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Review of Roscoby Riser Cam
Friday, January 30th, 2009

Review of the Roscoby Riser Cam

Reviewing any camera or recording device is always a treat for us here at Heritage Hunters.  After all, it’s products like these that allow hunters to preserve the Heritage and pass it along digitally to the next generation of hunters.  Because the Roscoby Riser Cam aids in this process, we were immediate fans of the philosophy behind the product, but we’ll still try to examine it from a neutral point of view.
The Roscoby is a  product for those who want to capture their bow hunt on film (specifically the shot) but do not have the luxury of having a cameraman in the tree with them.  Then again, for those that do have that luxury (as is the case with Dan and I)  it allows for that second camera angle to add to recreation of the hunt.  Many times, the camera angle is not directly behind the shooter and the Roscoby always provides the shooters point of view. Either way, the Roscoby Riser Cam gives you the ability to film that moment of truth without the hassle of camera-arms and a lot of the other cumbersome equipment associated with videoing the hunt.  Simply attach the product to your stabilizer mount on your bow and go hunting!

Here are the Specs on the Roscoby Riser Cam
• Hands-free digital recording
• Resolution: 640 x 480 pixels (VGA)
• Frame rate: 30 frames per second
• Focus range: 2 – 40 yds
• Operates with minimum ambient light (5 lux)
• Highly water resistant
• SD card memory expansion: Up to 4GB
• Built-in memory: 64MB
• Microphone jack: 3.5 mm
• File format: AVI with DivX codec
• Operating system: Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS/OS X (with DivX download)
• Views on both PCs and TVs. USB and RCA cables included.
• Operates on 2 AA batteries (not included). Lithium batteries recommended

What This Product Does:
The Roscoby Riser Cam allows you to capture your arrow in flight as well as the impact on the animal.  The camera records a digital movie of anything that it’s pointed at.  For examples of the Roscoby in action, check out these videos from Roscoby’s website: http://www.roscoby.com/riser_cam_videos.html

Function and Limitations:
Because the Roscoby Riser Cam is mounted on the stabilizer hole of your bow, the camera must handle a great deal of vibration upon the release of your arrow.  Although today’s bows produce much less vibration than in the past, the force required to propel the arrow is still jarring to the camera.  That is why the footage you see at the shot is “unsteady” at best.  You have to know this fact going in (and we did).  A bow mounted camera simply cannot handle the associated force of the shot without some jarring.   There’s no way around it, so when considering the Roscoby Riser Cam, please understand that it’s not a malfunction of the Roscoby but more of a limitation of any bow mounted camera. The unit weighs approx. 13 oz. so it is not going to add much more weight than your existing stabilizer.  In our case, the unit replaced our Limbsaver Mini-coil stabilizer weighing 7.25 oz.  The increase of 5.75 oz was not noticeable to us on the shot but it did add some length, so we had to take the unit off the bow when fitting it into the bow case.

Another consideration for the Roscoby Riser Cam is that it takes some practice to get used to filming your shot.  One thing we had to train ourselves NOT to do was to drop our shooting hand after arrow release.  It only takes one shooting session with the Roscoby to get used to how to hold your outstretched arm so that the target you’re trying to film is captured entirely.  The Roscoby comes with cables that allow you to quickly hook up to your TV and immediately preview the movies you just captured.  Each movie is broken up into separate movies on the SD card.  This makes it easy to scroll through and pick the movie you want to preview.  One drawback to this unit is that it does not have the ability for immediate preview in the field.  You need a TV or Computer for playback of the recordings on the SD card.   So if you’re still in the tree wanting to see just where you hit the animal, you won’t have that ability with this type of product.

We like the fact that the Roscoby operates on 2 AA batteries.  These types of batteries are readily attainable pretty much anywhere.  Roscoby recommends that you use the Lithium type of AA’s since it gives you better battery life and seems to cause fewer problems in operation of the camera.  We tried both regular and lithium type AA’s and found this statement to be true.  We achieved better battery life out of the Lithium AA’s while getting about the same quality operation out the unit with both battery types.  Bottom line; start off with the lithium AA’s and use the regular type AA’s in a pinch to get you through a hunt if need be.  The unit even has a power indicator light on the display to let you know when the batteries need a changing!

Length of recording:
We got about 50 minutes of recording time per 1 GB of SD card memory with the Roscoby Riser Cam.  The unit accepts up to a 4GB card and the display on top of the unit shows how much time is left on the card.  That means that you can record well over 3 hrs  of video on the unit by using a 4GB card. That’s better than our $2000 Canon G2 which can only record a maximum of 1 hr of video on a single Mini DV tape before needing to change tapes. 

Movie Making with the Roscoby:
Probably the best thing about the Roscoby Riser Cam is that it allows you to take your “In-the-field” memories captured on the SD card and transfer them to your computer to any movie making program.  Many computers now come with SD card readers that make it ultra easy to read the digital data and dump your movies into your computer.  If your computer doesn’t have such a feature however, the included USB cord can accomplish the same. 
Once the contents of the SD card are dumped into your computer, you can start manipulating your movies with a variety of software. If you’re a Windows fan, “Movie Maker” is quite simple to use.  If you’re a Mac user, “IMOVIE” might be the simple choice.  Because of the jarred “at the shot” footage we experienced, we found that slowing down the footage resulted in seeing the shot and the impact better.  Add a Firenock to the mix and the flight of the arrow is unmistakable!

 

Quality:
We’ll break this down into 2 parts: Image quality and Physical quality of the product
We were quite impressed with the Image quality of the Roscoby.  We played around with the camera in a variety of lighting and found the quality of movie image is quite good. 
We experienced zero problems with the physical quality of this product.  The plastic housing was rugged and waterproof.  We never tested the Roscoby in a downpour so our “waterproof” statement needs to be tempered here.  We did however test this product during a rainy afternoon and experienced zero problems.  We thought that since we wouldn’t be filming with our regular cameras in such conditions, why would we use the Roscoby?  On the other hand, the Roscoby might be an alternative for use in those conditions when you normally wouldn’t want to take out your $2000 camera.  Food for thought.

Microphone:
The Roscoby comes with a small microphone that you can plug into the front of the unit.  The microphone works quite well at picking up sound and is recorded in mono instead of stereo.  The sound of the shot is exaggerated however since it is so close to the bow upon release of the arrow (as can be heard in the video clip above) 

Overall Comments:

We definitely see a use for the Roscoby Riser Cam not only for the average hunter wanting to video his/her hunts, but also for the more serious videographers out there wanting more than one camera angle.  Often times, Dan and I need a little break videoing each and every hunt.  Sometimes we just want to go out by ourselves for one or two hunts during the season.  Last year I did that very thing.  I went out by myself on the morning of November 10th and shot the deer pictured below:

I remember feeling sky high at the quarry in front of me but also a little down because this hunt wasn’t on video.  Imagine if I would have had the Roscoby Riser Cam????  This product would have preserved the shot on digital video along with the track job and other emotions that I shared with another hunter that day, my father.  I could have unscrewed the camera from the riser, using it as a hand-held, or simply kept it on my bow and pointed it toward what I wanted to film.  For the $350 that this product costs, I could have relived that shot along with countless other memories in the field.  Lesson learned!

Look at it this way.  If you want to get into filming your hunts but don’t really want to fiddle around with cameras and camera arms in the tree (and you don’t have a cameraman to take care of all this for you), you’ll want to take a hard look at the Roscoby Riser Cam.  It’s a quality unit that will help preserve those bow hunts forever on digital video.  The folks at Roscoby are also extremely helpful with any questions as well, many of which can be found on their FAQ page.

Our Marks on this Product:

Function / Quality:  4 out of 5
The fact that this camera is mounted to the bow during the shot makes the video of any impact shot a jarring experience.  However, slowing the video down via any movie making program on your computer makes the shot much clearer and easier to see.
The Quality of the video image on the Roscoby is very good otherwise.
The ease of use is also a standout on this unit.  Mount it to the stabilizer hole, push two buttons and you’re recording! 

Battery Life: 5 out of 5
Using the recommended Lithium Batteries gave us about 1 – 2 hours of usage in Moderate to Cold temps.

Value/ Price: 4 out of 5
The jarring of the video at the shot is something you can’t get around.  However, the quality of video for the price is excellent (especially if you’re using the unit as a hand held) and if you utilize a movie editing program to slow down the shot, the memories preserved are well worth the price in my opinion!  Like I stated in the review, I would have gladly had this unit for last year’s buck!  If it’s within your budget to look at the Roscoby Riser Cam, I’d suggest it to anyone.

The Perfect Gift:  If you’re looking for that perfect gift for the avid bowhunter in your midst, take a look at the Roscoby Riser Cam (www.roscoby.com).  In fact, we feel that one of our members should get the opportunity to play around with this product on their next bow hunt.  That’s why we’re giving away the very unit we used in this field test.  We can assure you that the unit is in perfect working condition and was not banged around too much!  We’re pretty careful with our equipment since we usually can’t afford to buy new stuff.  Check out this link to enter to win the Roscoby Riser Cam  http://www.theheritagehunters.com/forum/index.php?topic=718.0

Ethics Check – January 2009
Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Shoot ‘Em in the Head!
By Bob Peck 1.21.09

In a hushed but firm whisper all I heard was “What are you doing?! Shoot ‘em in the head!” coming from a fellow hunter who was guiding me that day. There was only a very small but clear and unobstructed 80 yard window of opportunity. All we could see of this 150 class buck was his head.  Without any exaggeration the mass on the antlers looked to be as thick as my wrists. What a magnificent animal!

Perhaps it’s more accurate to say we saw only an 8-12 ” square patch of his head and with binoculars you could see a leg or two. He was totally unaware of our presence and reasonably stationary as he browsed casually in some thick undergrowth. My .30-06 was the perfect weapon at this range for this shot. My .30-06 was mounted on a Harris bipod and had a very clear, very crisp Nikon nothing- special-all-I-could-afford scope mounted and dialed all the way in. This was basically a chip shot but I chose not to take it.  I think it was probably my hunting mentor and Father coming through the hundreds of hours he had spent with me in the field teaching me the ethics of taking the proverbial high percentage broadside double lung shot.

“I can’t do it.”

I said this in a barely audible whisper and then quietly moved over and raised my eyebrows in that silent gesture of  “Have at it if you like.” My fellow hunter guide slid into position. He took all the time he needed to adjust himself, get his breathing under control and set up.  He chose a prone position which I thought was a little weird at first but hey, to each his own, so long as he has a clear field of fire.

I had my binos raised and focused on the animal.  The buck’s head would bob slowly to the ground to graze and then slowly come back up to chew.  If I remember correctly he was browsing on some white oak acorns.

It’s cliche to say but it seemed like it took forever but eventually I heard the safety click off and then a loud crack rang out. I watched the deer drop immediately. I heard “That’s what I’m talking about!” through the ringing in my ears.  “Man.  That muzzle blast was something that caught me off guard!” The first words out of my mouth were “What the heck are you shooting there partner?!” There was a pause and a big smile “That, my friend, is a .308 caliber custom made AR15 with about $3,000 worth of the world’s best optics and rifling.  I’m shooting a 165 grain ballistic tip bullet.”  I’m not sure I was impressed as I’m an archer by first preference and in my wildest dreams, even if I had the money, couldn’t imagine what $3,000 in optics would do for me.  Add to this that I grew up with a gun collecting police officer father, firearms have always been a bit of a mystery to me since my Dad was basically a firearms  “professor “.  My firearms world extended to a .30-06 I’ve had since I was a kid and my Ithaca 16 ga   “Deerslayer” slug gun. I’m a little more advanced than that today but not by much.

Well sure enough the head shot was effective and with a ballistic tipped .308 round at 80 yards there wasn’t much left of the head except the antlers which we later picked up from two different nearby locations on the forest floor. I later learned that Max (fictitious name to protect the real hunter) was a proud member of the “Twofer Club” which I had never heard of. This was a loose affiliation of gun hunters who exercise extreme patience until two deer were perfectly lined up a certain way and then killed with a single round.

Max was a very accomplished hunter and rifleman.  On and off over a period of years, I actually came to like the man very much.  He worked exceedingly hard at preparing his own hand loads, practicing from distances as far as 1000 yards, reading everything ballistic he could get his hands on and was a weekend competitive shooter. He routinely took shots on animals many would consider unethical such as spine shots, head-on chest shots and of course the obligatory and seemingly easy (at least for Max) head shot.  The challenge for this hunter was in the shot itself not in the actual taking of the animal. Max says  “If you practice the shot, are supremely confident in the shot and have a clear view of the target, there’s no such thing as an unethical shot.  It’s bozo’s who don’t do any of this preparation that lack ethics.”

As with other installments of the Ethics Check column how the rest of the story unfolds is interesting.  What’s your take?

click-here-ethics-check

January 2009 Member Profile
Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

If you’re a frequent visitor to our forum, you’ll undoubtedly recognize our next Member Profile.  It gives us great pleasure to present a little Q&A with “Flintlock1776

HH: Tell us a little about your hunting background?

FL: I grew up in the Bronx, NY where owning weapons was not possible. When I moved to the country I just loved the big woods all around me and just self taught myself how to hunt. I had some help along the way as I met more folks that hunted but the initial effort was mine. Growing up in a concrete jungle I just found the natural outdoors such a great experience.

HH: What is your favorite type of hunting and why?

FL:I hunt Deer & Turkey pretty much exclusively. I tried Bear hunting a few times but I was always drawn back to deer & turkey. I like to hunt Deer with bow, muzzleloader and rifle. Bow & Shotgun for Turkey.

HH: What advice about this type of hunting can you relay to the members of Heritage Hunters?

FL:It takes time, dedication and learning from your experiences to get proficient in hunting. When I first started and a buddy pointed out a deer trail in the leaves, I could not recognize what I was looking at! Years later and with them help of some good binos, I have been able to pick out a deer’s nose through the woods at 100 yards and maybe more! It also helps to try and deal with “buck fever”. You never get over it really but if you get out in the woods often you can take buck fever down a notch. Although, if I ever lost the pulse and excitement of seeing a good deer then I would say it is time to hang up on hunting. Thankfully, most people I know tease me about being obsessed about hunting. They like golf and such, but to me a golf course is a terrible waste of hunting space! Also, I don’t think we ever stop learing about hunting and that is fun as well!

HH: If you could hunt anywhere in the world for any type of animal, where and what would it be for?

FL:I am happy with my experience of hunting right where I am. I have hunted and hunt still in Alabama, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Jersy and New York (I moved a lot in my life). I hunt on my own land or land where I have secured permission. I can’t swing any of those hunting clubs so I have not been able to try some of those great places we see on TV hunting shows. I think that if I had an opportunity to hunt elsewhere it would be for deer and turkey. If I had to pick a place perhaps Illinois, Kansas or Texas.

HH: How did your Fall Seasons turn out?

FL: My Fall season was a personal best for me! After decades of hunting with a bow I only harvested does. Well, this fall I finally got a nice 6 point buck! It was the furthest shot I ever took with a bow (40 yards) and a great heart shot where the deer did a back flip and expired right there! Bow season runs here until 2/21/09 so I still have a chance to get one more buck. I have a wide 10 point I have captured on my tail camera on my land. I missed him during the rut due to me getting buck fever! I will keep at it! If I don’t get him I figure he may be even bigger next year if he survives NJ hazards like cars!

HH: What are your plans for the 2009 Seasons (Turkey / Deer)?

FL:For sure I want to get back to Georgia to hunt, I am one of the very first people to get a Lifetime GA  license when they first offered them years back. Unfortunatley the place I hunted there in Georgia was purchased by a female country signer. She put up her mansion and there went my little honey hole. I plan on hunting Alabama, NJ and maybe NY. My brother lives in NY and with our sechedlues we never were able to hunt together, ever. This year we are working hard to try and finally hunt together!

HH: Can you tell us the story behind your HH forum screen name?

FL: I love history especially American history and the founding of the country. The flintlock was the weapon of choice to gain our freedom and harvest game. 1776 for our declaration of independence. I believe in  “aim small, miss small” :-)

HH: How are you passing on / or intend to pass on the Hunting Heritage?

FL: I am taking my oldest son on his first deer hunt next week in Alabama. Prior to this, his interests were baseball, football and then girls. Now that he is a bit older and recently discovered parents are not crazy old fools, he decided he wants some hang time with dear old dad and to give hunting a try. It must be a Family tradition to get into hunting later in life!

HH: What’s the best thing you like about TheHeritageHunters.com?

FL:I like the community, the respect each memebr gives to the posts they make. On other forums there are instances of verbal warfare for having a difference of opinion. Also, there seems to be pople that are trying to become some sort of representative for hunting product manufacturers that just stifle dialogue in their belief they are helping their cause to get a compnay’s backing for their personal gain. That is a real lack of transparency in my view. I like the openess and friendly dialogue I always find on The Hertiage Hunters forums

Well Flintlock1776, we certainly appreciate your membership to Heritage Hunters as well as your insight on the forum. 

Review of Judd Cooney’s Book “The Bowhunter’s Field Manual” by Fincop
Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Fincop Reviews Judd Cooney’s Book

The Bowhunter’s Field Manual

Ok, now I’m back after a small break and it is great to see the input the HH forum readers have put into my questions on the forum!

The reason for the slight delay of this review is that I’ve been away on a month long working trip abroad, with all the preparations and aftermaths of that and I’m currently close to the end of my studies at the National Police College, which requires “some” study time. At this moment I “should” actually be writing my dissertation, but enough is enough.. A person needs some relaxation too!? I had actually already gone to bed an hour or so ago (local time now is 23:14) for an early morning shift, but the first “real” winter storm started to blow and keeps the windows rattling, so I can’t get any sleep yet. So I jumped out of bed and started writing this review that is overdue.

This review is going to describe Judd Cooney’s bookThe Bowhunter’s Field Manual, which I bought and read already a couple of months ago. In the aftermath I think it was a really good idea not to write this article without the time gone by! After reading the book I had a quite strong negative attitude against the book, and could not see past the first feelings that arose from reading it. A feeling that actually has nothing to do with the content of the book!! Let me tell you a little bit more about it.

I’ll have to start off with the fact that I’ve personally worked about 2 decades in various “customer service” professions, including about a decade as an instructor, and to my opinion you should NEVER make fun of your customers. Especially publicly or behind their backs! So now we get to the first point that annoyed me during the reading of this book. That is that Mr. Cooney has a slightly “sarcastic” way of telling stories about his former customers that have messed up in some way during hunting trips he has been guiding. Mr. Cooney’s attempt is probably to point out various important lessons by these “examples”, but at first I missed the point. Another negative word about the book is the poor printing and / or proof reading of the first chapters of the book. It is actually quite hard to read when you have the same words “double printed” and sentences jumping from line to line..

BUT.. After 2 months of  “settling” down my initial thoughts on the above mentioned subjects AND an interesting moose / deer hunt, where I actually got to test a few of the ideas Mr. Cooney puts to public knowledge in his book, I’ll have to admit that this is a book worth reading after all! The book has almost nothing purely on “how to bow hunt”, since all the information can be put into good use in any kind of hunting! Surely the book describes a variety of pointers to take into consideration when bow hunting also, but as a novice hunter in all aspects, I did find the pointers and instructions helpful, stalking a buck deer in November with a rifle in my hand!

The book is divided into 18 chapters, which each covers a different prey and the ways on how (and where!) to hunt this kind of animal. The book is written with the North American hunter in mind, and some of the animals described in the book cannot be even found here in my country. Not that I personally would even be that eager to go hunting for grizzly bears or cougars with a bow..  The content of each chapter is almost the same and is at first telling a short anecdote about Mr. Cooneys hunts for the aforementioned animal, to then be continued with a description of the actual animal’s habits and habitats. Then he goes on telling about different hunting techniques, tactics and equipment effective for the prey in question. Ok, I still have to admit that the anecdotes seem a little long compared to the rest of each chapter and the reader can easily understand that Mr. Cooney sees himself as the ultimate hunting guide in the US. An attitude I might not like too much as a paying customer spending Big $$$ on a “all inclusive” hunting trip, but as a reader of his book I might accept it whilst he still is sharing a LOT of useful information!

So as a conclusion, I would recommend reading the book even if you are a seasoned hunter. There most surely is a pointer or two that almost anyone can pick up as for hunting tactics or equipment? IF you are a novice hunter like me, BUY the book and just bare with Mr. Cooney’s way of telling things! I’ll promise you that you will be returning to the book for more information after being out on a hunting trip that nearly got you that deer.. As I did! It does not teach you anything in archery, but it will give you very important advice on how to successfully hunt various animals, whatever your weapon might be.

There is also a need for a few words of warning! Do NOT attempt to hunt all the animals in the book with the mentioned tactics, if this book is your first “look” into bow hunting! Or even if you have hunted for a few years.. I personally think that Mr. Cooneys tales about “stalk hunting” black bear with a bow is close to madness!!! But then again, we all have our “joys”!?!

Next article is coming in a month or so, after I’ve finished all my “school work” and in that I’ll be telling you a little about my “evolution” as an archer, as in describing how I’ve learned to shoot a bow. I just barely might say that I know how to shoot these days, since I’m at currently at a 575 points level in 18 meter indoor competition.  But more of that in a later story! Now the storm have passed our little town and I’ll try to get some hours of sleep before this mornings shift..

Success to you all in your huntings!

Yours,
Fincop

The Frugal Sportsman – January 2009
Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Hat

By Hollister DeLong

Hey y’all. This time I am going to be writing about optics.  There is nothing better to start an argument with than optics. But before we start the arguing; I have a couple of items.  They deal with the trip to sporting goods store and the possible nightmare that awaits.
 
It was always the practice that quality sporting goods store employed personnel that were trained or at least had experience in the items that they were in care of. Then came big box mentality and a new meaning for customer service. I am sure many of you have agonized, trying to get a simple question answered about a product you were interested in, only to have the clerk tell you they were filling in at the Sporting Goods counter, usually they were in the golf shoe department…aahhhhhhh!
 
I guess I would not be a good marketing person, because if a person did not know anything about Sporting Goods…they would not be in there. Just last week I was in a large chain Sporting Goods store looking through the rifles, for a steal. I do find them every once in a while. I wanted to see a particular weapon and asked the clerk for assistance. His name tag indicated he was the Hunting Lodge Manager…ok…so could I see the 799 Remington that was advertised? Well, his response was “Ah, is that a rifle or shotgun?” Friends that is your clue to leave immediately and look for a local mom and pop shop to spend your hard earned money at. I cannot fathom a store or chain of stores so ignorant to have a totally unqualified person in charge of selling lethal weapons. How can they answer an inexperienced person’s questions if they do not know the answer themselves? All too often, they simply fabricate a plausible and believeable answer, even if it is out of left field.
 
I have observed this a number of times. It reminds me of a used car lot in the late 1960’s. All the clerk needs is the yellow and green plaid sports coat.
 
“Do we have deer rifles? Of course we do! We have some of the best deer rifles in the county. This is a Winchester…(he looks down)…I’m sorry, Remington. It’s the long hours, I swear sometimes I don’t even know my own name. That’s why I wear a name tag…hahahaha…This rifle is in 338 Winchester Magnum, perfect for whitetail deer and it’s on sale! Why yes, your 12 year-old will be to handle this little beauty. I sold one of these to a lady at my church just last week and she loves it!”
 
No sir, I will be happy to pay a few dollars more to get the service I expect when hunting items are concerned. No one wants to spend less on anything than I do. But there are times that spending less actually costs more. If you know exactly what you are looking for and how to properly use it, then the big box store can, sometimes, save you money. What many people do not realize is that quite a bit of the “sale” merchandise can very well be last year’s stock from some other store or warehouse. Buying left-over merchandise only makes sense if the priced cut is dramatic. I am not objectionable to buying certain outdated items, as long as that item is not scents, attractants or other items that lose there potency with time, which is why many scent manufacturers tell you to discard the scents at the end of your hunting season. Come next season, they have lost their punch. You have to ask the clerk if they are fresh for this year. If you are lucky, some manufacturers, that they carry, date their products.
 
I am about 5 Maine miles off my topic for this column. A Maine mile can be anywhere from a mile to 15 miles, depending on who gave you the directions! “It’s abow ta mile, ayuh”
 
Now folks are thinking about new optics for hunting season, instead of last January when those optics were collecting dust on the store shelves. That’s okay, optics are necessary for many folks, me among them. Where the arguing comes in is over which optics are “best”. Good grief, how I despise that word. Best for who? The only person who can say what optics are best for you is…you. Do not listen to some guy on a hunting channel that says his scope is the “best”…he is paid to say that. Do not listen to some friend who tells you what you should buy. And especially do not listen to the kid from the golf shoe department telling you which one is the “best” buy.
 
I am asked that very question all the time. My answer is always the same. I can only give you an idea of the optics, in your price range, that I find are good quality and will do the job. I would do that if I worked for the big box store. Tell me a range for your optic budget and I will suggest some for you to physically look through. See which one suits you best, as far as clarity and brightness. That’s what it boils down to folks. Forget the ads and hype. Yes Zeiss scopes, generally, are superior in optic quality to a low end scope from anyone. Does that mean you should run out and buy a Zeiss…not at all. Optics, more than many items, are priced according to the quality of the process that produced the lenses (the optic in optics). But if you have $50, $150, $350, whatever your budget says you can spend, to buy a scope or binoculars, it is imperative to find items in that range, pick them up and look through them. Then you can make an intelligent decision. “These will work,” I am attempting to put together some optics in the various price ranges and let you know what I feel about them. All this will be is a guide. How they look to me may not be how they look to you. Here is a quick case and point: Back in the late 80’s, a gunshop owner friend of mine convinced me to order a Leupold 3-9X40 Vari-x II for $349. He said it is the “best” scope going. Ok, I ordered it and he mounted it for me. I sighted in on an overcast day, but I felt the scope was a little dark and had a brownish tinge to it. I mentioned this to my friend who told me it was a design feature, great in snowy conditions. I have not purchased anything there since and the Leupold went down the road. Those scopes and the models that followed enjoy a large fan base. But, my eyesight does not match up with them.
 
A couple of years ago, I needed a cheap scope for my son’s muzzleloader. He could only hunt a couple of days (he is in the Army and was in Afghanistan at the time). I went on EBay and won a BSA Catseye 3.5-10X44 and installed it on Tyler’s smokepole. I was shocked! It is extremely bright, extremely clear, adjusts perfectly and was $35!! The scope works so well, Tyler wants it left on his gun. Sure, I might have gotten lucky. But I would have still felt better if it were not as good than I felt with a $350 scope I could not use!
 
That is what prompted me to put together a “guide”. That and listening to a clerk at the big box store tell a customer he should buy the Nikon 4-12, that was on special (it was over-priced to begin with and now they were scrambling to sell it). He looked the customer in the eyes and said “You are new to hunting, then yes sir, THIS is the perfect scope. Sight it in at a 100 yards and, look here, see where it is marked 4, 5, 6, right up to 12? Well, there you go. You see a deer up to 400 yards just hold right on him. Further than that, just match how far you think he is with the number on this ring, right up tom 1200 yards.” You cannot make up something like that. 1968 Used Car Salesman, alright. “Yes sir, this little beauty will do everything you want a car to do, and at the best price in town, my word on it. I will even throw in a hat, breeze and tunes at no charge. Whadda ya say?”  In case you were not around then, hat, breeze and tunes translates vinyl top, air conditioning and radio. 
 
When you head outdoors, take a youngster with you. Remember, enjoy the outdoors, just do it cheaply. God Bless.

“Firenock” Lighted Nock Review
Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Review of Firenock – Lighted Arrow Nock

The Firenock is one of many choices in the lighted nock market place.  It is however one that we feel represents the best combination of reliability, quality and simplicity.  “Simplicity” in terms of the on/off capabilities as well as the installation and of course, the dependability of this device.

To start things off, as usual, we’ll present the specs on the Firenock G series (Style “S” was the style that we tested):

*Fits most standard diameter carbon shafts with internal diameter (ID) of 0.242″ – 0.246”
  *24K Gold plated hermetically sealed “G” Switch, MTBF of 100,000 cycles
  *24K Gold plated connector for best reliability and corrosion resistance
  *Target model will shut off light n 15 seconds after activation (ST, SU)
  *Weighs ~27 grains with the nock (~15 grains more than a standard nock (12 grains))
  *Built with 8,000 LUX focus-beam LED
  *Last up to 24 hrs, 48 hours with 1-hour increment burn
  *Built-in Light-Pipe design
  *High speed spin balance design with MIL-Spec. O-ring
  *Auto shut off after 12-17 seconds after activation (ST only)
  *Matched weight practice nock included

Reliability:
The way the Firenock works is by acceleration.  In order for the LED inside the nock to turn on, it must reach a specific acceleration only generated by the shot from a bow string at a minimum of 125 feet per second.  Once the arrow with Firenock is shot from the bow, a time period of 4 to 8 seconds must elapse before one can turn off the LED mechanism.  To turn off the Firenock, drop the arrow (nock down) perpendicular onto a flat “semi-hard” surface.  Now “semi-hard” surface can be interpreted a variety of ways I suppose, but www.Firenock.com gives the following examples as a “semi-hard” surface:
“A pine block, the top of your boots or inside floor of your truck are examples of semi-hard surfaces” – firenock.com

Note: We’ve had good success using the inside (and outside) of our bow case, as well as the outside cover of our Treelimb quivers to turn off the Firenock.

Firenock claims 99.9999% reliability with their product and after hundreds of shots, we are in agreement with this figure.  We could get into a discussion of polycarbonates, gold connectors and alloy wire but we’ll hold off on the physics lesson for today (Note: if you are truly interested in learning more about what makes Firenock so reliable and effective, feel free to contact Dorge Huang at Firenock.  He is no doubt more proficient at explaining the scientific and technical aspects of the Firenock and probably will be glad to do so for you)  Firenock contact Page

Fuzzy logic aside, we are hunters who desire a better line of visibility on the trajectory of our arrow.  Not only will this help us to see a clearer picture of where we hit the animal, it undoubtedly will help us find the arrow after the shot (and we all know that the arrow can sometimes be a major clue to the severity of the impact on the animal and what steps to take after the hit)  A word of caution however.  These Firenocks light up the arrows path so well that you may be tempted, under certain low light circumstances, to take shots that you normally would not attempt in low-light situations.  Just because you may be able to see your arrow’s flight better in those situations, doesn’t mean it’s ethical to take those shots.  Nuff said on that!

Quality:
“You get what you pay for” is exactly the sentiment in this category.  The price of these babies are steeper than those found on local Walmart shelves.  Yes, you can pick up another brand of lighted nock at Wally World for a cool $8.95 but you will not get the reliability and longevity the a Firenock offers.  Simply put, the switch mechanism that runs the Firenock is the smallest ever built for commercial purposes.  Because of this, the custom tooling needed to manufacture the switch mechanism, along with the gold plating required to enable the switch to withstand a million impact cycles, costs some coin!  Here is how the two types of general Firenocks break down in price:
Pack of 1 Firenock = $19.95
Pack of 3 Firenocks = $54.95
Now before you say “Wow, that’s expensive for a lighted nock?” under your breath as you’re reading this, consider the following:
1. Each pack of Firenocks come with practice nocks and weights to insert into those practice nocks (simulating the actual weight of a Firenock installed).  You can practice with the exact weight and nock of your Firenock without burning down the battery (Battery will stay lit no less than 24 hrs and up to 48 hrs in 1 hr burn increments)
2. The customer service that Dorge at Firenock provides is second to none.  In my limited experience with Dorge, he has been more than helpful to answer any and all of our questions.  In one instance, our Firenock target nocks arrived without the battery component (Target nocks stay lit for 15 seconds and then turn off to conserve battery).  I emailed Dorge and within hours, he called me on the phone to assess the situation.  I had the battery components two days later.  On another instance, we were experience a diming effect on one of our Firenocks.  Dorge promptly returned my email and gave us some advice on how to fix the problem (which turned out to be a small degree of dampness causing the nocks to fade after the shot).

Simplicity:
Firenocks are super easy to put together.  You simply thread the pin shaped end of the battery component through the hoop of wire and push it into the small hole of the circuit board.  Then slide the rubber O-ring onto the fat end of the battery until it comes to rest on a small groove (The O-ring keeps the battery snug against the inner wall of the arrow shaft so it doesn’t rattle around).  Insert the assembled Firenock into the end of your arrow just like you would a regular nock.  No magnets or actuators are required. 

Even Firenock’s website is simple to operate.  Once into the site, you simply scroll over the tool bar on the tope of the page and click on the type of nock you’re interested in (we recommend you start with the Firenock GSH series) Once on the GSH page, scroll up to the top of the page and you can then select a Firenock that will fit your exact type of arrow with the “Select a Manufacturer” feature.  Firenock has all the major arrow manufacturers on there to make selecting the right style nock a breeze. 

The Firenock in Action: Before getting into our Marks on this product, we invite you to take a look at the Firenock in Action on our latest episode of FieldTrips (below). Note: The Glowing Nature of the Firenock can be seen much better on the High Quality version of this clip.  Even at 8:15am, the Firenock is seen by both Hunter and Cameraman.

Here’s a Video taken with the Roscoby RiserCam (Review Coming Soon) that shows the Firenock from the point of view of the Hunter: Note: the vibration on the shot is due to the fact that the Roscoby RiserCam is mounted directly onto the bow via the stabilizer hole.

 Here is our marks on Firenock:

Design: 5 out of 5
One discussion with Dorge and you’ll understand why we gave him a 5 out of 5 for design

Performance / Function: 5 out of 5
Any problems we had with the Firenocks were from moisture related issues and not a mechanical defect.  The nock is as bright as we’ve seen on the market and the ability to see the shot more clearly is absolutely awesome.

Quality: 5 out of 5
They use real Gold plating on the circuit boards!

Price: 4 out of 5
These nocks are more expensive then their less reliable counterparts on the market.  We’d like to see the price of these nocks a bit lower so those that want to “dabble” with lighted nocks would feel like trying them without a cost factor, but if you believe the old adage “You get what you pay for”, you’ll see why these nocks fit the bill.  

If you have any questions on this particular nock, you can go directly to the Frequently Asked Questions page on Firenock’s Website.  There is a ton of detailed information on there.

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