I am in no way affiliated with Spartan Precision Equipment, I just stumbled upon them during research for a quality light weight bipod and wanted to share my experiences.
922 yards with a -3 degree decline and 3mph 3 o’clock crosswind. 6.2 mil up elevation and .2 mil right windage...man can the Berger 215’s buck wind. The Premier Light Tactical settled in nicely for the first test over the 250 yard mark. The Magneto Speed III spat out consistent velocities with an ES of 8 fps during the sight in, so I felt good about the calculations. The Rbros .300 Win Mag had already devastated some baseball sized rocks at 250 yards, and now it was time to stretch her legs.
The new addition to the equation was a light weight Javelin Bipod from Spartan Precision Equipment. In the quest for the ultimate lightweight long range hunting rig, I settled on a Rbros rifle with a Manners EH-1 stock. The extremely lightweight stock paired with a Premier Light Tactical 3-15x50 in the 25 oz range meant I had world class optics with repeatable turrets as light in about the lightest package I could go with a 28” barrel.
The last piece of the puzzle for me was the bipod. I love the Atlas bipod but I did not want a rail on this rifle (personal preference), or the weight of an Atlas on the front of the rifle when carrying. I have a Harris on my AR long range varmint rifles, but again did not want the weight and balance change. I had tried a Versa Pod on antelope and coyote hunts and love the adaptability, but did not want the weight or the size of the adapter piece on my forend.
My typical hunt takes me anywhere from 7-15 miles on foot from the gate in a given day. It may be a 5 mile hike in behind a closed gate to my favorite clear cut or saddle to watch. I one time shot a great Whitetail on mile 14 in my day. The point I’m trying to make is I wanted a long range hammer but in a package that balanced well and was light enough to carry on these long distance hikes through generally non-technical terrain.
After switching to a KUIU Icon pack last year, I fell in love with carbon fiber. After feeling the ergonomics and balance of my rifle sitting on the Manners EH-1 stock, I confirmed my love for carbon fiber. A light bulb switched on, and my decision was easy. I will get a carbon fiber bipod to complete my light weight long range rig. Loaded with optics my rifle is 11.0 pounds exactly. Something 5 oz and under would be perfect for a prone bipod...or so I thought.
This is where the trouble started. Initially I thought my google force was weak that day. I tried again the next day to similar avail. I found some awesome bipods but weight was always a factor. The norm seems to be about a pound give or take. I was initially thinking 5 oz, now I was going to be lucky to find a bipod in the .5 pound region. Enter Spartan Precision Equipment and their Javelin bipod. A European company, the Javelin bipod would work with a sling swivel stud (actually a flat screw that replaces your sling swivel stud), and weighed in at 4.69 ounces.
It attaches by installing a small aluminum adapter replacing your original swing swivel stud with a highly magnetic screw of the same thread pattern (they provide the screw). This small adapter weighs next to nothing, and remains on your rifle full time. The bipod goes in your pocket, pack, etc... (I kept mine in my outer water bottle pocket in my KUIU Icon pocket and it was always accessible). When you decide you want to attach the bipod, the carbon fiber and aluminum bipod simply clips in instantly (and silently) secured by strong rare earth magnets.
The bipod itself is made of carbon fiber and is very rigid. I found it locked up nicely with forward pressure, or if I had the bipod attached and rifle over my pack and pulled to the rear, I could lock up my sight picture with reverse pressure as well. The legs do not rotate forward or backward as a Harris bipod would. They remain in a straight position when fixed to the rifle, and why I choose to carry them in my water bottle pocket.
They offer two different adapter plates, one with an all flat bottom for your target/tactical style stocks with wider forends and a rounded adapter for your standard narrow forend traditional hunting style stocks. The beauty is you can buy one bipod, and an adapter for all your rifles and leave the bipod in your pack or wherever you choose to carry it and use the system on any rifle with a sling stud. Models exist with a sling attachment point built in to the bipod for securing a sling if you don’t have a 2 sling stud setup.
The bipod feet are housed by a rubber cap (works great when I’m shooting the deer on the Outdoor Channel in my house from the carpet) and they can be uncapped to reveal metal spikes. I found the metal spikes to be great traction on everything but deep snow.
I chose the 6-9” equivalent model (specs were in mm being a European company). The bipod itself has a large field adjustable set screw to set the pressure for canting the rifle with the bipod (yes it cants!). The cant feature worked flawlessly with my 11 pound rifle, always able to get my level bubble centered.
It also pivots left and right a significant amount. I was able to glass a buck chasing does at roughly 600 yards work up a ridge and was able to keep pivoting with the legs in the original positions and adjust cant to keep my bubble level. The bipod length adjusts by rotating counter clockwise on the feet and sliding the bipod legs further out. Similar to many ultralight tripod legs, but much much stiffer.
I checked one last time to confirm the wind hadn’t changed, verified my scope was level, and sent a 215 Hybrid flying. The rock we had selected 922 yards away was glowing in the sunlight. The time of flight was long enough to be able to settle into the rifle after the shot and observe impact, and there were six sets of other eyes watching the rock through spotting scopes and binoculars to give me corrections.
It turns out none were needed, the bullet flew true, confirming my velocities and impacting dead center. I rotated 3 different shooters through using the same dope and all made center of mass hits on the rock. All of this with no rear bag, no shooting matt, and no bench but rather lying prone on a ridge top shooting cross canyon with only a bipod.
The bipod locks up excellent and provided a rock solid rest for me. I continued to use it for the rest of my MT hunting season. My season took me through snow, mud, and weeks and weeks of rain with all day use. It never failed me.
That being said, I do have a short pros and cons list.
-Extremely light weight
-Very firm lockup
-Metal spiked feet
-Great cant ability
-Tremendous pivot ability
-Two styles of adapter plate
-Packaging. Bipod arrives in first rate packaging similar to the highest end optics, and has everything needed to install included.
-Bipod comes in the 6-9” and 9-13” sizes.
-The bipod is not permanently attached while walking holding your rifle or with your rifle vertical in your pack. This leaves balance the same.
-The pivot feature is great but when setting down the rifle if something bumps one leg only it can spin the bipod causing the bipod to be at a 45 degree angle instead of perpendicular when the rifle sets down. I quickly realized this and ensured I watched everytime I put the bipod and rifle down to make sure it was placed how I wanted it. (I actually used this to a benefit one time to utilize the bipod and pack for support, making the bipod angle around a stick (see picture the above).
-Snow. When setting the bipod down in fresh snow it sinks in to the snow too far to utilize. The fix for this is to set bipod on your pack, gloves (my preference), hat, etc... to increase surface area to limit how far the legs will penetrate the snow.
-Leg Extension: This is the biggest con as I see it. The legs extend by twisting on the feet counter clockwise and sliding out the legs. There is a red “STOP” line that you should not extend past, however I nearly extended past this line when trying to watch where a deer was walking while extending at the same time for a shot in deep snow. I would like to see an internal stop created so legs could not be extended too far in a hunting situation.
-Time. While it is extremely fast to put the bipod on, it is not as fast as simply throwing down the legs on a Harris style bipod.
So who needs one of these?
Anyone toting around an ultralight sheep or backcountry rifle for sure. At a mere 4.69 oz when the bipod is attached, and a fraction of an ounce when just the adapter is attached, it does not change the balance of your rifle while hand carrying or vertical in a pack.
The bipod sits in a pack or pocket until needed. If a shot off of your pack provides the better choice, simply shoot off your pack without a bipod attached. Also anyone with a long range rig who is trying to cut weight or move balance back to the center of the rifle.
Lastly any normal hunter who shoots prone from ridge tops, logging landings, and many times off hand and with improvised rests. The adapter that remains permanently fixed weighs less than an ounce, with the capability to have a rock solid rest should the time and situation permit. I’ll gladly keep the adapter on my rifle for that peace of mind. I’ll also be adding the rounded adapter to my Forbes 7mm Rem Mag for my backcountry rifle when doing week long hunts...once Forbes ships me my 28B that is.