By Chris A. Choat
If you are like most shooters, sighting in a new rifle is both rewarding and tedious. The reward comes with finding out that the new gun will indeed shoot well with good ammunition and the shooter doing his part. But the other side of the coin is the laborious task of getting it sighted in. You set up at the range, put the rifle on a good rest and stand up numerous targets. Maybe your eyes are not the best anymore and even .30 caliber holes in the target don’t seem to show up as well as they used to – so you take a spotting scope along. You know that you will need multiple targets as well before the sight-in is done, so you have a range box with targets, plasters, a staple gun, staples and numerous other things that are needed to get the job done. Then the tedious task of walking back and forth to the target in between adjusting the turret knobs of the optic begins.
There is now a new product that puts the fun back into sighting in a rifle, or even a handgun, shotgun or a bow for that matter. The product is called the Bullseye Camera System and it is set to revolutionize shooting. It also allows you to shoot all day using just one target, but more on that later.
The Bullseye Camera System comes as a complete unit, ready to use. In a nutshell, what it does is provide the shooter with a real time view of his target so that he can see, close up, where his bullets are striking the target. It does this by means of a remote wireless target camera, set at the target location, which allows a close up view of the target from your shooting location up to 1 mile away. The unit sends the video wirelessly to any wireless device including a laptop, iPhone, iPad or Android device.
The Bullseye Camera System comes complete in a fitted, hard plastic secure carrying case that includes everything you need except the device you want to view the video on. The system consists of a weatherproof camera that also has night vision, a 5 hour rechargeable battery with charger, router, antenna, connecting cables, tripod and thumb drive with included Bullseye Target Manager Software. The system is available in four editions; the Standard and the Long Range Editions as well as Elite Editions of both that include a Windows based laptop.
To set the system up you merely open the case, unfold the tripod, mount the camera to the tripod, plug in three USB cables, pivot the antenna into the upright position and turn on the battery pack. The system can be set up in a matter of minutes and the battery will run the unit for 5 to 6 hours – plenty of time to sight in several guns. The battery pack has a micro USB port and can be charged from the included charger or from any USB port.
Once the camera is set up and the system turned on, you position the camera off to the side and back a few feet from the target. It just needs to be far enough away from the target that you don’t risk hitting the unit with a stray bullet. If you use a laser boresighter before you head to the range your first round should at least be on the paper. The camera has a small red laser mounted on its side to position it so you don’t have to make another trip down range after setting up your laptop, tablet or phone. Just turn the laser on and center the laser dot on your target. There are also some other camera features that are worth mentioning. The camera has 60 infrared LEDs that give it incredible night vision for viewing from up to 30 meters from the target. Having this feature, you can use it when zeroing in your optic coupled with a night vision device. The camera’s lens is hand focus-able to give the sharpest view of the target possible. It also has a sliding sunshade to prevent unwanted glare. With this done it is time to head back up range and start shooting.
With your firearm set up at the shooting bench you can then use your laptop or other wireless device to connect to the wireless Bullseye Camera System. With a laptop you just plug in the included thumb drive and the included software takes over. You may have to go to the wireless settings on the device and connect but it usually connects by itself. Once it connects you have a live video view of your target. For iPhones, iPods, iPads and Android devices, you can download the software free of charge from either the App Store or Google Play. When using a Windows based laptop you actually get a lot more information on the screen. The software allows you to add shooter profiles that keep track of who is shooting, at what distance, what firearm is being shot, type of ammunition and even ballistic information of loads associated with the target groupings. The user can also add notes to each individual shot. All this information can be saved along with the images of the target.
The unit beams live video back to your device but once you fire a shot and hit the space bar (on a laptop) or touch a certain button on your touch screen (on a phone or tablet) it is saved as a still image. The software then takes over and the last shot is shown FLASHING on the image. You never have to remember which hole in the target was your last shot. Each image is saved and shown as a row of photos across the bottom of your screen. You can either click on or touch previous images to review them. This “flash shot” feature alone makes the unit a must have accessory but the shooter can also change the color of the flashing bullet holes. So if there are multiple shooters a different color can be assigned to each shooter and all the shooters can use the same target. In fact, you can use one target all day long and still see the last shot fired. This also works with archery (a flashing image of the arrow) and shotguns (where all holes from the last shot flash). You know instantly what difference your sight adjustment made. You can also number the bullet holes so you know in what order they were fired. At any time you can switch back to a live video view of your target.
If all these features aren’t enough the system can work with any target. It doesn’t matter if it’s paper, cardboard or steel. In fact the shots show on anything you fire at. While testing, one of the shooters missed the target and the bullet struck a piece of concrete block that was downrange. The bullet took a chunk out of the block but there was still a flashing image of where the bullet hit.
You would think that this system is only for shooters that have a very deep wallet – but that’s not the case. The Long Range Edition unit such as the one that was used in our test retails for just $549. For less than the price of a case of most center fire ammunition you can own one of these state of the art units. It comes with a 1 year warranty and the user can purchase an innovative new warranty that the company calls their Downrange Protection Plan. For just $29.95 the Bullseye Camera System owner can have a warranty that will replace any part of the system that is damaged during use for 2 years. This plan even covers the unit if it is hit by a bullet.
In this author’s opinion, the Bullseye Camera System is a must have for any serious recreational shooter, hunter or even tactical shooter. The system makes sighting in firearms fun plus the “cool factor” is off the charts.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V18N6 (December 2014)|