Shooting off tripod: (ball head or pan head) * (Arca-Swiss or ???)

middleofnowhere

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Yucca Valley, CA
I’m slowly getting more and more geared up. My style is backpack hunting, mostly in the desert. I’m glassing with 12x50 binoculars and using a Kramer Designs snipe pod set up as a lightweight tripod. I’ve got a quick release Outdoorsmans panner on top of the KDC tripod. I do like the KDC set-up, it’s very light and adds significant stability to the binos. Switching between using the KDC snipepod as a tripod and rifle bipod is possible, but it does take a little time and seems noisy when I’m trying to be quiet. The KDC snipepod is fine to shoot off of, similar to shooting sticks I would imagine.

I’m looking to step up to a full size tripod for the upcoming season and would like to add a spotting scope to the mix for digiscoping. I practice shooting off my pack now, so would not necessarily plan on shooting from the tripod every time. I’m thinking I might enjoy shooting a little more with a proper tripod rest, thus practice more in the off-season.

I see Outdoorsmans basically offers their pan heads with their proprietary plates and Arca-Swiss. The Arca-Swiss seems superior to Manfroto as it is a little skinnier and maybe less bulky. Arca-Swiss also seems like it will be the winner (ala VHS vs. Beta) of the adapter plate wars.

Q: is a ball head superior to a panhead for shooting? I would imagine you could control cant with the ball head if you didn’t have the tripod perfectly level.

Q: Are there any US made ball heads suitable for shooting and glassing? The Outdoorsmans fluid head and Jim White 2.0 are both Arca-Swiss compatible and made in USA.

For switching between rifle to optics, is a clamp like the Hog Saddle preferable to mounting a plate to the bottom of the rifle? Rifle would be a “mountain type” like my Ridgeline with composite stock.

thanks in advance for thoughts on the matter.
 

Greyfox

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My set-up is exceptionally stable, quick, quiet, and simple to switch between rifle, spotter, RF, and rifle by attaching either an ARCA plate or pic rail.
It optimizes steadiness to attach a pic rail or ARCA plate close to the balance point if the rifle. I use this for both LRH and PRS. Total weight is about 5 pounds, 2ft long/5 in dia. I use an RRA ball mount with a combination ARCA/PIC rail mount. I personally like a ball mount which I find fast and easy to position the rifle. Tension can be set to achieve rifle positioning while maintaining steadiness. While a Hog saddle will work well, I prefer the ARCA/Pic rail mount for speed of attachment of the rifle as well as other equipment(spotter, Ect).
I use a Two Vets tripod which IMO, comparable to units that cost more then 2x the amount.
https://www.reallyrightstuff.com/Anvil-30-Ballhead?quantity=1&custcol49=6

https://www.twovetssportinggoods.com/products/two-vets-sporting-goods-tripod

My set-up. Cost:Approx $850
3F7E47FC-E36A-45E2-B33C-06F90BB85E47.jpeg
 
Last edited:

eklarsen

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Vancouver, Wa
I have the same desire, I have a pic rail up front for bi-pod but looking for the right ARCA adapter to mount near balance point of rifle for tripod shooting.
 

Recon$$

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I hunt with a hog saddle screwed directly to the tripod. No head. I just adjust the tripod legs to do what I need.
 

eklarsen

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Do you feel the hog saddle is secure enough? that is an option but seems heavier then an arca rail + ball adapter, could be wrong.
 

Recon$$

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It's plenty secure. Hog saddles are well built (should be for the price). They obviously work better with a more squared style stock but it's not a necessity. You can clamp the rifle in enough that you can wrap a sling and use tension to steady the rifle even more should you choose. I havnt used the Arca rail + ball adapter so I can't speak to it in comparison. I don't use a head with the hog saddle because with the heavier rifles and extra tension if you employ a sling, they don't hold firm.
 

Greyfox

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My RRS Anvil 30 bal head is exceptionally strong, using it regularly for my 18 pound PRS rifle. The tension lever which controls the balll head can be set to allow smooth movement of the rifle with enough tension to quickly make very accurate shots at long range. The ball bead mount is designed accept ARCA and Pic rails without modification, with either approach providing a bench-test steady shooting platform. While I would prefer a fluid head for camera/video/spotting scope use, IMO, the ball head is faster and more practical for use with a rifle used for multiple targets in competition, or hunting applications.
 

Farmerboy78

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May 23, 2018
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Arkansas
I run a hog saddle, their tripod, and a manfrotto 322rc2 ball head. Took a whitetail at 475yds this past season. Could not have made the shot without the tripod setup.
 

sp6x6

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I can see a trend going this way.I have hunted with snipepod for years,manly the med. model to get me out of deep snow for a shot at highcountry muley.But much prefer a stiffer platform.Ive used my outdoorsman with my own saddle also.The Spartan line up also looks interesting.Its just crazy the costs
 

eklarsen

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Messages
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Vancouver, Wa
My RRS Anvil 30 bal head is exceptionally strong, using it regularly for my 18 pound PRS rifle. The tension lever which controls the balll head can be set to allow smooth movement of the rifle with enough tension to quickly make very accurate shots at long range. The ball bead mount is designed accept ARCA and Pic rails without modification, with either approach providing a bench-test steady shooting platform. While I would prefer a fluid head for camera/video/spotting scope use, IMO, the ball head is faster and more practical for use with a rifle used for multiple targets in competition, or hunting applications.
Will the Anvil 30 work with any tripod, or only an RRS?
 

Greyfox

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Will the Anvil 30 work with any tripod, or only an RRS?
It is available in different size base plates. Check out the RRS site. Mine is mounted in a Two Vets which has the same standard mount ad the RRS tripod.
 

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