Want an Extra Set of Eyes Downrange? Try the Bullseye Camera System
Tom McHale 09.04.13
Shoot a rifle? How about a pistol? Or a bow? Or an air gun? Or maybe an atl-atl?
If yes, then you need to take a close look at the Bullseye Camera System. It’s like having an extra set of eyes just a couple of feet away from your downrange target, closely monitoring (but never criticizing!) every shot you take.
Here’s what the Bullseye Camera System does, in a nutshell:
- Watches your target for every shot
- Tracks the exact location of each hit in the target area
- Beams that information back to your shooting bench location
- Displays a real-time view, on a laptop or netbook computer, of each shot taken
It’s a little bit like having an insanely high-powered spotting scope zeroed in on your target, only better. Unlike a spotting scope, the Bullseye Camera System tracks each shot individually throughout your shooting session. The system monitors target status and all previous shots, so no matter how many holes are in your target, the most recent one will be clearly flashing on the laptop screen at your shooting bench. Not only that, you can choose to mark shots with colored dots for future reference.
Elegance in packaging and usability
It’s called a system for good reason. It’s not a camera, or software, or wireless technology, or antenna. It’s all of the above and the packaging and usability are fantastically elegant. Bullseye Camera Systems provides the complete system, minus the laptop or netbook (use your own Windows computer here), in a range-ready hard case. The interior of the case is configured for immediate use. You don’t unpack and assemble the components, you simply turn them on. The only thing that you ever have to take out of the case is the camera and supporting tripod.
When you open the hard case, you’ll see the following components stored in the custom-cut foam insert:
- USB battery (rechargeable) with a five-hour run time
- Router that provides connection between camera, wireless transmitter, and laptop
- Wireless transmitter with a 1,000-yard range. A slightly less expensive system is available for 500-yard range shooting. Or you can upgrade the wireless transmitter to reach up to 2,000 yards.
- Weatherproof camera with night vision capability
- Laser that helps you easily aim the camera at the right area of your target
- USB stick with Bullseye Camera Systems software
The design elegance is apparent when you first set up the system. A single, laminated card is included with instructions—and that’s all you need to get going. The case is designed in such a way that you don’t need to remove any components (except the camera and tripod) to fire up the system. When you’ve set your target downrange, remove the camera and attach it to the tripod with the quick mount lever. The camera is pre-configured with a tripod mounting plate. Using a laser attached to the camera, aim it “more or less” at the center of your target. You don’t have to be exact. Plug the green router cable into the battery, then the yellow camera cable and last the red antenna cable. That’s it. I found my downrange setup time to be less than one minute—not a problem at all for public ranges where you may not have a lot of time for “cold range” target changes. Once back at the shooting bench, just turn on your laptop, plug in the USB, and launch the Bullseye Camera Systems software.
After using the system for a while, I noted a number of benefits:
You can be a range potato! Remember when you used to have to go downrange to change targets once you got a few holes? No longer. Set one up and track all your shots by camera. When you’re done for the day, make one trip downrange to collect your stuff. Even with a 100-yard range, this is a big deal. If you’re shooting at 200, 300, or more than 500 yards, it’s a really big deal. You’ll probably gain weight once you start using this system.
You can be half-blind. The remote camera system gives you a close-up view of your target from the comfort of your shooting station. You can see with perfect clarity where each shot lands without need for spotting scopes.
You can tinker to your heart’s delight. Do you reload and want to test performance of specific recipes for accuracy? Do you want to test multiple brands of ammo in a given caliber? No worries, using the software, you can set a single target downrange and mark groups of shots with different color dots. When finished, you’ll have color-coded groups for one, two, or 10 different ammo types. Whatever floats your boat.
You can compete. Got a rivalry with a family member or buddy? Mark each person’s shots with different color dots on the camera view of the target.
You can monitor multiple targets. I like to shoot at four-inch circle targets, with each target sheet carrying five circles. As target definition area is controlled by software, you can aim the camera roughly at the center of the whole target sheet, then, using the computer software, select each specific sub-target whenever you want.
This is without a doubt the handiest shooting accessory I’ve ever used. I first ran across the system at the recent Shooting Industry Masters event and immediately determined I needed to have one. No more repeated trips downrange. A perfect view of each and every shot on target. The ability to save my results for later review. Yep, it’s awesome.