I love technology and I love guns so when my buddy Gary Williamson told me about a new remote camera system for target shooting he picked up, I got a little excited. Last week when I went back home to Elkton, I called him up and we hit the range.
How it works
It’s called the Bullseye Camera System and the basic idea is simple. You start with an image of the target, fire your shot, then refresh the image. The new image will show where you hit the target. The software that runs the Bullseye System will flash between the first and second image so you can easily see where you hit the target.
The components that come with the Bullseye system are a camera, router and battery pack. You have to have your own laptop to view the video feed but Gary tells me they are working on iOS and Android apps for the system so you can use your tablet or smartphone. That would be a big plus in my book. I would pick up a cheap netbook if you don’t want to bring your full sized laptop out in the field. The entire package fits in a standard tool or tackle box size tote with each item nestled into it’s own spot in the foam so it’s portable enough for most people.
Putting the system together took less than a minute. We set the camera on the tripod about 8’ away from the target at a 45 degree angle. There is no zoom on the camera so to make the image of the target bigger, you have to physically move the camera. There is a laser pointer attached to the side of the camera so all you have to do is point the red dot on the target and you are good to go.
With the tripod in place, Gary connected the router and camera to a small battery pack and powered them up. Once the router was online we were ready to head back to the shooting bench about 100 yards away. If everything is is positioned properly, you don’t have to return to the target until you are done shooting or the battery dies 5 hours later.
Back at the bench, we had Gary’s “Coyote Killer” on the rest with his laptop situated so he could easily see it. The camera system sends out a wireless signal that you connect to like any other WiFi connection on your laptop. Once you are on that network, open up the software and you are ready to go. As long as you are connected to the wireless network, the image should show on your screen so there is virtually no setup involved.
We were ready to shoot.
Note: If you hook everything up and the Bullseye Camera System is not connecting to your laptop, first make sure you are connected to the Bullseye wireless network then close down the program and start it up again. That should get your image on the screen.
So everything was set up and ready to rock. Gary took a shot then tapped the space bar on his computer. This flashed the new image over the old one a few times so we could clearly see where he hit the target. We were shooting a hanging steel target which moved slightly when it was hit. That meant we had to wait for the steel to come to rest before refreshing the image. If we hit the space bar too soon it would show the entire steel target in a different position which makes it harder to see where you hit. See a demo of this here. The system still worked fine and we could tell where he hit, but it was clearer image when we waited for the steel to stop swinging. If you are not shooting a swinging target, this is a non issue all together.
The software is definitely designed for someone interested in improving their accuracy. The instant feedback you get after each shot will undoubtedly help you hone your skills. You can also set up different shooter profiles that allow you to keep track of how you shot with different weapons in different locations with different ammo. For someone doing custom loads for specific guns or if you are trying to find the right factory load, this is a huge feature and a massive time saver. You have the ability to test out multiple load recipes without walking back to the target each time. The images are all logged on the computer so you can compare and analyze results easily.
The system is very versatile. You can use it with almost any weapon on any range at distances up to 1000 yards. You don’t need any special targets either. You can staple a paper plate to a piece of plywood and you are good to go. Since the software uses an IP camera you could conceivably have multiple cameras trained on multiple targets. You could take any kind of shooting competition to the next level by adding this system. How much fun would that be?
I’m sure many of the more tech savvy out there are saying things like ‘couldn’t you just use a camcorder with a fold out screen?’ or ‘what about a GoPro with wifi?’. Granted, there are other ways to review your shots and a few might even be cheaper. The thing that sets Bullseye apart is the software. The way it compares images and highlights your last shot makes it much more useful than a zoomed in camcorder. Like I mentioned before, the profiles feature lets you save all of that data so you can analyze each shot much more efficiently. A GoPro can’t do that and a camcorder is useless at 1000 yards.
You can pick up the 500 Yard system for $449.99 or the 1000 Yard system for $549.99 both on Amazon.com. Shipping is extra. The difference between the two is an extra WiFi range booster. The laptop doesn’t come with the package.
Check it out at their website www.bullseyecamera.com.
Like I said before, I love guns and technology. In my opinion the guys at Bullseye have brought the two together to make a very useful product that will not only save you time out on the range but it will help you become a better shot.