RRS Anvil 30 for glassing and shooting?

Freediver111

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Some background: I’m largely a hunter but I do some local matches and just generally like to shoot at the range when I’m not hunting.

I’m currently running a Promaster xc 525c tripod with a Sirui VA-5 fluid head. To be honest, it was great for just glassing, but it’s terrible as a multi-purpose shooting/glassing combo.

My newest hunting rifle sits in an XLR element 4.0 which includes the Arca rail built in. Problem with it is that the Sirui head won’t clamp to the arca rail unless you slide it in from the open end. Doesn’t work for me as I have a pic rail and bipod up front. Yeah, I can switch my atlas bipod to mount via arca rail, but I prefer to keep it as a pic rail mount so it’s compatible with my other rifles that don’t have arca rails.

I’ve been trying to research a lighter weight head that will meet my needs and seems like the Anvil 30 is recommended by a lot of crossover shooters and hunters as a reasonably lightweight head that can do it all.

I’d like to know how folks like high end ball heads like the anvil for glassing? I’ve used a cheaper ball head for binocular glassing and it’s great, but when it came to the spotting scope I didn’t think it was as good as a fluid head. Cheaper ball head though. Not a good comparison to one that costs 4x.

Also, probably a dumb question, but can you just set your rifle with integrated arca rail directly on top of the head and lock it in? No BS sliding it down the rail like my current fluid head?

If you have a strong opinion for the ideal spotter/shooting head combo I’m all ears. I’d prefer to keep it as light as possible though. I hike a lot when hunting and more weight is more pain. Thanks.
 

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    Yes !

    The one handed operation and versatility is second to none
    0AA38A37-540A-432E-B41A-B0E8ABEBD7D8.jpeg
     

    Ronin_64

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    “Also, probably a dumb question, but can you just set your rifle with integrated arca rail directly on top of the head and lock it in? No BS sliding it down the rail like my current fluid head?”

    Absolutely, just set your rifle where you want it and clamp. Works great.
     
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    clefairy

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    “Also, probably a dumb question, but can you just set your rifle with integrated arca rail directly on top of the head and lock it in? No BS sliding it down the rail like my current fluid head?”

    Absolutely, just set your rifle where you want it and clamp. Works great.
    Yup
     
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    OREGUN

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    I prefer to glass off a traditional head that has independent panning…but for shooting, the anvil is terrific. So, I carry the anvil and deal with the fact that I dont like it quite as much for glassing. As for having to slide a rail into it, that has to be some kind of manufacturing issue. The anvil will open wide enough that you just set the rifle down and close the clamp.
     

    Freediver111

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    I prefer to glass off a traditional head that has independent panning…but for shooting, the anvil is terrific. So, I carry the anvil and deal with the fact that I dont like it quite as much for glassing. As for having to slide a rail into it, that has to be some kind of manufacturing issue. The anvil will open wide enough that you just set the rifle down and close the clamp.
    The Sirui head is really meant for glassing with optics mounted on an Arca plate. You slide in the plates from the ends. They didn’t make it wide enough to just set an arca rail or plate on top and lock. It was always designed as a slide through. Not a big deal when swapping binos/spotter mounted to an arca plate into it to glass, but doesn’t work for a rifle when you have shit like a pic rail mounted to the bottom.
     

    dirtytough

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    I’m a hunter first. And honestly the Anvil sucks for glassing compared to a nice pan/fluid head.

    But for a shooting and glassing head it’s the best I’ve used.
     
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    Nik H

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    Get the panning adapter for the Anvil and you now have the best of both worlds. I'll take that combo over any fluid head that I've used
     
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    vh20

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    I want to see the person who took this picture.
    (jk Frank, don't tase me, Bro!)

    I love the Anvil 30 head for rifle. I haven't tried it for glassing.
     
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    Jefe's Dope

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    The Anvil 30 isn't the 'best' for glassing but is certainly the 'best' for shooting. It's good enough for glassing though and with a little practice it will work very well for glassing.
     
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    Baron23

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    I have an Anvil-30 on a 2Vets Tripod. I'm older and do not compete and never will. I have, however, shot off of the tripod/Anvil in clinics and own my own time both at the square range and hunting. I have also used it with a spotting scope and a spotting scope/range finder combo mounted on a MUB bridge.

    I like it a lot for shooting off of. I find my Anvil a bit stiff for just moving just a light weight spotting scope rig around. I find it a bit difficult to make fine adjustments with just a spotter up there. But it is workable.

    Mine is not too terribly old or very well used....still kind of new. Maybe it will loosen up but I think its really optimized for mounting a rifle up there and less so for light weight optics.

    Just my view.

    Cheers
     

    Freediver111

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    Get the panning adapter for the Anvil and you now have the best of both worlds. I'll take that combo over any fluid head that I've used
    I can’t seem to find any specific “panning” adapter. There’s the TFCT adapters, but I think those are for RRS specific tripods. Can’t seem to find anything specific to a panning feature, can you elaborate?

    Seems as though it’s not perfect for glassing, but I’ll have to live with that. I glass a fair bit but I also have had enough times where a solid tripod mounted rifle would have allowed me a shot vs trying to contort myself on some hillside trying to make it into some semblance of a shooting position. From what I’m gathering, it’s the current best of both worlds if you want a one deal system as a crossover shooting/glassing head.
     

    Nik H

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    I can’t seem to find any specific “panning” adapter. There’s the TFCT adapters, but I think those are for RRS specific tripods. Can’t seem to find anything specific to a panning feature, can you elaborate?

    Seems as though it’s not perfect for glassing, but I’ll have to live with that. I glass a fair bit but I also have had enough times where a solid tripod mounted rifle would have allowed me a shot vs trying to contort myself on some hillside trying to make it into some semblance of a shooting position. From what I’m gathering, it’s the current best of both worlds if you want a one deal system as a crossover shooting/glassing head.
    It is specific for the Anvil. If you can mount an Anvil 30 on your tripod, it will work as it mounts to the Anvil.

    Here is the clamp
     

    Freediver111

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    It is specific for the Anvil. If you can mount an Anvil 30 on your tripod, it will work as it mounts to the Anvil.

    Here is the clamp
    Geez, almost the price of the head, and essentially doubles the weight of the set up. I’ll have to see how much I dislike the pan feature with just the head before I spring for that adapter.
     

    Nik H

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    Geez, almost the price of the head, and essentially doubles the weight of the set up. I’ll have to see how much I dislike the pan feature with just the head before I spring for that adapter.
    I get it...I don't hunt so the weight isn't an issue for me. It really makes spotting much easier and it is VERY handy when shooting movers from the tripod
     
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    wpeach1912

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    I have always glasses with a ball head and binos, so I haven’t used the pan heads for glassing to understand their positives and negatives. That being said, an Anvil should work just fine for glassing. My buddy used his anvil on an RRS 33i with his swaro spotter sheep hunting this year and it worked pretty well for him. The advantage you gain for making the shot having the anvil makes it worth it to me
     
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    DeathBeforeDismount

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    I prefer to glass off a traditional head that has independent panning…but for shooting, the anvil is terrific. So, I carry the anvil and deal with the fact that I dont like it quite as much for glassing. As for having to slide a rail into it, that has to be some kind of manufacturing issue. The anvil will open wide enough that you just set the rifle down and close the clamp.
    You can add a panning head to the anvil 30 for the best of both worlds.
     

    Simonsza1

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    I do both with with the 30 and don’t have an issue. Spend some time glassing on the 30 and it will be fine.
     

    carbonbased

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    As mainly a colony varmint hunter (like pdogs) I have tried the Anvil on my RRS tripod. I also use a older Arca Swiss B1 ballhead, which was one of the products that kickstarted the whole Arca Swiss clamp standard.

    What I’ve found is the Anvil isn’t as good for rapidly panning to shoot target after target, all day long. It is good at very solidly locking up for shooting a target or three. Or six. But not 50,100, 200.

    A typical ballhead works better for mre because you can independently adjust the panning tension versus the ball head tension. That’s exactly why glassing with a traditional ball head is easier than glassing with the Anvil.

    Why I haven’t bought the pano adapter linked above is two-fold: it doesn’t yet have the new RRS clamp, and more importantly, the Arca Swiss heads have a feature no one else has, namely an aspheric ball. Patented.

    Why does this matter?

    Ever had ballhead flop? When your ballhead tension is too low and your rifle, spotter, whatever bangs against the ball’s limit? Sometimes this momentum tips your whole rig over.

    An aspheric ball increases tension the further the ball flops towards its limit (aka the greatest angle). The upshot is that it is easier to deal with heavy objects on your ballhead. As the object falls, the tension rises and the object slows down.

    For elk hunting, I think the Anvil/pano adapter would be tits.
     
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