A review of Spartan Precision Equipment, 21st Century solutions for making rock-solid shots.
I’ve been shooting since way before I ever thought about kissing a girl. I’ve done it recreationally, professionally and competitively. One of the most important axioms of shooting, particularly when hunting, is that if you can get closer, get closer. And, if you can get steadier … get steadier.
One of the keys to getting steadier is to use shooting sticks, or some sort of bipod or tripod to support your rifle. I want to introduce you to what I feel is the best and most comprehensive and versatile bipod/tripod system currently available for shooters or hunters. It’s a collection of gear from Spartan Precision Equipment. Call this an endorsement if you like—this is outstanding gear.
Throwing On A Javelin
My introduction to Spartan Precision Equipment began with their Javelin bipod. I was doing a lot of shooting and hunting with scout rifles, and if you’re familiar with that general-purpose rifle concept, you know that weight—lack thereof—is a big deal. I wanted a bipod I could use with my scout rifles that wouldn’t push the rifle’s weight beyond Jeff Cooper’s 3 to 3.5 kilo minimum. I stumbled on Spartan’s Javelin bipod by accident, requested a sample and have been using one for four years now.
The most innovative and important key to the Javelin bipod is a receptacle that mounts to your rifle. It replaces the forward sling swivel screw, and a stud on the Javelin bipod fits into this receptacle. The bipod is then brilliantly held in place by a magnet. Currently, Spartan offers three versions of the Javelin bipod. The Lite version weighs a scant 4.5 ounces, the Pro Hunt 6.4 ounces and the Pro Hunt Tactical only 8.3 ounces. Prices range from $145 to $350, and with each step up, additional features are added. All three offer the ability to swivel and cant the rifle, and also be locked in place.
Given the rapidity with which you can attach the bipod, there’s no reason to leave it on your rifle. In 2 seconds or less, you slip the magnetic stud into place and you’re ready to shoot. By the same token, the bipod can be removed just as quickly. However, the magnet is strong enough so that if you need to alter or even switch your position, you can pick the rifle up, move and the bipod will stay attached.
Options Are Mandatory
One other nice aspect of this system is that a wide variety of mounting adapters are available. In addition to the one that replaces the sling swivel stud, there’s one for a Picatinny rail, another for M-lok and key-mod attachment and one that’ll even fit a UIT (Anschutz) rail. Maybe the coolest feature is the Gunsmith adapter that can be permanently installed inside the stock to offer a near flush fit. I use almost all these adapters on various rifles, because it allows me to only invest in a single bipod and tripod that’ll work with each of my long-guns.
I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll hardly hunt with a rifle that isn’t compatible with the Spartan system. This is obviously due to my affinity for the Javelin bipod but also because of Spartan Precision Equipment’s tripods. When I discovered Spartan’s tripod system I became, I guess you could say, a true believer.
The Third Leg
Their tripod system attaches to your rifle with the same adapters as the bipods. This provides a much sturdier, three-legged support when compared to common two-legged shooting sticks, and the tripods are strong enough to fully support whatever rifle you attach to them. In other words, you can install the rifle on the tripod and walk away; it’ll hang there indefinitely. This means you can have your rifle resting on the tripod but still have both hands free to glass. It’s ideal when stalking and an even better setup when calling predators.
Spartan offers two tripod systems, and, admittedly, both are expensive. However, when you learn of their extreme versatility, they seem well worth every penny. The Ascent version offers between 10.5 and 53 inches of ground clearance, it’ll allow for 50 degrees of cant and pan a full 360 degrees. Its packed length is only 26.4 inches, and it’s miraculously light at only 3.3 pounds.
Their other tripod system is the Sentinel, and two versions are offered. Both deliver the same cant and panning abilities of the Ascent tripod, but the Sentinel Mountain has between 25 and 47 inches of ground clearance, while the Woodland Sentinel has between 32 and 67 inches. The Woodland version weighs 54.6 ounces, while the Mountain comes in at 47.6 ounces. Prices range from $650 to $999.
That might sound incredibly expensive, but when you start comparing their weight to other tripods, combined with what these tripods can do with the wide array of attachment devices, you’ll quickly begin to see the value. Not only can these tripods support your rifle, but they can also support a binocular, spotting scope, smartphone, still camera, video camera and, believe it or not, a one-man tent that’s also available from Spartan Precision Equipment.
This variety is made possible with the use of either their quick-attach, Light ($30) or Heavy Duty ($55) Optics Adapters. If that’s not enough, the legs to all these tripods can be removed, and with the addition of Spartan’s Trekking Pole Handles, you can have three incredibly light and sturdy walking sticks. Additionally, the wide assortment of bipod and tripod legs are cross-compatible, so options are nearly unlimited with this wondrous, LEGO-like system.
If you don’t want to use the magnificently practical magnetic mount system, Spartan offers a V-shaped rubber boot that attaches to the magnet on their tripods. You then have a more traditional shooting rest like you’d find on conventional shooting sticks or tripods. I used this when I was hunting buffalo with a double rifle that had no provision to mount one of the Spartan attachment devices.
Light As A Feather
What really makes these Spartan products so amazing are how light, versatile and modular they are. For example, the incredibly rugged Valhalla Bipod, which is more of a tactical type of bipod, only weighs 13 ounces. It attaches either via a Picatinny rail or M-lok spigot mount, but it’s also configured to allow for attachment to the magnetic stud on any of the tripod systems. So, while you may be shooting prone and need to quickly shoot from a higher position to see over intervening obstacles, the Valhalla can be attached to one of the Spartan tripods instantly.
Rob Gearing, the man behind the concept and continual innovation at Spartan Precision Equipment is a real shooter and a real hunter. This, of course, leads to very practical products. Gearing also has the problem of never thinking anything is ever good enough; he’s continually tweaking the systems and dreaming up new ways and new accessories to make it even more pragmatic.
He developed a tool kit—bits and a driver—that can become integral to the tripod system. He dreamed up a suction cup mount that allows the mounting of a rifle, with a Spartan adapter attached, to be secure to a glass surface. He even conceptualized a clamp system that could be used in conjunction with a shoot house or even a picnic table.
I’ve used Spartan’s bipod and tripod system all over the world to support many of my rifles while hunting small, large and even dangerous game. Because of their ability to support so many different types of shooting and hunting tools, I won’t go to the range or the field without at least a Spartan tripod. I’ve used them to support cameras for trophy photos, to support cameras for video and of course I’ve used them to support a spotting scope and binocular.
I’ve even frequently used the tripods at their lowest setting as a back rest during long glassing sessions or during hasty predator calling setups. All the serious shooting rifles I own have an adapter so that they can be used with a Spartan tripod or bipod. Also, anytime I’m hunting remote, I have the Spartan one-man tent with me, just in case.
What you can be absolutely sure of is that you won’t find a more versatile and lighter shooting support system. Especially one that can do so many other things. Instead of sitting around thinking, I wish a tripod could, or wouldn’t it be nice if a bipod was, Spartan Precision Equipment has made all that happen. One of their latest inventions is the Davros head that can attach to Primos Trigger Sticks and work like the magnetic head on all their tripods. At only $75, it’s an affordable way to become familiar with the system.
Who knows what Spartan and Gearing will think of next, but a couple things are for certain. Whatever it is, it’ll be extremely practical and almost assuredly dovetail into, and be compatible with, their current extensive line of well-made products.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the December 2021 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
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