Night Vision Leupold Mk4 + Badger SNAP + L3 PVS14

NHPiper

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Previously I was running an Athlon Cronus Tactical 7-42x with a PVS27 in front of it. For comparison, I think this setup competes very well with it if not better.

Updated spotting kit:
-Leupold Mk4 12-40 w. Mildot Reticle (sourced by @ilikebmxbikes)
-Vyper14 assembled by @Surgeon_Shooter using a 2600+ FOM unfilmed L3 tube
-KDG HUB in FDE
-Badger SNAP adapter for PVS14
-Steiner DBAL A2 (FP)
-SilencerCo Radius Range Finder

Environment tonight was a 1/3 moon, partly cloudy, with fog hanging over the lake. The fog made it difficult to use the illuminator since the spotter was sitting about 5-6 feet above the water.

Shots through the spotter were take at 905 yards (NINE HUNDRED AND FIVE YARDS)! The zoom was set to 12x and then 30x. I tried to capture how good the image was with and without the illuminator. Any image degradation with the illuminator on is from the fog rolling through.

The rest of the photos are just cool shots through a set of PVS1531 goggles at the setup.

Pros to this setup vs. the SLICK mounting system with a PVS27 or PVS30:
1. Lightweight and modular
2. We can use the PVS27 for shooting
3. Easy to identify man size targets <1000 yards in similar conditions
4. Unfilmed L3 tube provides comparable performance to the thin filmed green tube in my PVS27

Cons:
1. The PVS27 mounted in front definitely picks up more light without the illuminator on, you can’t compete against that. However, this setup holds its own 90% of the way.
2. Requires more fine tuning to focus. You have to adjust the objective of the PVS14 to bring the reticle into focus and then utilize the focus on the Mk4 and the diopter of the PVS14 to fine tune the image.
3. Not as durable. There are more parts to break versus a PVS27 or similar clamped onto the rail of a SLICK. However, for those of us in an overwatch position or not operating, this works fine.

Overall, I would pick this setup. @WillHugh and I took this setup shooting with 22LRs at 273 yards and had no trouble spotting hits on steel and misses in sand. We did use the illuminator, however, the conditions were such that shooting without one, even with the PVS27 mounted in front of my Leupold Mk5 3-18, would have made it impossible to PID or see the target.
 

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dgheriani

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What were you using the run the PVS-27 in front of the Athlon spotter?
 

Curahee19

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I have almost the same exact setup but I was having an extremely hard time getting the Pvs14 to focus onto the reticle or even the targets 300 yards away. No illumination was helping either. Does your badger snap fit snug around your pvs14 ? I can easily remove it from the snap mount. My pvs14 wobbles in there
 

NHPiper

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What were you using the run the PVS-27 in front of the Athlon spotter?

I put the Athlon in the KDG Hub and then ran a piece of arca rail underneath it. I attached some picatinny rail to the rail using Magpul MOE rails. Honestly you could do this without the KDG HUB and just mount any spotter to the same arca rail. I still have the rail at the house, bought it on amazon, so I can send it to you if you want it to play with. Send me a DM.

That photo is through the PVS27 on a moonless night looking at Mt Washington. Cant remember how far it was but somewhere between 5-10 miles.
 

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NHPiper

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I have almost the same exact setup but I was having an extremely hard time getting the Pvs14 to focus onto the reticle or even the targets 300 yards away. No illumination was helping either. Does your badger snap fit snug around your pvs14 ? I can easily remove it from the snap mount. My pvs14 wobbles in there

I wrapped a thin layer of tape on the objective of the PVS14. It was on there already since I run a Butler Creek size 9A flip cap. It is pretty snug now but i have to wobble it into place. Definitely the weak point of the design.

I had the same focus issues until i found you have to use the focus on the PVS14 to get the reticle to focus, then use the focus on the spotter to bring the actual image into focus. We are asking a lot of the PVS14 which was never designed to be put behind magnifying lenses, so I don’t think the image will ever be quite as clear as a good clip on. The higher spec tubes will help this but not fix it. Looking at the pics I took through my phone on my girlfriends computer it is easy to see that the photos arent nearly as focused as with a clip on. I dont know if this is me getting used to the unit, or the way this combo is going to perform, or both, but to my naked eye it was clear and easy to see.

I didnt have issues focusing on the steel at 273 yards or getting the trees into focus at 905 yards, but did have some trouble with the phone snapping some pics at 570 yards of a truck parked in front of a house with the porch light on. Might be some environmental issues here with the setup.
 

Surgeon_Shooter

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    Nice!

    I got called a liar when I did this back in the day by several people on here. Made consistent hit on steel at 1k with a ITT night enforcer that I got from Vic. Had a few hundred rounds on that setup on my .308.

    It works surprisingly well and can get better resolution than a really nice clip on with the right setup and perfect focus. Even the best clip on will degrade the image significantly with increasing magnification. The day scope zooms in on the fiber optic bundle on the image intensifier. Every single imperfection in the image will grow with magnification. For instance, those tiny little specs of scentillation at 1x are the size of a truck tire at 25x.

    With a 14 behind the day scope it doesn’t suffer from this problem. However focus and incoming light transmission becomes the problem. As mentioned above you can and probably will run into some focus adjustment problems. Your parallax and diopter on the day scope will have to be adjusted to perfectly in conjunction with the objective and diopter on the 14. If one of those are adjusted incorrectly just a little it will probably look like you cleaned your lens with Vaseline or the reticle will vanish like It ratted on Hillary Clinton. Secondly light transmission through the scope will decrease greatly as the magnification increases, in turn, increasing the noise perceived in your 14 and requiring a whole bunch of added illumination. But if you get it all matched up correctly you’ll have a great image and the most awkward rifle setup you could imagine 😂

    Jay
     

    GreenMushroom

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    I've wanted to do something similar with my 553 but searching didn't turn up anything. I wonder if that badger adapter would fit it. Do you have a way of measuring the eyepiece on the mk4? Not sure how the Leopold work but on my Kowa the pop out eyepiece unscrew for when I attach my digiscope.
     

    Strykervet

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    It'll work but not ideally and it's a pain in the ass. It also magnifies the light into the 14 and will cause spots in a heartbeat, doesn't take much. If you're careful they won't be too bad and turning off and capping will fix it. Be careful with illum. doing it this way.

    Much prefer a PVS30 instead.

    BTDT, my "divorce spotter special" was a USO observation scope, a Grumman LRF, PEQ2 and a PVS14 on a custom mount a member made me and a PVS14 adapter another member cut for me. Still have it, still gets the job done but it's a better day setup for sure.
     

    GreenMushroom

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    Spots as in potentially permanent blems? It would only see use out in the woods away from artificial lightning. I'd love to have a pvs30 but need a 2nd thermal 1st. My bank account will only take one thing at a time so the 160$ adapter looks promising.....
     

    NHPiper

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    Spots as in potentially permanent blems? It would only see use out in the woods away from artificial lightning. I'd love to have a pvs30 but need a 2nd thermal 1st. My bank account will only take one thing at a time so the 160$ adapter looks promising.....

    The blems arent as noticeable when the PVS14 is mounted behind the magnified optic, at least IMO.
     

    GreenMushroom

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    So my knowledge of the pvs30 was limited to looking at cool pictures on here. Did a little research and holy shit it weighs 3lbs. Looking at it on people's rifles i figured it was light weight being so small. For someone who doesn't hunt i don't think the juice is worth the squeeze.

    I have a 3x magnifier for my pvs14 and will probably get a 5x. The tubes being equal does a pvs30 have a way better image than the magnifiers? The 10x magnifier looks too bulky for most uses.

    My ghetto night spotter and kowa I'd like to try as a night scope.

    20210616_172633.jpg
    20210616_172806.jpg


    The tripod and head are shit. I've tried researching a new one but haven't really got anywhere so if anyone can throw me a bone I'd appreciate it.
     
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    LibertyArms

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    Your right on the slick setup. I like the mk 4 but your right id like to see how other spotters compare to it. Might have to make a universal mount to try that out ! I felt the 27 and 30 was tougher to focus on the spotter zoomed than on a rifle scope ,did you find that to be true?. The 24 seemed to focus easily on both spotter and rifle.
     

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    WillHugh

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    Spots as in potentially permanent blems? It would only see use out in the woods away from artificial lightning. I'd love to have a pvs30 but need a 2nd thermal 1st. My bank account will only take one thing at a time so the 160$ adapter looks promising.....
    Potentially could cause permanent blems if you're not careful. A clipon in front of a spotter amplifies light and runs it into the magnifier, with the 14 setup the magnification is taking place in front of the image tube, meaning if you look at something bright (laser or overly focused illuminator) the light is being amplified before it hits the night vision (think magnifying glass held up to the sun, but pointed into your pvs-14 instead).

    That being said, we used the PVS-14 and spotter around a fair amount of light, including a dbal A2 and I didn't notice any serious shadowing.
     
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    NHPiper

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    Your right on the slick setup. I like the mk 4 but your right id like to see how other spotters compare to it. Might have to make a universal mount to try that out ! I felt the 27 and 30 was tougher to focus on the spotter zoomed than on a rifle scope ,did you find that to be true?. The 24 seemed to focus easily on both spotter and rifle.

    I didnt really have any issues focusing the 27 in front of the spotter. But i did feel like i couldnt get the zoom as high which caught me by surprise. I had no issues seeing at 700-900 yards with the illuminator on and the zoom with the pvs14 and a mk4 cranked up to 30x!