Choosing the right Night Vision rifle scope for your air rifle
When choosing a night vision device for your air rifle you will need to consider the following. First of all, are you looking for a dedicated night vision scope or a night vision add on which converts your existing rifle day scope into a true night vision device. Your next and biggest consideration is of course your budget.. How much do you really want to spend?
Both types of weapon mounted night vision devices each come with their own set of criteria which have to be considered before purchasing.
If you choose to buy a dedicated night vision rifle scope, the first thing you will need to check is.
Can the night vision rifle scope be fitted directly to your air rifle or does it need to be raised in order to provide enough clearance for a rotary multi-shot magazine as is the case on an Air Arms S200 (with 10 shot magazine adaptor), Air Arms S400, S410 air rifle, FX T12, FX Royale 400, BSA Ultra Tactical, BSA Scorpion etc. .
If so, you will need to purchase a raised mount adaptor to help provide the clearance. Some night vision rifle scopes such as the Pulsar N550 and N750 come equipped with a weaver/picantinny rail which means that you will need to acquire a raised weaver base adaptor mount to fit to the 9-11mm dove tail rail commonly found on most air rifles. Air rifles with a single piece dove tail rail, will not require a raised base. This applies to precharged air rifles such as a BSA R10, BSA Scorpion Carbine Tactical, most spring rifles from Cometa, Air Arms, Webley, Theoben, BSA and many others.
The ideal (soon to be released) dedicated Night Vision rifle scope for air rifle use is the new Yukon Photon digital night vision scope. All you need is a set of 30mm scope tube mounts suited to your rifle (low, medium, high, extra high) and you can fit it directly to almost any Air rifle. Priced at just £399, the Yukon Photon represents the best value for money night vision scope for air rifle use. The aforementioned Pulsar N750 has a performance more suited to rimfire and larger caliber use which is also reflected in the much higher price of £1299, however it will work perfectly on most air rifles.
If on the other hand you go down the night vision add on route, there are a few different options. Firstly there is the rear or eyepiece add on such as the ever popular Pulsar Challenger GS 1x20 monocular with day scope adaptor. It goes without saying that you will need to adopt a different stance with your air rifle regardless of the brand and type of air rifle you have as you will loose 6" of eye relief using a Pulsar Challenger GS1x20 with day scope adaptor.
However this system only works well in conjunction with rifle scopes with an objective lense diameter of 50mm or above as they let more ambient light in. Range is dictated by which IR illumination device you are using. The on board IR is only useful for close range work at 10 to 20m. A higher power laser illuminator (such as the Pulsar L-808 or Nightmaster NM800 IR) will boost the performance out to a useful 80 yrds in ideal conditions, but it does increase the price significantly from £289 up to £445 which puts it in the same price range as the more powerful Nitesite NS200..
The night vision add on kits from Nitesite have become increasingly popular. There are two models namely the Nitesite NS50 and NS200. The NS50 has a working range of 50 yrds and the NS200 has a max range of 200yrds in ideal conditions. Each kit basically consists of a camera mounted to the eye piece end of the rifle scope which in turn sends an image through to a rearward facing screen with integrated forward facing IR illuminator which is mounted to the body of the rifle scope tube thus removing the need to look through the rifle scope itself.
As a result, it does still require you to shoulder your air rifle differently. This add on system is ideal for use on Air rifles from Air Arms, BSA, Webley, FX, Cometa, Theoben, etc. etc. and at £349 incl.vat. for the Nitesite NS50 and £549 for the more powerful NS200, they represent the best value for money night vision add on devices. There are more advanced front or objective lens mounted systems available such as the Pulsar Forward DFA 75, thus not affecting your eye relief, but this particular device is not really suited for air rifle use due to the limited target range of air rifles in general coupled with a price tag in excess of £1300..