January 2006

Bipods: Stoney Point Stix Earns Our Vote

The Steady Stix II’s flexibility wins out; but the Roto-Tilt is also worth a look.

In rifle shooting the search for steadiness is ongoing and problematic. Every shooter in the field likes to have a a rock-solid rest from which to fire a single accurate shot, but sandbags and rests are too heavy and bulky to tote.

Enter the bipod, which provides a way to stop rifle movement without the downsides. We recently bought three units at a gun show which fit on or under a rifle with varying degress of success: the Steady Stix II by Stoney Point Products, $36; the Universal Bipod from Advanced Technology, Inc., $40; and the B-Square Roto-Tilt Bipod, $70. We reviewed each unit for function, ease of use, and steadiness while field shooting. Here’s how they held up in our evaluations.

B-Square Roto-Tilt Bipod No. BSS6006, $70
This black-finish unit attached to our rifle’s stud easily enough. After the swivel cap is attached, the swivel pin goes through the newly-installed cap and your sling can be re-attached. This bipod’s minimum shooting height is about 9.25 inches. The legs pop out to 12 inches, which means the bipod can only be used in the prone position.

The Roto-Tilt features were very effective. Sub-stage springs allowed side-to-side canting, and the stage itself let the rifle rotate to either side—not too tight, and not too loose. Final targeting adjustments were easily handled, without having to reset the bipod’s position.

Advanced Technology Universal Bi-Pod, $40
After purchasing this unit, we learned it had been discontinued. However, like our sample, some units may still be floating around.

Attachment was a bit cumbersome, requiring the installer to hold the rifle, bipod, top clamp, one or two hex screws, and the provided hex screwdriver all at once. But we managed the attachment without as much difficulty as this suggests. The advantage of this design is that it will fit practically any rifle barrel. Once attached, the legs will fold either forward or backwards, which is a handy provision in our view.

If you’re going to use this unit, you’d better like the prone position, or shooting from a bench or car hood. The bipod holds the rifle barrel about 11.5 inches off the ground or shooting surface. It has no provision for any expansion. If you need to move left or right more than a couple of degrees, you must pick up and replace the bipod.

Stoney Point Steady Stix II, $36
This product is designed as two segmented rods, attached with shock cords. When folded, it is very compact and light, and is kept intact with an elastic cord intrinsic to the unit’s design. It does not attach to the gun. When ready to use the Stix, the shooter simply undoes the binding elastic and lets the rods unfold and snap into place. The operation takes just a few seconds and is virtually automatic. When the situation demands no noise, the user can control and quiet the unfolding, at the expense of an extra few seconds.

The rods are joined about four inches from the top, with a short, flexible rubber bridge. They can be spread so that the top sections form a “V” in which the rifle barrel is placed. Rubber construction of the rods’ upper ends provides a no-slide surface to hold the barrel steady and protect it from scratches. In our test, too much spread made it difficult for the feet to hold the ground, and too little spread provided an unacceptably shaky support. We felt that reasonable shooting support was available from about 22 to 34.5 inches off the ground.

Gun Tests Recommends
• B-Square Roto-Tilt Bipod No. BSS6006, $70. Buy It. We liked this unit, mainly due to its flexibility and adaptability, which you pay for.

• ATI Universal Bi-Pod, $40. Conditional Buy. If your gun lacks a swivel stud, this discontinued unit is perfectly acceptable. Our main complaint is its lack of extendibility, but for $40-ish bucks, you might be willing to live with that.

• Stoney Point Steady Stix II, $30. Best Buy. Advantages include simple setup, light weight, and quickly-adjustable heights. It clearly will be useful where the others are not.