Spartan Precision Hercules Tripod

By Jeff Johnston, FE Hunting & Shooting Editor

Over the last 25 years, do you know how many tripods for hunting, shooting, and photography I’ve collected? Twelve…about 10 of which I never use because I failed to heed the following advice: “Don’t go cheap on a tripod.”

What kind of a moron would pay $1,000 or more for a silly tripod that might get used a few times per year? This was my thought process as I’d spend $100, $150, $200 in succession for tripods of increasing quality after breaking one​​—or learning the hard way that the optical quality of a $3,000 spotting scope matters none if the tripod holding it jiggles in the wind like titties on a trampoline. For accurate, long-range shooting where a 32nd of an inch of movement at the muzzle can mean the difference between a hit and a miss, a best-quality, solid-as-a-stone tripod is even more important. But I’ve never been accused of being a quick learner.  

Spartan Precision Equipment’s latest product is a no-expense-spared, do-all tripod called the Hercules that would weigh 40 pounds if it were steel. But because it’s made of heavy-gauge machined aluminum and, mostly, carbon fiber, it tips the scales at 5.5 pounds.Thanks to its quality build and tight tolerances between all moving parts, it’s steadier than it should be based on its weight alone. Suspend a sandbag or your backpack from it, and you have a packable tripod system that’s as unflappable as any out there.  

I like the fact that it can extend to a maximum height above ground of 64 inches (for shooting or spotting while standing) and a minimum ground clearance of just 9 inches for shooting prone. We tested it extensively at Colorado’s formidable Branded Rock Canyon, even shooting heavy Barrett rifles off it at extreme uphill and downhill targets. We were amazed at the Hercules’ ability to allow shooters to assume rock-solid positions among unideal situations thanks to its independent legs, 360-degree swiveling ball head, and 45-degree up, down, right, left cant capability. 

Unlike Spartan’s ultralight Ascent Tripod that utilizes a magnetic, plug-and-socket attachment system, the Hercules uses Spartan’s patent-pending Disk-Lok system that’ll support much heavier rifles (up to 88 pounds, total) still retaining the quick on/off function Spartan is known for. Its second advantage is that the entire tripod can be lifted, moved and carried by lifting only the rifle as shooters instinctively do, rather than having to lift by the tripod. The Disk-Lok’s (why must all companies have to spell lock, “lok”?) female adapter is attached to the rifle by way of an included M-Lok adapter. (The Hercules also includes an ARCA plate adapter that’s even stronger, as well as a Pic-rail adapter.) Various other attachment systems for optics and cameras can be purchased.  

Like the Ascent, each of the Hercules’ foam wrapped, carbon-fiber legs can be unscrewed from the body and used as walking sticks, pole vaulting poles (if you’re me), or billy clubs as needed.  

Looking back, I wished I’d followed the advice that was given to me early, because as of now, I’ve got a shit-pile of cheap tripods laying around, any one of which I’ll sell you if you message me. 

Cost $1,500   

Pros: versatile for all shooting positions, supremely steady and well made, relatively lightweight for its strength. 

Cons: costs as much as an X-Bolt 2 rifle; Spartan’s owner, Rob Gearing, will almost certainly use any profits made from the sale of his tripods to go hunting and shooting around the world, and more than likely he will not take you or I with him.

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