I love reviewing Kiwi-made and Kiwi-designed products, so it was a real treat to get to review the BACKLANZ Carbon bipod, which must be one of the lightest bipods in the world! It uses premium materials and quality construction, so it’s priced in the premium price bracket; however, before you write it off as too expensive, it has one key feature that really boosts its value-for-money factor. Let’s take a closer look at the bipod …
To fit the bipod, there’s a small metal mounting bracket that screws onto the forend of your rifle; the mounting bracket should fit most rifles but check with the manufacturer to be sure before purchasing. It comes with two mounting screws: one for wooden stocks and one for mounting on a metal pillar or strong point. The bracket is fitted by removing your sling stud and replacing it with one of the two screws provided. There’s a replacement sling attachment on the rear of the bracket and the bracket has some sturdy foam sticking pads to assist the fit. One great feature of the bipod is that by purchasing several mounting brackets, you can use the same bipod on each of them.
At the time of writing, a spare bracket cost $89.99. The relocation of the sling attachment does move the balance point of your rifle when it’s slung on your shoulder. It’s only slightly noticeable but will be exaggerated by a rifle with a long barrel or heavy suppressor. One downside I discovered with the mounting bracket is that it doesn’t fit a target style or flat forend. I would hope BACKLANZ have plans to design a second bracket catering for this large and growing style of stock.
Leg Deployment, Bipod Detachment and Extension
The legs have a small, user-friendly press stud that allows them to be either lowered into shooting position or raised into the traditional stowed position running parallel with the barrel. Each leg has 180 degrees of rotation and seven lockable angles. When the legs are locked into an angle, there’s a small amount of play, which is not ideal, but I always loaded my bipod with a slight forward lean – this lean will give you a consistent lock on the legs and will give you more stability in your position.
Extending the legs again is a simple process: the bipod uses a locking screw to release and lock the legs at the required length. There are no recesses when extending the legs, so in the heat of the moment, hunting either fully in or fully out is the quickest way to get ready for a shot; if you have time, then each leg can be manipulated into a specific height – they’re not spring-loaded.
To detach the bipod, you merely push the large black central button on the bipod cradle and twist it; this is, again, a brilliantly designed feature.
Rubber Feet and Spikes
The BACKLANZ Carbon bipod has lightweight titanium spikes, which are housed in removable rubber feet. Swapping between the two is dead easy with the rubber feet being held to the bipod legs with sturdy retainer straps. This is one of the best systems I’ve used – some other bipods have metal spikes that need to be screwed in and held separately and some don’t have the option for spikes at all. Particularly in the South Island, being able to switch quickly is a great feature, as the spikes are often better for soft ground and the rubber feet for harder ground.
I recall in the Vortex Mountain Challenge firing a stage off a corrugated iron roof. When my turn came, I climbed up the ladder onto the roof and started to build my shooting position. I quickly realised the ideal bipod set-up was to have rubber feet to bind to the iron – then use a sandbag to add stability. The bipod I was using had screw-in spikes attached and the rubber feet were in my pack … unreachable! Needless to say, I didn’t score well on that stage.
Cant, Pivot and Panning
The Carbon bipod is designed for hunting due to the ability to move the cradle through panning, pivoting and cant angles whilst firing. The aforementioned terms basically mean you have the ability to manipulate the bipod cradle through many angles. This is great for hunters who are firing at live game – which is hardly ever dead still – and who may need to pan for a moving target; however, it’s not ideal for some target shooters. Often competitive target shooters would like a bipod to lock into a certain setting, with no play whatsoever, creating a much steadier sight picture at a target that won’t move. This is not to say that it cannot be used for target shooting, and I know several who use this bipod; you just must be aware that at no stage can you lock these features – you must use your hold and firing position to get the steadiest sight picture.
During testing out in the field and on the range, the following observations were noted.
The panning, cant and pivot features of the cradle are great for making adjustments on moving targets but not ideal if firing at paper or gongs. The fit of the mounting bracket and sling attachment were solid and well designed, and removing the bipod is simple. Extending the legs using the locking ring worked well.
During shooting, I found the best results were with the bipod loaded with a slight forward press.
Overall, the bipod performed brilliantly, and although I didn’t have cause to remove the bipod while hunting, I could easily see how in some tight situations or for convenience that this would be a useful feature.
The BACKLANZ Carbon bipod is a highly engineered bipod using top quality materials and as such sits at the premium end of the price range. It has some great features and must be one of the lightest bipods in the world weighing in at only 158gms.
The cradle and mounting system are designed for hunters and therefore may not suit some target/competitive shooters’ needs due to the ability to pan, pivot and cant but not lock the bipod in place on a particular setting. There’s a little bit of play in the legs when they’re locked, which I’d like to see improved.
One of the large selling points is the ability to detach the bipod and stow it or use it with multiple rifles once you’ve purchased mounting brackets for each rifle. If you had separate mid-priced bipods on two or three different rifles, then the price of the carbon BACKLANZ model with a couple of brackets is comparable.
Overall, a fantastic product made by a Kiwi company using Kiwi ingenuity. There’s some room for improvement but with a couple of tweaks like removing play in the locking legs and a mounting bracket for target/varmint style stocks, in my opinion, you’d have the perfect lightweight hunting bipod.