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A Leg to Stand On

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Submitted by Eric Daniel

I'm currently using a Nikon Spotter XL II spotting scope for OP work.  The Nikon is a 16-48x60mm scope.  Overall, I like the scope.  It's bright, easy to use, and I like the fact that it's got a pull out sun/dust shield, which is a life saver when out in the rain.  Since this is the first spotting scope I've ever had, though, I really can't compare it to anything else, but so far, the only real complaint I have about it is it's black (I've got an e-mail out to Nikon about painting it brown - at the time I got it, getting it in a different color was not an option, though I currently pack a "square" of desert colored cammo net to conceal it) and at 48x mag you basically have to wear the scope in order to see out of it (that and it is very susceptible to vibration.)

The one thing I really find difficult to use, though, especially in a tactical situation, is the tripod that goes with the scope.  Don't get me wrong, the tripod, for most, civilian, purposes, works just fine, but I find that, one, the tripod doesn't get low enough to allow me to lie on the ground without having to prop myself up at an uncomfortable angle, and two, the elevation lock handle, the rod that sticks out of the base of the tripod, interferes with actually getting a good, steady, sight picture out of the scope at max magnification (basically, the rod pokes you in the cheek when you try and look through the scope.)

So now I'm on the hunt for a better tactical use tripod.  One of the tripods I liked was the Ray-Vin Tactical Tripod (its military model is the M-2004.)  The Ray-Vin is all aluminum, and I like the simplicity of its center pole design which allows good access to the scope.

Vortex also makes a suitable tripod, their Vortex Summit Shooting Stand tripod.  Significantly cheaper than the Ray-Vin, the Vortex also is a bit more limited in its height adjustment.

Leupold also makes a nice looking compact tripod.  I like the fact that in addition to having a center pole extension, the legs also extend, giving it a wide height range.  Something else I also noticed with the Leupold set up was the fact that they offer a binocular adaptor, which, unfortunately, does not work with military M22 binoculars, as well as a digital camera adaptor which again, unfortunately, only works with their spotting scope.  That these devices exist, however, gives me hope that I can find similar devices to work with my Nikon scope (which will save me a lot of time and effort in drawing up sketch cards.)

Does anyone have any experience with tactical spotting scope tripods or can you make other reccomendations?

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