Spotting the ever growing popularity of the PARD NV units, Chris Parkin gets in on the action with the 008P LRF.
The PARD name is one I have skirted for some time as they always seemed sold out due to popularity in either 007 or 008 formats. The former is a rear add on for a regular day scope and I hope to get one soon but my first assumption was that the 008 would be better suited for foxing.
The NV 008P LRF is the top specification unit; with side mounted laser rangefinders, as well as onboard day/night digital imagery, with a reticle system to cater for most 24/7 pest control needs.
The underside of the unit – all neatly packaged in a zippered Cordura type case – is an extended reach scope mount to ensure correct eye relief with the UK’s more common bolt action rifle format.
This has two claws to attach to a Picatinny rail with 5/8” nut to fasten and I did so with growing confidence as I met a distinct tactile limit when tightened without any of the ‘soft toffee’ quality you so often encounter with aluminium.
This rail is attached under the PARD using three M5 countersunk screws with multiple extension positions, all with a central rail to ensure alignment. I found this to be a subtle improvement over some others, with stainless helicoids in the sockets to assure steel to steel location – an impressive start.
A right-side cap covers the USB port and SD card as well as the microphone, which will only record full sound if removed. I charged the unit via this port (but was told I had been incorrect to do so) yet I found the unit to charge correctly with blue operation lights that went out at full capacity, and I got six hour run times with streamlined battery performance and linear remaining capacity on the internal screen display.
I may have been wrong and PARD SV thermals I have received since include a separate charger for the flat (not button) topped 18650 batteries. These can be removed under screw caps and if desired, spares can be carried because this battery powers the onboard 5-watt illuminator as well. Although I may have been wrong, I never had problems…
A laser illuminator is up top with a telescopic lens collar to alter spot size and range, I found this capable to around 100 metres on short grass but limited in power to push further.
Eyepiece focus shows a broad range of +/- five dioptre for setup in front of the rear rubber bellows cup, with shorter eye relief from the internal lens of about 45mm.
This is enough for lighter recoiling rifles. You can set up further away, without your face in contact with the rubber, and retain a smaller central circular field of view – only position closer if you want to see the more lateral function displays.
Eye Relief: 45mm
Exit Pupil: 8mm
Dioptre Adjustment: +5 to -5
Focus: 3m to infinity
Eyepiece Resolution: 1024x768px
Interchangeable Reticles: Yes (5 Options)
IR Illuminator: Yes
IR Power: 5w
Day/Night Compatible: Yes
IR Wavelength: 850nm
IR Detecting Range: 200m
Photo Capture: Yes
Video Capture: Yes
Wifi Smart Phone App: Yes
Photo Resolution: 2592×1944
Video Resolution: 1920×1080 30fps
Video Format: AVI
Waterproof Rating: IPX7
Range Finder: Built-In
3D Gyroscope: Yes
Dimensions: 162 mm x54 mm x68.5mm
Storage Method: TF Card
Battery Type: 18650 Li-ion
Battery Life: Frugal illuminator use gave 6 hours on average
Operating Temperature: -20C to 50C
The OLED 1024×768 screen gives a decent picture and in daylight gives the rifle a perfectly suitable chest shot aiming solution from five reticle choices in red or yellow on something like a fox well beyond 400 metres.
The focus collar, like the four electronic control buttons (mounted on the upper left facet) are more accessible to the left hand of a ‘right-handed’ shooter so although not totally one-sided, perhaps not perfectly ambidextrous.
A left-hander can reach over the top with their right, but they will block the illuminator beam and right side LRF lenses – so worth bearing in mind.
These four buttons control all the menus and recording capabilities as well as illuminator intensity with a combination of long and short button presses. The front also controls magnification of 6.5x or 12x with a rangefinder operable in metres or yards with button two, boasting a stills and video function too.
Button three is day/night mode and four is the menu initiator. Like all electronic devices, you soon get used to the functions and operation of them but, unlike some units, I have yet to experience a digital crash with shutdown. I won’t name names but the PARD has worked as advertised!
Power on with the left side rubberised button takes just a couple of seconds; a long hold does total shutdown and short presses will turn the screen off to save some battery life and prevent it shining on your face.
The eyecup bellow has a small ventilation hole to minimise fogging, although it pays not to spend too long in freezing conditions with your head pressed on, as the heat from your skin will create condensation on the ocular lens like any other.
Zeroing offers freeze frame on the screen to allow you to dial onto point of impact for three rifles and the reticle can show slightly off centre on 6.5x if you have a particularly wayward zero point. When digitally zoomed to 12x this remains central regardless, so don’t worry if you notice it move slightly, zero is unaffected.
The PARD supply mount shims with the scope if you need any additional lift but I found no need. I honestly dislike zeroing night vision as it’s just an extra job to do on a regular basis.
I actually used and relied on the PARD for both daylight and darkness, shooting with it on a couple of .223 rifles as well as an airgun. I found it one of the better solutions for all three and I will admit I rather enjoyed using it.
Night vision with full colour daylight capability may suffer from slightly lower after-dark sensitivity, but it is so much more versatile and easier to set up which, although an irritant to me, indicates that a new or less experienced buyer is less likely to have problems – it’s a consideration I still find important.
Shed a little light
Initial set up for ratting on the airgun was the first test and all went well, then onto a Savage .223 in daylight plinking on steel and foxes after dark. At this point I accepted the limitations of the onboard IR and, in fairness, I don’t think any centrefire shooters even consider night vision without a larger illuminator add-on.
I then switched over to a Deben LED and then PBiR-L, my personal favourite. The LED gave me about 175 metre foxing range but the PBiR-Laser is a far more powerful and easily focussed unit with which I’m very confident.
Mounting positions on the PARD are limited – with only a small left side Picatinny rail which blocks your left eye – so I mounted the illuminator to the Picatinny rail or to the gun’s forend underside, depending on the rifle architecture available on each of the models I used.
My foxing land is dense hedgerows with grassy fields, so even with thermal imaging foxes can totally vanish. But one specific piece of land with lots of tall grasses offers the usual test of IR reflection auto dimming night vision scopes with close range reflection.
Well, the PARD was quite good, not too critical and didn’t immediately ‘panic’ and go dim if it got a blast of light back. It was notably sensitive under partial moonlight, not as good as a Digex, but definitely worthwhile at dusk and helpful when snowing too.
In full darkness I’d have confidently taken fox shots at around 250-300 metres as a possible maximum, but everyone’s requirements and land conditions vary. I could certainly watch foxes with easily identified detail beyond 300 metres, but I have no need to shoot that far.
In fairness, the aiming precision is compromised with any digital device. I found the two-stage magnification to simplify matters and never found myself chasing functionality with screen brightness particularly uniform. Very damp nights did compromise capability but likewise, the crisp and clear ones allowed for a better picture and I average these out for overall opinion.
The scope offers compass bearing, inclination and cant angle if needed. These remained digitally fluid on their screen displays without faltering. Run times were more than sufficient and the easy screen off made for a confident feel on its separate tactile button.
The buttons on the left side are quite small and physically indeterminate so you do find yourself ‘counting’ along them with a single finger. In warm conditions without gloves, you can lay a finger on each for more intuitive menu control when operating critical functions like zeroing.
No additional ‘long range’ aimpoints are offered at set up and I have no issue with this; I like a 150-175 metre point blank zero on my foxing rifles. When I have had these functions, I found them time consuming to set up with obscure ‘click’ values and a real pain if changing ammunition or ballistics.
The front aluminium focus collar is nestled in and would benefit from a slightly larger throw lever; the one it has is almost indistinct and as the range increases past about 225 metres, it’s on its stop anyway.
The flip side was that, set around 150m, I had enough depth of visual field in focus to track foxes without discomfort and at short ranges with the airgun, I found image quality I could dial in pin sharp.
I tend to use video more than stills, the button presses are perhaps a few seconds too long for this – but you can loop recording to leave things running with a 32GB or larger SD card. IPX7 rating needs the right-side cap on so you do lose external sound recording of voices or calls but the rifle’s mechanical loading operation and firing noise are still evident.
Flipping from day into night mode takes a similar three second hold on button ‘Number 3’ and subsequently, this controls the 0-1-2-3-0 illuminator strength which for rats and rabbits is ideal on this very compact unit that does not bulk out your rifle at all. It’s smaller than many day scopes and I would say offers superior image functionality for zeroing over a 3-9x riflescope.
The PARD is also available without the rangefinder, but in use on mine the LRF is stronger in darkness than daylight but had no problem ranging out to 500-600 metres.
It’s easy to initiate and can be set for continuous readout or single ‘ping’. The projected laser dot is visible in the image after dark so you can aim this even more precisely if required. Again, left-handed shooters will need to show caution with their hand reaching over the top/front of the unit to operate buttons.
I thought recorded video quality was more than acceptable and, on a fox I missed, found it easy to see exactly how and where my aim had faltered. These can be quite good diagnostic tools.
I finally swapped the scope onto a Sauer 100 Keeper which is an ergonomically favoured foxing rifle and used it on several other outings; one of which needed a particularly critical point of aim to take a facing fox where none of the body was visible for a chest shot.
On night vision, getting bumped and hauled around before shots in the dark are taken, I was left feeling confident on the reliability of the very compact PARD.
PARD NV 008P LRF
RRP £899.99 (£646.00 without LRF capability)
Sportsman Gun Centre
01392 354 854
Thanks to Edgar Brothers for Hornady ammunition used throughout
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