Help me choose the best hunting system (tripod/bipod/etc)

bmicek

Supporter
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Aug 23, 2017
531
281
Kansas
I’m having a hard time deciding on a system for hunting. I ask you guys, because there’s a lot of gear snobs. My hunting is more open country so lightweight is ideal.

My issue is coming up with a system that works well for shooting and hunting. Bad part is, stability for precision rifle shooting usually has a weight penalty. Here’s my current thinking:

-Lightweight tripod with Anvil 30 ballhead
-Spartan Javelin bipod with picatinny adapter on rifle to also clip into Anvil 30
-Maybe Pint size gamechanger with Git Lite fill for shooting off rocks etc.

My issue is, I’m not certain the Anvil 30 would double real well as a glassing ballhead. I’ve heard it doesn’t pan as smooth. I also don’t know if a Spartan is sturdy enough for a heavy rifle when I’m just shooting at the range. I’d rather have a do all bipod.

For those hunters, what’s your ideal system?
 

sam4886

Stunt Cock
Full Member
Minuteman
May 15, 2019
1,066
680
Eastern WA
Hunting what? And where?

I toted around bipods on all my deer/elk hunting trips for a long time, like 20 years, and have got a decent shot off one exactly once. It was in a plowed wheat field from a rolling hilltop to a side hill. About as perfect as you could imagine for a bipod, but that's the only time its been more than extra weight. Tall grass, trees, moving animals, close danger snap shots, any number of scenarios make them pretty useless.

If you're gonna drag along a tripod, then the bipod becomes even more useless.

Spot and stalk type stuff, the tripod is great for spotting, then just hook on the rifle when you get close, but before the final sneak to shoot. Worst case, you can use it like a monopod up front.

Are you hunting with a pack? 95% of the time, throwing the pack down and using that as your shooting bag, tripod, mono pod, whatever is going to be faster and plenty stable. If you're planning on more like 800 yard plus stuff, you should have plenty of time to set up the tripod or go full super sniper prone and get set up in a good spot.

I don't know enough about ball heads vs anvil to have any insight on that.
 

bmicek

Supporter
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Aug 23, 2017
531
281
Kansas
Hunting what? And where?

I toted around bipods on all my deer/elk hunting trips for a long time, like 20 years, and have got a decent shot off one exactly once. It was in a plowed wheat field from a rolling hilltop to a side hill. About as perfect as you could imagine for a bipod, but that's the only time its been more than extra weight. Tall grass, trees, moving animals, close danger snap shots, any number of scenarios make them pretty useless.

If you're gonna drag along a tripod, then the bipod becomes even more useless.

Spot and stalk type stuff, the tripod is great for spotting, then just hook on the rifle when you get close, but before the final sneak to shoot. Worst case, you can use it like a monopod up front.

Are you hunting with a pack? 95% of the time, throwing the pack down and using that as your shooting bag, tripod, mono pod, whatever is going to be faster and plenty stable. If you're planning on more like 800 yard plus stuff, you should have plenty of time to set up the tripod or go full super sniper prone and get set up in a good spot.

I don't know enough about ball heads vs anvil to have any insight on that.
To answer your questions, all of the above. But I’d say most of the terrain would be open wheat fields/CRP fields when deer/antelope hunting and heavy cut draws/canyons when mule deer hunting. Then mountain terrain for elk. Typically a day pack will be used on the deer/antelope hunts. I do agree with you on the bipod deal. It seems a great tripod will cover most shooting scenarios and when a tripod isn’t used, using the hunting pack as a rest is sufficient at a moderate distance.
 

UpSideDown

↑ → ↓
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Sep 24, 2019
1,474
1,122
I just use my backpack as a rest, it's far more useful than a bipod. You get a lot more surface area, you can lean it against a rock or fallen branch or tree, or lean it between your legs. If you're going to bring a tripod and a rear bag, forego the Anvil and just set the bag on top of the tripod as your rest if you want. I think tripods are probably way overrated for hunting, their real application is for long glassing periods for hunting animal like bear.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Vivacious Stallion

Mbaysinger89

Private
Full Member
Minuteman
Feb 13, 2017
312
165
KS
I use a Spartan Bipod for hunting. I have shot 15 lb rifles off of it with no problem. I also dont shoot the ELR calibers, this is with normal hunting rifle calibers.
 

bmicek

Supporter
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Aug 23, 2017
531
281
Kansas
I just use my backpack as a rest, it's far more useful than a bipod. You get a lot more surface area, you can lean it against a rock or fallen branch or tree, or lean it between your legs. If you're going to bring a tripod and a rear bag, forego the Anvil and just set the bag on top of the tripod as your rest if you want. I think tripods are probably way overrated for hunting, their real application is for long glassing periods for hunting animal like bear.
My only counter to that is getting above the CRP grass to shoot. Even a pack isn’t tall enough in many cases where I hunt, where a kneeling shot is about as low as I can get to the ground before my view is obstructed by grass.
 

UpSideDown

↑ → ↓
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Sep 24, 2019
1,474
1,122
My only counter to that is getting above the CRP grass to shoot. Even a pack isn’t tall enough in many cases where I hunt, where a kneeling shot is about as low as I can get to the ground before my view is obstructed by grass.
I haven't experienced that, I hunt out West so that's a unique constraint to account for. I like to find a branch to rest the gun on if I need height, but if you're in grass fields without a natural support, maybe a tripod makes sense. You also aren't going to like glassing off of a bag rested on a tripod.
 

eklarsen

Savage
Full Member
Minuteman
Feb 16, 2017
314
307
Washington
Instead of the Anvil 30, use the leveling base (more better). RRS carbon tripod are rock steady and not heavy. As others have said commit to tri-pod or bi-pod will save you weight.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bmicek

bmicek

Supporter
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Aug 23, 2017
531
281
Kansas
I haven't experienced that, I hunt out West so that's a unique constraint to account for. I like to find a branch to rest the gun on if I need height, but if you're in grass fields without a natural support, maybe a tripod makes sense. You also aren't going to like glassing off of a bag rested on a tripod.
It’s probably unique to my area to be honest. I can think of a number of properties I hunt where there might be no more than a handful of trees on a few hundred acre property of CRP. And they are never in the correct spot to glass haha so a tripod would greatly help.
 

UpSideDown

↑ → ↓
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Sep 24, 2019
1,474
1,122
It’s probably unique to my area to be honest. I can think of a number of properties I hunt where there might be no more than a handful of trees on a few hundred acre property of CRP. And they are never in the correct spot to glass haha so a tripod would greatly help.
I'd rock a tripod with a leveling base if you aren't worried about shooting on inclinations. I wouldn't bother with a bipod, or just take whatever precision bipod you already own if you're going somewhere you think it'll be useful.
 

bmicek

Supporter
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Aug 23, 2017
531
281
Kansas
I'd rock a tripod with a leveling base if you aren't worried about shooting on inclinations. I wouldn't bother with a bipod, or just take whatever precision bipod you already own if you're going somewhere you think it'll be useful.
Thanks for the help. Guess I don’t even necessarily need one head for everything. Can swap heads based on how I’m gonna be shooting and the terrain.
 

Baron85

Sergeant
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Supporter+
Mar 18, 2012
1,130
604
I use a light weight sirui tripod and mini ball head for hunting. I’m in Colorado so lots of glassing. I don’t carry a bipod, find them pretty useless when I already have a tripod. I mount a mini arca rail on my rifles and works very well for me. If I’m in a hurry I could use my pack as a rest.
 

bmicek

Supporter
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Aug 23, 2017
531
281
Kansas
I use a light weight sirui tripod and mini ball head for hunting. I’m in Colorado so lots of glassing. I don’t carry a bipod, find them pretty useless when I already have a tripod. I mount a mini arca rail on my rifles and works very well for me. If I’m in a hurry I could use my pack as a rest.
Makes perfect sense. I don’t think a bipod is of any use for me the more I think about it. Aside from general target shooting off a bench.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Baron85

GMZ

Retired
Full Member
Minuteman
Mar 15, 2007
507
585
PNW
Don’t have much to offer but here’s what I got.

Started with RT-90 + Anvil. Solid as a rock but heavy af. Even my shooting spots are a couple miles hike in so this got old.

Switched over to Sirui 284 legs and XB44 ball head. Not quite as stable as the above but much lighter and the Sirui legs with Anvil are stable enough for me to get bored on a 12” gong at 500 even without rear support.

Humping 2 mi uphill into the NF just to practice has had quite an impact on my gear plans. In trying to get my pack weight/bulk down I’m looking at ditching the tripod generally unless specifically needed and trying quick stix with my pack for rear support since I usually hike with poles anyway.

https://www.wiserprecision.com/products/quick-stix

Everybody likes pictures:
D5D5027A-D868-4ADC-A97A-828E7469F43C.jpeg


26C9E7BC-6884-4D18-89B5-99EFAF70FC15.jpeg
 

bmicek

Supporter
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Aug 23, 2017
531
281
Kansas
Don’t have much to offer but here’s what I got.

Started with RT-90 + Anvil. Solid as a rock but heavy af. Even my shooting spots are a couple miles hike in so this got old.

Switched over to Sirui 284 legs and XB44 ball head. Not quite as stable as the above but much lighter and the Sirui legs with Anvil are stable enough for me to get bored on a 12” gong at 500 even without rear support.

Humping 2 mi uphill into the NF just to practice has had quite an impact on my gear plans. In trying to get my pack weight/bulk down I’m looking at ditching the tripod generally unless specifically needed and trying quick stix with my pack for rear support since I usually hike with poles anyway.

https://www.wiserprecision.com/products/quick-stix

Everybody likes pictures:
View attachment 7915513

View attachment 7915514
Great info. I currently have an RT80C so the RT90’s little brother. With Innorels cheap 44lb ballhead. Which works fine, but I wish it had a lever to close the arca clamp. The threaded knob I can’t seem to get tight enough and it seems to loosen up with use.
 

CMP70306

Private
Full Member
Minuteman
Feb 16, 2017
720
853
After a Bison hunt in Nebraska this year I went out and bought a RRS Ascend 14L tripod with the integrated head and picked up an Anvil-30 head to go with it. During the hunt it was very difficult to find a place to lay prone due to the high grass so I ended up having to use the guide’s bog pod to take my shot. It worked OK but I much would have preferred a lighter tripod I could adjust quickly as the lack of adjustment cost me a shot early in the hunt.

Based on my limited use so far the integrated head definitely has the advantage for glassing as it has the pan feature built into it. When it comes to shooting the Anvil is superior as the integrated head is small and lacks the clamping power required to support a rifle. With the Anvil I was easily steady enough to shoot crows at 150 yards from the standing position and I’m sure I could have made shots significantly farther with a bit of practice.
 

KnowNothing256

Supporter
Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Supporter+
  • Jan 9, 2020
    1,894
    1,171
    I guess I’m the odd one out here:

    - I like a bipod for setting the gun down, and also works pretty well for carrying it muzzle-up with the bipod legs on a shoulder or pack strap (usually need to fiddle to find the right spot).
    - I like the Anvil (clipped in) for glassing. Not as systematic as a pan/tilt, but you can kinda turn it into one with a little pan table. I haven’t bothered with this after using one for awhile. I’ve found it easier to keep track of where I’m at on a grid if I do vertical strips when using the Anvil instead of horizontal bands though.
    - The flexibility of shooting off a tripod is pretty dang hard to beat. If I’m on generally flat ground, I’ll carry it with the legs deployed to the right height so that I can just open them out and take a standing shot. Anything other than that would need more time no matter what, and standing is pretty solid at intermediate ranges anyway.

    No way would I leave a tripod at home for a big game hunt. It’s just too versatile to skip, they do add weight but I can cut that elsewhere or just deal with it. I’d leave the bipod long before I left the tripod, I love the Anvil, and even the convenience of the bipod for me is worth it. If I get to shoot off it though, that’s a pleasant surprise; I don’t plan for it, quite the contrary.