Vanguard Equalizer Pro 1 Bipod
An Old Concept Re-Engineered For Today
This product review/test below was written up in the October issue of Sporting Shooter magazine. When I had previously attached other bipods to light sporting rifle outfits, the shift in point of impact from unrested field position groups was substantial eg 20 inches at 300 metres. At that time I had discounted bipod use on hunting-stalking rifles due to that experience. Then came the Vanguard and in addition to the results detailed below, I thought I'd just see if my previous results had been just a "happy accident". They weren't - just check the 3-shot group in the opening image, shot at 50 metres, with a light .303 sporter, two shots from prone over a backpack and one from the bipod. In between I fiddled a bit with my scope's windage as well. Now the reason for not fitting a bipod to a sporter has disappeared, in my mind, with the attchment of the Vanguard. Here's the prior review.
When at the Sydney SHOT Expo recently I had a long chat with Victor, National Product Manager for Vanguard Hunting products, among others and he gave me a hunting/target bipod to review and test. The Vanguard Equalizer Pro 1 is, in my opinion, a revolutionary development of the portable, detachable field bipod.
The Pro 1 is designed to extend from 8 ½ to 10 inches to be used in the prone position or for resting on higher features like boulders or logs in higher field positions. This bipod is sturdily constructed from aircraft-grade aluminium, steel and tough polymer and weighs in at 500 grams.
I attached the Pro 1 to my lightweight .303 sporter of Stormbringer notoriety and took off for the range to see if it would cure me of my experience-related aversion to such bipods. I have to say that my Pro 1 experience was overall very positive, allowing grouping of consecutive shots to be almost as tight as when I tested my hunting loads over a very secure sandbag setup. There was less than 3mm difference at 100 metres and that was probably due to my imperfect bipod technique.
So why did the Pro 1 change my mind about bipods?
For a start the Pro 1 is easily mounted by a wingnut from rifle to rifle by attachment to one of two picatinny alloy mounting plates that mount semi-permanently to standard sling swivel mounts. If you acquired more of the economically-priced picatinny plates, you could transfer the one bipod to any number of rifles you own.
There is a pretensioned coil spring at the top of the legs which allows unprecedented ability to traverse the rifle through 30 degrees left and right and vertically by tilting the rifle up or down through 5-degrees either end of centre.
In addition, the rifle can be tilted by 15 degrees right or left.
The aggressive, tread-patterned, rubber sleigh feet have several times more surface area than standard, small circular bipod feet, thereby spreading load more evenly and preventing sinking into soft turfed surfaces. This allows for more consistent shot-to-shot consistency, resulting in tighter groups and lessened tendency to a wandering zero. Also there will be a reduced tendency to jump away from any hard surfaces you may be shooting from.
Preloading the bipod is exactly the same as any other system out there.
The external profile of the whole unit is much more streamlined, with no external leg-tensioning springs etc that could snag on scrub or clothing when carried or deployed.
By registering for Vanguard's warranty online you automatically qualify for extended warranty.
For what it's worth, when you stand the Pro 1 up unmounted on a flat surface, it stands by itself with no support. This indicates to me that it's weight distribution has been thoughtfully worked out to be neutral. This can only result in a more stable platform under your hunting rifle.
Now the Vanguard Equalizer Pro 1 retails slightly higher in price than other conventional bipods, but in my opinion that difference is paid back multiple times in performance. Considering their obvious build quality and materials, backed by a great warranty, they should give a long service life.
Vanguard products are distributed in Australia by C.R. Kennedy and dealer enquiries are welcome. You can expect more reviews of Vanguard's excellent product range to ensue in Sporting Shooter you can get an idea of that range at www.vanguardworld.com.au