Field Support system
- By Pete Moore
- 2 Comments
- Last updated: 25/10/2017
I’m a big fan of rifle and optic support systems; they are such an aid in the field, as they add to your ability to hit the target, which is what it’s all about at the end of the day! New in from Element Rifle Works, is a set up that combines one of the top names in tripods, SLIK, with adaptors from Precision Rifle Solutions (PRS). To be honest, any half decent tripod will do but the Slick offers something a bit essential to the system, as we shall see!
A solid base is essential for support and the SLIK Sprint Pro II 3-Way Tripod takes care of that! The 4-section/3-part leg extends from 15.5 (minimum fixed) to 52” (full adjustable extension). There are three lockable leg positions via pull/push catches that allows three spread angles as follows; measurements without head fitted.
The 2-piece shaft adds an extra 11” of height, with another 2.75” from their multi-directional and lockable Ball Head Mount with QD foot. There’s a lock screw in between the legs on the tripod yoke, to get everything good and tight and also offer quick height adjustment on the shaft.
The PRS systems are designed to act as support in the aim for the rifle’s forend and also as a place to attach a spotting scope. Given most shots will be taken prone, off the bonnet or off a bench, then the tripod appears too high, even at medium height (Position 2), here Position 3 drops it right down, so it can be effectively used sitting (off support) or prone!
So, what does PRS bring to the party? With one exception, mounting and fitments are all based around the QD tripod foot that engages with the lockable adaptor in the Ball Head Mount. Given the functions on offer, it would be an easy matter to buy extra feet and fit them to the PRS accessories, using their standard tripod thread.
First up, the Cradles; two were sent, a large (SSP2) and a small (SSP1). They offer a wide/flat aluminium U-section forend support and are rubber-lined with removable, Cordura nylon, Velcro-attached covers in this case – tan and olive drab. The small measures 2” wide (at the base) and 2.25” at the top, depth is 1” and it’s 3” long. The large is identical in dimensions, with the exception of the U-section, which is 2.5” (bottom) and 2.75” (top). In use, they will accept medium to extra-wide forends. Next, is something for the Picatinny rail fans; the QD tripod mount. This consists of a one-piece alloy machining, with the Picatinny claw with twin clamping cross screws and the standard tripod foot. The mount attaches to the 6 o’clock rail and to the tripod and is ON or OFF in seconds!
The Optical Mount is a flat rubber-lined alloy plate, with the tripod foot adaptor and twin-ended Velcro straps. You open up the straps and place the spotting scope through to the point of balance and then tighten them up. It sounds basic but it works; however, saying that, as all spotting scopes have a tripod thread, you could just buy a spare foot! It’s also possible to fit a set of binoculars instead and I mounted my Swarovski EL 10x42 Range laser rangefinder (LRF) bins in place. It’s not quite as rigid but it works, though when you cinch the straps down it does pull the barrels together, so decreasing your interpupillary distance, which has to be taken into account. I could also fit a medium-sized LRF monocular too. So, versatile and useful!
And for all you lovers of Molle attachments and shooting off your ruck as an improved field expedient (who doesn’t?) there’s the Rucksack Adaptor Plate! This consists of a semi-rigid Cordura nylon plate that measures 6 x 6”. Attachment is by Velcro, with the top side having the softer eyes surface, to which the hooks engage.
The plate will accept either the large or small forend Cradle and attaches using the removable covers. The build shows four short, fold-out flaps, two hooks down and two eyes up. So, you can just use the two hooks down edges straight onto the top surface of the plate. If you want more security, a pair of opposed, folding hook and eye flaps can be wrapped around the other two sections, to give a four-sided attachment.
The underside has sections of Molle loops and two adjustable strap, so you can attach it to the back of your ruck as you see fit. I favour shooting off your pack when there’s no time to be setting up tripods etc. and with the Cradle pre-fitted, it’s a doddle to shrug it off, get down behind it and drop the forend into the slot. It’s equally useful when needing extra support or height when using a table or the bonnet of your truck! Or, if you are glassing the area for deer, a good place to put your spotting scope too.
Overall, an impressive selection of items that will make your shooting a bit easier and hopefully more accurate. As I said initially, you could use any tripod, but the massively wide gape of the Slick Pro II in Position 3 makes it well suited for prone/bench work, also the dedicated Picatinny adaptor. So, you need to choose your pod carefully, otherwise you will not be able to make best use of the PRS accessories