Mike Morton advises our reader what to do when their new rifle comes without a bipod stud…
Q: I’m in the process of getting a new rifle, but it doesn’t come with a bipod stud fitted as standard. What do I need to do to fit one, and are there any pitfalls to look out for?
A: Harris bipods and similar designs are attached to the rifle via a sling swivel stud, also known as a QD (quick detachable) stud, which is screwed into the forend. If your stock must be drilled to accept a stud, you can either ask a gun shop or manufacturer to do it for you, or you can do it yourself.
If you opt for the DIY approach, you can use a regular hand drill, but a drill press is better if you have access to one, as this ensures you’ll be drilling evenly and at the correct angle. Either way, it’s a good idea to practise on a scrap piece of wood before taking on this job, especially with regard to the drill sizes you’ll need and finding out the exact depth you need to drill to.
You must be very careful when working out where you want your stud. Have the bipod to hand. You want the pod resting on as flat a section of forend as possible, but as far forward as you can to let the bipod offer maximum support. The really tricky part is working out exactly where the centreline of the stock is. You can use a ruler and pencil to help.
The old adage ‘Measure twice, cut once’ (or in our case, drill) really does apply here! Put some masking tape over the area to be drilled. It’s easier to mark your hole on the tape and it will also help stop your drill bit from slipping.
It can be helpful to leave the rifle in its stock when you’re measuring up, but when you’re actually ready to start drilling, remove the rifle – you don’t want to drill into the air cylinder or buddy bottle. You’ll also need to clamp the stock firmly. Next, make sure you drill at 90 degrees to the stock, not at an angle, and use a very small drill to make a pilot hole. Compare the depth of the QD stud with the drill, and use a piece of masking tape wrapped around the shaft of the drill to let you know when you’ve drilled deep enough. There’s no point drilling all the way through the forend if you don’t have to.
On your test piece of wood, work out which diameter drill you need to end up with, and go up in sizes gradually until you’ve reached the correct finishing size. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of the wood splintering. The hole cut by the drill needs to be wide enough to let you screw the stud into it, but narrow enough to provide enough grip to hold the stud in place. Again, if the hole is too small and you carry on screwing in the stud anyway, you run the risk of the wood splintering. If you only want to use a bipod, you can stop now, but if you intend to fit a sling, you’ll need to do the same at the rear of the stock as well.
Now check whether or not the thread of the stud is poking through the inside of the forend, where it may come into contact with the air cylinder or buddy bottle. If this is the case, mark how much excess material is poking through on the inside, remove the stud from the stock and file or cut away the offending material with a hacksaw or Dremel.
Take your time and all will be well!