There is a new option for borescopes that many of you may not be aware of. Rather than spending $300 to $900 for the better known brands, how about one that costs between $49 and $75 depending on model? That’s the pricing on the Teslong Borescope I bought about a month ago and have been testing out. Both models are available through Amazon. Further info can be found at www.teslong.com/Rifle-Borescope.
FULL DISCLOSURE: After purchasing my initial scope, I was sent the upgraded rigid model free as a “Thank you” for my response and review. I am in no way connected with this company and did not ask for any special consideration.
Okay…Now that is out of the way, how about an overview and review.
The original borescope ($49) has a roughly 40” flexible “probe” connected to a lighting control and terminating in a connector for android phones and laptops (sorry, neither this or the rigid version work with iPhone or iPads due to the low voltage support of the devices). The probe end fits as small as .20 caliber (without the mirror) and has the light/camera lens and an angled mirror to scan the sides of a bore. This mirror is screwed in for larger bores and out for smaller for fine focus. A tiny locking nut is adjusted to keep the mirror in place and prevent turning during use.
Connecting to my Samsung S9 after loading the recommended Teslong Camera app (free at the Play Store), was easy and worked first try. Connections are the same on both the original model and the Rigid model - USB, USB-C and mini-plug (old-style Android phone charger connector). The USB-C is provided by the pre-installed adapter on the cord. USB is available by removing the pre-installed adapter and the old mini-plug is nestled inside the USB and accessed by flipping one side of the USB socket up revealing the mini. Very clever design.
Initial examination of several of my rifle bores showed me that the cleaning routine I was so smugly certain was working wasn’t! I also discovered that one of my .22/250 barrels is rapidly nearing the point of rebarreling. View is crisp and clear once adjusted for the bore and light intensity adjusted and pictures/video are easy to capture.
I got a chance to do a little more connectivity testing with the NTG100H (rigid) scope Teslong sent me to evaluate.
I was able to connect easily to two very old Windows laptops (Windows XP and Windows 10) by simply using their resident camera suites and selecting Teslong in their settings.
On my Samsung S9, I got a message to connect the camera even though it was connected (Teslong HD Camera app...which had worked for my original Teslong scope). Switching to the Endoscope Camera app available for free in the Play Store (Endoscope Camera Novotech Industries Limited) took care of the problem and actually works a bit better with my original (flexible cable end) Teslong too. NOT THE HD VERSIONS.
Though no mention is made of its connectivity to chromebooks. I was curious and pleasantly surprised to find that it worked using only the resident camera app on the device. Just connect the scope, open the camera app (the one for the computer camera in the lid) and click on the symbol in the lower left corner to toggle between the computer camera and the Teslong. The symbol does not show unless the scope is plugged into a USB slot.
First impressions are very good. The probe of the rigid model, while a bit short for most of the barrels we like and will require viewing from both ends (about 21 1/2" - won't be surprised if Teslong offers a longer version later), feels quite solid and well made. The sliding marker is a nice touch and the handle is slim enough that it should clear all except extremely high combs. The whole scope comes in a very rugged tube with dense foam tubing further protecting the rod portion and had three mirrors in a small package.
I actually see uses for both versions: The original is perfect for very long barrels, case inspection, chamber and recess viewing and etc. due to its flex.
The rigid version is best (in my opinion) for barrels where you might want to reference exact spots in a barrel where attention needs to be given (sliding marker) and can be better at either controlled rotation of the mirror or staying straight in a bore due to its rigidity.
It is popular to trash Chinese products as knock-offs or junk, but these borescopes are pure quality. In addition, the company is anxious to accept input as to how to make their products better and respond in a positive manner to suggestions (such as the rigid model with the depth marker and a bit tougher cladding). I count at least five changes or updates to their design as well as the addition of a “WiFi” version ($75) so Apple users can also use it. Customer support via email is outstanding (bearing in mind the large time difference between the U.S. and China) and courteous. This is a company that is serious about quality, use and customer satisfaction.