Guys, I have wanted a bore scope / camera for years – the formal name for this type of a device is an “endoscope”. Guess what? There is now one called a GiraffeCam for $16.99 on Amazon (with Amazon Prime shipping) provided you have an Android or Windows phone. They mention a Mac in the instructions but the camera does not come with any kind of Apple plug adapter. So, all I can tell you for sure is that it has a MicroUSB plug and works with my Samsung Note 6 that is running the latest version of Android.
The app they recommend is CameraFi probably because it is free but gets bad reviews in part because there are tons of ads and you can’t buy a paid ad-free version. I looked around and found USBWebCameraPro for $8.99 and it works pretty good. The only bug I have found so far is that when you switch from still camera to video and back the app seems to not want to take a picture or video. Exiting and starting the app solves the problem. It has a lot of features for using a USB camera and worked as soon as I plugged in the camera – it detected the presence of the GiraffeCam and did everything transparently.
So, I plugged the bright yellow GiraffeCam into my phone and looked in a Dark Bore M72 barrel for the first time. There is a little dial on the side of the USB “dongle” that adjusts the brightness of some small LED lights. WOW!!!! The bore really did look like a sewer pipe!!! The resolution isn’t very good but you can see the rust, dirt and that the rifling is almost entirely gone. I wish the photos and video were higher resolution *but* the very fact that I can see in the barrel and get a general idea of the shape it is in for under $20 is absolutely remarkable – revolutionary even.
Now, here is the world debut of the inside of a very worn out M72 barrel with me turning the scope around:
Here’s me taking still photos with one hand while guiding the scope with another starting at the entrance to the chamber moving forward towards the muzzle:
Notice the chamber, the presence of the rifling near the chamber, the less rifling and then it turning into a sewer pipe. This is cool. I can see the rust, rifling … everything I need to know about the quality of the barrel. I also ran this down the barrel into a chamber of a pistol, looked up a mag well, it’s very handy. I have a messed up pool jet that leaks that I plan to look at before we fill it to see where a cracks is at. The 6 foot cord gives you a lot of flexibility for rifles, shotguns, pistols, cars, you name it.
There are other versions of this scope – some connect by creating a wifi hotspot for example. They do have a higher resolution GiraffeCam model for $39.99 so a bit higher in price but it is also 2 megapixels vs. the old 640×480 VGA that I reviewed here. The one BIG problem I foresee with the v4 model is that the camera diameter will increase from the current 5.5mm to 8.5mm which will rule out a lot of the rifles I work with so there are still some big pros to using the v1.0 model.
Bottom line is that this is dirt cheap and a great way to get an idea of how the bore looks or any other place you can squeeze it into.
May 4, 2017 update: I’m still happy with the scope. I’ve not found anything this small with better resolution. A friend asked me to measure the actual outside diameter (OD) of the head of the scope to confirm what the maker reports. Using my micrometer, I show the OD as 0.2172″ or 5.515mm. These next photos are from the bore of a brand new uncleaned 5.56 match AR barrel from White Oak Armory:
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