I think I would likely be ‘more successful if I didn’t have a habit of saying what I thought, irrespective of potential loss of favour with companies in NZ, but, I didn’t originally set up The Bloke to sell adverts, I set it up to provide my own, honest opinion on new gear and happenings within the community.
While I still have to hold my tongue when it comes to some of the politics, with gear, I have found people just appreciate a blunt response and less fluff.
So. Read the whole article before you comment. Did I like the bipod? Well yes! And no. Like many things. It’s going to depend on what you want to use it for.
Obviously, we need to compare this new offering to the existing lightweight options out there, of which I have sold and used plenty of them.
Backlanz is an NZ owned and operated company – set up by Ethan Todd and based in the South Island. It’s nice to see a local group bringing new ideas and manufacturing to the industry.
The bipod is intended to be a lightweight bipod for hunters. It’s important to understand this because the criticisms I have of the bipod (coming soon) are actually in relation to using this as a precision rifle support – not necessarily as a lightweight option. Although, I will also compare it to the other light options I have experience with – the NeoPod and Spartan Javelin.
It’s a quick detach system – the idea being that you can keep the bipod in your pack most of the time, and then just attach it when you need it. It should be noted though – I have seen online this is heralded as a weight-saving option as well – though you are really only just moving the weight from the rifle to your pocket. Just saying.
More importantly, you can quickly remove the bipod should you get into some scrubby country – and it’s certainly less likely to get hooked up that way. Also to note – the way the sling attaches means that, unlike say a Harris style stud mounted option – you can quickly remove the bipod and still have the sling attached. I personally don’t use a sling, but many hunters do, so it’s a nice feature.
The bipod has extendable legs, locked in place by a twist ring. I have mixed feelings about this – again – from a weight-saving angle – yes – pretty much the only way to go. But, I have also struggled with these things regularly – especially when trying to adjust the bipods once behind the rifle – and tell people to avoid the similarly working harris like the plague. Notches are the way to go, but, add weight – it’s another trade-off.
At the end of the legs are covered spikes. I like spikes. I like to pre-load a bipod and find on many surfaces, the legs will tend to slide and ‘unload’ the bipod. Having spikes on them just gives that extra bit of purchase. I also do like the fact the spikes on this bipod are not quite as aggressive as some – having spiked myself more than once while carrying rifles, I do appreciate that, and the easy method of covering and uncovering them.
Was easy. Simply remove the existing sling stud from your rifle (note the patented fork technique) and replace it with the base plate and screw supplied – the lads at Backlanz also provide a tool to tighten up the screw, and, if needed, the baseplate comes with sticky pads that can help secure the base to a flat, or oddly shaped forend. This one was going onto a Tikka T3 – so fitted on easily.
Once the base plate (which is made from Titanium and weighs nothing) is mounted, putting the bipod on is a relatively simple process of placing the bipod on at a 45-degree angle, rotating and then pressing down on the ring mount to lock it into place.
The carbon fibre and titanium build of this bipod is a nice, industrial but purposeful fit and finish. Unlike, say the NeoPod, which can come across as very light and plastic feeling, the Backlanz feels like it is solid and will take a bit of a bashing (which, sadly, through experience, the NeoPod can’t).
The legs are able to be positioned in a variety of angles – pioneered (I think) by the Atlas Range of bipods. The lockup isn’t quite as solid as the newer Atlas or heavier bipod options (the king of that still being the Accutac from my experience) – but certainly better than the original Atlas, or, even, the Fusion Bipod that I was importing for a time. This give is mostly taken out when you pre-load the bipod. Though that introduces another issue that we will talk about in a bit.
The overall look and finish of the bipod would not be out of place on a high-end rifle – and I do see them popping up more and more during my rifle setup services. It’s probably a split between the Backlanz and Spartan now – which has been a quick and interesting trend to watch happen!
I used the Backlanz Detachable Bipod primarily on the range while setting up a pile of rifles. It’s living on the main rifle in use at Balnagown Hunting – so it’s going to be used by a lot of new and experienced hunters in the next couple of months. I will be gathering additional feedback and will likely follow up on this article in a bit.
While confirming the zero on the .243 – it performed like you would expect a bipod to do. It is quick to deploy (I would tend to expect that it is going to live on the firearm most of the time) and setup, with me managing to forget which way the tightening ring went only once. I am sure with use this would become a bit more instinctive. It supports the rifle well, and to me, was a more solid bipod than either the NeoPod (which I never got that comfortable with) or the Spartan Javelin. Not to say either of these bipods don’t work as a bipod – but the Backlanz just felt more solid in use.
The on/off mechanism is not as fast as the Javelin’s magnetic socket – not by a long shot – but – once on, did feel more substantial. I do have friends who swear by the Javelin – and – to be fair are very good shots with it. Some of this is always going to come down to personal preference.
Pan and Cant
This is probably where I came up with (for my use) the bipods weakest point. While it is indeed nice to have a panning option on the bipod – the method of incorporation is the opposite of what I would have done. By loading the bipod forward, there is a ‘pin’ that comes out of a slot to free up the bipods ability to pan. To me, that is the opposite of what I would like to happen. I would prefer to unload the bipod to pan, with the unit locking up tight when I did load it. Pre-loading a bipod is to take any movement out of the bipod – and having an intermediate stage that actually allows more movement is not ideal (for me and the way I shoot).
I guess, thinking about this – there are likely a lot of hunters who don’t actually load a bipod – sitting it neutral before shooting. The way I shoot, the way I show people to shoot, this is not the case – as we utilise the pre-load in our recoil management practices. This is primarily a conflict between shooting methods, not the equipment itself.
In a similar vein – the cant, while welcome in a bipod, is spring-loaded – so requires muscle tension to hold the cant angle in place. While I didn’t test on a larger recoiling rifle (and I don’t recommend super lightweight and big recoil anyhow). This relates to the bigger trend of lightweight ‘big’ guns – and I am sure that plenty of people are going to just tell me to ‘suck it up princess’ – so – fine – whatever – do as you please. Just like 6.5 Creedmoor, when you are ready to join the big kids, we will be over here waiting. I would pick that the 2nd sight picture (where you end up after breaking the shot) is going to be thrown out by the cant spring resetting under recoil. Again – for hunting – if you have a spotter working with you – this won’t be an issue – but be aware of longer shots, with higher magnification and more recoil.
At least, I think it is a cant feature? I have also read that this could just be attributable to the mounting system and is not necessarily intentional – though – I would suggest for long-range shooting – a cant is preferable to a pan anyhow.
The lightest? The Best?
Ohh… here we go! The juicy stuff!
The Worlds Lightest Extendable Carbon BipodFront Page – https://backlanz.co.nz/
At 158 grams – the Backlanz is indeed a very light bipod. At 90 grams, the NeoPod is lighter. To be fair though – the NeoPod is “carbon fibre reinforced PEEK polymer”. They also tend to break. And they are more expensive, with the mounts causing eye-watering pain. The Spartan Javelin Lite is 135 Grams, though I do prefer the Backlanz in use, and while the newer Spartan ProHunt is heavier – it changes out the twist to tighten system with a ratcheting method.
So, while maybe not actually the lightest option (the absolute lightest being your backpack) of all the lightweight options out there at the moment, it’s the one I am most likely to suggest and go with.
I do feel I also need to mention the Spartan Valhalla here. Now – this not really a lightweight hunting option – at 365 grams it is around the weight of the traditional Harris. But I am going to term a new category here – a Lightweight Precision Rifle Bipod System. This is not a bush-bashing, might use it, might not, option – but – for folks looking to stretch out the legs – its a viable option to not have to go heavier, but keep some of the features we are looking for in a precision rig.
Ultimately though – the Backlanz Carbon Bipod is a very cool piece of equipment.
After the best lightweight bipod on the market? Keen to have it NZ made and supported? Then the Backlanz Carbon Bipod is the go for you!