When it comes to long-range shooting, marksmen already have their hands full with reading wind, determining and adjusting for range and of course executing perfect fundamentals as they slowly break the trigger. All of this would be in vain if an impact cannot be determined, as the shooter needs to be able to tell if they need to correct and reengage or put that information into their D.O.P.E. book as a good hit.
Spotting scopes have been the traditional go-to device for this task, however even the finest spotters are not without their shortcomings. Also, we must address price, as that’s usually the critical factor for the majority of shooters. Spotting scopes that can make out the difference between a hit in a 9-ring and a hit in the 10-ring at distances beyond 500 yards will often retail for over $1,000. While that investment will certainly do the trick in moderate weather, once warmer air rolls in and kicks mirage up, the playing field is once again leveled against scopes of lesser quality. Furthermore, a spotting scope requires you to change your position slightly to inspect your work, slowing down your follow-up shots. While you will never completely convince me to abandon my favorite looking glass, this happens to be an area where new technology can shine.
The Bullseye Target Camera from SME is a digital solution to an analog problem. The system mates a high definition 960p camera to an onboard Wi-Fi system. The unit creates a Wi-Fi network to talk to its receiver component, so it will work even in the middle of nowhere. This package allows you to leave the camera downrange and see what is happening at your impact area from the comfort of your shooting position. The Bullseye Target Camera comes in a short-range flavor dubbed the “Sight In” version that has a range of 300 yards for a price tag of $349.99, but for another $300 you can upgrade to the “Sniper” version and obtain visual feedback all the way out to 1 mile.
After receiving my unit for testing, I knew exactly the right spot to try it out—the Mifflin County Sportsman’s Association. Their range goes out to 1,040 yards where you can place your own steel in a wide-open bank. Our 1,000-yard gong set is pitted from an onslaught of impacts that create shadows that often mimic a hit. In addition, we are often crowded with eager shooters blasting away, eliminating the possibility of an audible confirmation of impact on steel. On this particular August afternoon, we just finished shooting a precision groundhog match and it was already more than 85 degrees. Our spotting scopes were effectively useless at 500 yards—let alone 1,000 yards.
After a fresh paint job on the steel we deployed our unit by separating the receiver from the transmitter/camera unit. Utilizing the adjustable legs, we accommodated the camera on the uneven terrain and placed the camera a few feet in front of the target. The swiveling lens allowed us to offset the camera, reducing the chance of it getting hit while providing us with a means of fine tuning our target picture. After firing up our tablet we were able to find the Wi-Fi network and connect right up. Users should be advised that most tablets will give you a warning that the system is not connected to the Internet, ignore that as connectivity it is not required to use the Bullseye Target Camera system. After finalizing the connection, we were able to set the target area, target size and distance allowing us to measure our hits once connected with the transmitter.
Once we trekked back to our shooting bench, we found a clear line of sight to the main unit, so we didn’t have to deploy a tripod for the receiver. Instead, we rested it on our bench. Here I checked my previous engagement data, dialed up and released a round, impacting the left edge of the target. After cycling the bolt, I held for wind and centered up a second impact on the steel. The camera showed this brilliantly on our device and we were able to mark both hits right on the screen and measure them. The process requires you to press “Show Shot” every time you want an updated target image. Although some might find this tedious, we appreciated how this feature saved valuable battery life and allowed us to play with this gadget until early evening. Of course, the target camera system also allows you record the action live if you desire—making for some great video projects.
Our day ended with the retrieval of the entire system and the reattachment of the receiver to the transmitter/camera apparatus. We stored it neatly in its carrying bag with the included charger. Wondering what would happen if we ever forgot it up there and some unsavory individual shot it, we turned our inquiry to their website to find out that the unit was indeed weather resistant. Additionally, there’s a “Bulletproof” warranty available for $29.99 (two years) that covers the device in case it gets shot.
Overall, we had a great day on the range with SME’s Bullseye Target Camera, but did notice that the system responded better to iOS-based platforms than it did with Android equipment. This was problematic at first, but the solution was a simple software update. In the end we still had effective means to see impacts clearly on a hot day—and maybe even a few misses.
For more information visit shootingmadeeasy.com.
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