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Author Topic: LIGHTS FOR HUNTING  (Read 35578 times)

Offline black bear 84

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« on: June 06, 2007, 08:28:11 PM »

This post will try to show how different lights used for hunting compare with each other, and will clarify the difference between the lumen ratings used in Luxeon (LED) lights and incandescent lights.
In short, I will show (through pictures) how Luxeons lack definition when used at increased distances.

I have maintained for a long time that LED Luxeons donít have the range over the incandescent to really be helpful for general hunting. They are excellent lights to use inside the house; their beams are very clean, white and with substantial flood, and in the average house, that is all you need. However, when taken outside to the backyard, woods, or large structure and the distance to the target is 25 yards or more, they lack definition (as they lack the red spectrum of light), and their poor penetration of fog or rain makes them inefficient to clearly identify what you are seeing at that distance.
Moreover, when the subject being illuminated is an animal with a light-drinking fur (depth of texture), the blending effect of the LEDís (against the background) will cause the observer to lose perspective.


Hunters that have used the Fenix LOP (1 AAA) consider this light ideal (except for the lack of a clip). Another favorite is the ARC AAA. These lights can be held in the mouth without any discomfort.

Fenix has put out a bigger light (1 AA) with two stages output, and the lower output will be also ideal for projecting a soft LED beam that will aid in walking the woods in the pre-dawn blackness when going toward your stand, (perhaps following a trail of cat-eyes) at this time, it is necessary not to pollute the area with more light than what is absolutely needed.
Some hunters that know the terrain well, prefer to use a red filter over the light, as is well known that deer and others animals cannot see red light.


Those same hunters want to have a good light on their belt. Some prefer the two cell 123ís lights like the Surefire 6P, G2, or C-2 for their better flood beam over the more tightly focused Streamlight Scorpion, TL-2 and Night Fighter II.
They look for a run time of one hour and an output of 65 lumens.
Some opt for more intense lights like the Surefire 9P or the C-3 with their 105 lumens and one hour run time.
The Streamlight TL-3 is a little too tightly focused for a belt light but it will do fine at the longer distances were the bigger lights shine.
In LED form (Luxeon V), the Surefire L-4 is a good contender due to the excellent flood light that it puts out at medium range, however it lacks the throw needed for more distance illumination.

The main thing is that the hunters want to avoid losing precious seconds by panning a light when in the woods. That is why the Surefires are preferred over the tightly focused others brands, because they have special reflectors that diffuse the light into a bigger flood pattern.


Some hunters  wear a light holder in their belt (a plastic and leather ring). On exiting their cars, they slip in the ring one of the powerful rechargeable lights, most commonly the Magcharger (200 lumens) or the Ultra Stinger (295 lumens) and some even  a Borealis 1050 lumens mega light.

Those are ideal lights for search for wounded game, search and rescue of lost partner, signaling at long distances and using them as spotlights after the hunt. Being rechargeable, they are always used with a maximum run time (taken out of the charger at start of the day, a thing that you can not do with 123 batteries unless you are willing to dump half-used batteries at the start of every day of hunting.

Their large diameter (2 inches) reflectors put more light at a longer distance than any of the belt lights. Even though some of the belt lights approach 200 lumens, they do it with reduced run time and much reduced throw, due to their small diameter reflectors.
A Magcharger will put a spot of light at 150 yards, as will the Ultra Stinger and a Borealis has the capability of illuminating the whole road for 250 yards.

Lets start with the popular Surefire G-2 (or 6 P) at 65 lumens, the target is the 8 by 12 tool shed at 30 yards.
We are going to pit the Surefire G-2 65 lumens $35.00 against the Surefire Digital Lumamax L-4 (also 65 lumens and with a price tag of $160.00).

Surefire G-2 65 lumens

Surefire L-4 Luxeon V, LED, 65 lumens

And now we are going to pit the Surefire 6 P with the P-61 120 lumen lamp (20 minutes run time) against the best Luxeon LED thrower that I have (similar to the cree LED).
This is a Mc Gizmo PR T head with a TWOJ bin Luxeon doing 120 plus lumens.

Surefire Centurion C-2 (same as the 6P) with the P-61 lamp, 120 lumens.

And the PR T with TWOJ bin Luxeon, (LED) @ 120 lumens

And now we are going to show a belt light of 200 lumens (The Surefire Centurion III with the P-91 lamp, 200 lumens, 20 minutes run) and three cars' lights of 200 lumens plus and beyond.

Surefire Centurion C-III, 200 lumens P-91 lamp.

And here the Magcharger also 200 lumens, with its bigger reflector and tighter focus will throw the light at 150 yards, while the Centurion III range will stop at 45 or 50 yards.

Magcharger 200 lumens (40,000 candlepowers)

And here is the Ultra Stinger, the most powerful of the rechargeable from Streamlight with 295 lumens and 75,000 candlepower.

And now the BOREALIS, the light that has  the format of a 3 D (12 1/2 inches long) outputting 1050 lumens for 50 minutes.
This is similar to a two million candlepower spotlight

As I have over 200 lights that I have used at one time or another in my hunting expeditions, I am well familiarized with distinct situations that call for different lights and method of using them.
I have encountered a new one lately, that calls for following a wounded wild boar at night with a powerful pistol like the S&W 500 or a 454 Casull  and also a powerful light in the order of a Surefire M-6 (500 lumens) or a Borealis 1050 lumens.
For myself, I cannot think of another pursuit that could be more dangerous to life and limb, although I have a lot of respect for the young athletes that have tried it, I consider it too ďExtremeĒ for my good health.

Hope I can do some more talking to the members about my second hobby after knife collecting, which is of course hunting at night and light usage.

black bear


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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2007, 10:30:21 PM »
awesome info, black bear. i am a waterfowler, and use a headlamp on my expeditions. i have noticed that the halogens dont throw all the light, but the batteries last much longer. anyway, i kinda am lookin for a better headlamp after goin thru a few caplights and the headband styles last year. what i really need is something adjustable, with max power, lightweight, waterproof, and above all, RUGGED. any suggestions on lights before i go blow the big money on something that doesnt work? just try to keep it under a hundred bucks.

Offline black bear 84

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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2007, 08:00:28 AM »
Hi travo,

Here are some that qualify

Princeton APEX

PETZL DUO 5 LED and Incandescent lamp






Now, let me explain some of the new features of the new lights, many work wit a combination of incandescent bulbs and LED's
Regular LED's are the Nichia 5 mm at about 7 lumens each. they usually come in cluster of 3 to 5 Nichias.
LUXEON is a very powerful LED that can put out 30, 40 or as much as a 100 lumens (if driven hard); they come in 1 watt 3 watts (a thrower) and 5 (V) watts (a flood)
They are centrally located in the reflector, while the small Nichias usually surround a centrally located Incandescent bulb.


Especial gases inside the Incandescent make them brighter than old style Vacuum.
Krypton is about double the brightness, Halogen and Xenon gases make the Incandescent, super bright.

Any headlamp that put a LOT of light downrange, will use battery juice like crazy, even Luxeons LED's will consume a lot of battery juice.
I recommend that you use AA NIMHS rechargeable batteries (same as digital cameras use).
They are even more powerful than regular alkaline and they don't sag as much half way down the run time.

If you need to throw the light a good way out, no Luxeon light will  satisfy you, they are powerful but they lack throw and are poor at showing detail at long distance (cause they lack the red spectrum of light)
If you need to see far, go with a centrally located incandescent surrounded by 3 to 5 Nichia LED's.
If the area you hunt is foggy, forget about LED's in general and get a good Incandescent, LED's will not penetrate fog.

For my own use, when camping and doing camping chores like washing dishes or opening a tent at night, I use a PELTZ Tikka Plus headlamp

And for other uses in the trail I have a Pinceton Tec Vortex (Incandescent) headlamp

I hang from the ceiling of the tent a CMG LED (1 Nichia at 7 lumens) that provide soft illumination all night long, and as I camp in bear country alone, I have an ultra  powerful BOREALIS flashlight (1050 lumens) next to my Colt .44 Magnum.
(The other items are my perimeter and infrared alarms systems)

Hope this help you to select your next headlamp.

Black Bear

Offline John Andrews

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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2007, 10:43:30 AM »
That was very nicely done, black bear!  O0 Great info and pictures. O0
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Offline black bear 84

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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2007, 12:48:56 PM »
John Andrews,
Thank you for your appreciation of my efforts, my pet project is to establish a data-base of beam shots, so people can check how the lights perform and compare with each other.

So here are some more:


As a continuation of the first post and for whatever value it has, I am going to do some more shoot outs of a mix of popular Luxeon lights and incandescent ones.

The first order of things is to change the target area, to make it a little more interesting to my viewers.
Consequently I replaced the tool shed target with a deer and bear mount.
The deer head mounted on the tree is exactly 26 yards from my second story window from where the lights are shinning.
The bear head in the fence is only six more feet further away from the tree.

In the summer I have plenty of bushy cover in the area, but this time I had to be creative and cut and nailed to the tree and fence, some branches from a pine tree, not to hide the animals from view, just to provide a natural blending effect, like they were coming from a natural habitat.

The camera was placed twelve foot away from the tree (and eighteen feet from the bear) in a solid tripod, and the night  camera mode used (this mode shows in pictures the same light values that I am seeing with my own eyes).

The close proximity of the camera is for the viewer to see the target with clarity; if I were to place the camera 26 yards away the target will be awfully small.

 Here it is the target area and  how it looks  in daylight.

And here are the contenders, but before I describe them, let me voice my opinion that some manufacturers of Luxeon lights label the output in lumens in quite a wild way.

From left to right:  # 1 Fenix L1P at about  40 lumens, # 2 Nuwaii Q III  at 75 lumens (yes, sure!) # 3 Surefire L-4 Digital Lumamax at 65 lumens (this is a Luxeon V which is quite a flood light but with little throw).

# 4 Streamlight Task-Light 2 L (two Lithium 3 volts batteries, high and low output,
Cost is about $77.00) This is billed at a High Flux Luxeon III. With 75 lumens, which I think is about right.

# 5 is the Streamlight Pro Polymer 4 AA with a Luxeon I,  billed as 40 lumens (3,500 candlepower according to the advertising) which I think is quite wrong, as it appears to me to have about 70 lumens or more, this light has a bigger and deeper reflector than the others lights and the beam is concentrated more than the others. This is a great light for the price of about $40.00

# 6, this is a PR T Luxeon III head done for me by master modder McGizmo, it is set on a Surefire E2e body and I am using two rechargeable 123ís with a voltage of 4.2 volts in it.
This light is my best Luxeon III light and up to two years ago it was  pretty HOT STUFF, today the cree LEDís are approaching it in intensity, although it has not been overpower by any other Luxeon, yet.
My friends told me I have two of the Integrated Sphere Spectotometers just above my nose, those spheres are telling me that this light makes 120 to 130 ďrealĒ lumens.

# 7, this is A Surefire Centurion II in black with the P-60 lamp (65 lumens) this represents all the others Surefires lights that use this lamp, G-2, 6P. Z-2. etc.

# 8, this is another Surefire Centurion II, but in Hard anodized, it wears the HOLA lamp. The P-61 with the output of 120 lumens for 20 minutes.

# 9 this is a Surefire Centurion III (3 cells) this is usually sold with the P-90 lamp that makes 105 lumens for one hour, but in this case is set up with the P-91 lamp for 200 lumens for 20 minutes, as you will see in the picture later, the floodlight effect is great at 26 yards. All those Pís lamps start to lose range at about 45 to 50 yards, this is because the reflectors are fabricated to produce a good flood so police officers can clear houses with them.
I took this particular light out of my Remington 742 rifle, where it sits in the special quick detach mount in a Picattiny rail.

# 10, this is the BEAR CUB, this light weights 13 oz and measures 9 inches long, it works with two Lithium Ion computer batteries, and produces 220 plus lumens for 90 minutes. Thanks to the big and deep 2 inch mirror-like reflector, this light concentrates the beam like a laser and has a throw of 120 to 150 yards.
So the 26 yards distance is like child play for the Bear Cub and the light is so intense at the target that they had to close their eyes!

# 11,  (last on the left lying in horizontal position next to the Bear Cub) this light is a KL-1 head Luxeon I of three years ago, it is set up in a Surefire Outdoorsman body and the lumens output is no more than 20, consequently I decided to strike it out from the competition, there is no room in my stable for weaklings and I will present it to my nephew on his birthday quite soon.

And now letís go to the pictures:

Fenix L1P  (40 lumens) Luxeon I

Nuwaii Q III (advertised at 75 lumens in a website, which I donít believe) Luxeon III.

Surefire L-4 Digital Lumamax (65 lumens) this is very flood light and the lumens spread in a very wide area, so it cannot  be expected to have a good throw at 26 yards. (Luxeon V ~which are 4 of the one watt together)

Streamlight Task Light 2 L about 75 lumens on high, works on two 123ís batteries and has two levels of illumination.  High Flux Luxeon III. About $77.00

Streamlight Poly Pro 4 AA Luxeon.  This light has a deep and bigger reflector, the Luxeon is  I, according to the manufacturer, is listed at 40 lumens, but to my eyes is doing about 75 lumens.
For the price of $40.00 this is a great light, and very battery friendly as it uses regulars AA.
I feed this light, rechargeable Nimhs AA of high current (Powerex 2700 mah) that hovers around 1.4 volts for weeks consequently it costs me nothing to operate it.

Mc Gizmo PR T head on Surefire body, Luxeon III, TWOJ bin,
My best Luxeon light putting out 120 to 130 lumens. This is a collectorís item and was state of the art, less than two years ago.
I have found nothing new that can approach its power, except the new cree 7090 that is getting close.

Surefire Centurion II in black with the P-60 lamp (65 lumens for one hour)

Surefire Centurion II in Hard anodized with the P-61 lamp (120 lumens for 20 minutes)

Surefire Centurion III in hard anodized, with the P-91 lamp (200 lumens for 20 minutes) as you can see it is a great flood at 26 yards.

BEAR CUB running for 90 minutes on two computer Lithium Ion batteries, driving a Xenon Magnum Star  bulb for 5 cells pretty hard at 8.4 volts  at 220 lumens (which make it a very white light) with a reach of 120 to 150 yards, even surpassing the Ultra Stinger.

Best regards
Black bear

Offline black bear 84

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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2007, 12:18:55 PM »

Hi guys,
This here is a dive light, but so inexpensive (around $30) and so suited to camping, hunting and having around in boats and wet places, that I have included it in this thread.

A couple of years ago a store was having a sale of them, and I grabbed a bunch to have near the family in case of fire.

They output 105 lumens which is a considerable amount of lumens for such a small light working on eight AA batteries. The batteries are in parallel, so it will also work with only four batteries (and will float) with a reduced run time.

The Surge and the battery carrier and bulb combination

It is said that the light will work for 5 hours on a full compliment of eight batteries. I have never conducted a run time test, so I canít testify that this is true. Other Princeton Tec products that claim the same run time (Q40) have fallen short.

The bulb is a 7.5 watts and quite bright, my Surges have a deeply stippled reflector that produce a good flood light and by twisting the head it can be opened to even more flood, but I donít recommend playing with the head underwater as it can compromise the waterproof level of the light.
The instructions claim the light is waterproof to 500 feet. I am a landlubber and never find myself more than six feet underwater, but Princeton Tec is famous for their dive lights and I havenít heard any complains from divers.

I put the light in my fish scale and it weights 10.8 oz. with batteries and the handy lanyard that comes with the light, so despite all those batteries the Surge is very lightweight.

Beam shot of the Surge against my deer and bear targets from 26 yards

The throw is considerable, rivaling my Streamlight TL-3 and reaching as far as 68 yards, if you consider the low price of this light I say you get a lot of lumens for your money.

Eight batteries in a tightly sealed container as is this light can put out quite a bit of Hydrogen gas, for divers I will recommend that they keep the light with the battery carrier out until they are ready to go on the water.
For other uses such as camping or others I recommend you drill a very small hole in the body of the light, to let the Hydrogen escape.  They have been known to explode occasionally due to the build up of gas inside.

Black Bear

Offline Techno

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« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2007, 12:52:41 AM »
The most absolute INFORMATIVE light info I have ever read  O0 O0

What do you think the best light for coon hunting would be? I will be using a mag light for general walking light but I want something that will light up the entire timber short of daylight when it`s time to spot a coon.The old wheat style lamps just don`t cut it anymore.

Offline John Andrews

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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2007, 08:42:10 AM »
That was great, bear!  O0  O0  O0
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Offline Juandogg

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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2007, 02:33:01 PM »
What do you think the best light for coon hunting would be? I will be using a mag light for general walking light but I want something that will light up the entire timber short of daylight when it`s time to spot a coon.The old wheat style lamps just don`t cut it anymore.
21 volt Blazer  O0 course ya gotta carry a battery that wieghs more then yer car battery ;D
It takes patience to break a good hound. Ya gotta be persistent and it helps to be a lil smarter then the dog.

Offline Techno

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« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2007, 04:28:51 PM »
whats the price tag plott?


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