The idea of target cameras isn’t a new one and there are already one or two on the market which is no bad thing, competition brings better refinements or pricing from competitors and the latest offering from Target Vision and distributed by Scott Country international is certain to become a market leader.
This particular test model I’ve been reviewing boasts a usable range of up to 1.6 kilometres. A more basic 275-metre ‘marksman’ version, which doesn’t use the receiver unit, is also available. 1,600 metres is certainly going to cover the vast majority of long-range rifle shooters’ requirements, and can be used not just on paper but on any reactive targets that will leave a visible bullet impact too. The camera is clear enough to pick up even a .17-calibre bullet hole out from any range it’s used at.
The system itself is comprised of a camera and a receiver, with two fully adjustable and sturdy tripods and charging equipment, which neatly packs away in a hard plastic carry case that is little bigger than that of a cordless drill case, and is all covered by a two-year warranty. The two units then work in conjunction with your smartphone or tablet using a free pre-downloaded ‘Target Vision’ app.
To set the units up, simply position the camera unit on its tripod around five metres from the target and slightly to the side, out of the line of fire, and switch it on. Take the receiver out of the case and turn that on. The receiver gives off a WiFi signal (no outside phone or WiFi signal required) to your phone or tablet (I was using an iPhone), which you first connect to before then opening the app. You should then be able to see your target displayed on your phone. You can then adjust the camera position for optimum viewing and then move back to your desired shooting distance – and that’s it.
Once at your chosen firing point, mount the receiver unit on the other tripod and ensure that it has a direct line of sight down-range to the camera unit. Prop your phone/tablet up so you can see it easily from your prone position or shooting bench, and you’re good to go.
The camera unit picks up the change to the target (that is, the appearance of a bullet hole) then displays the before and after image in quick succession on your screen, causing the bullet hole to appear to ‘flash’ in order to easily distinguish it from any previous bullet holes or impacts.
The downloaded app gives you various useful options, too, in addition to simply spotting your shots, such as the ability to record and save footage of your shots as well as take still pictures, the option to number each shot in a string, change the colour of a shot string and add markers. Videos or pictures can be saved to albums with the option to add dates, names and notes should you wish to.
This unit is ideal for rifle zeroing or load development, and eliminates the need to constantly walk back and forth to your target to check results. Most higher-power rifle scopes these days will be clear enough to see bullet holes on a target at 90 metres, but if you wish to zero in at 140 or 180 metres many scopes will fail to see such small detail from further out, especially with a smaller calibre.
This system is excellent for someone who regularly shoots longer range and wants to confirm bullet drops at different ranges and true their data, and with a 12-hour run time you have ample time to do it. Many ballistic downloads or smart phone apps will give you fairly accurate bullet drop or wind drift information, but nothing beats time in the field to true this information.
Using the Target Vision setup, you can check rifle zero, then move back at increasing distances and check your bullet drop adjustments are correct to your data, before taking your rifle and ammunition combination out on live targets in a hunting situation.
Another key point here is that it will show your group size at different ranges, which will clearly demonstrate the maximum ethical distance you can shoot to on live quarry, based on your ability and the capability of your equipment in various wind conditions.
I took this setup out to various ranges, from 180 to just over 900 metres on steel targets, and found it to be a great bit of equipment and ideal for anyone keen on long-range or precision shooting. It was quite educating to see how shots were affected by wind conditions, too, by being able to instantly get the results of each shot fired rather than shooting a group, then walking down range and wondering why you had fliers. With this, I was able to see the result after every shift in wind strength that I failed to account for, or the result of any shot I felt I pulled, making the Target Vision system a good training aid.
The instructions state that the receiver unit must be at least 91 centimetres off the ground, presumably to ensure that no foliage or similar interferes with the signal strength from the camera. As I was able to drive between the target and firing point this presented no problems, as I simply placed the receiver unit on the roof of the truck – however, out at the range you will probably need either a taller camera tripod or to place it on a shooting bench to get the best performance from it.
Overall I was impressed with this compact and easy-to-use setup, which I’m sure will prove popular with long-range precision shooters and those shooting with open sights practising without the help of someone marking targets or spotting for them.
Find out more: 01556 503587, scottcountry.co.uk