Laser Genetics ND-3 Laser Designator
Check your own state and locale laws on night hunting. There, now that's out of the way.
In an attempt to eliminate a coyote or two that had developed a taste for sheep, I took a couple of major leaps into the world of night hunting. Having only tried the cold dark treks for coyotes a couple of times over the years this new venture was proving to be an eye opener.
A cheap laser/flashlight combo seemed like a good place to start but it didn't take long to realize that even if a coyote arrived on the scene, I would be hard pressed to get enough light in the right location to get the job done with the rifle unless he was close.
So after some research on the net including youtube and forums, I settled on the notion that a Laser Genetics ND-3 would be an expensive but awesome solution.
The ND-3 Long Distance Laser Designator is a flashlight style laser. It reminds me a lot of the older “mini-mag” flashlights that ran on 2 AA batteries. You could adjust the size of the beam by rotating the head or lens end of the flashlight. The ND-3 has a collar that rotates but it must work on a similar principle.
I have played with night vision on an older camcorder that I have. It's pretty cool but doesn't reach very far at all. While the ND-3 has the appearance of "night vision" it is in fact a green laser.
Laser Genetic offers a couple of variations on this product that are “scope mountable”. They have a standard version that will operate at temperatures down to 45 degrees Fahrenheit and a “sub zero” version that works clear on down to 0.
Since the bulk of my hunting should be during the lambing season, February and March I figured that I should go for the sub-zero model.
The unit arrived with a multitude of mounting brackets and fixtures to suit several applications such as a binocular mount, a scope base mount and a scope mount complete with windage and elevation adjustments.
I hustled to my loading room and mounted it atop a Ruger Compact sporting a Simmons 3-12 Aetec. A couple of trips out to the yard looking at trees and I was amazed. Much like the little mini-mag flashlight the ND-3 casts a light on nearby trees with no problem. But rotating the collar to tighten up the field of view, it just got better. Then I cranked up the scope power and I was simply fascinated. I could clearly see the reticle and the target with ease.
Back in my basement, I shown the laser on a coyote mount across the room, looked through the scope and imagined the scene as the real deal. OK, I'm ready, gotta go try this gizmo out.
The first trip out was cold night down into the upper 20's and I wasn't sure how long I would be able to sit with that temp. After being on the stand for a brief time, I felt I should turn on the light and quickly scan the area.
I punched the button on the back of the ND-3 and nothing happened. In the next few of minutes of cussing and changing the battery I realized that the laser was not responding well in the cold.
Leaving the laser on was the option I chose for the duration of that trip. At least, on for several minutes and then off for a minute or two. That seemed to cause the unit to respond faster to turning on when the button was pushed instead of the delay that I had already become so frustrated with.
At the end of that session I had to take a look through the scope in the actual hunting environment to see what it was going to look like and I also wanted a better feel for what kind of distance I could expect to see.
I looked at an old vacant hose and dialed the field of light into about 4 feet. Then cranked the scope up to 12. Once again I was impressed. The detail visible through the scope was truly amazing. Had there been a coyote standing there at well over 200 yards it would have been no problem to nail him.
Additional outings proved to be overly frustrating with the ND-3. Delayed turn on, failure to turn on, failing to stay on. Frustrating is an understatement especially at the price of these suckers. $379 at Laser Genetics web site
I called Laser Genetics and actually got a voice instead of a machine. He understood the frustration and assured me they could correct the problem. When I asked about turn around time he said they are running about 4 weeks. Now I'm usually a patient man, OK, I'm seldom a patient man, but 4 WEEKS? I need it now in order to work on the coyote problem, remember, that's why I bought it.
Shipped it to them on 3/8/2012
Stay tuned for updates.
Amazingly, a new ND-3 arrived today. Now that's customer service !
Out of the box it works perfect. Unfortunately our cool overnight temps are now in the 50's so it could be next fall before I get to see if the temperatures are again going to be a problem.