to go.
          I’d also submit for your consideration that the QC on Chinese rip-offs isn’t as good as it should be, as why would they care about ripping off the consumer? After all, they are a half a world away.
          Theft is theft. If you came up with an innovative product and jumped through all of the hoops to bring it to market, then someone else came along and sold a knock-off for a quarter to one-tenth of the price, you’d be happy with that?
          Finally, I got into shooting because I saw, and didn’t like the path that America is going down. Am I going to trust the lives and liberty of myself, friends and family to something made by Communists? If so, I might as well vote for the gun grabbers.

        2. avatar James Campbell says:

          Sarge605 summed it up, BUY ONCE, CRY ONCE!
          I’ve “bargain” purchased on several occasions, then had the chance to ACTUALLY use the genuine article I purchased the knock off of. I will not purchase the copy crap ANY more.
          And my last bipod purchase (for a POF P308 SPR Gen4 EDGE)? The Atlas PSR (with the anti-rotation legs and an American Defense Manufacturing QD mount). My optic? A Leupold Mk5 HD Tremor3 illuminated (on ADM QD mount). My Iron back-ups? Diamondhead Micro-D low risers.
          Life is too short to shoots real firearms with “airsoft” toy accessories.
          View the Atlas bipod Asian knock off vid to “educate” yourself on the quality/durability/useability difference between American quality and Asian garbage.

        3. avatar Arc says:

          I prefer “pay now, or pay every time you use it.” but it doesn’t apply to everything. It comes down to the product you are buying and if that product is known to fail from china. I wouldn’t buy an electric motor or optical equipment from China unless the QC was solid. The Chinese can and do manufacture good stuff on the cheap but you have to hold their feet to the fire and stay on them. If the product isn’t to-spec you refuse shipment and tell them to correct it or they lose the contract.

          If a product warrants shelling out big money, then I have no national loyalty when looking for it. I seek the best performance and build quality for the dollar and usually that ends up being Japan, not the USA. In the case of bipods, its a simple device and it isn’t going to wear out short of doing non-stop competitive shooting, thats a group of people so small as to be statistically irrelevant.

          Ask the US government why there is so much red tape in bringing products to market. I’m intimately familiar with government paperwork and I usually tell people that if they want to save the world, dial back government paper. Paperwork is absurd even on the state level and the response times can be up to a month to get something back. Its worse when you have to fill out one form and get it back BEFORE you can even start the next form.

          Its not a matter of liking or not liking Chinese rip-offs, they are a fact of life. Businesses need to factor them into their model. I personally will have to be competing against Chinese and Thai mass production. We could always take the liberal approach and just ban China clones. The American version of something as simple as a bipod likely costs, at best, a few bucks more to manufacture here in the states. That same product gets marked up several times its cost because businesses know that Americans are high on “Made in America” and dumb enough to actually pay the outrageous prices. I wonder who is ripping who off here?

          If you go to a Mc Donalds in Japan, you actually get real food for a fair price but if you go to one here in the states, you get tray of inedible shit for the American price. Drugs, likewise you get to pay the American price for pills that are pennies in India, Thailand and China, which is why some people order their prescriptions on the deep web. People are either oblivious to how bad they get ripped off or don’t care. We get treated like this because we accept it.

          This might be a shock to you, but a lot of my taxpayer issued gear was made in China, Americans trust their lives to communist manufacturing every day. Communist manufacturing seems to be pretty effective at blowing up a good chunk of the world as well. I don’t like what America has become either. I don’t skimp on weapons, triggers, or optics, everything else is usually a simple device and can be a knockoff. My $24 wal-mart work boots last longer than my American made, $80 Bates, how does that work?

  10. avatar Charles says:

    I have owned a Harris bipod for over 20 years. I first used it on a prairie dog hunt in North Dakota. It has always worked great. It is very well made which is unique in today’s throw away society.

  11. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    I agree the Harris bipods don’t suck, but this isn’t much of a review. First, think about the things you want in a bipod:
    1. Light weight
    2. Strong enough to not break
    3. Quick and easy on/off the gun
    4. Quick and easy deployment/adjustment
    5. Stays where you put it (folded, unfolded, legs retracted, extended, etc.)
    6. Inexpensive enough you can keep a spare to lend to your naive brother
    (Regarding the Chinese knock-offs mentioned above, maybe they’re good enough for target practice but not what I want to depend on when the Elk of a lifetime is in my crosshairs.)
    With these things in mind, check out the options, read the reviews, watch the videos and make your choice. Maybe you want a Harris. Maybe you want something else.

  12. avatar UpInArms says:

    I had a Harris. It was OK. What can you really say about a bipod other than it’s more convenient than a stack of sandbags.

    I picked up a new Magpul for $110 a few weeks ago. I like it better than the Harris. The Magpul has pan and swivel, which I don’t see any mention of that in this article.

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