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  • 8 Post By hotbarrels

Thread: Spotlighting - headlamp and rifle setup

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Spotlighting - headlamp and rifle setup

    A the request of @Phil_H, and to take off line from the original posting here https://www.nzhuntingandshooting.co....torches-68838/ regarding torch performance, detailed below is my view and best performing kit to date for spotlighting rabbits and possums.

    As per the above thread:

    From a hunting perspective, IMHO, a head lamp is your best method of searching and finding your prey (way safer than waving your gun all over the place with your gun mounted light), then once found, turn on you gun mounted light for the shot. Using a head lamp keeps your hands free for the important job of controlling your gun.

    Therefore, for me, run time on the gun light is not a big issue as it is only on for short bursts. For this reason, I sold and/or gave away all of my 2 battery torches (including two Maxtorch's) and changed over to a single battery torch. Its smaller, lighter, and far easier to manage batteries because you don't have to try and match battery capacities or charge levels - just throw any single battery in and when its done, change it out. This is particularly helpful what your batteries are getting close to end of life but you are too Irish to throw them out (like me).

    For the headlamp, I have mounted a bike type light onto the top of a safety bump cap (the light weight caps with a slip over fabric peak on the front), mounted to the best balance point for comfortable wearing, which for me is close to the crown of the cap. I use two of 4x battery pack holders that allow you to change out the batteries. When one runs flat (2-3 hours run time) I change it over and if need be, put a fresh set into the dead holder ready for the next change.
    The peak on the cap is important as it shields the light from the front lens on your scope, removing reflections.
    I also have my light outputs such that the head lamp output is slightly less than the gun mounted light. That way I know that if I can see the animal in the headlamp, I will be able to see it better in the gun light and guarantee a safe and humane kill.

    In addition, I don't mount my torch to the scope or the rifle barrel. I have found that the best place to mount the light is under the fore end. Its way more ergonomic to raise the rifle to a shooting position using the body of the torch as a rest for your forehand and thumb the light on to take the shot. To achieve his I have routered a flat spot on the fore end of the two rifles I use for night shooting, with the routered section being parallel to the barrel channel and mounted a 2" section of rail to the stock to accept the torch mount.

    Just some thoughts on how I manage lighting, but each to their own.


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    UltraFire Headlamp mounted to the crown of a lightweight safety bump cap using a normal headband strap hardware with the strap remove. The hard shell under the fabric pull over with peak makes it super easy to mount the light with 4x small dia bolts. I trialed placement for a bit to get the final balance right as this is quite a big light.

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    The Trustfire EB02 battery pack hold 4 batteries. The blue dial is the screw head to remove the top cover to replace the batteries.

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    For the rile mounted light I use a Nitecore P30 (old version) mounted to a 2" section of rail fitted to a flat section on the fore end, routered parallel to the barrel channel so the centre of the light beam is centre with the rifles point of impact. I use a Nitecore GM02 mount.

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    Gear list:
    bump cap - heaps of options like this https://www.safetyatwork.co.nz/prote...lack-grey.html
    Head lamp - I think its a UltraFire XHP70 which I bought direct from UltraFire as they were not available any where else https://www.ultrafire.com/Bike-Light...ke-light-p8462
    TrustFire battery holder - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3294...27424c4dvhr6Jp
    Nitecore P30 - there is a new model out so not sure how it compares to what I am using - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3282...27424c4dTpyYAI
    Nitecore light mount - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3288...archweb201603_
    rugerman, MB, winaa and 5 others like this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Mid Canterbury
    Thanks @hotbarrels for taking the time to put the pictures up.
    I really like it.

    Currently as a headlamp I use one that we bought on AliExpress for use on Sharon's night patrols around the fenceline. It throws a beam of probably 100 meters and is reasonably good but it is of a shitty plastic manufacture and we have to keep on duck-taping it up to keep it working. I like your setup as it looks robust.


  3. #3
    MB is online now
    Member MB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Yes, great post. Agree, torch on rifle is not good as a spotter. Currently using a handheld torch or a thermal monocular as a spotter which works pretty well, but can see the advantages of your system.

  4. #4
    Member G.I_Joel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Beaut set up, do like the bump cap inserts too. Awesome stuff
    Go fast, Donít suck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Aside from spotlighting with white light, I also hunt in the completely different mode of thermal + IR, using a pair of thermal bino's to locate the rabbits and then shoot using a PARD 008 IR scope.
    When spotlighting with white light you are busting through the country side at pace trying to get onto rabbits before they move off due to the lights, where as with the thermal+IR you are working very much in stealth mode, covering less area but hunting to a higher kill ratio.

    When using the thermal+IR on my last two hunting trips I have trialed using a red LED headlamp in an effort to spook less rabbits when advancing forward to the next shooting position, and I was pleasantly surprised how effective this was. The first headlamp I tried was a combo lamp (white/red) which just scraped me through with no moon, but didn't really have enough output to safely negotiate rough ground. So I upgraded to a dedicated red LED headlamp powered by two 18650's. I took a punt on one from Aliexpress and this thing punches out some light, almost too much. Its pretty light weight, and it doesn't like the flat top batteries, but for the money I will be buying a whole spare headlamp as a backup.




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