AC Night Stalker
- 4 Comments
- Last updated: 22/05/2018
Night Vison kit come in all manner of guises these days, some are dedicated sights that replace your existing day scope and others are add-on units that transform your scope for night use.Some Night Vison kits attach to the front objective lens and others attach to the eyepiece. The new AC Guns Night Stalker attaches to the rear and top!
This is a camera and TV screen type device that will fit to most scopes on air rifles, or rimfires both .22 or .17 calibres. The Night Stalker I had on test was a full kit, which included a carry case, charger, battery, IR torch, monitor, clamps, camera unit and all the attachment brackets, this is comprehensive and only costs £250.
This kit is designed for use at a realistic range and offer shooters on a budget a good NV sight that is capable of detection up to a max 200-yards.
First up, is a very good and handy padded cordura case with handle that keeps the Night Stalker safe, weather tight and just very convenient, as all the kit you need is in one place and ready to go. You have two side pockets and a couple of belt straps, so plenty of options for use.
Before you attach anything, you need to charge both the IR torch and the main battery pack with their own supplied chargers, its important to switch the main battery on whilst charging. Now you can assemble the NV Stalker to your scope. I first started on a Fully Suppressed Sako SSR .22LR rifle, which is a compact, yet superbly accurate rimfire and silent too.
There are two ‘S’ clamps supplied, which are used to attach the IR torch forward of the scope’s adjustment turrets and also the Monitor/ TV screen behind the turrets. They are high and so will allow the IR to be mounted and not foul a big objective scope.
Next, you need to assemble the camera unit. This has a circular collar clamp integral to it, with a set of four 36-, 38-, 40-, 42mm sizes to set a variety of scope eyepieces. With the camera attached, the battery pack, which is light, is fitted to the back of the camera via Velcro. You now attach the monitor lead to the battery lead. There is a single switch on the camera unit that glows red when on. You also have a battery check for charge and a single push on a selector button tells you how full it is. There is a USB outlet, so you can record the images you view through the monitor.
All set up, you have that heads-up shoot with the cheek off the stock type of stance that does take a while to get used to, but it actually becomes quite natural and allows a good field of view.
To fire up the Night Stalker, first you need a little set up time to focus the camera to you and your scope, to ensure a sharp focus of your quarry and reticle alike. Switch the camera on and see how sharp the image is. If not, remove the camera unit and loosen the lens with a small Phillips screwdriver, not supplied and then adjust the lens itself with the supplied forceps. Re-attach and see if the image is now sharp. The lens on the test model was really tight and I needed some metal tweezers to loosen, after that it was fine. In practice, it takes a few on/off procedures but once set up for you, just re-tighten the lens grub screw and you are ready to go.
You have a 4.3-inch TV screen that displays as colour or black and white, dependent on the lighting conditions. Resolution is good but without the IR torch switch on, like other digital units, the detection range is reduced. On a moonless, slightly overcast night, I could see and engage rabbits at 50-yards and 40-yards respectively.
With the IR torch, an AC Nightstalker type T50 switched on, this increased the detection range out to about 100 for rabbits and 150-175 for foxsized game. Regarding lag, i.e. movement versus image refresh, it is good and not too slurred. Grain or pixel quality is also not bad at all for the price and is fine for an accurate shot with the scope’s reticle.
It’s quite easy to set up after the initial focus of the camera and actually, if you are sensible with the range that you use the Night Stalker, it works well. Certainly, for airgun ranges out to 40-yards, which is a long shot at night if you gauge that accurately at night any way, the fact that you are using the same rifle and scope as your day set up makes it easier to shoot correctly.
The attachments are fine, and the monitor screen has a large black plastic spur, which the ‘S’ clamp can grip. It is actually more secure than some similar type NV devise I have used, and it allows the Monitor to be viewed either up top on the scope or twisted around to the side, which from a seated or prone position, is better I think. Amongst the bales in a barn it feels more nature in the hold that way, but either way you have a degree of flexibility there. If your scope has a zoom, and most do, you can use this feature as usual but the image with increase in graininess.
The camera is very secure and because the battery is light it does not stress the eyepiece of the scope at all. All you have to do is make sure the camera is horizontal, otherwise the reticle looks wonky.
The IR is a nice bit of kit and is doubly useful, as it has a zoom lens feature, so you can spread it wide in barn or farmyard areas or a close quarter woods scenario. This stops too much back glare and then when a bit more range and detail is needed, you can tighten the IR beam to a spotlight. There were no details as to if it was waterproof or not, but it looks pretty good to me and should shrug off a shower.
I have to say, the AC Night Stalker exceeded my expectation; primarily for £250, I was not expecting much. The build quality is good and when you add up all the kit as separate units, I think it represents good value for money.
Battery life was equally good, i.e. it did not run out in an evening viewing and shooting. Detection range is limited but be sensible and that IR really helps out. Also, being an add on, it’s nice to use as and when you need it and it is all safely contained in a very good carry pack.