Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Gear Review: Bullseye Camera Systems AmmoCam Long Range Edition

Image provided by Bullseye Camera Systems, LLC.

The days of hiking back and forth, hundreds of yards or even a mile, to your target are over. In my younger days, I would have no problem running out to the target to mark off the latest rounds. These were the days before the popularity of spotting scopes and high quality optics. Those days are over. Now you can see your shot and adjust from over a mile away with only lifting your finger. The Bullseye AmmoCam Long Range Edition is something I have been testing out for a few months and I think you will like what you read and see.

Early last year, I emailed Bullseye Camera Systems, LLC (BCS hereafter) owner Nick Skrepetos and asked him a few questions regarding his two systems. Nick has a background in developing software and creating superior products. He has developed two BCS options, one for up to 300 yards and one for up to a mile (yes, a mile!). I wanted to see if there was a possibility of simply using the 300 yard model for what I was looking to do with my 300 Win Mag. He knew where I was going with the questions and was very up front with me, explaining the differences and need for each unit. He said I should use the AmmoCam Long Range Edition and I agreed because why would I want to limit myself.

Sighting in at the Angeles Range where even the safety officers were impressed.

For many months I used the AmmoCam Long Range Edition, but I was limited with the areas I was shooting. All of the areas limited me to 300 yards or less. So I tested it over and over. At 300 yards, I sometimes used the AmmoCam and other times I did not. Let me tell you, it was awesome to shoot, but simply put, not using it sucked. I was trying to figure out where my shot was, but worst of all I had to hike up the mountain to view the target to verify my hit (or miss). With the AmmoCam and my iPad I could see my shot right away.

The blue circle and arrow show where I had to set my target at 300 yards. It's a long hike up.

Here’s how the BCS AmmoCam Long Range Edition works. Yes, this is from the website, because this explains it better than I ever could.

The long range edition is ideal for shooters shooting at any distance up to, and over, 1 MILE, sighting in their firearm, target practicing or developing loads. Completely self-contained, the long range edition sets up in under a minute and is ready to use.
  •     HD Camera w/Night Vision
  •     Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack w/Fast Charger (12+ Hour Run Time)
  •     Works out to 1 MILE+ with Clear Line of Sight.
  •     No Cellular or Internet Service Required.
  •     Secure AmmoCan Style Carrying Case
  •     Completely Self-Contained  
  •     Bullseye Target Manager software app for iPhone, iPad, Android Devices, Kindle Fire/HD, Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 and 10!
  •     Free Software Updates
  •     Fully Weatherproof
  •     Includes BaseStation Receiver
  •     14" x 8" x 10" - 7LBS

First off, download the Bullseye Camera System app on your phone, iPad, Android, or Windows device. I recommend more than one if you have them. I downloaded it to my phone and iPad. I prefer the iPad because it has a larger viewing screen, but the phone works in a pinch. I also wanted to be sure that if the battery on my iPad expired that I had a backup viewer.

I did not test the night vision aspect. I hope to in the future.

The batteries lasted a long time. I had the system on for six hours one day and three another (without a recharge) and I still had two out of three green lights showing me power. After I recharged the unit, I took it on two more trips and they battery lasted over eight hours each time, with plenty to spare. There was never any issue with power.

You don’t need Cellular/Internet Service to use it as the system has it all built in. Yes, it is built-in. The system generates its own WI-FI Hotspot so you do not need Internet or Cellular Service! It works anywhere and all you need is an iPhone, iPad, or Android Device. Plus, you don't have to worry about any monthly fees.

Setting up the view of the camera - part one.
Zooming in close on your target for a more accurate reading - part two.

After you shoot, you get to see each shot blink each time you shoot to easily identify the shot! No more spending time trying to figure out which shot was yours or having to hike out to record your shot. It’s all done for you! Be sure to save and review each shot sequence to analyze your shooting sessions. I forgot this the first time and was really mad at myself.

Marking different shot sequences and shooters was very easy and very helpful.

You can have multiple shooters and viewers. I tested this out at the range with another hunter. We were able to tag our own shots on the same target to see where they were and who was closest to the center. It was so cool and very helpful. Multiple users can shoot the same target, and multiple users can view the target (on different devices) at the same time.

I used the system for my rifle shooting and also my practice at the archery range. Yes, it works great for shots over 50 yards. When you have to wear glasses all the time this system was a huge help. The image above is at 60 yards and seeing the arrows on the screen helped immensely.

BCS surprised me in the middle of 2016 with a software update that was incredible. This one now had a way to record each shooting session and write details of the shoot for reference later on. There are also many new features that you can set and adjust for your scope, settings, wind, target, and more. Nick and his team know what they are doing and to be honest, there is probably more here than you might ever use. Don’t let that intimidate you! It’s a fantastic system and I still have much to learn.

The only issue I had were in the fact that the system is very lightweight. It's good and bad, and here's why. It’s great for hauling it out at a distance, but we had considerable winds a few days at the range. The stand that you set the AmmoCam on is great, but if a gust hits it just right it throws the camera view off. I figured out quickly that I needed to anchor the AmmoCam with some rocks and wood bits to secure it better.

Now, I ask you to continue reading after I post the price. The Short Range is $349 and the Long Range Edition is $649. If you plan to invest a great deal of time shooting and recording your data to improve, this system is a must have. If you are simply plinking and don’t care how close you get to the center of the target, then continue doing what you are doing. These systems are designed for the long range shooters that want to record their data, improve their shooting, and enjoy shooting more and more. These are great for hunters shooting different weapons, too. For those worried about accidental damage to the AmmoCan, you can buy the optional insurance for $29.95 from Bullseye Camera Systems that will cover your entire unit for two years. I am simply amazed at how well the system works and how well I was able to improve my shooting in the last year. This is, by far, one of the best products I have ever had the opportunity to field test. If any of you will be out at the ranges and want to see how it works, let me know because I won't hit the range without it.

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