For those of you who shoot from field positions such as prone, sitting, etc. what do you use for a spotting scope stand, either when huntin alone or spotting for another hunter?
I'm kind of getting sucked over into some centerfire rifle sports, and am looking at upgrading my spotting scope and stand. Seems like most of the stands for that kind of shooting are pretty low, and meant for relatively flat ground (firing line, shooting bench, etc.) but they afford excellent access to the scope from the prone and sitting positions if you set up your position accordingly. Anyone have any suggestions, comments? Right now I have a small fold-up model that fits on my backpack spotting scope (Bushnell Birder 15-45x) that could work OK w/ a decent 45degree angled eyepiece, but I'm open to suggestions, as it is pretty much worthless for anything other than ultra-low prone.
I use camera tripods in the field. Have two different sizes depending if we are likely to be sitting/standing behind the scope or using it prone. Beats the hell out of the little mickey-mouse stands that they sell for spotting scopes. Need decent ballheads and ability to lockup well. There are some very nice quick-detach heads for field use, you can drop the spotter onto the head and lock it in place in seconds. Bogen/Manfroto is good, lets me put a camera on for photo sessions or timer use.
Don't know if we are talking the same kind of stands for spotting scopes... these (competition models) are pretty solidly made. I don't think I'd call them 'mickey-mouse' by any stretch of the imagination. Now, some of the little rinky-dink jobbers I've seen in the local sporting-goods stores for spotting scopes, yes.
For stand up, or seated i.e. from a stool/chair use, I'll agree the camera tripods are nice. But for lower to the ground use, the small ones don't seem very stable w/ a relatively small and light 60mm scope on them, much less a relatively large 77-82mm mini-Hubble like a Kowa TSN-1 or 821M. I think some of the competition stands have weights either built in or otherwise attachable to the bottom for stability. Guess a person could always hang a small sandbag from the center of the smaller camera tripods...
From your post, I couldn't tell if your intended purpose for the scope stand was for hunting or competition ( but I do see you hanging out on the Highpower Boards).
As a Hunter and Highpower Competitor, I find the needs for a scope stand/tripod are very different depending on the purpose. For hunting, I'd like something lightweight and compact - so much so that I don't find a Spotting Scope practical (long scoping with one eye takes it's toll - short eye relief, limited FOV limit their usefulness for me as well). Bino's suit my style of hunting better.
Ian M, are there any quality tripod models that are compact and will allow scoping heights from belly to butt?
The Freeland Bipod has not been the "gold standard" for many years now. The Ewing took that crown over a decade ago, and Competitors have their choice of several that are much better than the Freeland today. Milanuk I'm sure is aware of the Ewing, Giraud and Ray-Vin Scope Stands.
Yep, I've been looking around at most of those models. Kind of torn right now btwn the Ewing (the new 'gold' standard, made in-state, but more expensive) and the Ray-Vin (possible heir-apparent, and less expensive, but possibly longer lead time due to demand). I've been using a set of Bushnell rubber-armored 10x42 binocs, which work nice, but weigh a metric butt ton, it feels like. Also started using a Bushnell 'Birder' series 15-45x straight tube 60mm scope, which would be workable w/ a more stable stand (higher, less vibration in the wind, easier to pan) than the tiny little factory one which has exactly one virtue... it fits in the case w/ the scope. Using binocs from prone seems to crank on my neck, though I've been thinking about a set of the larger 20x observation glasses (think mini-BigEyes) on a small tripod, to have the best of both worlds.
Thanks for the link to the Bogen/Manfrotto tripods. $140 for just the leg?!? Now I gotta dig and see how much the head is gonna cost [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]