Do the Americans know something we don’t about lamps? The editor asks
Wicked Lights, an American company, have come up with a sophisticated lighting system
Our friends at Scott Country never sit still because they’re always on the lookout for the next exciting product that will make hunting just that bit more fun and, in particular, hunting at night. They sell the sexiest night- vision and thermalimaging kit money can buy, so I was a little surprised when they sent me a conventional scope- mounted lamp. For me, it was good news because I’ve tried lots of high- tech digital night vision and, to be honest, I didn’t like most of it and stayed loyal to a good old lamp and scope set- up. They’re easy to understand and only a fraction of the price of the NV gear.
The system they sent me was quite clearly American, with a name like ‘ Wicked Lights’ model A67iC, which is a pleasingly comprehensive system. It features the flashlight (or torch to you and I) a remote tail cap switch and a sophisticated mount to attach it all to both 1” and 30mm body tubes. It also has two 18650 Li- ion batteries and their charger all wrapped up in a soft, padded carrying case. I love having a case for things like this because if you put all the bits inside when you finish a night’s hunting, they’ll be just where you need them next time.
The mounting system is well thought out with a ring that clamps onto your scope. It has a section of Weaver rail on top, and once clamped firmly in place, it won’t slip, damaging your expensive scope and losing the lamp’s position relative to your field of view. A similar clamp wraps around the lamp’s body and the female section of Weaver rail makes the connection to the scope. The upper clamp has a quick release so that the lamp can be removed to get the rifle into your gun slip or when you need to put it into your gun safe. It also has thumb wheels to adjust for windage and elevation which is a very important feature. If your rifle is zeroed at 30 yards, you can zero the lamp at that distance too so that if you use the very narrow pencil beam it will be exactly on your rabbit. With the two halves joined, you can attach the remote switch to your rifle, either with the elastic loop attached or with the sticky Velcro patch included.
The remote switch not only turns the lamp on and off, but is also a rotary dimmer switch, allowing you to control the output instantly, to suit the moment. The switch feels good and solid, much like the rest of the system. Brightness is not the only adjustment available, though; the lamp head can go from a very wide flood to a tight and rather novel, square pencil beam, by rotating the front tube that holds the lens. Further to this, you can select white, red or green output by simply rotating a control knob on the side of the lamp. This is massively better then swapping filters that all too often drop off somewhere in the middle of a grassy paddock, never to be seen again. A further advantage is that all three colours deliver full power, whereas filters absorb some of the output, which is ultimately then just a waste of power.
Also included in the kit is a rubber ‘halo shield’ that is slipped onto the lamp, from where it can be adjusted to eliminate any distracting reflections from your rifle or silencer.
Scott Country couldn’t offer me an output figure in lumens from the manufacturer, but I can tell you it was spectacularly bright on full power. In most airguns situations we’ll be turning it way down, but full power can be useful for long- range searching ahead to spot where the rabbits are, so that an approach can be planned. For closer- range work, a soft, wide beam can be set, with enough power to get eye shine from the rats without
“If your rifle is zeroed at 30 yards, you can zero the lamp at that distance too”
dazzling them into running away. Adjustability and control are your friends in these situations.
Even though all three colours deliver the same power output, I found the green light suited my eyes well in a variety of conditions, and as ever, I found red least helpful. At full power in the white setting, the range seemed huge and I could see rabbit eye shine at immense distances.
It has to be said that this is not an inexpensive kit, but you do get a lot for your money and I really sensed that it was designed to take the knocks of a hard life in the field. Small features, like supplying two batteries, tells me that it was designed by people who hunt and who know the frustration of a battery going flat just as the action gets going. This is a superb system, especially for hunters who also own rimfire and centrefires, because this versatile kit will serve all your guns well.
The twist of a dial instantly gets you white, red or green output
ABOVE: This is a fully comprehensive kit, tough enough for some hard work
RIGHT: The remote switch is top class
BELOW: This strong padded case is included in the package