Caldwell Clutch Bipods
Most of the bipods on the market appear to be clones of each other. They are made of anodized aluminum utilizing a swivel-stud mount and spring loaded legs. Whether they carry the name Harris, Winchester, Caldwell or some store brand for the Asian knock-offs, they all appear to have come from the same mold. Oh, there are some minor design differences and some major quality differences, but the basic design is essentially the same. Whether the original patent has expired or it is simply licensed to a variety of companies is hard to determine. The bottom line is that most of them provide a relatively stable platform for shooting on the range or in the field.
That being said, we wanted a more versatile bipod for hunting here in the mountain West. We wanted a bipod that permitted us to swivel our barrel slightly (left/right), without torquing, twisting or moving the legs and to compensate for up to 20-degrees of cant. The new Caldwell Clutch Bipods meet both criteria.
They are completely new in design and considerably simpler than "standard" bipods. They have a swivel pad that allows you to move your rifle left or right up to 20 degrees and also have an 18 degree bi-directional cant. Those features are just what we have been wanting for many years. The external spring loaded legs have been replaced by an internal ratchet-spring mechanism which locks positively in place. The legs of this bipod are just as stable as those on conventional bipods. The only feature missing are the spring loaded leg extensions. Frankly, I don't miss them, as I have lost more hunks of skin when I pressed the button to retract the legs and didn't get my fingers out of the way. You manually pull out the legs on the Clutch bipod, just as you do on regular bipods, but you have to turn a barrel knob to lock them down. They do not automatically lock into position when extended.
Because of this feature, we would not recommend the Clutch bipod for guns weighing more than 10 pounds, as their weight might collapse the extended legs to the retracted position. That said, most hunters are not going to be using a sporting bipod on a 15-20 pound competition target rifle, such as our daughter's F-Class Savage.
The Caldwell Clutch Bipod comes in two models: Prone and Sitting position, with an MSRP of $69.99 and $84.99, respectively. They are priced competitively with other bipods, but have the advantage of being simpler in design and devoid of the steel plates and wires that eventually rust on other bipods. If you are looking for a stable platform for short or long range shooting, with the capability of moving your rifle to acquire the target, this is the bipod to buy. Jim will be using the prone model on his upcoming muzzleloader deer hunt.
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