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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gear Review: SnipePod

Most hunters realize they shoot better when using some type of rifle rest. Lying prone with your rifle resting on something soft like a backpack may be the steadiest platform, but it’s not always the most practical. If no other choices are available, using a tree limb or a rock might suffice. Other hunters carry those silly shooting sticks that require you to carry one more thing in your hand, and then keep track of it through recoil for any follow up shots. Still others clamp their rifles to a tripod or use one of the many tripod-based shooting rests such as the Outdoorsmans Rifle Rest and Longrange Rear Rifle Support.

The smartest hunters realize that a bipod is the easiest and most practical shooting rest available. I have been a part of many discussions about bipods and there is a strong contingency out there that think the Harris Bipod is the best for all their backcountry hunts. I think those people are just plain wrong.

First, let me be clear: the Harris Bipod is a great system for keeping a very stable shooting platform, especially when using the shortest models. However, when hunting, you must also take into consideration weight, size, and ease of use. When looking at all the options, there is no better choice for a hunter shooting at reasonable ranges than the SnipePod.

The SnipePod weighs just 6 oz, folds up and stows in a small neoprene pouch that can be attached to your pack or belt, detaches and attaches quickly and silently, and provides a stable shooting platform ranges within most hunter’s abilities.

Between the Harris Bipods and the SnipePod, when comparing apples to apples I don't think there is a better bipod than the SnipePod. The short (prone) Harris models are more stable than a sitting model SnipePod, but that's mainly because of the distance from the ground, and not necessarily the weight or stability of the legs. (A prone Harris is more stable than a sitting Harris, too!)When comparing a sitting model Harris vs. a sitting model SnipePod, here are just a few reasons why I like the SnipePod:

1. More compact

2. Lighter weight (HB25S=19 oz, 30" SnipePod=6 oz)

3. Remains off your gun until you need it, and then quickly attaches to it.

4. Instead of the cumbersome process of moving a bipod from one gun to another, (or needing to buy multiple bipods) simply buy a handful of extra SnipePod adapters and put them on all your rifles. When you are ready to hunt, your rifle is already set up to handle the SnipePod and it's already in your pack. I have an adapter on each big game rifle, muzzleloader, .17HRM, .45-70, etc.

All the reasons above combine so that I keep the SnipePod in one of the small pockets on the side of my Outdoorsmans pack where it is readily available. All of my hiking, glassing, carrying, etc. is done with the bipod off, which is far more comfortable and less weight in my hands. It is also much easier to transport my rifle in a vehicle or ATV. When the time comes, I can remove the SnipePod from my pack, quickly deploy it, and attach it to my rifle for a very stable platform.(By the way, if you only want a prone model, SnipePod makes a couple. I have never used one, but they weigh only 3 oz!)

I have used a SnipePod for more than 15 years. In that time, I have shot nearly all my big game animals off it, and have watched friends and family take multiple animals as well. A little birdy told me that an updated version is coming out soon. I will let you know all about it just as soon as I can.

For a little more info, here is a review I did for Western Hunter Magazine a few years ago: