One of the great things about hunting is we get to travel through and experience all types of terrain – from thick native bush, open tops country to alpine mountain and everything in between.
This presents many challenges – both physically and mentally – as we search for animals. When our efforts are rewarded and it all comes together, we get the opportunity to put our marksmanship to the test. Many scenarios can play out at this moment. However, we don’t always get the chance to shoot in the perfect prone position; if the terrain doesn’t allow for this or you have some bushes in the way or can’t get a good sight picture, adapting your shooting position becomes a necessity.
Practising various shooting positions is something I personally need to do more often! I know that when I head to the range, I’m in the habit of using a shooting rest and rear bag, and I’m always trying to get the smallest sub-MOA group … maybe you can relate? Now that’s all well and good and is step one in marksmanship. But, to put it simply, when we’re out hunting, we’re looking for an ethical kill shot into the vital area, not a sub-MOA group, and we’ve having to use all manner of equipment as makeshift rifle rests like backpacks, walking poles, camera tripods, tree limbs and jackets etc., in the process. This is the ‘unknown’ we encounter each time we hunt.
NZRod&Rifle were recently asked to test the BOG Adrenaline Tripod which, first and foremost, is a shooting aid – these come in various shapes and sizes and are nothing new. I jumped at the chance; I was keen to see how practical such shooting aids would be in the field, and this would certainly be a great way to practise shooting in different positions. Additionally, it’d really test my novice marksmanship!
The BOG brand of hunting accessories is quite new to NZ; they’re based in Columbia, Missouri, USA and owned by American Outdoor Brands. If that name seems familiar, it’s because they also represent Caldwell Shooting Supplies, Wheeler and Tipton brands to name a few.
BOG has been manufacturing monopods, bipods and tripods for shooting, photography and videography for over 15 years and have a strong following overseas.
The Adrenaline is primarily designed as a shooting aid. However, with its quick-change accessories, the BOG Adrenaline Tripod turns into a fully workable spotting scope and camera tripod. In this review, I’ll test the Adrenaline for both options.
The use of shooting aids or ‘shooting sticks’ is nothing new; in fact, during my research, I found they date back as far as the 1850s where frontiersmen in the USA would use two tree branches to rest the heavy muzzle-loading long rifles of the day during buffalo hunts on the great plains. Since then, technology has advanced somewhat, and in modern times, shooting aids are still used as legitimate tools; but like any shooting devices, they require practice to use accurately – my planned range session would provide an opportunity to practise shooting with such an aid.
Straight out of the box, the BOG Adrenaline certainly looks the part, with a non-reflective Veil camo pattern on all sections of the legs. The cam-lever leg locks are of a quality construction with hex bolts to retighten if anything should work its way loose over time. Each leg section is made from heavy-duty aluminium with a rubber O-ring between each leg extension for reducing any noise when retracting the legs. Weighing in at 1200 grams stand-alone, it’s not super light, but certainly still backpack friendly.
The retractable foot spikes are a good feature for various terrain; the rubber spike covers work well when the tripod is used on hard surfaces.
The black EVA grips on two legs ensure a non-slip surface for gripping when carrying.
One thing to note – the Adrenaline has no pre-set leg angles of adjustment and opens out to approx. 60°. For any angle up to this, the user will need to set all three legs angles ‘manually’ to create stability for the tripod. This is not a criticism, but something to be aware of; in fact, my current tripod – which has three leg-lock angles – can be tricky to set up on uneven terrain where the pre-set angles don’t suit. Inevitably, this is where adjustment of leg length must be played around with to get the balance right. In the field on uneven terrain, I suspect this might actually be a positive for the Adrenaline.
TESTING ON THE RANGE
At the Taupo NZDA range, I set up for a comfortable standing height; being 6’4″, this was almost to full extension. Having one of the legs facing the muzzle direction allowed for some loading of the tripod to aid steadiness. The tripod surprised me with how stable it was at this height; the more I increased the outward angle of the legs, the more the stability improved.
All three accessories offer a 360° rotation for easy target tracking. The spiked feet aided in a secure grounding and there were zero rattling noises once set up. However, if using on a solid surface, once wound out, the rubber feet rattled. I don’t think it’s much of an issue given most of the time, the spikes would be employed when in the field.
The Adrenaline Tripod comes with a shooting yoke, which inserts into the tripod head by way of the patented BOG Switcheroo system. The Switcheroo system consists of four spring-loaded stainless-steel ball bearings on a stainless-steel shaft that creates a friction joint attachment on the base of the accessory. All three shooting rest accessories I tested can use the Switcheroo system.
Sling Swivel Mount (SSM)
One option I liked more than the others was the swivel mounting rest; this works by attaching to your existing swivel mount on the forend of your rifle. The SSM provides a built-in sling swivel mount along with the Switcheroo friction joint.
The first thing I noticed was that at 95 grams, it’s not adding much weight. Secondly, you can buy additional SSM mounts for your other rifles for only $69.99.
Aptly named, the DeathGrip head is the largest of the three tested shooting rests and comes attached with an Arca-Swiss plate straight out of the box. As such, the BOG Adrenaline Tripod requires another accessory to use this fitting: the Bog Great Divide Universal Head (GDUH). You can remove the Arca-Swiss plate and use the Switcheroo option if you prefer – an Allen key is provided for this.
The DeathGrip rest offers the ability to clamp your rifle forend into the rubber-lined jaw which then clamps shut like a vice to offer a solid rest. It should be noted, though, that if your rifle has a free-floating stock like mine, make sure you don’t over-tighten when clamping the forend, as this could either cause damage to your stock or create touch points on the barrel where there shouldn’t be any, which in turn can affect barrel harmonics.
Using the DeathGrip with the GDUH had the advantage of allowing for a tilt of 60°, which the Switcheroo does not.
In this first range session, I tried all three different rest options to get a feel for the shooting aid, varying my shooting positions between standing and kneeling. I chose to support the rifle with my non-trigger hand tucked into my shoulder with a light grip on the butt plate. Shooting at 100M the result would be a dead deer but not a tight group.
Heading back to the range a few times, I managed to get my groups down substantially with some practice.
Since the BOG Adrenaline can be used as more than a stand-alone tripod, this puts it squarely in the multi-use product category.
Glassing with a tripod truly does provide another level of detail and is my preferred way to glass. And – trust me – I need all the help I can get in spotting animals … I’m sure we’ve all had that ‘bush’ or ‘rock deer’ spotting experience!
When using the Switcheroo mounting system only, there are several options available for optics mounting – from standard camera adaptors to the pro adaptors, there’s something for all budgets. I tested three different options, and all worked sufficiently well. One standout again was the GDUH with either the Switcheroo mount or Arca-Swiss. Both worked well. Tip: if you choose to use the Switcheroo mount, secure this into the base of the GDUH using Loctite so it doesn’t unscrew during use.
I headed into the Kaimanawas to a couple of clearings that would provide a good opportunity to use the Adrenaline for spotting and shooting should the opportunity come up. Tagging along was my nine-year-old chief camera operator – Luca! After an hour or so, we reached a good location that provided some cover.
The morning’s glassing session produced no animals, but it allowed for some in-field testing. Setting up the tripod to glass was super easy. Deploying the Adrenaline for a shooting stance was quick and easy on uneven ground, although I’d recommend you have the legs set to your preferred shooting height position prior to stalking in on an animal – thus minimising unnecessary movement.
Unfortunately, on this trip, we didn’t get the chance to shoot an animal using the BOG product. I did intend to head out again, but Lockdown 2.0 put paid to that plan, and with deadline due whilst in lockdown, my testing was cut somewhat short.
As a tripod shooting aid, the BOG Adrenaline gives you further options out in the field over and above the usual makeshift shooting rests. Being multifunctional by doubling as a standard tripod for glassing and spotting makes it more appealing. If it performed a single function only, I’m not sure that I would’ve considered such a product in my hunting kit; however, with it being multi-functional, it’s certainly a useful piece of gear to have. It also provides for good practice whilst at the range and helps to develop those all-round marksmanship skills. As far as I’m concerned, if it makes me a better hunter by providing variation of shot set-up, then I’m all for it.
So, if you hunt in lots of different terrain, from open tops to alpine environments, and you use a tripod for glassing, then this product ticks a lot of boxes.
With the various accessories available, there’s bound to be something that suits most people and different budgets.
I found the GDUH the nicest accessory to use for glassing, The shooting yoke the Adrenaline comes with and the SSM were my preferred options for shooting from when out in the field mostly due to their minimal weight and minimal space in the pack. The DeathGrip adaptor gave the most solid rest and was great at the range; equally, if vehicle hunting, this would be my go-to option.
Tripod $329.99, Accessories from $69.99