The Hog Saddle – Sniper Tripod Mount – Review

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.

This is the Hog Saddle mounted on a Manfrotto tripod, also courtesy of US Tactical Supply.

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.

The patented Hog Saddle has both sizes of tripod holes.

US Tactical Supply Hog Saddle
Get a catalog HERE

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.

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  • nelson June 5, 2016, 11:39 am

    You get what you pay for you could of used two sticks cost is 0 , this might make your trip

  • Doc May 7, 2013, 3:22 pm

    As a semi-professional photographer I can vouch for the Manfrotto tri-pod. And I generally ALWAYS have my camera on one. The pan-head they make is pretty good as would be true with any ‘high end’ pan-head – for my camera I use a ‘pistol-grip’ that moves like snot floating on oil, and when I release the pistol grip, it holds– hard. I can have a Canon L series 500mm IS lens that weighs about what a good rifle weighs (not a Barrett) and it is locked solid for any 5 minute or longer exposure I’d like to take. Bogen also makes an exceptional tripod and head. Both can deploy in seconds if you keep the legs coated with a silicone based oil — like snot on oil – and the Manfrotto has locking legs that lock an unlock in seconds. It probably takes me about 5-10 seconds to set my tripod up. And you can buy several different types of ‘pan heads’, often called ‘ball heads’. Some you HAVE to ‘lock in place’ others you can set a tension and swivel in many of several different directions – up-down-right-left-at some odd vectored angle – and good one will take the recoil of a rifle though I’ve never put a 270, -06, or 300 on one.

    Oh, always get the ‘free-floating’ legs – so one can be 1 foot long and out at an 80 degree angle, while your other legs are at 2 foot and 4 foot, each at different angles so even in a rock hide, the tripod will fit what ever terrain you are in, your ONLY problem is the center post that sticks down about a foot or more, but I’ve mounted cameras on that too so it’s not completely a problem, though a quick release head (get the type that have a lever that ‘locks’ the plates together so it’s removal takes about 2 seconds, not 15) solves that problem if it happens. You can set the ‘tension’ on your ball head (pan-head) so you can move it without tightening it up all the and having it completely ‘locked’ down in one position and not being able to move it (pan it) up-down, right-left and keep the rifle steady. Then if a ‘target of opportunity’ comes around it takes about 2 second to release your rifle and take that off-hand shot.

    Because my camera is virtually welded to a tripod, carrying it around can be a problem – so, fix it. Just look at a 16 and you’ll see the solution. Go get a drawer handle from your hardware store, and duct-tape that to a leg and you now have a handle that comes in VERY handy while climbing or hiking.

    I carry my camera facing DOWN, with the lens facing backwards (guys, that’s an $1, 100 piece of glass hooked to about a $2K camera) and a simple nylon sack covers the camera body to get through the brush.

    My bet is that you could have a vice MADE to mount on your camera — in firearms engraving we often use a plain old vice with leather glued on the teeth so we don’t scratch or mar the surface of the firearm we are engraving. All you need is the tripod and a SMALL vice from a hardware store, weld or JB Weld a plate on the bottom and have a machinist put the threaded hole into it if you don’t happen to have a drill and tap-and-die set. you can also weld or JB weld aluminum plates on the side of the vice jaws, glue some leather on it and your vice can be small, light, and screw into a quick release platform on top of the ‘ball’ (pan head), that sits on top of the tripod. AND since you’ll probably use it only for one rifle, you can mount it with an ‘L’ bracket on one side and a flat one on the other so the bottom of the rifle is supported as well and you can put your old 94 or your SSG-69 in the same vice and have the bottom supported. AND you can mount it where-ever it feels the most ‘balanced’ to you.

    You can find a LOT of different tripods — some are exceptional like you mid to high end Bogens and Manfrotto. One that Manfrotto bought out was ‘Slick’ and I have one that must be 30 years old, traveled with me everywhere, and now supports a 1000mm Canon L Series IS lens (you could buy a good newly used truck for the price of that lens — call it about $12k) and I would not put that kind of money on top of a POS tripod– and my bet is you can pick one up VERY cheap. Just remember, the legs can’t lock by a bottom or center ring – they have to be able to each go out about 90 degrees so you can QUICKLY place it on a solid footing. GOOD legs have a rubber foot that screws up to reveal a steel point so you can dig it into soft or slippery surfaces, like moss or slime mold. I’d be surprised if you had to pay more than $100us for one. And I was wrong, I just went to e-bay and found some for only $30us-$40us. They had the normal ‘stick’ head that you’d have to replace with a ball-head (aka ‘pan head’) and don’t be surprised to see that they cost a hundred bucks or more – but they are generally machined to unimaginable tolerances so they move like, yeah you remember, snot on oil.

    So, my bet is that with a drill, tap and die set you could build one for about $200, with most of that going for the ball head and quick release. Add about $100 for a master machinist to do a mounting hole for you. And don’t forget the cabinet handle duct-taped to the leg. Remember you need to be sure you can get your hands around that handle when it’s taped down, and it will be FAR more comfortable if you find one with a convex handle on the bottom, that is, one that curves DOWN so the rounded part is what your wrap your hand around.

    I’d bet you’d end up with something as good, if not better than US Tactical builds. while my tripod had a round bubble level build into it, you can add two line levels at right angles to get your rifle absolutely perfectly flat. All for the price of a POS scope.

  • ernie May 7, 2013, 12:12 pm

    I have a rubber fork which mounts on my tripod. Cost was about $15.00. I CAN live with that. Hog Saddle, I can definitely live WITHOUT it.

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