Visit - Cheshire Gunroom
- By Chris Parkin
- 3 Comments
- Last updated: 23/12/2019
There is no doubt in the technologically driven age we live in, night vision and thermal imaging has to be at the cutting edge of shooting gadgetry. This state-of-the-art comes at significant cost, yet with relentless product evolution so it can be easy to get lost in the details. The opportunity to try N.V. or Thermal, spotters and riflescopes head to head is a rare treat not even I can always enjoy.
The Cheshire Gun Room have branches in Stockport and Bolton so decided to run two night vision experiences on two Golf courses local to each branch where anyone had the chance to enjoy detailed technical conversation, and realtime testing opportunities from the leading suppliers, with live game in real conditions. Gun shows are great but a nice warm daylight exhibition centre, even with a `dark tunnel`, is pretty tame compared to a cold damp night with a 400+ metre view into the surrounding topography with Pulsar, Yukon, ATN, NiteSite and Pard units to search out what could be seen, and which showed it better.
With products from £400 to £4500 in value, spotters and riflescopes, add-ons and illuminators, I have myself never had quite such an opportunity to gate-crash the party. It seems to me that image technology has slowed a little, but packaging and functionality is racing ahead. Range finding capability, video/ stills recording are great but the improved packaging of these optics, especially the riflescopes, has made them easier to ally with rifles and the mk1 human eyeball. The Thermion riflescope is a perfect example of a huge step forward in this respect, but one specific item I was keen to lay hands on was the latest Pulsar AXION Key XM22 monocular.
This £869.99 monocular spotter is likely to open the world of thermal imaging to more shooters who have so far been steered away by cost, now an affordable entry level unit offers a 2-8x magnification range with 950m detection range to find quarry. Okay, it’s not the same as an Accolade XP50 in terms of image detail but at less than 1/4 of the price, it’s a superb pocket sized accessory suited to closer range pest control, stalking and tracking. And it really is palm sized, you would hardly notice carrying one.
NiteSite showed rear mounting digital night vision and PARD had their units too, ATN offered X-Sights and the Mars thermal riflescopes I myself have used to great effect over the last six months. Pigeons and distant chicken coups were visible for comparison product versus product and when you get 20 guys looking in the same direction, each with this technology, it was only a matter of time before a fox safely sauntered across the golf course to give those `with eyes on the ball`, a unique bragging right.
Food and drink were on offer as well as discount offers across the board, never forgetting real world budgets for that latest Tracer illuminator or discounted Yukon Photon XT and RT models. This was the first chance many will have had to see the Latest Yukon Sightline that has further raised their game, overtaking the Photons that brought affordable night vision to so many shooters.
Being happy with the specification, price and service offered by a company is important, but this was a great opportunity to make sure any future buyers would never be asking themselves `what if` they had chosen differently. Cheshire Gun Room have made a solid effort to de-bunk a lot of the marketing hype and allowed the consumer to educate themselves for an informed choice, not just with night vision and thermal but how it can be applied to the rifles they already own.
Cheshire Gun Room
Stockport: 0161 480 8222
Bolton: 01204 496 008 cheshiregunroom.com