The Longshot LR-3: on target or missing the mark?
For the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of testing out the Longshot LR-3 target camera. I’ve tested some other types of target cameras out before, with very poor results. Needless to say, I went into this review with a great deal of skepticism.
- Straight Shooter 2-Mile Guarantee
- CrispEdge 2688 x 1512 HD Imagery
- All-Axis Camera Adjustment
- OverObstacle Design
- Blinker Shot Locator
- Patented “Go the Distance” Link Technology
- Includes: Camera, Receiver, Hard Target Camera Case, 2 Tripods, Charger
- MSRP: $899 (on sale for $719.10 at time of this review)
The Longshot LR-3 ships in a very nice, Pelicanesque hard case. The foam cutouts contain the camera and wireless receiver units, as well as the manual, charger and two lightweight compact tripods for mounting the units. The units themselves attach to the tripods via 1/4″ camera threads.
Both the camera and the receiver unit have their own on/off switch and battery level indicator on the bottom. On the side of the camera unit are indicators for power, camera connection, and wifi broadcasting. On the side of the receiver are indicators for power, wifi broadcasting, and connection strength with the camera. The manual is rather well written, clear, and easy to follow.
My one minor quibble is that the tripods make heavy use of plastic, and the ball heads can move even when the tension is tightened as much as I dared to without breaking anything. Due to this shortcoming, I would recommend having higher quality tripods on hand for use in windy conditions, to avoid having to travel all the way back downrange.
The Longshot is controlled and viewed via the rather useful and well designed “Targetvision” app. The app is compatible with Android version 5.1+ or iOS 8.0+. I used the iOS version of the app. The app has the following functions:
- Main menu
- Blinker shot locator (helps you find your most recent shot by blinking over the bullet hole, as long as one taps the shot locator button after each shot)
- Mark shot (can place a number your shots, and you can adjust color and size of marker for different groups)
- undo shot marker
- show/hide markers
- shooting options
- snapshot (take a picture of the target)
- record (take video of target)
- camera selector (for multiple camera units)
- live group (one can measure group size remotely by knowing the distance between two points on one’s target)
- zero mode (can aid in zeroing one’s rifle. Android only, I was unable to test this feature)
Setting up the Longshot:
Prior to initial use, one should charge the units for 4 hours. Once at the range, pair your phone with the camera unit first while setting up your field of view relative to the target by connecting to the camera’s own wifi network. I usually set the camera obliquely oriented to the target, enough so that it won’t be impacted by a miss or frag. An eight to ten foot distance yielded a full view of an IPSC target. The camera can rotate somewhat independently in the housing for FOV flexibility. If further adjustment is needed, one can tilt and pan the unit on the compact ball head tripod. Just be sure the back of the camera unit is generally oriented towards one’s shooting position. Note: past 1 mile in distance from the target, taller tripods (around 36″ in height) must be used
Once back at one’s shooting position, set up the receiver and turn it on. Then be sure you are connected to the receiver’s wifi instead of the camera’s. You should have a live view of the target, along with a live timestamp at the top of the frame. Once that is complete, you are all set to shoot. Note: Multiple cameras can chain into the receiver unit for use with varying targets at different distances, or multiple targets on the same line.
longshots in the field:
My initial usage of the Longshot was to dial in hunting loads for myself at distances of 200-500 yards. The second time, I used it to help my friend dial in his hunting rifle in the same fashion. In both instances, using the Longshot was more beneficial than using a spotting scope. The first time, it was sleeting and the second time it was rather warm, with a bit of mirage. Having a camera on target up close aided in ameliorating both issues. I found that looking at my phone screen propped next to my rifle also aided in keeping my shooting position intact, instead of hopping over to a spotting scope between shots or strings.
Over the next few months, I was able to use the Longshot in a variety of distances out to 900 yards. Temperatures ranged from 75 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. All types of precipitation were encountered as well. The Longshot has not yet failed to perform. The Targetvision app was very user friendly, easy to understand, and I’ve yet to encounter any bugs. The app is a bit of a battery burner, though, so be sure to have your phone charged adequately prior to a range session.
Overall impression and future plans:
Overall, I found the Longshot LR-3 to be a very useful and problem-free tool to add to one’s long range shooting toolkit. It’s the first outdoor target camera system I’ve used that works exactly as advertised. It is not a full replacement for a good spotter and spotting scope, but can greatly aid independent shooters in target observation. It also provides a pretty clear and up-close view of the target at a much lower price than a high-end spotting scope. Shooting long range in hot weather, fire risk is reduced if one uses this system in conjunction with a paper target rather than shooting at steel.
Its advantages over a spotting scope are that mirage and weather will not occlude one’s view of the target, and the use of the shot indicator blinker makes it easier to determine which shot is your most recent one. Video playback of a shot string is also very useful for diagnostic purposes. Shooting long range with iron sights is greatly aided by the Longshot LR-3 as well.
Its main disadvantage is that the Longshot system is best used in a shooting situation where one is the only shooter, or implicitly trusts the other shooters on the line not to put holes in one’s camera system. At the end of the day, it’s an object downrange with all the risks that entail. Also, one cannot read the wind using just the target camera, unless you put a wind indicator within the frame. This isn’t too huge of a negative, however, as one can read wind with pretty much any quality LR riflescope.
In the future, I plan on using the Longshot at distances out to two miles. Keep tuned to TFB for an update on this exciting technology.
- Mirage and weather do not occlude the target
- Easy LR hit detection without using steel
- Has been 100% reliable so far
- Well written manual
- Easy to use app
- Excellent carrying case
- Can be accidentally shot
- Multiple targets require multiple cameras
- App burns iPhone batteries quickly
- Can’t read the wind like a spotting scope
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