Want the ability to hunt at night in near to complete darkness? How about just being tacti-cool? Well Bushnell has a product that is reasonably priced and can get you hooked on night vision. I was interested in doing some night hunting of small mammals in Wisconsin and since the shining laws prevent a person from using a flashlight except at the point of kill I needed another way to see game at night. Traditional night vision uses a intensifier tube that is both expensive and fragile. You can ruin it by over exposure to light and just break it. The Bushnell night vision I bought and will be reviewing here is digital! The cost? $230 at Amazon and Bushnell had a rebate going that made my final cost just $160! Thats an amazing deal for night vision so I was skeptical about its quality.
The Bushnell night vision 4.5×40 equinox z with AR rifle mount. Can be co-witnessed with a optic and mounted on a standard mil-spec rail. The unit itself is water resistance to ipx4 which means the unit can get splashed with water from and direction which makes it a good night vision add-on for night hunting. While I would not expose it to a steady down pour, getting caught in a storm will probably not ruin it. The unit runs off 4 AA batteries and can be used in full light. The optic is 4.5x with a digital zoom of 5-13.5. The objective lens is 40 mm and fully coated. Has onboard picture taking and video with sound. With a integrated IR illuminator. The body is rubberized and a sealed unit. View range of 750 feet and weighs 22 oz.
First impressions are good upon opening the box. The monocular appears well built and has a rubberized feel to it. The included mount for the AR is just about as heavy as the monocular is! That is a down part of the whole thing but not a deal breaker and I can perhaps mill it down a bit to decrease the weight. The mount is well made and secures well to the monocular and the rifle. I tried to co witness with several different types of optics. First I tried a 4x acog and a typical rifle scope, both of which would not work. Then I tried a traditional red dot and a reflex sight and both worked. The red dot seemed to work better but that may be due to the fact that the reflex sight was an el cheapo. I will be sighting the rifle in during the day, thankfully the digital night vision can operate in daylight. The ranges I shoot at don’t allow night shooting so I don’t know where or how I could even sight in an intensifier tubed night vision device. The view screen is a bit grainy and takes a bit of time to equalize after you move it. The videos and pics are grainier then the display and as a point of kill device this will work really well. The videos I will being posting are of a couple deer in a moderately lite night. it was not a full moon but was not cloudy. So the night vision works with moonlight quite well without the IR illuminator. Since the illuminator can only be used at the point of kill in Wisconsin the fact that you can run the monocular without it is a huge plus. The controls work good and placement is not an issue.
The only draw back I see so far is the battery issue. This thing eats batteries. I will be getting some good batteries to try and see if that extends the life of them but your typical cheapo AA batteries last only a few hours and since there is not way to add a battery pack you will need to carry plenty of batteries to change out. Which is a inconvenience but for the added benefit of night vision worth the trade off.