At our most recent training session, we cataloged the equipment that our team members are using. One of the most prevalent items was the Phoenix Bipod. It is not the only bipod being used by our team, but when 90%+ of the top FTR shooters in the country are using the same thing; that makes a strong statement.
The Phoenix is a bit heavier than some bipods and the temptation is to get a lighter bipod and a heavier barrel. From the results we are seeing, that may be a poor trade off. What we give up for the extra weight of the Phoenix is more than made up for in the rigidity and smooth precision of adjustment.
Ease of adjustment is a major consideration. Once you get into position and start your match, the less you have to move, the better. The elevation mechanism on the Phoenix is like butter. It has almost no backlash and will easily hold it’s setting throughout a string of fire. The bipod does include a thumbscrew to lock the elevation adjustment in place, but I have never used it and I’ve never seen anyone else use either.
Some of our shorter armed shooters have come up with an ingenious method of adjusting the elevation, even though the bipod may be out of reach at the end of their stock forearm. They use a section of hollow arrow shaft as an extension and slip it over a spoke on the mariner wheel to make any fine elevation adjustments needed. This allows them to stay in position and adjust the rifle to the exact point they want, while they continue to view the target through the scope.
In a conversation with Kelly McMillan some time ago, whose new FTR Stock is also being used by many of our shooters, he mentioned that people often talk about barrel weight and action weight, but then try to get by with a stock that is ill suited because they need to save weight. I confess that I had often thought in those terms. If you step back for a second and consider that in our game, the bipod is also a crucial piece of equipment. It will have a large influence on how well the rifle tracks in recoil. I think Kelly’s wisdom regarding stocks, applies equally to bipods. To put fifteen or twenty shots into a 5” circle at 1000 yards, requires every part of the rifle system to be function consistently and repeatability from one shot to the next. That, I believe, is the secret of the Phoenix Bipod. It allows a greater degree of repeatability.
To get that kind of performance requires a well-engineered and well-made product and the engineering and quality of manufacture of the Phoenix Bipod are second to none.