GB Sights Elite Scope Add-On Night Vision Unit Reviews

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written by C3PO on 27/12/2008

I have been looking to get a new NV unit after owning various units, which have been, in order, Yukon NVRS-F (Gen 1), Cobra Merlin (Gen 1), SM-3S26 ("HyperGen" 2+) and finally a standard unit, LEDRay torch with Yukon Digital Ranger (digital). I've been intrigued -- and impressed -- by digital night vision with the Ranger and had an opportunity to try out the latest GB Sights unit, which is the successor to the "ASPro". The great thing about digital is that it is not afflicted by tube burn by being exposed to too much light, although exposure to sunlight isn't going to do it any good!

This unit arrived brilliantly packed (I was worn out removing the gaffer tape!) and comprised all the standard bits and pieces. Took it upstairs and went into the loft to fit onto the back of the Legend. After a few minutes fiddling, successfully got a very good image of the reticle. I did have a problem only getting part of the reticle in vision but corrected this by turning in the lens on the back of the scope. Switched it on and was impressed! I removed my LEDRay light and fitted the IR LED illuminator (100mW I believe) using the same mount as for the LEDRay, and then removed the honeycomb thing from the illuminator.

I waited until 1715 when it was properly dark around my parts. I live in the countryside with no light pollution from street lights: when it's dark, it's dark! Went into the garden and set up on a table, focusing the scope first to 20yards. With IR on, the image was stunning and having to compensate. with IR off the image was visible, albeit a bit dark.

Next test was out to 35 yards. You have to use IR at this range and the image was very good, bright and clear! Next test: 60 yards. At this range the unit will begin to struggling through a scope. The image is still clear, but you need to turn up the unit's sensitivity and this results in a reduction in the frame rate of the unit. This is obvious when you pan around but once the rifle is settled -- such as a classic sniping position for rabbits -- the image is absolutely fine. I suspect the limiting factor was probably the IR unit and anything beyond 60 yards would benefit from a Laser IR unit. Digital units are very IR-demanding.

I am pleased with the performance of this unit. It surpasses anything Gen 1 -- either dedicated or add-on. As for the HyperGen scope I owned, this digital unit does not come up to that unit's standard, but then that unit is twice the price. I would say it is around two thirds to three quarters the quality of the HG dedicated scope (remember, this is an add-on). Nevertheless, the quality of the picture is very, very good and surpassed my expectations. The negative point is the frame rate issue (you can adjust the sensitivity, darkening the image somewhat, then turn up brightness to help compensate) but this would be remedied by a laser unit for long range shooting. Batteries can be gobbled up too powering the Elite. Certainly for 12ft/lb and even FAC air hunting ranges, this unit is a worthy piece of equipment.

Finally, I thought I'd post a rough, and subjective, score for each of my NV units I have least you get an idea of comparative quality. 100% is the image quality of the HG scope, as this is the benchmark.
SM-3S26HG: 100%
Elite: 70%
NVRS-F: 55%
Merlin: 40%

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