The Bullseye Camera System
Raise your hand if you like schlepping 500m downrange to check on your targets. Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Yeah, me neither. I have binos and a spotting scope but they aren’t that great for details. So, until my wife will lets me buy a 4 wheeler to bring to the range when I need to check targets, I was pretty screwed. Until I got my hands on the Bullseye Camera System, that is.
The tripod version of the Bullseye Camera System comes in basically a large plastic toolbox looking case. It’s a little bulky but it’s surprisingly light. Inside the foam lined case is everything you need to get setup (minus your viewing device). You get a Tripod, the Bullseye Camera itself, the wireless adapter, rechargable battery pack (which lasts for 5+ hours on a single charge), thumbdrive with a copy of the software for computers, and instruction sheets. You need a PC, tablet or smartphone to view the camera on and that’s it.
Setup is simple: Unfold the tripod, attach the Bullseye Camera by holding open and closing a lever on the top of the tripod, turn on the battery, plug the 3 USB cables attached to the equipment into the battery and wait for the lights to come on. Then you just need to align the camera to your target – you don’t put it in front of your target where it can be shot though. Instead, you set it around 5 feet in front of the target, but at a 45 degree angle or so to the side.
Alignment is made simple due to the small pointer laser mounted to the side of the Bullseye Camera. Just turn on the laser and point it somewhere near the center of your target – it doesn’t have to be exact at all as you’ll still see your whole target on your viewing device.
So, what does the system work with, target-wise? Pretty much anything. Piece of plain cardboard, printed targets, steel (as long as strikes leave marks), archery targets — like I said, pretty much anything. The way it works is that the system will take a picture each time you hit a button on your viewing device. It then will flash the new picture with your old one, and back, over and over for you. What that means is that it’ll appear that your last shot (or grouping) will simply flash on the screen, making it extremely easy to see where your shots hit. Want to see your shotgun patterning? Where your arrow hit? What your previous group for zeroing size was? Single last shot? It will do all of that for you with a single push of a button.
And for you night fire guys: yes, it has IR lights so you can even use it in the dark.
There is a 500y and 1000y version, with the ability to upgrade the 1000y version with a boosted antenna system to let you shoot even farther, over a mile, if needed. Max range depends greatly on a few variables though:
- If the camera antenna is behind a low berm (like those often in front of target stands that protect the stand mount), it can degrade your signal, especially if it’s full of lead.
- Interfering RF signals can cause problems in theory, like how my friend’s microwave interferes with his Wifi, but at most ranges that won’t be an issue
- Obstructions can block your signal in general, so make sure you have a clear line of sight.
- Don’t shoot under powerlines to avoid interference.
- A weak Wifi adapter on your viewing device can have trouble connecting over distance (more on this later)
Software and Viewing
Setting up the software for the Bullseye Camera System is pretty simple on your mobile device or computer. Basically you need to connect to the wifi access point built into the Bullseye Camera System – while that means you can’t web browse while using the Bullseye Camera, that generally won’t matter at the range anyway. The software is very basic – which is one of the big selling points in my opinion. You can select a Live view where you see things as they happen, shot mode where it takes the snapshots to flash your shots, or view previous shots. It’s so simple that anyone can use it.
One issue though can be the hardware you’re running the program on. Many devices, especially mobile devices, don’t have very strong Wifi adapters and that means that while the Bullseye Camera System can reach out 500y, 1000y or more (depending on which unit you buy), your device might not be able to receive the signal. To combat this, they offer a signal repeater. What happens is that you unzip the repeater case and just turn it on – it’ll automatically connect to the Bullseye Camera System and will then boost the signal so that it is easy for your device to connect.
While it is usable on a phone, we found that it was MUCH easier to view on a laptop or tablet. With those we could just let them stand on our shooting bench for viewing if we wanted, while viewing on a smaller phone screen was much more difficult and we had to keep picking it up. Plus phones tend to have smaller batteries, and an hour or two of having its screen on will drain your battery quicker than a keg at my old fraternity. That said, the couple times I forgot to bring my tablet, or forgot to charge it before hand, it was nice being to use my phone as I almost never forget to bring that with me.
No matter if you’re zeroing at 25m, are taking long distance shots at 800m, or are practicing with your bow – if you don’t want to use binos, a spotting scope or walk the distance, this Bullseye Camera System is a must have. It works perfectly and we’ve had no issues with it at all.
For those saying to just use a spotting scope and quit being lazy – it’s more than that. How many times have you called out “Er… shoot again” because you couldn’t see where your buddy’s shot landed, even with a good spotting scope? How many times did you wish you could see finer detail to see exactly how close your rounds are and not settle for “yeah, they look pretty close”? How many times have you had to waste time and do the long walk down the lane just to verify your shots instead of spending that time shooting? I’ll bet it’s a lot.
This system is not only excellent in functionality but it’s also damn simple to use. And the pricing is extremely reasonable with a range of only $350-$550, putting it in the budget of most shooters.
So, to sum it up, the list of benefits are:
- Does it’s job perfectly
- Easy to use
- Very transportable
- Works with Windows computers, Android and IOS phones and tablets
The list of disadvantages are:
- Doesn’t run on Mac OSX
- You need to make sure your mobile device and camera batteries are charged before going to the range
- The case does take up space, though only about as much as an extra, average sized, range bag
The Bullseye Camera System is awesome, hands down. Do I sometimes bring a spotting scope or binos to the range instead of the Bullseye Camera? Sure. Sometimes I want to have minimal gear to fit in the car, and other times I like having a backup just in case, etc… but the majority of the time when I don’t bring the camera along on a range trip, someone usually goes “Damn. I wish we brought that camera”.
The only reason I can give to not own this camera is: they just came out with a new edition to their Bullseye Camera System lineup. Their new ammo can camera is a self contained unit in a plastic ammo can that sits on the ground and you just turn it on and go. It’s a very cool system but is more susceptible to signal loss due to obstructions since it rests on the ground instead of on a tripod like this unit.
So your only excuse for not looking into the Bullseye Camera System Tripod Edition that is acceptable is that you’re looking into their Ammo Can camera system instead. Otherwise, go check it out and see how a little bit of tech can be a huge help at the range.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm10dCmeDo4]