Bison Tactical recently received the Extreme Outer Limits “Extreme Pod” rifle bipod for testing and evaluation. We wanted to see if it could be a possible alternative to the popular Atlas and Harris bipods that dominate the competitive rifle scene today. This particular bipod is loaded with features and we have found that some are useful and others that make the bipod difficult to use in a competition setting.
If you are unfamiliar with the Atlas PSR bipod or BT46-LW17, it is the newest version of the Atlas series of bipods. The Atlas PSR, made by B&T Industries is one of the most used and talked about bipods on the market today. The PSR comes in two different heights of 4.75-9″ (BT46-LW17) and 7-13″ (BT47-LW17). You also have the option of ordering it with or without the ADM 170-S quick detach picatinny mount. The models without the ADM 170-S mount are designated as the BT46-NC and BT47-NC. There are many features that make the Atlas PSR bipod a great choice for competitive shooting, and it should be used as a baseline for comparison.
Atlas PSR Features
The Atlas PSR bipod has a total of 30 degrees pan and tilt. The leg positions are; stowed back, 45 degrees angled back, 90 degrees straight down, 45 degrees forward and stowed forward. An upgrade from the previous model, BT10-LW17, is that the legs are non-rotating. However the BT46-LW17 retained the feature from the BT10-LW17 of having a collet neck for quick and easy leg height adjustment. An often overlooked feature of the Atlas PSR bipod is that the legs move independent of one another. This allows the shooter to deploy the legs in non-conventional ways wherever the terrain does not allow both bipod feet to make solid contact.
Now that we know what features make the Atlas PSR bipod a great choice for competitive shooting, let’s compare this to the features of the Extreme Pod.
The Extreme Pod bipod we tested happened to be the 7-10″ model. Key features that make this bipod unique are 360 degree rotation, carbon fiber legs, twist lock mechanisms, and legs that deploy horizontally. It also sports a lever lock similar to the “pod-loc” that is on most, if not all, Harris bipods that are used in competition today.
The use of a ball head type of design allows the bipod to have a 360 degree rotation. There is also a slight indentation on the back portion of the ball. This gives the bipod a defined parameter on the panning feature. The use of carbon fiber legs gives the bipod a lightweight and durable feel. Similar to high end tripods like the Feisol CT-3342, the Extreme Pod uses twist lock mechanisms to adjust the bipod’s height. This comes in handy, because it allows the user to have infinite leg height adjust-ability between the 7-10″ range.
The most unique feature on this bipod is how the legs deploy. On a conventional bipod, the legs deploy in a way that is from front (towards the muzzle) to back (towards the shooter). With the Extreme Pod, the legs deploy to the side. You might think, “why does that matter?”. Because the legs deploy horizontally, there is no more need to take up slack in the bipod by “loading it”. Finally, Extreme Outer Limits also has 17.5″ leg sections that can be screwed on so the bipod can be used in the seated or kneeling position.
All of these features make the Extreme Pod unique. However, some of these features do not make it an ideal bipod for the competition world.
Let us preface this portion of the review. Bison Tactical is mostly focused on long range precision rifle matches. In no way are we saying that the Extreme Pod is a bad product. Only that it has some deficiencies when being applied to the competitive long range shooting world.
We think the Extreme Pod is on the right track by thinking outside the box and using real world hunting experience to design a bipod. However, what might work well for hunting doesn’t always translate well in competitive shooting. We feel that there are some aspects that can easily be improved and/or modified and others that make this bipod difficult to use for competitive long range shooting.
The feet that come standard on the Extreme Pod are made from hard anodized aluminum. This may make the feet lightweight but it also makes it difficult to shoot off any hard surface. During testing we used the bipod on a concrete slab. Every time we shouldered the rifle the bipod had the tendency to slide forward. This is because the smooth anodized feet had no texture or media to keep it from sliding. A simple fix would be to supply or at least have an accessory option of rubber or spiked feet.
The ball head design is great for giving a 360 degree rotation but it has some limitations when being applied to the competitive world. The ball head comes from Extreme Outer Limits with a grease coating on it. It makes for smooth operating out of the box, but is susceptible to debris and wear that could cause malfunctions. The other issue we had with the ball head design is that it takes too many steps to deploy the legs from the stowed position. First you have to loosen the ball head locking lever. Next, you have to deploy the legs to the 90 degree location. Then you have to re-lock the lever so you can then deploy the legs to the side. Finally, if needed you have to unlock the lever once more to level your rifle. This is all without even thinking about adjusting the leg height.
Finally, The weight of the 7-10″ model is 12 ounces. Extreme Outer Limits attributes this to the use of carbon fiber legs and aluminum components. However, the Atlas PSR bipod with an ADM quick detach mount weighs only 13.61 ounces. The Atlas PSR is also made completely of aluminum, slimmer, and has a much lower profile than the Extreme Pod. This is because the aluminum parts surrounding the carbon fiber legs are bulkier than the aluminum parts on the Atlas. In turn, this makes the bipod heavier and larger than it needs to be.
Overall, we are pleased to see a company thinking outside the box and bringing innovative designs to the shooting community. We really like the idea of having a locking lever and the fact that there is no slack to take up when loading the bipod. We can see the usefulness of a ball head design and telescoping twist lock legs for hunting purposes. However, in competitive shooting, everything is “on the clock” and the extra time to deploy the bipod from a stowed position could cost you points during a match. At a price point of $315 dollars, limited accessories, and bulky design we recommend instead purchasing an Atlas PSR bipod. The PSR bipod is a proven design, costs only $319, and has many aftermarket parts available.