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  • PRST Tripod Review

    This is a review of Mission Critical Designs P.R.S.T. Carbon Fiber Shooter tripod. This tripod is
    sold in the United States by Shadow Tech LLC, the creators of the Hog Saddle.
    Firstly, it�s a four section leg tripod with user serviceable cam-lock levers, (snap-locks) the legs are
    carbon fiber and the components are machined aluminum. Maximum height is 62.2 inches,
    collapsed height is 22 inches, weight is 4.1 lbs and the center column is 6.5 inches, it uses the
    standard 3/8-16 mounting thread compatible with the majority of ballheads, load rating for this
    tripod is forty pounds. The upper part is cerakoted OD green and it comes with both rubber and
    spiked feet.

    Now I have used a variety of Manfrotto tripods in the past, either 190�s or 055�s with either a
    322RC grip head, a standard ballhead, along with the prerequisite HOG/PIG Saddle, but I always
    thought there were better options for me.
    One concern I had with my current setup was that the majority of Manfrottos are only rated for
    19lbs or less, as are a great number of tripods available. Now this setup does get the job done, but I
    was looking for something different.
    I had looked at several different tripods used in local and regional PRS type matches, Manfrotto,
    Feisol, Gitzo and RRS, to include different ballheads and/or cradles used for holding the rifle.
    However, some if not all were missing some of the criteria that I wanted in a new tripod.
    I do prefer using the cam-lock levers for the tripod legs over a twist lock system, now most tripods
    that use the twist lock system employ the same system, however some are more robust and sturdier
    than others.

    Another item that I personally consider a must on a tripod is a center column. In most matches, the
    stages are timed, obviously having a center column allows some quick adjustment for fine tuning,
    especially if the tripod is set up for a shooter in a sitting or kneeling position.
    After looking around, I felt that the P.R.S.T. tripod offered by Shadow Tech was the best option for
    my intended use, it met all my criteria, with a few added features that in my opinion only enhance the
    tripod, plus it is basically the first tripod designed from the ground up to be used by rifle shooters.

    Now I had already mounted a Swiss Acra type quick release plate on the bottom of my KRG W3
    for use with a barricade-stop a friend of mine had created. So, I decided to mount a RRS universal
    levelling base �TA-U-LC� on the tripod instead of a traditonal ballhead, used in conjunction with a
    HOG/PIG Saddle or rifle cradle like the Reaper Grip.
    Now the levelling base only allows for a total of 30 degrees of pan, but in all honesty over the years I
    have found that to be quite sufficient and I can always shorten the front leg for additional cant, if I
    really need to make that high angle cosine shot.



    Now, with regards the tripod, I find that if I only use three leg sections expanded, along with the center column extended, or with the fourth leg section extended out about six inches, that the height is sufficient for my height.
    The tripod feels sturdy, but lighter than its advertised weight. The leg section snap-locks are oversized which makes manipulation quickly, they lock in tight and are also user adjustable for tightness.
    One feature that I do really like compared to my Manfrotto tripods is the leg brace system employed on the P.R.S.T. tripod. The leg braces are what connect the legs to main center casting, they are solid and snap in with authority, there are three different angles that they can be quickly adjusted to.





    The center column is aluminum and adjusts up and down by a twist lock, it can be moved up and down fairly quickly and is easily locked into position. The center column also has a hook on the bottom, which is another well thought out addition, you can hang some additional weight under the tripod to provide more stability in adverse weather conditions.
    Now I compared an older aluminum 190 Manfrotto tripod, Manfrotto ballhead and PIG saddle that I had recently been using weight wise with the P.R.S.T. and RRS levelling base, the weight saving was just over 1lb 3 ounces, the P.R.S.T. RRS levelling base is obviously shorter in length.
    Now with regards to use, I can lock my rifle into the RRs levelling base in seconds, I can adjust the levelling base with my left hand extremely quickly to come on target. The Levelling base allows you to lock it up tight, or leave a slight amount of tension for fine tuning. Now using this configuration, the actual amount of time used for setup and coming on target is extremely quick compared imho to using a conventional setup.



    Also this configuration does seem to more stable, perhaps because a conventional ballheads stability, is based primarily on the ballheads diameter and load rating, which in turn provides stable fluid movement. Obviously a quality ballhead with a good load rating and larger diameter ball weighs more, a good example is Manfrottos 057 magnesium ballhead which weighs in at a hefty 3lbs.
    Now using a conventional ballhead and cradle such as the HOG/PIG saddle may be a better option for some, but if you get the opportunity to try a combination such this out, I would highly recommend it as an option for tripod shooting.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: PRST Tripod Review started by Team Irishshooter View original post