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What's a good spotter tripod?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2009 at 08:53
tpcollins View Drop Down
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I had a lightweight Slik tripod and at the range the other day, the weight of my Bushnell Excursion broke the upper section (could have already been weak). I was ready to order the Bushnell Shooter Stand tripod but only found one review on it and it wasn't a favorable one. Any one have a suggestion for a spotter tripod to use on the shooting bench? I have a Bogen Wilderness tripod for the field but would like a good mini. Thanks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2009 at 10:15
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I don't own this one but really liked it when I tried it out - with a fairly heavy Vortex 20-60X80 scope mounted on it.

http://swfa.com/Vortex-Summit-Shooting-Stand-Tripod-P10883.aspx
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2009 at 13:05
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Id rather put a solid full size tripod next to the bench with a ball head or a gear driven head.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2009 at 19:51
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Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

Id rather put a solid full size tripod next to the bench with a ball head or a gear driven head.
 
+1
  I've seen shooters pick up the rifle from the bench and have the sling catch the scope or tripod, dragging it off the bench.
  I used to have a very large woodscrew (I think it was a screw from a tree-step of the kind bowhunters use), with a piece of 1/4 x3x4 plate welded to the end. I had a hole for it drilled in the benchtop and another on one of the wall columns that supported the roof over the benches at the range. It was used with a window-clamp spotting scope head and worked great. It was compact, solid and pretty well resistant to getting knocked off.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2009 at 22:42
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It would be nice to have the window clamp for use in a vehicle too. Another reason I do like the short tripod is for shooting prone and sometimes I need one that height for my chrony.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/01/2009 at 00:57
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The smaller Manfrotto tripod that I have will go down fairly low if you lay the legs all the way open and unscrew and remove the lower half of the center column.  It has a Gitzo ball head on it.  It would probably be the ideal table top tripod if you removed the bottom two of the three sections and cut the top section in half with a hack saw then only used the top half of the center column.  Probably an expensive way to get there but it would be sturdy.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/01/2009 at 16:30
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Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

The smaller Manfrotto tripod that I have will go down fairly low if you lay the legs all the way open and unscrew and remove the lower half of the center column.  It has a Gitzo ball head on it.  It would probably be the ideal table top tripod if you removed the bottom two of the three sections and cut the top section in half with a hack saw then only used the top half of the center column.  Probably an expensive way to get there but it would be sturdy.
 
 
I have the Monfrotto Wilderness tripod and head and I was looking at Ebay this morning thinking of buying a used one and gnawing it down a bit just like you said.
 
Actually when I was looking at it this morning I found another mini tripod in the closet that I forgot I had. It came with my Bushnell Excursion so I set it up to see how it worked. Then I remembered why I forgot about it and why it was sitting in the closet. Thanks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/01/2009 at 21:01
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Originally posted by tpcollins tpcollins wrote:

Actually when I was looking at it this morning I found another mini tripod in the closet that I forgot I had. It came with my Bushnell Excursion so I set it up to see how it worked. Then I remembered why I forgot about it and why it was sitting in the closet. Thanks.


That was one of the few disappointing things I found with the Excursion. Better to shave $10-20 off the price and not include a tripod at all instead of that flimsy thing.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2009 at 20:19
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Many optics users invest heavy dollars in the their scopes but become weirdly stingy when it comes to tripods. A good tripod makes the difference between you beeing able to use your scope to its maximum potential or not.
AVOID POOR QUALITY SCOPES!!!!!
Avoid plastic, cheap aluminum and the unsteady ones!
Make sure the legs can be widely spread in order to get the best possible balance. Make sure that every leg is stable itself, that all the screws mount smoothly without gaping. Make sure the movements of the head are smooth and easy and that the tripod is heavy enough to endure the wind.
Some of my favourites are the Manfrotto/Bogen ones especially the ones made for Carl Zeiss (one which I own) and Swarovski which have the brands on their legs and head as well as the Leica tripod.
Velbon is a pretty cheap brand but they came with an alternative that is quite interesting as well.
Gitzo makes some of the largest tripods which are not so heavy and they make some of the best heads. Personally I prefer fluid heads instead of ball heads as I find them more durable and easier to use.
Preferably the tripod should be made of carbon fiber to get a good stability without the heavy weight.
Make sure you do not have more than one handle (unless you happen to be a photographer) as that is usless. Try having a good confortable long handle which makes it easier to maneuvre the scope.
Other aspects to appreciate:
-quick release legs
-spike feet
-insulator on the legs
-quick release plate with a stopper
-strap (makes it a whole lot easier to carry)
 
Between $150-700 one should be able to find a large variety of quality tripods.
That will allow you to consistently use the higher mags of the scope and that's where often the fun starts.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/22/2010 at 07:17
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Update - thought I'd mention that on another thread someone suggested the MLB-1 Mighty Low Boy. This company takes a Bogen 3001BN tripod, removes the lower tubes and shortens the remaining ones and charges $190 for just the tripod. I bought a used one on E*** for $34 and it included a Bogen 3030 3-way head. I removed the lower tubes, cut down the other ones, added rubber feet and here it it . . .
 
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