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Long Distance Shooting Discuss tools, techniques, tips and theories of long distance shooting

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  #1  
Old 08-11-2021, 6:22 PM
sigstroker sigstroker is offline
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Default Tripod question

I hardly know squat about tripods. The sum total of my knowledge is that most of them have 3 legs.

I've seen three different types of heads - ball, pan, and leveling. For PRS-ish type of shooting, which is the best?
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  #2  
Old 08-11-2021, 9:51 PM
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A ball head sucks because once you loosen it to adjust it, it goes every which way and becomes a pain in the *** to use. A leveling head isnt much better. What you want is a pan head, but not just a single axis. You want a 3 axis geared head like this: https://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-Jun...8747072&sr=8-4

It will allow you to quickly access your target and then it’s easy to switch between targets. You don’t even need a tripod to go with it. I made a base for my head out of a block of heavy Delrin. I put adjustable feet on the base and a spacer to raise the head to the right level. The angled scope goes on the head. Like this:

There are three adjustments. One for leveling it out, one for raising or lowering your view, and one for looking left and right. Not cheap but well worth the money. I got mine used for about half price.
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Last edited by sonofeugene; 08-11-2021 at 9:54 PM..
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Old 08-12-2021, 1:39 AM
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Vortex has a tripod that comes with a ball head that has an adjustable tension, I guess so that it doesn't flop all over.

That geared head looks cool, but it sure is expensive.
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  #4  
Old 08-12-2021, 4:59 PM
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And well worth the 165 I paid for mine.

The problem with ball heads is even with adjustable tension, when you go to make an adjustment, you are loosening all axis at once. For instance, let’s say you’ve got the scope on target but it’s a little low. On a ball, you loosen the ball to move it up a bit but since you’ve also loosened the left/right and the tilt, you are back at square one and moving the scope all over the place trying to find your target again. With a geared head like mine, you simply turn the appropriate knob and you are instantly centered again without bothering the other adjustments. And if you want to view your buddies target in the next lane, you simply turn the left/right screw a little and presto, you’re now looking at his target. Turn that one screw again and you’re now looking at your target again.

Why anyone puts up with a ball head is beyond me.
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Last edited by sonofeugene; 08-12-2021 at 5:02 PM..
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  #5  
Old 08-12-2021, 5:30 PM
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Vanguard Vesta is the one I bought when my crappy caldwell one broke for my chronograph. Believe it was around $50 and seems very sturdy and well made. Has the pan head, 3 axis maneuverability.
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2021, 5:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonofeugene View Post
…Why anyone puts up with a ball head is beyond me.
Speed!!!

PRS matches are shot on the clock AND can have multiple targets at various distances and random locations; for example 10 shots in 2 minutes at 5 different targets. Geared heads are too slow for the transitions. Also, they are cumbersome/heavy; makes life a lot harder when carrying from stage to stage.

There are other reasons but, for PRS shooting, speed is a big one
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  #7  
Old 08-14-2021, 1:33 AM
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Great info everyone! Thanks!
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  #8  
Old 08-20-2021, 1:58 PM
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There are many companies offering good tripods for use in PRS – Really Right Stuff is the gold standard, with a price point to match. Other widely used brands are Leofoto, Two Vets, Manfrotto, and Innorel.

I use a Leofoto LM-364C tripod with a Really Right Stuff Series 3 75mm leveling base for shooting PRS. I went with the Leofoto because it has all the features I want, at a price I can swallow. Not that even my Leofoto is inexpensive by any stretch of the imagination. They’re just not RRS expensive. I chose the LM364C because of it’s weight, load capacity, and it will fit nicely in the side of my Eberlestock backpack at matches. I’ve used it for two years now, and it works very well for almost everything I’ve asked it to do. I shot an Unknown Distance Team Match last year and there was one stage where I wish it would have been 10 inches taller (firing position was on a downhill slope, and a standing position was the only way to see one of the targets. Devious.), because I couldn’t get high enough to see that target. But that is ONE stage out of 25 matches in two years.

My preference is to clip the gun into the ARCA on the head, rather than throw a Game Changer on top as some guys do. I tried a few different options including the RRS ball head, but I kept coming back to the leveling base with the 4" handle below. The reason I use it is when I need to adjust position with a ball head and release the tension, the gun is only being controlled by my firing hand, and can flop around. With the handle below a leveling base, I can release the tension and still maintain complete control of the rifle with both hands. There are also a couple things I can do with my support hand on the handle to gain a little extra stability in the reticle during a shot. The down side of the leveling base is that it only has about 30 degrees of total vertical adjustment. In cases where I may need more than that level of adjustment, instead of clipping in, I simply throw my Armageddon Gear Pint Size Game Changer on top of the leveling base, rest the gun on top of that, and I can get pretty much whatever vertical adjustment I need. My preference is to clip the rifle into the leveling base if there is time and I can reach all targets with the leveling base, as I am not 'quite' as stable using the Game Changer on top of it than I am clipped in.

Tripods can also be used for rear support when shooting off tires, barricades, tank traps, etc, etc, etc…

Whichever way you decide to go, focused practice is required to become proficient shooting off a tripod.

Last edited by NorCalTodd; 08-20-2021 at 2:00 PM..
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2021, 2:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonofeugene View Post
And well worth the 165 I paid for mine.

The problem with ball heads is even with adjustable tension, when you go to make an adjustment, you are loosening all axis at once. For instance, let’s say you’ve got the scope on target but it’s a little low. On a ball, you loosen the ball to move it up a bit but since you’ve also loosened the left/right and the tilt, you are back at square one and moving the scope all over the place trying to find your target again. With a geared head like mine, you simply turn the appropriate knob and you are instantly centered again without bothering the other adjustments. And if you want to view your buddies target in the next lane, you simply turn the left/right screw a little and presto, you’re now looking at his target. Turn that one screw again and you’re now looking at your target again.

Why anyone puts up with a ball head is beyond me.
the key to using a ballhead is to have one that you can fine tune the tension so it takes a moderate amount of force to move it, but it will not move on it's own. a quality ballhead will feel like pushing against hydraulic pistons, or that is what it feels like to me. i like mine so it take 2-3lbs of force to change the poa, but then you need a sturdy tripod too.

you are right about how biden it is to have a floppy ball head.
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  #10  
Old 08-20-2021, 5:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCalTodd View Post
Whichever way you decide to go, focused practice is required to become proficient shooting off a tripod.
Ha! That ain't gonna happen.
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  #11  
Old 10-05-2021, 2:41 PM
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Quote:
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Ha! That ain't gonna happen.
At least you're honest... LOL
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  #12  
Old 10-05-2021, 3:42 PM
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Really Right Stuff Anvil30. Buy once, cry…maybe more than once, but after that you’ll love it. Solves the floppy ball head problem by having varied levels of friction depending on how much you pull the lever.


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  #13  
Old 10-05-2021, 9:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theLBC View Post
the key to using a ballhead is to have one that you can fine tune the tension so it takes a moderate amount of force to move it, but it will not move on it's own. a quality ballhead will feel like pushing against hydraulic pistons, or that is what it feels like to me. i like mine so it take 2-3lbs of force to change the poa, but then you need a sturdy tripod too.

you are right about how biden it is to have a floppy ball head.
This. It takes a bit of time to dial it in right, but if you have a high quality ballhead like the ones RRS makes it will do the job. I'm just using a RRS BH40 and it's able to give me just the right amount of tension so that gun stays in place if I don't touch it, but will move if I use enough force. Granted, for shooting, I still think the Anvil 30 is the best solution, but I'm happy with my ballhead because I also use it for photography and it works perfectly.
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  #14  
Old 10-07-2021, 9:06 PM
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Quote:
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At least you're honest... LOL
"Focused practice", as he mentioned, is just not practical for me. The nearby range only goes to 400 yards, and the closest long-range range is a 4 hour drive. At best my practice will be "half-@ssed" and sporadic.
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Old 10-13-2021, 5:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigstroker View Post
"Focused practice", as he mentioned, is just not practical for me. The nearby range only goes to 400 yards, and the closest long-range range is a 4 hour drive. At best my practice will be "half-@ssed" and sporadic.
use a smaller target

300-400 yards with a 1-1.5moa target will make you better at building stable positions
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Old 10-13-2021, 7:17 PM
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That doesn't help with verifying drops. I don't even know if my range will let me place my own targets.
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  #17  
Old 10-13-2021, 9:34 PM
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Depends on your needs... I just ordered a RRS tfct with anvil 30 ballhead... for tactical application. This is what a lot of military and LE teams are using. Not cheap but it's light and durable.

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  #18  
Old 10-14-2021, 9:52 AM
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Yeah, I'm way too cheap for Really Right Stuff. I need Really Cheap Stuff.
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Old 10-14-2021, 10:37 AM
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I have the Innorel RT90C, $317 from Amazon.

Added a Field Optics Research FBH-44DT ball head ARCA clamp to it.
Field Optics Research FBH-44DT Tactical Ball Head

And also Cole-TAC tripod leggings.
https://www.cole-tac.com/product/tripod-leggings/

I have been very satisfied with this tripod: lightweight, sturdy, versatile.

And I didn't spend $1,500 on it. But I am not a serious PRS competitor, I just shoot a few matches a year.
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Old 10-14-2021, 4:21 PM
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Quote:
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Yeah, I'm way too cheap for Really Right Stuff. I need Really Cheap Stuff.
Fair point. Vortex had some good carbon fiber stuff too, less than half the price of rrs. Remember buy once cry once. If you get something too cheap you may regret it and then you cant sell it without taking a big loss

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Old 10-14-2021, 7:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyscraper View Post
Fair point. Vortex had some good carbon fiber stuff too, less than half the price of rrs. Remember buy once cry once. If you get something too cheap you may regret it and then you cant sell it without taking a big loss

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I know. See post # 3.
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  #22  
Old 10-15-2021, 8:56 AM
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There are plenty of good alternatives for the tripod itself even without spending RRS levels of money. However, I do recommend you get the best ballhead you can afford, regardless of the specific kind. The head will have the biggest impact on how well the whole system works for you.
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