Cabela's Gift Card to burn-Any tripod worthwhile? (Spotter, bino, and ideally rifle compatible)

Carlin59

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Jun 6, 2013
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386
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Colorado
My boss graciously threw me a $250 Cabela's gift card recently. With all of the extra deals right now (Raise, Active Junky at 14% cash back), I'd like to roll this into a serviceable tripod. With that said, the Cabela's ((/BassPro, same inventory now) offerings appear pretty limited. Here are the options that are available that seem viable:

https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/manfrotto-290-tripod (no head)

Background: I've never had a decent tripod. Current spotter is an entry level (~$250) Redfield (will be upgraded in the next two years). Current tripod is a $20 craiglist photography tripod. Currently using this setup for casual size confirmation from the vehicle. I've quit packing this combo into the backcountry as it is too unstable/unclear to provide any benefit relative to the weight. The lack of a serviceable spotter/tripod combo hasn't been a hindrance over the past decade of general/low point Western hunting, but between my dad and myself we should have a really nice slate of high-point hunts in the next ~5 years that I'd like to be prepared for.

Goals: A 'decent' tripod that I could justify packing around regularly in the field. The tripod would be able to solidly support a spotter, binos, and a rifle (ideally). I have two rifles that I would like to add rails/plates to for shooting off a tripod.

Trade-offs: I realize that for ~$500 all in (would really like to include the head for this price) this will not be a top-of-the-line tripod. I'm hopeful that one of the above linked tripods will at least be 'decent' for the price. I'm ok with the weight being on the heavier side if the rest of the product is solid.

Question: If one of the end goals is the ability to shoot off of this setup, would a ball vs. pan head be better? Again, I'm sure any of these options aren't ideal for long-range shooting, but if any of these Cabela's options are stable enough for getting above sage/sitting out to ~500 yards, I'd really appreciate the feedback.

Thank you for any/all feedback. Again, I realize the above linked are not top-of-the-line options. However, with the giftcard incorporated the deals are good now and any of the above linked represent a major upgrade from what I have. So, any/all feedback is welcome. I'm very open to feedback on ball-vs-pan head functionality in this price range for general glassing, as well as for shooting off of.

Thanks in advance!
 

Rent Outdoor Gear

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The Leopoldo tripods are both made by LeoFoto - they’re the best options on your list.

Neither one has a center column for quick height adjustments which is better for keeping weight low and maximizing stability but requires more initial setup time whenever you go to glass. (They do have an add on column to extend the height, but that column screws on top of the apex).

A ball head is a must for a shooting tripod - because a 2-way head like a pan tilt has no way to correct for rifle cant. The ball head allows you to quickly level the rifle regardless of how the tripod is setup.

Only the Pro Guide will have adequate stability to work for shooting. It’s a little more than needed for all but the biggest spotters but it’s an excellent tripod and very lightweight for its capabilities.

Hope this helps!

Coop


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C

Carlin59

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Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Messages
386
Location
Colorado
Really appreciate the feedback, thank you very much! Of the options, the Leupold Pro appears to fit the bill the best. Thanks!
 

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