B IPODS ARE A POPULAR shooting aid usually mounted to a rifle. Depending on the leg length, they allow the shooter to easily find a stable shooting position whether prone, seating, kneeling or even standing.
However over the past few years, many shooters have begun using a tripod as a shooting aid. This is obviously more stable, but understandably larger as well. However a tripod does work well and I’ve enjoyed integrating one into my range setup.
At first I tried the budget version of the HOG saddle, dubbed the PIG Saddle, coupled with a SLIK DX700 PRO Tripod. The PIG saddle runs $135 and another $100 for the tripod.
I opted not to purchase a ball head to save $165, but in reality, it needs one to make it more useful. The PIG saddle was still functional. I just had to lower legs to adjust my shooting angle.
However during a review video of the Gemtech Integra 300BLK rifle the rifle fell out of the PIG saddle causing my optic to lose zero and me to lose confidence in the PIG mount.
Sure I could have torqued it tighter. However, it has 90 degree clamps that made me feel I was going to either break it or strip out the threads if I squeezed it too much more on a rounded rifle handguard. Also, the adhesive pads began to shift. This led me to order a higher quality tripod rifle rest.
Produced in Texas, the Kopjager Industries Reaper Grip is a well thought out solution. I mounted it on the same SLIK tripod, but the Reaper Grip has its own set of adjustments that takes place of a ball mount.
This easily installs and allows for smooth elevation and windage rifle movements to engage different targets as well as a moving target if needed. Best of all, the Reaper Grip is secure.
I’ve left my heavier 7.62 LaRue OBR on the tripod even with a 50-round X-Products drum magazine without fear of it falling out. This extra secure grip is because of the contoured jaws of the rifle clamp that will secure to any shaped rifle that I’ve tested in it. The price of $329 reflects the quality of the Reaper Grip.
I found the tripod quicker to set up than a bench rest when out in the field or running ATVs to a back woods range. Resting off of an ATV or truck is never comfortable.
Shooting prone or from a bench does offer the most stable position most of the time, but it is difficult to see over brush, grass, and terrain. Tripods allow the marksman to shoot in a comfortable, natural, standing supported position. I’ve even set up on truck beds to give myself extra elevation, and the tripod is an excellent option for that situation.
At first I experimented with placing the odd leg of a tripod toward myself to assist in minimizing recoil. But in reality, all the movement pushing toward one leg causes the system to rock back, then inconsistently pivot the rifle in one direction or the other. The most consistent setup is to square an odd leg toward the target. This way, the rifle’s recoil consistently rocks back onto two legs and comes back to rest on the single front in the same position.
In addition to range time and static hunting, I found the tripod helped younger and weaker shooters while hunting as well. From a ground blind the tripod would allow them ease of motion and a solid position.
Occasional shooters probably won’t find a tripod worth the investment, but serious shooters should consider integrating it into their skills toolbox.
Email Dustin Ellermann at [email protected]