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Thread: spotting scope tripod

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    spotting scope tripod

    i have a KOWA spotting scope and i am looking for a good tripod. since i spent the rent on the scope i'm not concerned with the price (within reason) for a tripod. what i want is solid and ease of moving the scope. any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    For a bench or from the ground? To be used when shooting prone?
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 07-29-2020 at 03:46 PM.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master metricmonkeywrench's Avatar
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    Found 2 a while back, a small bench top and a very overkill studio quality portable tripod as a local swap meet.

    There out there if you patient

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    If it's for bench use, there are tons of tabletop tripods out there. Personally, I'd avoid the ones with the ball and socket type mechanism and go with a standard pan head. A video pan head with the fluid damping might make things easier to set up.

    A Manfrotto 209 Table Top Tripod with one of the Manfrotto video pan heads? A very simple setup.

    I like using the Manfrotto (Bogen) tripods with a camera. Some get stupid expensive, but their lesser models are still great quality in my opinion. I have a 40-yr old Bogen at the house that I rebuilt a couple years ago. I'd never replace it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    The spotter here is treated like eggs, the tripod is a used pawn shop special and don't even know who made it. It gets stuck in the sand, scooted around on concrete on line next to me on bench. It is not intentionally abused and has been working for coming up on twenty or so I think with me. Buddy has one of those pistol grip adjust ball things, not for me.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    spent the $$ on a top notch scope theres no reason not to get a gitzo tripod, they have many models from light and portable to heavy and not so portable but all are first quality and solid

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaNapper View Post
    If it's for bench use, there are tons of tabletop tripods out there. Personally, I'd avoid the ones with the ball and socket type mechanism and go with a standard pan head. A video pan head with the fluid damping might make things easier to set up.

    A Manfrotto 209 Table Top Tripod with one of the Manfrotto video pan heads? A very simple setup.

    I like using the Manfrotto (Bogen) tripods with a camera. Some get stupid expensive, but their lesser models are still great quality in my opinion. I have a 40-yr old Bogen at the house that I rebuilt a couple years ago. I'd never replace it.
    You have the right idea. I picked up a video pan head tripod for one of the old large tape cameras at a yard sale for a few bucks. It is very stable with my spotting scope on it.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If you want a really solid stable tripod look at surveyors tripods not cheap but very solid and well built I habe used several different stands over the years freelands bi pods with a wind spike added, jim owens stand and made a few. I also have a true tripod for my 25 x 100 binoculars made by a spotting scope maker it has fine adjustment radial and vertical.
    for ease of transport and moving the freelands are great and will get you from prone to standing but not as stable as others
    the Jim Owens is a true tripod base better stability adjustable from prone to standing but folded up is a bigger dia than the freelands and harder to get a hold of
    The tripod is stable and solid sets up quick collapsed is the longest. and the heaviest, but in the wind with the big binoculars on it it very stable.

  9. #9
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    Minerat's Avatar
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    Go on the labradar site and look at the tabletop one they have. I have one and use it for my spotting scope at $44 it's not too bad.

    https://buymylabradar.com/products/u...labradar-mount
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Go on ebay and pick up a Manfrotto (Bogen) tripod or one of the high end ones for a fraction of the new cost. Yea, I know it's Ebay.
    NRA Endowment member, TSRA Life member, Distinguished Rifleman, Viet Nam Vet

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Another thumbs up for what LynC2 said! Manfrotto/Bogen tripods are excellent + other types of heads (to suit) are available.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    i don't know much about high end tripods. mine is cheap and wobbly. so, i have a few questions about the better tripods. are they all threaded the same? (will they accept a KOWA spotting scope). do they all have a "quick release" to remove the scope? read something about "fluid something or other" what is that?. the GITZO is a little more than i want to spend. but, the MANFROTTO prices are ok with me. not to put anyone on the spot; but is there a modle that someone would recommend. i am overwelmed with the different models

  13. #13
    Boolit Man
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    Most tripods seem to be pretty standard, with the cost differences mostly due to stability and weight carrying capabilities. Some of the higher end tripods you will see are designed for video use. Imagine a 20 lb video camera being swung around on a tripod. That sucker needs to be solid or the result is going to be wobbly, bouncing video. On the other end of the spectrum is your basic $40 tripod. It's made to hold up a 2 lb camera and take still shots. That $40 tripod works great if the wind isn't blowing super hard and you're not in a hurry to frame your shot. Now, if you have a camera with a 2000mm lens that weights 6-8 lbs and is really nose heavy, maybe that $40 tripod isn't going to cut it. You really need to fit the tripod to your use. A spotting scope benefits from a stable tripod because you're usually 20 to 60 magnification and wobble is really noticeable. A little wobble at the range might be tolerable, but if you're scoping hillsides and ridges while hunting it's another story. Fit it to your use.

    The threads on a tripod are usually pretty standard. Usually. Assume a tripod that does not have a pan head on it. Most have a 3/8" stud on top of the tripod for the pan head to screw onto. Then there's typically a 1/4" stud for the camera or scope on the pan head. Most people match pan head quality to the tripod. Put a $10 head on a $1000 tripod and it will perform as well as any $40 tripod out there. As for the fluid heads, think of the cheaper tripod we all have sitting around. It has an adjustable friction hinge that you can loosen and move the scope, then tighten down to lock it. I'm sure you know how it jerks from one point to another as you're trying to aim the scope. And without enough friction it just flops around like a flounder. Wouldn't it be nice if you could unlock the head and have it move nice and smooth? That's what the fluid head does. Viscous dampening. No more jerking and flopping around trying to get it pointed in the right direction. These heads are typically used for video cameras so you can pan and tilt smoothly. Stop by a camera shop and ask if they have a fluid head for a video camera. They will be happy to let you mess with one. I'm betting you immediately realize the benefits. I believe the pan head is the biggest factor.

    Lastly, if your scope is nose heavy (mine is), consider adding a counter weight to the handle on the pan head to balance it. Lead weights and heat shrink maybe? That way, adjusting it vertically becomes much easier. A well balanced load on a fluid head will make you smile, even if you didn't spend hundreds on the tripod under it. At least that's my experience.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


    Kraschenbirn's Avatar
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    For the bench or prone, I've got a small 'Vanguard' tripod that I picked up off Amazon for about $30. No fluid head but it supports my Meade 20x-60x (80mm objective) quite nicely and (with a little practice) pans smoothly. For shooting standing (or spotting for someone else), I use one of my regular camera tripods.

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  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    thanks guys especially Bama Napper. so far i know that i will get something with a fluid head. the rest is still up in the air. will spend some time looking for used. i may contact you (bama ) later with more questions.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    thanks guys especially Bama Napper. so far i know that i will get something with a fluid head. the rest is still up in the air. will spend some time looking for used. i may contact you (bama ) later with more questions.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Baltimoreed's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    I built this one. Used my HF mini mill on the aluminum parts. Can’t find a shot of the head, I’ll take one tomorrow.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    i don't intend to shoot prone (too hard to get back up). so i'll be getting a tripod because it is more stable than the single tube type.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy


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ID:	265563I bought one of these from Champions Choice over 25 years ago. Very rugged and stable.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ebay is your best bet for a good price on a quality used tripod. Look for a Bogen Manfrotto heavy duty such as a 3033, 3036, 3050 or 3051. The ones with the leg supports from the center to each leg will be the most stable. Mine is a 3051 with a 3047 head. It is heavy and very stable in windy conditions. The 3047 head is a good head and the combo is generally rated for cameras up to 20 lbs or so. You can get a good deal for less than $200 if you are patient and look them over before deciding on your purchase.

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