Foxer Mark Ripley takes the new Sightmark Wraith 4K on patrol, and puts the night vision viewer through its paces.
As most readers will be aware, I’m a fan of the Sightmark Wraith HD, which offers exceptional value for money and a range of features. So when Scott Country sent me the latest addition to the Sightmark stable, the Wraith 4K Max, I couldn’t wait to see what improvements had been made in this much-awaited night vision scope.
This new model is far from just a better processor in the old housing. In fact, there’s nothing similar between the two at all, except the name! The first things that struck me when opening the box were the new modern shaping of the scope and the lack of buttons on it.
There is a dial/push button on the top of the scope, which acts as a zoom when in shooting mode, and then offers the ability to scroll and select through options when using the menu functions, which is laid out much easier in a circular carousel format, and uses symbols for each option.
There are also two other buttons left and right of the centre dial on the sides of the scope, the one on the right side being the power button, and the one on the left to operate the inbuilt video recording or take a photo. Both these buttons sit flush with the casing, which could make them difficult to locate in the dark, especially if wearing gloves.
Another thing I noticed was that the objective lens was slightly smaller than the original Wraith, which seemed strange to me, as the updated 4K offers a wider field of view, and needs less infrared illumination – but this didn’t seem to have any negative effects.
Sightmark has also made the decision to move the Picatinny mount for the IR from the top of the scope to the left side, which initially concerned me, being a left handed shooter using a left handed rifle. I fitted my usual IR to it, which sits in a Wicked Light quick release torch mount, just to see if it would foul the bolt throw.
I found that I had to move the IR forward to get the bolt to clear, and although it’s perfectly useable, it is still rather close for rapid bolt cycling. The joy of being left handed is you learn to adapt and overcome in a right-handed world – and to the vast majority of right-handed shooters this will probably prove an ideal location for the IR.
As I would expect from Sightmark, the scope is nicely made and looks sturdy. The power supply has also changed from 4xAA to a fitted rechargeable battery, which can also be charged from an external power bank if need be, although the inbuilt battery should have more than enough power to last a full night’s foxing.
Like the Wraith HD, the 4K features a colour day screen and a green screen option for night use, as well as the standard black and white. I was always very impressed with the clarity of the colour screen on the HD model, but the new 4K image is better still, giving an amazingly crisp image for a digital scope, and I’d be just as happy using this scope in daylight, as I would a traditional day scope for target shooting or even hunting.
Likewise, the nighttime image through the scope is very clear, and even as you work up through the 1x – 24x zoom the image suffers little pixelation. It’s worth pointing out here that the zoom increments can be adjusted to your preference, so you can step up the magnification from minimum to maximum in as few as eight clicks of the dial, or if you prefer finer adjustment, you can alter it as many as 80 times.
I found the eight click setting the most suitable for foxing, as such fine adjustment isn’t needed, and I prefer to be able to locate my target and quickly zoom in.
Reticle colours and styles can also be selected to your preference in the menu along with all the usual brightness and contrast options, and even different video quality options can be selected. What most potential users will want to know about this scope, aside from all the options and settings, is if the thing is any good, how clear it is, and how far could I shoot a fox at with it – so here goes.
Yes, it is a good scope and very user friendly. It also has to be the clearest digital scope I’ve used, and with regard to range, like most night vision it very much depends on the IR you use.
I found that the PBIR laser worked well (as it does with almost all the night vision I’ve used), and realistically with this set up, shots out to 300 yards or more would be achievable – assuming you were familiar with the ballistics of your rifle.
So after initially zeroing the rifle, which was quickly and easily done using the ‘one shot zero’ feature – plus a couple more shots to tweak and confirm, of course – I was off out foxing with it.
After a very quick look around the farm, I bumped into a youngster out behind the barn, and had no problem drawing it in to a safe area and shooting it about 60-70 yards away so no real test. Nevertheless, it was impressive to see the clarity of a fox in the scope at this distance.
I took it out again a few evenings later on a dedicated fox control evening, and shot another three youngsters between 60 and 90 yards – again far from challenging, but I did use the scope to identify a heat source I’d picked up with the thermal.
I could clearly see it was a fox cub that was out around 400 yards from me, although I did need to play about with the PBIR laser to tighten the beam onto such a distant object.
I’m aware that this unit is an early model, and there will no doubt be a run
of updates coming for it, which will tweak certain aspects, and hopefully this will be one. It performed well out to around 200-250 yards using the laser, but much past that and I found I needed to focus the IR into a tight spot beam, while the older HD model didn’t seem to be so fussy.
I like to set the IR and pretty much leave it alone, which I struggled to do with the 4K’s wide field of view. It meant I only had a circle in the centre of the screen, illuminated at close range.
This wasn’t a problem if I zoomed in, as this quickly filled in on the first or second magnification increment, but if I wanted to remain on base mag and have a full field of view, I would need to adjust the IR back to ‘flood’.
For general foxing ranges it isn’t really an issue, though. It’s only when you spot something with the thermal at, say, 400 yards and want to confirm that it is or isn’t a fox that you need to adjust the IR – but it’s something I do regularly in the large open area on which I shoot.
One improvement I was really pleased to see was that the 4K also records sound on the videos, which was always something that really niggled me with the HD Wraith, as it always makes for much better viewing with sound.
Like the HD version, the 4K is also supplied with an IR, which although small and basic does do the job realistically to 100-150 yards, so for general foxing it’s certainly useable, and more than enough for rimfire or air rifle use. If you really want to use the Wraith to the best of its ability (like any night vision) then an aftermarket IR or laser is a worthwhile extra.
The new 4K is sure to be popular with night shooters wanting the clearest image and in a realistically priced unit, although I’m sure the standard HD version will still remain a strong seller, as it remains an exceptionally good value for money option for those on a slightly tighter budget.
Whichever unit you decide to opt for, the Sightmark range is certainly taking the night vision market by storm, and could soon become the leading brand in this field, as their offerings just keep getting better and better.
Sightmark Wraith 4k Max
RRP from £1049
Scott Country • 01556 503587
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