Review of the Bullseye Camera Long Range Edition
A few months back I received a Bullseye Camera Long Range Edition to put it through a field review. The Bullseye Camera system is a product designed to allow shooters to view their distant targets without the need for a spotting scope and also allows them to record their shooting sessions. The system creates a Wi-Fi network that allows the user to connect to it with their electronic device and view their targets from up to 1-mile away (Long Range Edition only; the standard camera is rated to 300 yards).
Inside the delivery box I found a black plastic ammo can, a black soft case, and a tripod in a storage bag. The camera itself is contained within the ammo can as well as the hardware necessary to create the Wi-Fi connection at the camera; the instructions for use were stored in the ammo can as well. The soft case houses the hardware necessary to set up the Wi-Fi network at the observer’s location.
Figure 1. Bullseye Camera Long Range Edition
As I read through the brief instruction page it was interesting to note that the battery packs need to be turned to the ON position when charging. This is something I’ve never needed to do before when charging a battery pack and the user just needs to be sure to turn the units back to the OFF position when they take them off the charger. The remaining instructions are very simple and tell the user to set the camera up facing the target, turn on the battery pack, and then power on the base station and point it towards the camera. From there, the user needs to use a phone, tablet, or laptop that has the Bullseye Target Manager app installed.
For my first outing with the camera I took it to a local range and set the camera up on a 100-yard paper target. When I got back to the shooting line I simply pointed the base station towards the camera and connected my phone to the Bullseye WiFi network and turned on the Target Manager App. After the first shot was fired I clicked the “Show Shot” button and the app flashed the new hole that was in the target. A group was fired and the Show Shot button was selected after every shot and each time the App picked up the new shot and flashed it on my phone screen. On one particular shot a bullet hit a rock in the backstop and sprayed shrapnel back through the target that created lots of little holes. When I pressed the Show Shot button it actually picked up all the new holes in the target and it could be useful for guys who are patterning shotguns.
The Target Manager App has the ability to record the shooting session as a video and save it to your device. To test it out I hit record and then another group was fired at the target. The video was saved to my phone and I was able to go back and review the footage after I was done shooting. One thing to note is that the Bullseye System shoots with a very slow frame rate so the video is not smooth and looks more like a few pictures that have been pieced together to form a video. You will still be able to see all of your shots on the target but just understand that it won’t produce a smooth viewing experience.
Figure 2. Bullseye System in use
My first use of the unit had been successful and overall I was pleased with the performance of the system. As I powered down the unit and began to pack up to go home, my phone lit up with various emails and text messages all at once. I realized that my iPhone was not receiving any new data messages because I was connected to a WiFi network and my phone assumed I had an Internet connection. Other carriers and phones may be different but if you are expecting to receive any texts or emails while using the camera I would suggest disconnecting from the WiFi temporarily and allowing your messages to download.
As I prepared for additional testing I spent a little time playing around in the Target Manager App and also did some research on the Bullseye website to try and learn more about the systems capabilities. While doing this, I discovered that the camera could hook directly up to your phone while you are setting it up on the target. This makes it very easy to ensure that you get the proper camera angle to clearly see your target when you get back to the firing line. I also found out that the App has the ability to measure group size and can even help you site your rifle in by giving you the necessary corrections required to achieve a good zero. Another advertised feature is the ability to hook up multiple users to the same camera system. This would allow everyone to view the target on his or her own device and run their own Target Manager completely separate from all other users.
I took the system out on a few more trips to test out all the previously described functionality. The ability to connect my phone to the camera while I was at the target to make sure the camera was positioned correctly was incredibly nice. It made setup a breeze and ensured a great view of the target throughout the shooting session. Once back at the firing line it was also very easy to hook up two phones to the system at once and each could be operated independently. While testing the two phones, the second phone seemed to be having trouble with the software but restarting the app seemed to solve these problems.
Figure 3. Normal view (top) vs Target View (bottom)
When you set up the Bullseye camera it is more than likely that you will be viewing the target at some sort of angle. To compensate for this the Target Manager app has a “Target Setup” menu. Once selected, the target setup allows you to enter the size of your target (height and width) and then you can highlight the edges of the target. The only shape it allows you to use is a rectangle but it is fairly easy to frame circular shaped targets as well. At this time you also select your Aim Point by adjusting the crosshairs in the app to wherever you would like to shoot on your target. Once you have completed the target setup, you can select “Target View” from the main session menu and it will use software to rotate the target and make it appear as if you were looking straight at it. This works incredibly well in most situations but if you get the camera angle too extreme it will make the Target View image a little grainy.
Figure 4. Snapshot of the app during Target Setup
With the target setup complete you can now add Markers to your target by clicking on your bullet holes. This will then allow you to measure group sizest setup properly using the proper target dimensions and distance to target. To make sure that the app gives you the right corrections you need to go into the “Scope Sight In” menu and select the proper scope adjustments. as well as gives you the correction that you need to properly zero your rifle. This feature works surprisingly well if you completed the targe
Daniel Brozovich has been testing a Bullseye system as well and he used it to help him achieve zero during his review of the Christensen Arms Ridgeline Off the Shelf review. In the top half of Figure 6 you can see a 3 shot group that Daniel shot at 100 yards and the app told him to dial 3 clicks Right and 1 click Up to zero. The bottom half of the picture shows his next shot after making the suggested adjustments and then he ran it out to 300 yards and pounded the steel plate with a sub ½ MOA group. While I personally wouldn’t use the feature as my preferred method of zeroing a rifle, it did provide good enough information to achieve zeros for both Daniel and myself and is a very nice feature to have included in the software. One word of caution, if the group sizes the app is reporting don’t seem right, go back in and re-run the target setup. I had a few times where somehow I had not entered the correct information the first time and the problem was remedied after reentering the right data.
Figure 5. Markers added to the target during a firing session
Figure 6. Group measurement and zero adjustment
Due to an abnormal amount of snowpack this year I was unable to make it to my traditional long range shooting locations for some true long range testing. To try and mimic long-range impact conditions I set up a steel plate at 100 yards and shot it with a 22LR. The 22LR bullets would create small splashes on the freshly painted steel but did not hit with enough force to really swing the target and provided a fairly good opportunity to test the ability of the camera to pick up small splash marks and slight target swinging.
The Bullseye camera picked up the 22 impacts with ease and shots could easily be recorded by pressing the Shot button after every pull of the trigger. After completely blowing the paint off one section of the target (20+ shots) I was finally able to create a situation where the camera could no longer detect every new shot and highlight it. In all fairness to the camera, I couldn’t distinguish impacts with my naked eye when examining the target up close either so it more than performed its duties. Even when the new splash marks were impossible to detect, the plate would rock just a little from being hit and the slight movement of the target was picked up on the camera and let you know you had hit the steel.
Figure 7. Two impacts on the steel target from a 22 at 100 yards
Jeff and Daniel Brozovich had the opportunity to help spot long-range impacts at a field match. Their particular stage had an 18×30 inch plate set up at 1070 yards and many impacts from the 6mm and 6.5mm bullets were virtually impossible to see using optics. However they could watch the Bullseye camera and see impacts as if standing at the target. The battery life was also tested in the cold and it ran beautifully for over 9 hours. My system has also enjoyed great battery life already running over 10 hours on the same charge.
I have tested my Bullesye unit out to just over a mile and still maintained a solid connection while driving down a straight section of road. Daniel had his system out to 1768 yards with no issues as well. It is important to understand that the system works using direct line of sight so the base station needs to clearly be able to see the camera; if anything obstructs the direct line of site the camera system may have trouble connecting even at relatively short distances. I hope to eventually find a good area to test the true max effective range of the system and when I do I’ll report back on LRO with the results.
During my testing I did encounter a few glitches with the software that were solved by restarting the app. I also had one particular day where the Target View created a very washed out image but it has only happened on that one occasion and I believe it was just due to some weird lighting conditions between the target and the camera. Other than that the system worked beautifully.
Overall I think the Bullseye Camera system delivered exactly what it advertised. It was very easy to set up and the app is fairly intuitive to use. For long distance paper shooters, long-range steel shooters, shooters who shoot by themselves, or anyone who wants to see their distant targets clearly, the Bullseye camera system is a great tool to add to their kit.
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