By: Mary and Dr. Jim Clary
The market is replete with bipods in all price ranges and sizes. Which one is the best is a question that we could discuss for hours and not reach a consensus. Therefore, we will only speak from experience and then discuss the qualities and benefits of XLA Pivot bipods.
First off, Jim mounted an XLA Pivot bipod on his rifle before embarking on his Persian Ibex hunt a few years ago. When it came time to pull the trigger, he was set up on a mountain saddle in the Floridas Mountains of New Mexico. The Ibex was moving and Jim had to pivot the bipod to get on target. Long story short, thanks to the very stable XLA and its ability to pivot, Jim nailed a Persian Ibex at 187 yards... with a muzzleloader. You will never convince him that there is a better one on the market, at any price.... not when he points to the trophy Ibex mounted on the wall.
The XLA, like most bipods, mounts on the forend of a rifle by utilizing the front sling stud. The bipod has a separate swivel stud for attaching your shoulder sling. The legs are spring-loaded which allows them to be deployed or retracted rapidly by depressing the leg locks. Just keep your fingers out of the way, as the leg do retract with a fair amount of force... pinched fingers are no fun, especially in the field.
The legs of the XLA Pivot bipod are notched at about 3/4” intervals to allow a shooter to rapidly deploy the legs to a specific heigth. However, in the field, most shooters will pull them out until they “feel” it is far enough...based on experience or intuition.
The real benefit and compelling reason to buy this bipod is the pivoting function. Th pivot plate allows the rifle to be rolled up to 20 degrees, while still keeping the scope's crosshairs level.... even on uneven ground. There is a tension knob and lock nut at the rear of the mounting plate which controls the resistance (tension) on the pivot. Given the functionality of the Caldwell Pivot, it is surprising that every manufacturer has not copied it and followed their lead.
The aluminum design of the XLA does not add any noticeable amount of weight to your gun, but increases the functionality many times over in the field. And, the soft rubber feet on each leg provide enhanced stability when shooting.
There are four different XLA Pivot models, which come in black or camo. These models and their 2019 MSRPs are:
6” - 9”...........Item number 247142 pivot ($54.99)
9” - 13”.........Item number 571429 pivot ($56.99)
13” - 23”.......Item number 701417 pivot ($59.99)
13.5” - 27”....Item number 635705 pivot ($60,99)
Suffice it to say that we definitely recommend the XLA Pivot bipod. Your only decision now is, which model to buy and what color.
Note: The authors would like to thank Chuck Hawks and Mike Mackie for their input on this review.