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Initial Review of the Sightmark Wraith Night Vision Scope
Yes! A true-to-life high definition night vision scope and a full-color daytime scope for $499!
The Sightmark Wraith Digital Night Vision Scope is a 4-32x50 digital day and night vision rifle scope. The hype has proven to be true. Easy to use, great quality, great value! It can be used as a regular rifle scope during daylight hours with a full-color high definition 1080 display or used as a night vision scope during nighttime. During the nighttime, the included Infrared Illuminator is attached to the scope to allow it to "see in the dark".
The SM18011 Sighmark Wraith has a 1920×1080 HD image sensor, making it one of the best digital night vision scopes on the market. Included with the Wraith is an 850nm external Infrared Illuminator powered by two C123 batteries and a sturdy mount. The illuminator has three power settings for nighttime imaging for accurate target acquisition up to about 200 yards.
The Wraith features a built-in camera and video recorder so you can record and share videos (no sound) using a micro-SD card. It has 10 reticle options and 9 color choices that can be quickly changed to fit your hunting conditions. It uses four AA batteries and has an external MicroUSB port for external battery packs. Video resolution in day mode is 1080 color high definition and at night it is 720 white/black or green/black mode. The display quality you see in the scope is better than the videos below show.
Sightmark Wraith Ringing The 200 Yard Plate
The Wraith comes with a fixed tactical type mount with heavy bolts for secure mounting to a Picatinny rail but I opted for the Sightmark QD mount. I secured it to my 6.5 Grendel AR and headed to the range for zeroing and testing. The Wraith is rated for rifles up to 308 Winchester caliber, so the Grendel recoil should be no problem at all. The standard mount or QD mount brings the scope to just the right height for my AR15.
The first great thing I found at the range was how easy it is to zero. All the controls are right at your fingertips and the menus are easy to navigate. The built-in zeroing function lets you fire a shot on target, then hold a crosshair on the aiming point while you move a second reticle to the shot. Just like that, you are zeroed in a few shots. You are doing this in full-color mode and it could not be easier.
The Wraith can store up to five zero settings for different bullet weights or different rifles. I set up two different bullet loads for the 6.5 Grendel and then moved it to my .223 upper and set it up for my favorite varmint load. And yes, it maintained zero almost perfectly when moving it from one rifle to the other.
Battery life is very good. One set of Duracell Alkaline batteries will last 3-4 hours. The scope has a battery life indicator that changes from green to yellow to red. You will still have over an hour of power left after the indicator turns red.
I have shot the Wraith at the range in bright sunlight, at dusk and total darkness and the display screen is always clear. There is a brightness control in the settings if you think it is overly bright in full sunlight. The diopter focus adjustment on the rear eyepiece lets you focus the reticle until sharp for your eyes, and makes the screen info easy to read. The front manual focus adjustment is precise and the focus ring has a firm movement that does not change unless you physically turn it. The front lens has a rubber dust cover and the rear lens has a removable rubber eyeshade.
I really wanted to get out on a nighttime hog hunt with the Sightmark Wraith, but the weather really made it tough the first couple of weeks. Video quality in the daytime was really good, but because of a lot of rain, tall grass and crops in August, I was struggling to get some nighttime hunts and video.
Finally, the rain let up and Doug and I were able to hunt some pastures and cut hay fields. We found a sounder of hogs in a pasture without too much vegetation and were able to take a couple of larger hogs in the video above. The distance to the hogs is about 50 yards. The quality of the video does not actually represent how good the image quality of the scope really is. The view through the scope is much brighter and sharper. The black pigs in the video were easily seen in the scope.
A couple of hunts later I was lucky enough to capture a coyote hunt on video, and the Sightmark again worked like a champ. Things happened quickly but the Wraith makes it easy to record the hunt. This coyote came into the field from 200 yards and was working to the call. All I had to do was touch one button and then concentrate on making a good shot. The colored reticle really stands out against the black/white video image so making a shot is easy. One shot from my trusty 6.5 Grendel put him down at a little over a hundred yards.
The clarity of the Wraith is so much better than the older Sightmark Photon XT and RT models. The adjustable focus of the scope gives you a clear and detailed image at any distance. The included Sightmark IR illuminator is a good light out to about 200 yards. It is compact, can be zoomed from flood to a pinpoint beam and has three power settings. That being said, the quality of the scope is much better than the factory illuminator's range. Double the light and the Wraith can deliver clear images at a much longer range.
One drawback to shooting any night vision scope is the light reflection from gun smoke when you shoot. It can prevent quick follow up shots if there is no wind to blow it out of your way. Do not think there is a problem with the scope going out of focus, it is just a reflection. Some ammo produces a lot more gun smoke than others and it can make a difference when shooting at night. I found my hand loads for my 6.5 Grendel produced less smoke than factory ammo.
The Wraith's control buttons and focus rings are very easy to work in the dark. All of the functions you use during hunting are accessed using the arrow buttons around the center power button. After using the Wraith for a short while, using the functions are just second nature. When we spotted the hogs in the video, our guns and tripods were in the back of the truck. I grabbed my rifle, hit the power button and by the time I got my shooting sticks ready, the scope was ready to go. I hit the left button for night mode, the right for record and I was ready to shoot in under a minute. The Wraith powers up in only 5 seconds!
The Wraith can save up to five zero settings for different loads or rifles. There is an optional return to zero mount available from Outdoor Legacy for $59. It is a very secure mount. Once locked in and zeroed, it holds and does not move. Even after my inadvertent "drop test", it still maintained zero.
I found when moving the Wraith from one rifle to another using the QD mount that it usually, but not always, returned to zero to be within about 1 MOA. I would advise you to confirm your zero before going out to hunt if you change rifles.
Finally, there is a real night hunting scope option between a $25 red flashlight and a $3500 Thermal Scope. I have tried older night vision scopes and actually went back to my flashlight. The Wraith is the real deal for $499. After a lot of range time and several hunts, I am impressed with this scope. I think after a few more hunts I will like it even more.
The Sightmark Wraith did everything well. Daytime images are sharp, night images are great, and the Wraith functioned perfectly. Operating the digital controls are a little different than a traditional scope but very easy after you get the hang of it. The controls are conveniently located and even in complete darkness, it is easy to operate. The IR light is adequate for most hunting situations, but the scope is much better than the included light if you are hunting large open fields.
I only have a couple of things I don't like about the Wraith. The first is weight. It is pretty compact, but it is a heavy scope coming in at about 36 ounces. It has a strong aluminum housing that is waterproof but the price is weight. I usually hunt with a tripod, so that few extra ounces really doesn't matter.
The second thing I would ask Sightmark to consider is to lower the power of the scope. At the base magnification of 4x, it is pretty hard to keep a running hog or coyote in the frame, especially at close range. I think 2x-16x would provide a better field of view at the low end and 16x would be plenty of magnification on the top end. Few hunters will ever need a 32 power scope, even for small predator hunting. Hunting over a feeder at 25 or 30 yards gives you a very clear image but one hog will fill up most of your field of view. Followup shots will be difficult.
If you are a night hunter and not ready to drop $3000-$5000 on a thermal scope, then the Sightmark Wraith may just be what you need. Couple the Wraith with a Sightmark Signal 320 RT digital night vision scanner or Pulsar Axion thermal scanner and you will be a serious threat to any hog or coyote.
The more I hunt with the Wraith, the more I appreciate what a great piece of hunting equipment it really is. I am still working with the Wraith, but it only took me one trip to the range and a couple of night outings to get comfortable with the scope and have successful hunts.
Hunting With Sightmark Wraith Night Vision Scope
The Sightmark Wraith HD Night Vision Scope was the star of the 2019 Shot Show and Sightmark can not keep up with demand. Want a Wraith? Get on the next Outdoor Legacy Wraith waiting list asap. Fortunately, I received my Wraith after Outdoor Legacy's second shipment arrived in July. If you want one also, contact Jason (877)350-1818 at Outdoor Legacy to pre-order your Wraith with a $100 deposit. The price for the Sightmark Wraith with External Illuminator is $499 with free shipping.