Manual target camera systems can be taxing, especially when shooting far distances. Over the years, the Ultimate Reloader team has used a variety of target camera systems to capture targets under fire, and provide immediate feedback without leaving the firing line. Today, we add the Caldwell Ballistic Precision LR Target Camera System to the mix.
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Target Camera Systems Used at Ultimate Reloader
Phone cameras are easy to use and accessible. Dirt, target debris and rain are a risk however, and a con to this simple solution. If you have an iphone and Windows computer or windows phone and Mac computer, file transfer can be a bit difficult.
Go Pro Cameras
Gavin has used these for many years. Like a phone camera, these are easy to use: click and go. You know it’s going to be in focus,but the footage generally won’t be overly artistic and will be ultra wide angle. It can be difficult to get the exact footage you are looking for.
A drone provides angles and footage you cannot achieve with a more traditional camera. It also has the ability to start and stop remotely. The greatest downside is the approximately 30 minute battery life. We’ve used a Phantom 4 and Mavic Air 2. We traditionally use the drone to capture hits on steel at distance. It’s very helpful when you have limited access to your targets, like in the mountains.
The DSLR has been our preference for many shooting scenarios over the years. Gavin’s Panasonic Lumix G7 has performed its job literally, surviving the impact of a 6mm ARC. A DSLR has many advantages, including the ability to zoom and produce great imagery using a variety of exposure and focus settings. This camera also has the ability to film in 4K Ultra-HD. Unless you have some sort of remote start/stop system, you must go to the target to hit record and stop filming. Target debris is another concern. Shots send dirt and dust flying everywhere – sometimes rocks and bits of lead. These can get inside the camera and cover or injure the lens.
Tactacams and triggercams that connect to a spotter or scope allow you to see the trace and targets that are very far out there. Image quality is less than some of the other options and you also contend with mirage and other environmental factors. If mounted to a rifle scope, you have recoil to consider.
Each of these cameras have their place, advantages and disadvantages, and different price points. We’ll also compare each to the Caldwell Ballstic Precision Long Range Target Camera System.
About the Caldwell Ballistic Precision Long Range Target Camera
Travis has been using Caldwell’s Ballistic Precision Long Range Target Camera (Caldwell Target Camera for short) for some time. He’s used it in testing an Anschutz, EC Barrel Tuner, KRAFT Test and in long range videos.
The Caldwell® Ballistic Precision Long Range Target Camera was designed by our team of engineers to be the best target camera system available today. The one mile range delivers live streaming HD video footage of your target to your smart phone or tablet through Caldwell’s free app. The app allows you to take pictures, record video and calculate your group size. The rechargeable lithium ion battery allows you to use the Target Camera for up to 6 hours. If a more permanent setup is desired it features an external power jack to hook up to an alternative power source. A premium storage case is included to store the entire system. The Caldwell Ballistic Precision LR Target Camera will become one of your best friends on the shooting range and you won’t want to leave home without it.
What’s In the Box
Though we’ve been using it for some time, we decided to do a re-unboxing to show exactly what it comes with. Each camera comes with:
- Portable carrying case with laser-cut foam
- Two stakes
- Two tripods
- Clamp system
- Two charging cords
The system includes a receiver and transmitter.
Both are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that Caldwell says run for up to 6 hours. I’ve never had an issue with them running out. Though they look similar from the outside, the bottoms are different. Both the receiver and transmitter thread onto a tripod. The camera clamps onto the transmitter tripod and plugs into the base of the transmitter.
The flat sides of both the transmitter and receiver need to face one another in order to communicate.
Caldwell has a free target camera app for apple/android that works with this unit.
Turn on the camera and connect to your receiver’s wifi. Open the app to see the live thread. You can also take photos, record videos and measure groups using a shot calculator and grid-lined targets. For this, you must plug the grid-line measurements into the app.
Demos and Long Range Test
Excited about his new Beretta 92fs, Gavin demoed shots on steel while I watched live on the target camera from inside the studio.
The receiver remained in the studio while the transmitter sat 30 yards outside the building.
I also wanted to see how the camera would do at longer ranges, setting up a steel target at 550 yards between several trees and hitting it with a .223 trainer. The video feed glitched as the trees moved, but otherwise worked very well.
Wanting to truly test Caldwell’s claim their system works at distances up to a mile, I set the camera up at my house and set about on errands. I took the receiver with me, ultimately setting it up at a friend’s house 2,587 yards away, approximately 1.3 miles. I didn’t use a target but set it up just to test the image capability. I was able to get a clear image, though the transmission wasn’t smooth and it didn’t refresh as frequently as it would at closer differences.
This camera helps resolve real issues and inconveniences for shooters, increasing efficiency. Knowing where your hits are at distances you can’t quite see allows you to conserve ammunition and get solid zeroes with fewer hits. It also saves time and allows you to shoot longer without having to run downrange, especially to faraway targets.
Get the Gear
Buy the Ballistic Precision Long Range Target Camera System direct from Caldwell (MSRP: ) or from Midsouth Shooters Supply, currently $453.27 (as of 5/1/2022).
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