June 19th, 2012

Gear Review: EVO F-TR Bipod from Third Eye Tactical

Review by Alan de Lacy of F-TR Ireland
EVO Leisure (the makers of Third Eye Tactical products) provided four brand-new EVO F-TR bipods for review and testing. When we collected the bipods from Stuart Anselm of Osprey Rifles, the European and Worldwide exporter of Third Eye Tactical products, I was struck by the lightness of the bipods. Carrying four bipods under one arm, I noted how light, neat, and tidy they were.

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod Ireland

Build-quality is excellent, as one might expect from a Third Eye Tactical product. Manufactured from what appears to be hard-anodized CNC-machined solid aluminum parts — each element appears to have been machined from solid billet aluminum. No pressed- or sintered-aluminum parts here!

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod IrelandThese EVO-FTR bipods are available in two colors: A very tacticool satin black and a nice satin gray. The finish appears to be hard-anodized, rather than painted or powder-coated. Milled from solid aluminum, the structural integrity is retained, while reducing the weight, by machining out sections of the aluminum to form a “honey-comb” or lattice-structure within the leg elements, on the underside.

Vertical adjustment is by way of a capstan turn-wheel, readily accessible from the prone position (even for those with short arms). The vertical adjustment is fast yet positive. When set, there doesn’t appear to have any play or backlash. The aluminum feet are decent-sized, 75mm-long curved sled-feet, finished to match the bipod.

Attachment to the rifle is by way of an aluminum mounting-block which fits quickly and neatly to a standard Universal Rail. Securing the mount is by way of a PodLoc-type lever and fixing is positive and secure. Also available from Osprey Rifles is a mount for a standard-sized QD sling-stud. The adjustment for cant is also easily provided by way of a Podloc lever and has a wide range. Again, this can be operated and adjusted while in the prone position.

EVO F-TR Bipod Specifications:

  • Overall Weight (including attachment): A fraction under 1.75 lbs. (800 grams)
  • Lowest Height (Ground-to-Underside-Rail): 13.5cm (5.3 inches)
  • Maximum Spread-of-Feet (at Lowest Setting): 48cm (18.9 inches)
  • Highest Height (Ground-to-Underside-Rail): 25cm (9.8 inches)
  • Minimum Spread-of-Feet (at Highest Setting): 36.5cm (14.3 inches)

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod Ireland

Field-Testing at Long Range
To provide two qualified opinions and to ensure that the new bipods were truly put through their paces, the reviewer, Alan de Lacy, was duly assisted by his regular F-TR team-mate and shooting-buddy, Adrian Casey. After some initial short-range bench-testing completed, we headed out to the 1000-yard Firing Line for the serious field-test. As F-TR shooters, we were shooting prone from-the-ground at 1000 yards onto the standard ICFRA F-Class 800-1000 yard target. The .308 Win rifles used in the range-test were a factory Sako TRG-22 (with a custom 32″ barrel) and a Savage 12 FTR (with custom 32″ barrel and stock). Both rifles had Anschutz-type UIT Universal accessory rails to which the bipods were attached. Both rifles are tried and tested in national and international competitions.

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod Ireland

Adjustment (Range and Ease of Use) – The range of vertical adjustment is excellent as is the speed with which the EVO can be adjusted. A couple of quick rotations (3 or 4) of the capstan-wheel and the cross-hairs were on the target. No more time-consuming fiddling to bring the cross-hairs out of the vegetation or down from the clouds! While the vertical adjustment is as fast and extensive as we’ve seen on any F/TR bipod, the capstan-wheel also allows for a surprisingly welcome amount of fine-tuning of the vertical point-of-aim. The fine-tune vertical adjustment is positive and solid. Both guns stayed in position and the scopes’ point-of-aim did not falter once during the entire range-day.

Solidity – Throughout the day’s shooting, the rifles remain solidly planted in position. Any initial misgivings we may have had about a small amount of slack and looseness “in-the-hand” were dispelled once the ‘pods were fitted onto the rifles and weight of the guns loaded onto the bipods. Set-up on the firing point, the bipods (and the rifles) were rock-solid.

Tracking – Over the day, both shooters fired the equivalent of roughly three details each, all at 1000 yards, with over 100 rounds sent down-range. Rifle tracking and the guns’ return-to-battery were exceptional. “What I like best about this bipod is it tracks like it’s on rails”, commented tester Adrian.

Summary
Craig Coote of Third Eye Tactical, with design input from 2011 Euro F-Class FTR Champion Stuart Anselm, has produced one of the best bipods we have had the pleasure of using. Adrian was so impressed with the one he tested, he wouldn’t hand it back! While there are indeed lighter bipods and there are cheaper bipods, we think the EVO F-TR bipod has set a benchmark in terms of build-quality, adjustment, and ease of use. This bipod, while aimed squarely toward the F-Class F-TR market, would be equally at home on any range and in other disciplines. Everyone who has tested and inspected this new bipod is convinced that we’ve found a cost-effective, performance-for-weight optimized, great-tracking and great-looking new piece of equipment.

A more detailed version of this review originally appeared on the F-TR Ireland Facebook Page.
CLICK HERE to read full review with more field test information and shooter comments.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 4 Comments »
December 26th, 2011

Bottomley Builds a Winner — 2011 Euro F-TR Champ Gun

Ace UK shooter Vince Bottomley decided he wanted to build a new F-TR rifle for the 2011 season. Vince selected all the best components: Stolle Action, Bartlein Barrel, Precision Rifle & Tool Stock. The build came together superbly, producing a .308 Win rifle that shoots bugholes at 100 yards, and holds sub-half-MOA (or better) to 1000. After building the rifle, Vince decided to shoot Open Class at the 2011 European Championship. So, he graciously loaned his purple F-TR rig to his friend, Stuart Anselm. The rest, as they say, “is history”. Despite having just one day’s practice with the gun, Stuart drove Vince’s rifle to victory, winning the 2011 European F-Class Championship (F-TR division) by a sizable margin.

READ Full Story about European Championship-Winning F-TR Rifle.

Vince Bottomley F-TR European championship rifle .308 Win bipod Leupold

Superb Accuracy with VV N150 and Berger 185gr Bullets
This 2011 Euro Championship-winning F-TR rifle is the star of our latest Gun of the Week Feature Story. In that article, Vince explains how he modified the long PR&T stock to make weight, and how he developed an accurate load with Vihtavuori N150 and Berger 185gr Target Long-Range Bullets. Vince notes that many UK F-Class shooters are moving back to single-base powders, after trying out double-base powders such as VV N550 and Reloder 17. What’s the reason? Barrel life. Vince feels that the single-base powders can give somewhat better barrel life, even if you lose a little velocity.

Bottomley F-TR .308 Win

New F-TR Champion Reviews Bottomley’s Stolle-Action Rifle
Stuart Anselm tells us: “I only shot the rifle a couple of days before the Europeans — two sighters and then five rounds at 800 yards which went into a 3.75-inch group. That gave me a lot of confidence in the rifle. The bi-pod is very light and looked a bit flimsy but it’s well-engineered, so it worked well. That long Precision Rifle & Tool stock is definitely the way to go and helps the rifle to track nicely under recoil. Of course, the Stolle action was perfect with the right-bolt, left-port set-up and the 10-60X March is just about the ultimate F-Class scope.”

Winning Performance: Scoring 452 points out of a possible 475, Stuart won the F-TR Euro Championship convincingly, finishing 10 points ahead of F-TR runner-up Adam Bagnall (also from Great Britain). Stuart also had the highest V-Bull count with 33.

Stuart Anselm F-TR European championship rifle .308 Win target accuracy

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »