The Hog Saddle proudly proclaims that “A Shot is Rarely Taken from the Prone.” This is especially true in the field hunting, because unless you are hunting sheep or goat pastures, the grass or brush get in the way or lying down shots. Is a tripod and rifle vise a practical addition to your guided hunts? If your wallet permits and you care about making the most of your hunt, it might be worth considering.
The Hog Saddle had plenty of spread to accomodate our wide shotgun style foregrip on the Ambush rifle.
Even the light aluminum tripod easily held the 7 lb. Ambush, but we wished for the pan head for between the Hog Saddle and the tripod. It would be difficult to line up a long shot of 300+ yards without a fine adjustable panhead.
As America tires of war after war after war, a lot of cool military products are finding their way into the consumer market. Our friends at US Tactical Supply sent over our latest cool new toy right before SHOT Show, and we are just getting around to it now. It is called the “Hog Saddle.” Designed by a Marine Scout Sniper, the Hog Saddle has been adopted by the US Military with its own NSN number and has seen battle time in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Hog Saddle is basically a rifle vise that sits on top of a photo tripod as a rest for your rifle. It allows you to make shots that might otherwise be outside your ability to steady the gun. For a couple years now the Hog Saddle has seen great success in law enforcement circles, and you won’t meet a military sniper that hasn’t at least heard of it, and many have used one. The problem with the Hog Saddle, of course, is that it was made for the military, to be paid for with tax dollars, not real dollars. At $309 through US Tactical Supply, it probably is worth the money, and it is made from CNC machined aluminum, but then again, so is a whole AR-15 upper, which is about the same price. The Hog Saddle is expensive, but it could pay for itself in one outing is on expensive guided hunts. You pay for the elk, or the gator, or the wildebeest, as soon as the guide puts you in front of it. Whether you take the shot, hit or miss, you pay the same generally. The Hog Saddle is an elite tool for elite operators, but it could also be the saving grace between an empty wall in your den or one graced with the trophy of a lifetime.
As you can see from the pictures, we mounted our Ambush Rifle in the jaws of the Hog Saddle. The saddle is a vise that has a dense rubber pad system mounted to the inside. The tightening handle is a very fine adjustment and allows you to lock in your rifle, without damaging the finish. With careful tightening, you should be just as comfortable locking your Blazer into the jaws of the Hog Saddle as your Savage. Depending on the weight of your gun and the recoil of your chosen cartridge, you may be able to not even shoulder the rifle before firing, which should extend the effective range of your shooting far beyond what you can do without help, or with a standard bipod or rest.
US Tactical Supply sent us a fairly light Manfrotto tripod with the Hog Saddle. They sell a bunch of kits, and the tripod alone ads about $150 to your purchase. The Hog Saddle has tripod holes for both the standard size like the one on the bottom of your point and shoot camera, as well as the larger professional tripod 1/4-20 threads. After using the Hog Saddle with just the tripod, I highly recommend buying a pan head of some type to go between the tripod and the Hog Saddle. That same kits page on UTS has a Manfrotto head that we were not sent, but it is probably a good choice. This is an updated version of the Hog Saddle to military specs, and they made it lighter as well. For the grand total of $887.20, you too can own for yourself what your tax dollars have probably bought several hundred times over. Booya??
It is hard to tell someone to spend almost a thousand bucks on what is essential a fancy rifle rest, but alas, this is the world we work in. There are thousands of you reading this who spend many thousands of dollars per year for fly away hunts, and this is a drop in the bucket as a one-time lifetime purchase. There is nothing worse than missing a trophy animal, except maybe wounding said trophy animal and having to track him for five miles before giving up. The Hog Saddle is something of an insurance policy against both scenarios, and at only a few pounds with the tripod and head, it isn’t that hard to schlep. Thanks to US Tactical Supply for yet another unique and interesting project. We’ll see what they send next.