Sunday, 1 February 2015

Cheap Lights For Lamping.

Or the blog you write when you haven't had time to mess around with your airguns for a while.

No longer do you need a bike battery and headlight that weighs a ton after lugging it around a field for four hours when lamping, and don't forget the battery acid holes in your clothes either. Nowadays we have small and compact, self contained units that clamp above the scope and can be turned on by a pressure switch for tiny flashes of time to get your bearings on your prey, all thanks to the wonders of LED's and CREE which create vast amounts of light for very little power.

These compact self contained units will cost you about 40 quid for the most basic model and upwards from there, for that you'll get a torch/lamp, scope clamp and a pressure switch, and the effective range will be on the lower end of the scale. Not only that but A123 batteries last about two hours and you tend to need two at four quid a shot.

The more you pay, the better you get in things like improved range as the Lumens go up, different brightness settings or variable brightness, adjustable focus, different colour light bulbs or filters, inbuilt re-chargable batteries and separate batteries with chargers, and ones that play the 1812 overture every time you make a killing shot, though don't quote me on the last one.

Anyway, one day I thought I might treat myself to a lamping kit and end up getting one knocked out by SMK.

Sturdy, tactical looking and good for rabbits, though not for the rabbit itself.

It was about £40 and came with a scope attachment 

Attachment comes with two 22 mm short rails for extra stuff.

and a remote switch. Unfortunately it took two A123 batteries which cost four quid a shot and lasted around two hours, which to my mind was a bit of a swizz as I would have to fork out more money for re-chargable A123 batteries and a charger for them, which would end up costing nearly the same as the lamp kit. Needless to say, it didn't get used much, though it did look pretty cool on top of the Air Arms Shamal.

Good for keeping long wire lengths short.

Pressure switch activates the light only when pressed and is held on with a small strip of gaffer or duct tape.

Looking good on this and most other rifles.

A useful tip here is to set your lamp up at the rear of your scope unlike I did, because that way you don't get the light shining off your barrel interfering with your scope.

Anyhow, a while later I came across a rather slim CREE torch for £10 which had a nice tight beam and was as powerful if not more so than the SMK lamp.

CREE torches come in all sizes and are bloody bright for their size. As for the flexible plastic clip, I can't remember where I found it, but I have two of them, they appear to be the sort of thing that holds aluminium poles together.
I used a little plastic clamp to hold it onto the moderator of the Air Arms S410. 
Placed on the moderator it does not effect the POI or accuracy, and is easy to turn on and off quickly.

It runs off two AA batteries and lasts quite a long time and for £10, not having a remote switch is no hardship at all, especially as I can just unclip it and use it as a torch anytime.

£10 CREE torch on the AA s410 with Bushnell scope, whatever gets you through the night.

This same clip is pretty handy for connecting small nine bulb LED lights to the Co2 tube on my Crosman 2240, and they look well snazzy to boot. 

Value LED torch on a value Co2 air pistol.

They are good out to about 30 yards but are best at 15 to 20 yards, great for ratting at shorter distances which is all the 2240 is really good for.

These things are anything from £1 to £4, small, cheap, and handy.

The most awesome torch I have is actually a CREE bike torch that is 1500 lumens and could spot rabbits four fields away.

This thing is really, really bright. the switch at the rear shines green when connected and red when low on power.

It has a less bright setting which is ideal for hunting, but on full power you can see for about 500 yards. 

The battery pack (8.4 volts) can attach to the rifle using the velcro strap and buckle, your belt, or simply pop it in your pocket.

It has a seperate battery and charger and can be mounted on a head torch adaptor, which works great with any of my other rifles as long as it is set right on my head. 

When used as a head torch it's a good idea to bundle that wire up so it doesn't snag on anything.

I know I have to cover it with my hand til I get the right setting, but that's no great hardship considering this thing could spot enemy bombers at night. It wouldn't be that hard to design a clamp for the rifle for it but it works fine as it is.

One other bike torch I picked up for £6 happens to be a bit wider than the others but has a variable beam as well as two brightness settings, and at the brighter setting is good out to about 40 yards with the scope. The lower setting is good for 20 yards, would suit ratting and lasts a long time on three AAA batteries.

Wide beam setting.
Narrow beam setting, the head just slides as it is pretty cheap.
The actual bike torches have been used on my bike for many months at a time and are still going strong, I live in the countryside and out of the six mile journey to work, three of those are over diabolical pot holes so give a good indication to the durability of these torches. So all in all, you can go lamping for very little money indeed, which leaves you all the money you saved to spend on more pellets or whatever takes your fancy.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe