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BRIGHT IDEAS

Pete Wadeson tests
Nite-Hunter's new Supa-Lite, one of the few
lamping kits that really can claim to be totally
gun-mounted…

The amount of gun-mounted lamping kits on the market indicates we're reaching saturation point with products of this type. Unfortunately it seems the majority of these 'new' products are adaptations on old themes. In defence of those available, realistically there are only a few modifications that can be made to what is in effect a standard traditional lamping set-up. Usually any changes will revolve around making the lamp and battery lighter and more compact, but this can often be at the sacrifice of the power of the light and duration of battery life. However, new to the scene are two products from a small independent specialist night hunting company called Nite-Hunter.

Supa-Lite fitted to Custom stocked Air Arms TX200HC Click to enlarge image
Supa-Lite fitted to Custom stocked Air Arms TX200HC

One of the irkits is being specially made for retrofitting to a Rapid 7, as the battery and most of the connectors are hidden inside a replacement stock. Less ambitious, but in my opinion equally innovative, is the Supa-Lite lamping kit...

Universal Fit
The downside of virtually all similar lamping kits, with the exception of the nifty Deben Tracer Cordless, is the fact you're 'tied' to the battery pack, which is usually carried on the belt or slipped in a jacket pocket. This is where the Supa-Lite scores big time as the battery is so light and slim that it's housed in a quality leather pouch that actually straps to the butt of the rifle. Yes, you read that right: everything, including lamp, on/off switch and battery, is attached to the rifle and all are thoughtfully sized that there's nothing to snag up as you walk around. The slim 6V battery and leather pouch easily straps securely to most designs of butt. The compact lamp is fitted to a bracket that attaches to a standard 1" scope body tube. The bracket, which is similar to a single screw scope mount, is a tact fiddly to fit as it uses cross-head screws instead of the more user-friendly Allen head bolt. I say this because as you're fitting the bracket upside down, it would be much easier with an Allen key rather than using a screwdriver. Also, the screws are manufactured from relatively soft, mild steel, meaning they'll quickly begin to wear, or at worse strip. After talking to Antoni Pobriarzyn, the man behind the Nite-Hunter products, I'm assured these little nuances have already been rectified as improving the product is an ongoing process. Anyway, once fitted the bracket can be left in place as the lamp easily slides on and off the top rail of the bracket where it's held in place with a nicely sized knurled edge thumbwheel. And yes, I am being ultra-critical!

Battery pack in pouch fits to butt making a very neat arrangement Click to enlarge image
Battery pack in pouch fits to butt making a very neat arrangement

The on/off switch is simple to use and attaches wherever you prefer on the stock, secured by a piece of double-sided Velcro strip. I personally prefer to mount switches of this type on the left-hand side of the forend for operating with the thumb of my leading hand.

In Use
You'd be forgiven for presuming that when the kit is fitted, the extra weight would alter the feel of your hunting combo... it doesn't. What little extra it adds is at the butt of the rifle. This is not felt as a hindrance in use and, combined with the compact lamp being fitted midway along the rifle, it balances out nicely. Also, although the battery is fitted to the checkpiece, rather than effecting handling, you'll only notice that the leather pouch actually feels quite nice against the cheek.

Lamp with beam concentrator in place on mounting bracket Click to enlarge image
Lamp with beam concentrator in place on mounting bracket

The compact lamp throws a very tight beam - quite a lot tighter in fact than many other leading brands of similar size. Aided by the beam concentrator and combined with the powerful battery and specialised Quartz Halogen bulb, it's capable of illuminating an area right out to 150 metres. This makes it ideal for air rifle, Rimfire and some Centrefire work. A mains battery charger comes complete with the kit, with a full charge giving up to two hours continuous light. During testing I've had no reason to doubt these claims and it has performed very consistently in this department - I'm now on my ninth or 10th charge.

Incidentally, in relation to charging, the battery may be small but is claimed to be good for over 1000-re-charges.

Conclusions
Although I've been critical of the choice of material for certain components, basically I've nothing but praise for what is a very innovative and efficient lamping set-up. Costing £120 including P+P you even get a self-sealing deluxe leather pellet pouch included in the kit.

As I mentioned earlier, Nite-Hunter are planning a range of new products and judging by the quality of the Supa-Lite, it looks like there'll be many more bright ideas to come.

Magazine: Shooting Sports, January 2003, page 38

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Happy Hunting From The Nite-Hunter