Thursday, 11 October 2012

Idleback rifle chair review

The Idleback Rifle Chair is the perfect solution for shooters who want the luxury of shooting in comfort and taking rested shots wherever they go.
In short, the Idleback is a rugged shooting seat with a height and angle-adjustable arm to support your gun. The gun cradle at the end of the extendable supporting arm of the Idleback should accept all but the widest of airguns, and accommadated the relatively wide fore-end of my trusty old BSA Super-Ten with room to spare.
Assembly is an absolute doddle because most of the major components are already in place when this sturdy shooting seat arrives. Deployment in the field is just a matter of seconds: unfold the heigh-adjustable legs and gun rest arm, then adjust both until the seat is level and the rifle rest situated exactly where you want it.
Costing the best part of £300, the Idleback is not a cheap piece of kit but it is ruggedly constructed and I’d expect it to give years of first-class service. The quick-release shoulder strap makes it easy to transport but, in my opinion, it’s not really a tool that lends itself to staking – hauling it around the fields and trying to set it up as shots presented themselves proved too much of a rigmarole for me.
The Idleback is, however, an excellent and very comfortable aid to accuracy when set up for an ambush. The seat and rest rotate silently through 360 degrees so you can stealthily target quarry at all angles, and the easily adjustable legs mean it’s always on the level. As a hunter whose seat usually consists of little more than an old carrier bag, I certainly found it a real luxury.
I’ve set the Idleback up in the garden and around farm buildings to pick off rats and avian pests, and also used it in the woods to snipe squirrels at long range with an FAC-rated airgun. In these situations, it has performed flawlessly.

Laser Genetics ND-3 Subzero review

The Laser Genetics ND-3 Subzero is a laser alternative to a conventional hunting lamp. I’ve been using the original ND-3 for around two years now, and the Subzero guise is guaranteed to perform in temperatures down to -18˚C – should you be mad enough to consider shooting in such extreme cold.
Although described as “The Ultimate Night Vision Solution” the ND-3 is not an NV optic in the true sense, but it is an incredibly powerful and versatile scope-mounted lamp. Compact, lightweight and robust, mine has given excellent service.
The ND-3 is a quality product, and that’s apparent from the outset – and from its price tag, coming in at more than £300. The package comes in a fitted, zip-up hard case, which includes the laser designator (lamp unit), mounts for fitting to 1-inch or 30mm scope tube, Weaver mount attachments, binocular mounts, a pressure switch and the required CR123A battery, which gives three hours performance at -18˚C. You can expect that battery to last twice as long if you sit tight until the temperature rises to a balmy 5˚C.
You also get an Allen key with the kit so you can fit the ND-3’s mount to your scope, and there lies my biggest gripe with this unit. Sure enough, the ND-3 is one heck of a lamp, but it’s also one heck of a nuisance fiddling around with screws to attach and detach it. And, once you’ve got it on there, you’ll be reluctant to take it off again. To be honest, I think it’s a pity that the research and development appears to have been invested in making a lamp that functions in temperatures that British quarry species don’t tend to venture out in, when it would have been better spent on designing a quick-release mount to make it easier to use this excellent laser lamp.
Luckily, the circumference of the lamp hasn’t changed, so I simply dropped the ND-3 Subzero into my original mount (which, after reacquainting myself with the instruction manual, appears to be fitted upside down). Fitting gripes aside (and whether upside down or not) the mount functions well. It is very sturdy and can easily be adjusted left and right or up and down, via two knobs, to ensure that the beam is perfectly aligned with your scope. Being so ruggedly built, it won’t creep once you’ve got it set where you want it.
Most impressive of all is the sheer power and clarity of this compact laser designator. On its dimmest setting (sharpness/brightness of the beam is adjusted via a collar at the front of the tube) the lamp casts a tight beam at 15 metres, which is still clear at 100 metres. On its sharpest setting, the beam is way too bright for ratting ranges and casts a clear circle of light way beyond the manufacturer’s stated 200 metres – more like half a mile, I reckon. The power is awesome, providing more light than most airgun shooters would ever need, in fact. However, if you also shoot a rim-fire rifle and want a lamp for controlling foxes after dark, the ND-3 could be the only scope-mounted light you need.
Another impressive feature is the complete absence of any light spillage from the crisp, green beam. The ND-3 casts a sharp circle of light, with no risk of leakage that will illuminate you and give the game away. Of course, that bright beam comes with all the usual health warnings associated with lasers, so avoid shining it into your eyes, anyone else’s eyes or at vehicles and aircraft – even the reflected beam can be powerful enough to pose a danger.
Apart from being very powerful, the ND-3 Subzero is also incredibly compact. The small, lightweight tube is unobtrusive and hardly affects the balance and handling of an airgun when fitted. The very handy pressure switch can be fitted (via the Velcro provided) to the fore-end of your gun stock so you can easily activate it with the thumb of your leading hand when looking through the scope. Unlike other switches of this kind, it doesn’t take a lot of pressure to activate so your shooting won’t be hampered by having to squeeze with any great effort.
Being powered by a tiny battery, rather than a bulky rechargeable unit, this lamp is perfect for one-man scope-mounted use. It’s no burden whatsoever so lends itself perfectly to mobile hunting scenarios. Swap the pressure switch for the standard on/off switch (which also comes with the kit) and you’ve got a very compact hand-held lamp that’s perfect for two-man hunting when you’ve got a mate to do the lamping honours while you do the shooting.
Although the ND-3 Subzero casts a seriously powerful beam, rats and rabbits don’t appear to be unduly spooked by the pool of green light, which certainly picks them out well in the dark.
In spite of its fiddly mount, this laser designer is a top quality, scope-mounted light source that should give years of reliable service to anyone with the budget for a scope-mounted lamp at the top end of the price range.