Testfire: BACKLANZ Detachable Carbon BipodBy Nik Maxwell
- 4th Dec, 2020 Dec 4, 2020, 12:57 PM
- 0 Comments
Carbon Fibre is trending hard these days. Just about anywhere you look, you’ll see it! Many firearms and firearms related manufacturers are adopting the integration of this ‘modern’ tech with their products - with awesome results!
One such manufacturer is Ethan Todd. Ethan is an engineer by trade and who owns and operates BACKLANZ - a South Island based, one-man operation whose flagship product is a unique bipod constructed from carbon and titanium.
I first saw this amazing bit of kit on Facebook and watched as it rapidly gained momentum and popularity among the shooting and hunting community. Great products often do that!
“My first impressions of the bipod was that of a well thought out approach to the design. It is obvious that Ethan has put some serious time into researching how he could make a superior bipod to what is currently available in the market - in a super-lightweight option that is.”
Keen for a closer look, I contacted Ethan who was only to eager to supply one of his Backlanz Carbon Fibre Bipods for me to review.
The bipod arrived in a black, hard foam, zippered case. Inside the case is the main bipod unit and mounting bracket, 2 x stock mounting bolts, a stainless key tool, an instruction manual and, a BACKLANZ sticker.
The BACKLANZ Detachable Carbon Bipod is a fully functional bipod built with an emphasis on being both lightweight and versatile.
My first impressions of the bipod was that of a well thought out approach to the design. It is obvious that Ethan has put some serious time into researching how he could make a superior bipod to what is currently available in the market - in a super-lightweight option that is.
A combination of both carbon fibre and titanium used in the construction gives the bipod a clean and purposeful appearance.
The main frame of the bipod is constructed form 3D printed titanium. Ethan uses Titanium 64 (3 times the strength of steel and almost half the weight) which gives exceptional strength and weight reduction.
No surprise as to what the legs are made of, you guessed it, carbon fibre! The legs are hollow which not only keeps weight down but also allows for the extensions to slide up into. The standard configuration provides 9” to 13.5” (230 mm to 345 mm) of length.
The extender tubes can be locked into position anywhere along the main tube by tightening the aluminium locking collar.
Titanium spikes located on the end of each leg provide excellent grip on dirt and grass. The spikes also have tethered rubber caps that slip over them when not in use or if that additional grip isn’t required
Apart from the standard functions and features you’ll have come to expect from most bipods, the BACKLANZ version utilises a couple of extra features that set it apart from the rest.
The first, and probably most unique, is the mounting system which Ethan has labelled a “spring loaded latching design”.
With the mounting bracket (also titanium) fitted to your stock (The mounting bracket is designed to be a ‘permanent’ fixture to your stock), the bipod is fixed to the bracket via a ball joint connector and the spring-loaded latch.
“But wait! There is even more! Ethan has just recently added in another awesome feature. You can now get a set of additional extender legs that will give you another 7” of length.”
Holding the bipod at a 45° position, you simply line up the top notch, rotate the bipod 45° anticlockwise and push in the spring-loaded button. It might take a couple of attempts to get it perfected, but it really is a simple operation. Removal of the bipod is the essentially the same process just in reverse.
The second cool feature of this bipod is the independently movable, multi-positional and lockable leg setup. Each leg can be rotated backwards or forward a full 180° along 7 (30°, 60°, 90° (legs straight down), 120°, 150°) locking positions. I did notice a small amount of back and forth play in each position where the lug sits in the locking cup.
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Again, just the push of a button releases the legs, and you can move them freely to your desired position. The locking system is very robust and there is zero chance of them moving once in position.
This bipod also has panning capability, very cool! From the shooting position, your rifle can easily make horizontal angle adjustment when required.
But wait! There is even more! Ethan has just recently added in another awesome feature. You can now get a set of additional extender legs that will give you another 7” of length.
These legs are solid aluminum and have 7 notched height positions. They use a similar locking system used on Harris bipods. And why not? It’s a good system.
ON THE RANGE
For testing purposes, I fitted the bipod to my Sako A1 Hunter chambered in .222 Remington. I chose to use this rifle as I was currently performing quite a bit of rabbit population control which in turn would allow me to undertake a lot more shooting from the bipod.
At the bench I proceed to zero the trebly off the bipod. The rifle was already set up to run the Sierra 40gr BlitzKing projectiles and was shooting very well with these potent little pills.
With the bipod legs set at the 90° position, I put 3 shots down range which thankfully all went into the bull, happy days!
Curious as to what the accuracy might be like with the legs at the 120° and 150° forward positions, I shot a few more groups from each. Nothing to report here with the groups showing no discernible loss or gain in accuracy.
From off the bench, I did notice that play between the legs and the position notches. This was mitigated however once you put some forward tension onto the bipod.
The range session proved to be a favourable one and with that, it was time to continue putting the pressure on those bunnies.
IN THE FIELD
Having exhausted all my reloads, I loaded up another 40 rounds with the intention of getting out for at least 3-4 evening shoots.
Hunting across two hilly farms meant I would be taking shots from a variety of positions, distances, and angles - both an ideal environment and ample opportunities for testing the bipod.
Rather than relay each specific shot, I’ll instead provide an overview of the overall performance and field operation.
I quickly found out that the use of the spikes was almost imperative to ensure you could apply an adequate amount of forward pressure (load) to the bipod. This was particularly apparent when laying on a sloping and grassy hillside. The spikes cut into the ground easily and stopped any sliding forward.
Almost all the shots were taken with the legs at 90° which for me felt to be the most solid shooting position. On a couple of occasions I did shoot from the forward leg positions just to see what it was like on the different angles.
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I did quite like the 120° leg position as it allowed me to load up the bipod more than on the 90° angle, although it didn’t feel as secure due to the rifle feeling like it was tilting back somewhat. I guess something that you’d look to try out for yourself to see which might suit your shooting style better.
Those long adjustable legs are a godsend and offer excellent versatility. Throughout my time on the hill I used them to great effect by tweaking them to achieve just the right height on a multitude of different shooting positions - prone up/downhill, sitting, kneeling, whatever. I was able to get a near perfect shooting position every time.
The leg extenders give you so much more additional length over traditional bipods. The real beauty behind this is that you aren’t penalised with a whole lot more weight being added.
The panning function is great, and I found that I would often be making micro adjustments to the horizontal angle of the rifle without even notice that I had panned. A nod to how solid a shooting platform the bipod is.
I quickly began to appreciate how great this feature is in situations where you have to slightly adjust your shot angle; perhaps at a critical moment of time where the shot needs to be taken in an instant - that trophy stag on the move looking to vanish into the bush and you only have seconds to react if he pauses!
OK, so the bipod is awesome. It is well crafted and performs great but is it the perfect bipod?! Close, but not quite. There are a couple of things that I did notice.
First, the base plate is designed to be a permanent fixture. I don’t really want that and would prefer it to be an optional fitting. Secondly, the current base plate marked my stock and left dents in the timber.
The stock on my Sako is looking a little ‘pedestrian’ these days so I wasn’t too concerned however you may need to exercise some caution if putting it on your ‘Safe Queen’.
“The panning function is great, and I found that I would often be making micro adjustments to the horizontal angle of the rifle without even notice that I had panned. A nod to how solid a shooting platform the bipod is.”
Ethan tells me that he is aware of this and is currently looking at either some rubber inlays to put between the metal and wood or a redesign/tweak to the baseplate.
There is also a bit of overall movement from the bipod when attached to the baseplate. I guess this is primarily due to the pan feature and how the bipod is fitted.
While only slight, it is noticeable. When supplying this review to Ethan for his feedback, he mentioned that he has recently reduced this movement, good stuff!
The BACKLANZ Detachable Carbon Bipod is an excellent product. The pros far outweigh any cons, and it is important to remember that this is a super-lightweight bipod specifically designed for hunting.
A retail price of NZD$679 may make you ‘recoil’ (couldn’t help myself there!) somewhat but with that you get an extremely well manufactured and versatile product. Not only that, but it is also 100% kiwi-made and designed.
For more information, click the shop link below!
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