AC Night Stalker digital add on system
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- Last updated: 27/07/2018
Night Vison kit comes 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 attach to the front objective lens and others to the rear eyepiece bell. A new name here from a company, perhaps most associated with air guns, is AC Guns with their new Night Stalker. Though not identical, it appears to take its basic design and operating principles from one of the market leaders in this area.
This is a camera and TV screen type device that will fit to most scopes and is aimed at all gun types from air rifle to 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. It’s designed for use at realistic ranges and offers 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 protective case that keeps all the components in one place when not in use 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; it’s important to switch the main battery on whilst charging. Now, you can assemble the rig to your scope. I started on a Fully Suppressed Sako SSR .22LR rifle, which is a compact, yet superbly accurate and silent rimfire.
There’s a split, Fig-8 clamp that attaches the IR torch to the scope’s body tube forward of the saddle, a second set (behind) mounts the viewing unit. They are high and so will allow easy mounting. Next, the camera fits onto the ocular bell, with an integral collar clamp, and four sets of 36, 38, 40, 42mm adaptors to suit various sizes. The light weight battery pack Velcros to the back of the camera. 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 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, for optimum performance. Switch 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 with the supplied forceps. Re-attach and see if the image is improved. The one on the tester was tight and I needed some metal tweezers to loosen it, after that it was fine. In practice, it takes a few goes to get things right!
You have a 4.3” screen that displays as colour or B&W, dependent on the lighting conditions. Resolution is good but without the IR torch on, like other digital units, detection range is reduced. On a moonless, slightly overcast night, I could see and engage rabbits out to 50 yards. Switching on the IR increased the detection range to about 100 yards for rabbits and 150-175 for foxes.
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, if you are sensible with the range, it works well. Certainly, for airgun ranges out to 40 yards, which is a long shot at night if you gauge that accurately. Also, 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 Fig-8 clamp can grip. It is more secure than some similar type NV devices I have used, and it allows the monitor to be viewed at 12 O’clock or down at the sides, which when seated or prone is better. Whatever, you have a degree of flexibility there! If your scope is a variable, you can use it as usual but the higher the mag the grainier the image.
The camera is very secure and because the battery is light it does not stress the scope’s eyepiece. All you must do is make sure that 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 feature, so you can spread it wide for close work (barns etc.) This stops too much back glare and then when a bit more range and detail is needed, you can tighten it to a spotlight. There were no details as the whether it was waterproof or not, but it looks pretty good to me and should shrug off a shower.