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Gear Review: Atlas CAL Bipod

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There are a lot of bipods available for rifles today, from cheap $20 Wal-Mart specials to over $500 elaborate designs. If you’re shooting a several thousand-dollar rifle, don’t cheap out on your bipod. A bipod that’s not sturdy will not allow you to achieve your best performance with your rifle. Spoiler alert: Spending the money on a good bipod like the Atlas CAL bipod will be an investment in a quality unit that is sturdy, adaptable, and repeatable for shooting a precision rifle.

B&T Industries has been manufacturing quality rifle accessories for nearly 20 years and got into the bipod game with the first Atlas bipod in 2010. Featuring several patented features including multiple positioning legs and the ability to pan and cant, the Atlas is a top quality item that has seen use with civilian and government shooters. A modified version of the Atlas was selected for inclusion on SOCOM’s Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) in 2013. Being a company of shooters themselves, B&T continues to listen to feedback to refine and invent products. In 2018, the company introduced the CAL bipod and later that year made a few refinements to bring us the CAL Gen 2 bipod available today.

Atlas CAL bipod on top, Atlas PSR bipod on bottom.

The CAL designation stands for Cant And Lock, meaning this version of the Atlas retains the legs and adjustability of the other Atlas models but does not have the ability to pan. The pan feature is a love it or hate it feature, with the positive being that the bipod allows the rifle to stay fixed but have the rifle traverse left and right, which makes it easier to scan for targets or track moving targets. The downside is that under sustained recoil the bipod can “walk” back on one side and lose stability or be adjusted into a position that is not very stable and rigid.

The older Atlas V8 and PSR models feature a knob on the bottom of the bipod for adjusting tension. From a prone position, this can be difficult to reach and adjust. The CAL doesn’t have this knob but has a KMW Pod-Loc handle on the backside of the bipod. To adjust the tension, simply tighten or loosen the knob as needed. Another advantage of the KMW is the ability to pull out on the handle, then re-index the knob as necessary to make it easier to handle, or to tuck away and prevent the knob from interfering with a shooting position.

The KMW Pod-Loc is included, a must-have accessory for easy tension adjustment.

The non-rotating legs of the CAL are identical to the PSR version of the Atlas. They are push-button adjustable to multiple angles, including straight forward or backwards, straight down, as well as at a 45 degree forward and rearward angle. Leg height is adjustable between 4.75 and 9 inches, which is done by pressing/pulling the leg collar towards the foot. Another feature of any Atlas bipod is the simple detent holding the feet in place, allowing for optional extensions to be added or changing the feet to suit the shooting surface. I'm a fan of the Hawk Hill Custom Talon feet and have installed them on my CAL.

The legs can be adjusted straight forward or backwards, straight down or at 45 degree forward/back angles.

Atlas CAL legs shown at 45 degree setting.

The feet are easily replaceable, shown with Hawk Hill Custom Talon feet.

Atlas bipods are available with a Picatinny mount that uses two screws, with an ADM-170 throw lever mount or as a no-clamp model for attaching your preferred aftermarket mount. I like the ADM throw lever option as it's a secure mount and allows easy installation/removal for moving between multiple rifles. One noticeable change prior Atlas user will notice with the CAL is the platform that holds the legs. Because it doesn’t pan, this piece is rigid and spaces the legs further apart.

Atlas CAL with ADM throw lever mount. Note the width of the legs, which adds to the rifle's stability.

After spending many months with the CAL, the stability provided by the bipod is very apparent. There isn't a requirement to heavily load the bipod, and if you tighten the Pod-Loc the CAL is extremely rigid.  Even with a 20+ pound rifle on top, the CAL stays in place until you make a change. Staying rigid in a consistent setting is great for trying to shoot small targets at distance or groups when evaluating accuracy or doing load development… whereas some other bipod designs tend to move and require constant adjustment. The ability to push or pull on the sturdy bipod legs for stability from unconventional shooting positions is an added benefit.

Shooting the Atlas CAL.

When setting up your precision rifle, a good bipod is an enabler for achieving the rifle and shooter’s accuracy potential. There are a plethora of options from cheap to expensive or suited to certain styles of shooting. For an all-around field-bipod, the B&T Industries Atlas CAL is a premium option that packs a lot of features into a rugged design. If you are like me and found the pan feature more annoying than helpful, the CAL addresses this in an elegant way while retaining other favorable Atlas features. Do yourself a favor and treat your favorite precision rifle to a good bipod.

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