Mark Ripley tests the new Reckon Tripod from Wicked Lights - a brilliant tripod offering top notch stability in any hunting position

credit: Archant

When it comes to accurate shooting, be it short or long range, a steady hold or rest is a basic requirement. This doesn't cause too much of a problem when shooting prone, at a bench or from a high seat, but when hunting we often end up having to wander around to find quarry or wait in ambush and, more often than not, a steady rest isn't always to hand.

For a good many years, I've used shooting sticks when foxing, especially when out at night or when stalking, and was quite happy to use a couple of garden canes lashed together! Trouble is, like everything in life, technology and design is always improving, meaning you keep seeing better items on offer. Until recently, I felt as far as shooting sticks were concerned I had got about as good as I could get with a set of carbon-fibre quad sticks - but I've recently added another shooting rest to my collection, the Rekon tripod.

The Reckon tripod is made by Wicked Lights (the same people who made the market-leading three-colour LED torches) and distributed by Scott Country. The idea behind the tripod system isn't a new one. It was originally designed by the military snipers who adapted camera tripods to make shooting rests that they could use from various different positions, offering a steady rest, and one that could also support the rifle hands-free and on target for as long as needs be.

This form of tripod has been popular with precision rifle shooters for some time and I've been tempted by these tripods for a while, but everything on offer until now seemed incredibly expensive for what it was.

credit: Archant

Wicked Lights have taken this system and created a lightweight tripod, and at a considerably lower price than similar tripods on the market. The tripod itself consists of three fully-adjustable, locking, carbon fibre legs and fully-adjustable ball joint swivel, allowing the rifle to be held at practically any angle and locked in place by either a form of Picatinny rail clamp or a 'pig saddle', which is basically a strong cushioned vice that won't damage your rifle.

Supplied with the kit is a set of rubber feet or metal spikes to suit hard or soft terrain, a soft case, two sets of different camo pattern padded leg wraps and a second, shorter central spindle to allow the tripod to be used from a prone position.

The whole thing weighs around 2.3kg including the pig saddle and folds down to around 20" (around 500mm) in length (a little longer if the pig saddle is fitted), making it very portable.

Now, I'm not a fan of carrying lots of stuff with me that I'm not going to use or need, so although I could see this looked a steady rest, I wasn't sure if it was going to be practical to carry round or be quickly deployed if a shot was presented. I was surprised to find that with the legs extended to the desired height for me and the pig saddle attached, it was actually quite comfortable to carry in a ready state as you would a set of sticks.

credit: Archant

Being carbon fibre, it won't make your hands cold carrying it in winter either, especially when carried by the padded camo leg covers. It also deployed silently and pretty quickly after a few goes.

Yes, it is a little heavier to carry than a set of quad sticks, but the trade-off is that you can set the rifle on the tripod pointed in the expected direction of fire and quickly pan, tilt and cant the rifle from there before locking it back firmly into place. This is really handy when waiting in ambush, leaving your hands free for calling and using binoculars or thermal spotter.

It can also be set at different heights so you can shoot standing, kneeling, sitting or prone just as quickly and it can be adjusted for uneven ground where you would struggle with quad sticks - so ideal for sitting on a steep hillside, for example.

Where the Rekon really shines is in its stability. Once the rifle is locked down it makes for a very steady shooting platform.

I put this to the test on its first use when I was able to put consistent hits onto a steel fox target at 660 yards. Since then I've taken it out foxing and used it to shoot several foxes out to around 150 yards, with the pan and tilt ability of the set-up making it easy to quickly get on target and make accurate shots.

One of my favourite uses for it is when I'm sat out on a hillside watching over a valley as I often do during the lambing season. I can sit comfortably on a slope and take shots in all directions at distance, which can be difficult when using a bipod sometimes, especially when foxes are higher up on the opposite bank.

I was sat out doing just this early one morning, in fact, and although no foxes ventured in front of my crosshairs, I did have fun slaying cowpats over 500 yards using it. Would I recommend the Rekon? Absolutely. This is the most stable and versatile shooting platform I have used.

You may struggle to convince the woodland stalker shooting within the 100 or 150 yard mark (unless spending long periods of time in a static position calling or waiting in ambush) that the added outlay is worthwhile, but for foxing and long-range shooting, this thing is more than worth it, offering unrivalled stability and usability when shooting long- or short-range.

Contact Scott Country:

Price including pig saddle £399.99

Price including picatinny rail attachment £269.99