Sightmark Wraith 4K Ultra: it makes nocturnal ratting easy
Mat Manning puts the Sightmark Wraith 4K Ultra day-and-night scope to the test against a sudden influx of farmyard rats
Sightmark Wraith 4K Ultra
Price as reviewed: £600
Perfect conditions for testing the Sightmark Wraith 4K Ultra
This summer’s dry, hot weather saw harvest completed in record time on lots of farms. The result was a sudden influx of rats moving on to farmyards in search of food and shelter. Although not the mass exodus that usually comes when cold, wet conditions make life uncomfortable in the open countryside, there were enough rodents to warrant a few nights out with my airgun.
The increase in ratty activity provided a great opportunity to put the Sightmark Wraith 4K Ultra day-and-night scope from Scott Country International through its paces. I had already used the Wraith in various guises, and have always been impressed with the balance it strikes between performance and affordability. Packed with features and retailing for only £599.99, including a Picatinny mount and infrared illuminator, the 4K Ultra looked set to maintain its predecessors’ enviable reputation.
My preparations began by mounting the Wraith to my FX Impact MkII airgun — a compact sub-12ft/lb model with huge magazine capacity, which is perfect for farmyard ratting — and then zeroing up on the garden range. (Read our list of the best air rifle targets.)
This task was made easy by the Wraith’s full-colour daytime viewing with 4K ultra-high resolution, and its simple one-shot zeroing mode. You simply hold the crosshair on target and move a cursor to where the first pellet or bullet strikes, then save the new setting. In reality, it usually takes a couple of additional shots to fine-tune, but it is still a fast process. (Read our advice on choosing air rifle pellets.)
Need to know
- Model Sightmark Wraith 4K Ultra
- Length 215mm
- Weight 1kg with mount
- Magnification 4-32x
- Detection range 274m
- Features Full-colour daytime viewing, 10 reticule designs, nine reticule colours, video recording, USB connectivity, mount and illuminator supplied.
- Price £599.99
- Contact scottcountry.co.uk
The Wraith 4K Ultra also gives you the option of saving up to five different profiles. This could be useful for switching between different guns for different purposes, such as an airgun for ratting and a rifle for foxing, but you could also use it to save different zeroes at different ranges with the same gun. The latter would enable you to shift between profiles and still aim dead-on when tackling targets over various distances.
Darkness was closing in when I arrived on the farm, but there was enough light for me to have a quick recce. It revealed a prime area of attraction around a calf pen next to a grain store. Two rats actually darted off from beneath a creep feeder as I approached the pen. Some shooters find night-vision units like the Sightmark Wraith a bit heavy. I do most of my night shooting from a static position with the gun supported either by a bipod or sticks, so weight isn’t a problem. However, weighing in at 1kg with mount and batteries, the 4K Ultra should be comfortable enough for shooters who prefer a roving approach.
Set up on my stool by the grain store, close to a bank the rats were using to access the calf pen, I was soon scanning through the Wraith. The illuminator has three power settings, and the lowest one was sufficient at such close range. On full output, it gave me a clear view of farm buildings and machinery well over 100m from where I was sitting.
The 4K Ultra gives you a choice of 10 different reticules, each in a choice of nine colours. I opted for a conventional design, which included useful markers that I could use to apply hold-over and hold-under to keep shots on target should opportunities arise closer or further than my 15m zero.
It wasn’t long before I had the reticule hovering over a rat’s head. Lit up in green, it provided a clear aim point. I soon made my first addition to the night’s haul by landing a pellet right between the unsuspecting rodent’s eye and ear. It was about 14m from where I was sitting, so I didn’t need to push the Wraith’s 4-32x zoom. I had it set at 6x and left it there for the duration of the session. That made for pin-sharp viewing after focusing in with the front dial. As with any digital optic, the image does lose clarity as you move through the higher end of the magnification scale.
Time always flies on a ratting trip. Spending late nights out shooting farmyard rats may sound like a grim proposition, but it has an atmosphere all of its own and is actually one of my favourite forms of shooting.
The Sightmark Wraith 4K Ultra runs on four AA batteries. Digital sights of this type can eat through batteries, but the Ultra has a USB port, so you can connect an external power source. That was the option I went for, so I didn’t have to worry about battery-drain while waiting for the rats to emerge.
Pop a microSD card (not supplied) into the 4K Ultra and you can save photos and video of what you see through the scope. Recording is a simple one-touch procedure. I found it easy to capture high-quality footage of my shots as rats ventured out to feed under the cover of darkness.
My nocturnal pest-control foray drew to a close just before midnight, by which time the Sightmark Wraith 4K Ultra had helped me to account for well over a dozen rats. As with other optics I have used from the Wraith range, it proved to be a great piece of kit that punches way above its price point in terms of performance, build quality and ease of use.
PARD NV008S NIGHT VISION RIFLE SCOPE
- Price £645.99
- Contact sportsmanguncentre.co.uk
- This is a popular choice with shooters who want a compact, lightweight night-vision solution as it weighs only 415g. Features include 6.5-13x magnification, video recording, ballistic calculator and e-compass.
INFIRAY TUBE TD50L
- Price £899.99
- Contact highlandoutdoors.co.uk
- For shooters who want a digital day-and-night optic with similar proportions to a conventional telescopic sight, this model is ideal. Features include on-board recording with 16GB memory and an integral rechargeable battery.
A great piece of kit that punches way above its price point in terms of performance, build quality and ease of use.