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Thermal scope

Discussion in 'Long Gun Accessories and Optics' started by qwert65, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. qwert65

    qwert65 Member

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    My wife says she will buy me a thermal scope for Christmas and wants to know which one.
    I don’t have any experience with them besides what I read. I have 40 acres so even though I’ll only shoot 300yds if I could identify targets out farther that would be great. Any suggestions?
     
  2. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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  3. qwert65

    qwert65 Member

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    Very helpful thanks!
     
  4. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    UNV has rentals which is really good if you want to try that route and I would suggest trying that route if you don't have any other way to get to see any thermal. I 'work' for their competitor, Third Coast Thermal as a pro staff sort of guy and get to try out a variety of thermal scopes.

    I will tell you this. Pulsar has the best customer service in the industry (personal and professional experience). Trijicon is good (personal experience). Flir is tough to deal with (personal experience and noted from people online). ATN has the worst reputation overall and reports range from excellent CS to long winded profanity laced descriptions of problems encountered. I have dealt with them twice that did not go well. Bering Optics is brand new to the thermal world and no word on their CS. N-Vision is a couple years into thermal and their CS is reported to be good as well.

    ALL THERMAL COMPANIES HAVE PROBLEM UNITS SOMETIMES. That is just reality, I am afraid. So CS is important.

    What is your budget?
    What are you hunting?
    What is the terrain of your 40 acres?
    300 yards is your max range (I assume), so what would be your typical range and what would be your expected minimal range?

    I will tell you that most people are not shooting 300 yards with thermal scopes on a regular basis and I think that mainly has to do with hunter skills, resolution issues, and environmental issues. I think my longest kill was a 360 yard shot that used a lot of Kentucky windage and elevation to drop a running hog. I prefer to keep my shots with ~240 yards, or about my far point blank range. Honestly, most hunters (particularly with thermal or night vision) don't usually hunt over 100 yards.

    Seeing farther than 300 yards isn't a problem with most rifle scopes except the lowest end units. You can see that far, but you may only see blobs. Hunting with thermal is an exercise in learning to interpret blobs and silhouettes because the silhouette you see isn't always going to be a nice broadside like you see on a practice target of an animal. With time, you will learn to recognize animals by their size, shape, movement patterns. Making proper identifications is critical before you pull the trigger. In the right circumstances, deer can look like hogs, particularly a deer with its head down in higher grass. Calves can look like hogs. Deer and coyotes can be confused for one another. Coyotes and foxes can be confused for one another.

    Here are a couple of my longer distance shots on coyotes in very good conditions.

    255 Yards, open field, low grass, Trijicon IR Hunter MKIII 4.5x 60mm 640 resolution


    245 Yards, open field, low grass, borrowed Pulsar Apex XQ50 3x 50mm 384 resolution
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
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  5. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Here is a video that shows what the new Bering Optics Hogster-R can do. This is a very small, light, 35mm 2.0x 384 resolution thermal. You will see when my partner zooms in that the picture will pixelate quite a bit. That is normal for thermal scopes on higher zoom because they are ALL digital zoom. I don't know much about the company. My partner opted to take the risk and see what this little scope would do. For an entry level thermal scope, I think it has a fine picture. It is far from top of the line, but it is very functional at what would be normal hunting distances. I mention my buddy's channel in the video. He has several more vids with the Hogster-R as well.



    What I would like to point out is that in all of these scopes, the crosshairs, icons, text are all VERY CLEAR. That they look slightly blurry on YouTube video is a product of 1) being recorded and 2) being transferred to YouTube. So for as much as the crosshairs, icons, or texts are out of focus in the video, image has been degraded by that much. This goes for my videos or anyone else's videos on YouTube.
     
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  6. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    I just bought a Nivisys UTAC-32 after using them for years through our non-profit. Customer service has always been extremely good, though they can be slow to respond at times. They are a small outfit and spend a lot of their time and energy on military contracts, so they aren’t always as available as one would like. Problems have always been resolved in a manner that was satisfactory though. The unit I bought was an “in-house”’demo and therefor very affordable.
     
  7. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Slow to respond and good customer service are sort of features at odds with one another. FLIR does a fine job of fixing scopes, but getting to communicate can be tough.
     
  8. hq

    hq Member

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    They take their merry time to respond but solutions to problems are first class. A couple of years ago they sent me a completely new device after the power supply system went haywire on warranty. Questions are answered in a couple of days and they usually have an answer, not just speculation.

    All our company thermals are FLIR now. Too bad that ITAR regulations prevent me from getting the thermal scopes from the US at any reasonable time, cost and effort, so Pulsar is the only game in town for now. Apex-series were a bit boxy and clumsy but current Trail and especially Thermion series work great. Core FXQ would otherwise be perfect and double as a standalone monocular but the 384x288 resolution is bit low compared to 640x480 of the XP-series. I've been renting thermals lately, waiting for a high-res attachment/monocular combo I would want to buy, but haven't come across one yet.
     
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  9. Aim1

    Aim1 Member

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    These guys are good too and really helpful.

    https://tnvc.com/


    I bought a Trijicon MKII Hunter from Optics Planet when they had a holiday sale. About 6 months later lost an eyepiece in my pond, Trijicon sent me a new one for free.

    Then my Trijicon wouldn't NUC right (calibrate) and I mailed it to Trijicon. They fixed it promptly and shipped it back fixed, paid for shipping both ways.

    That's some awesome customer service.
     
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  10. qwert65

    qwert65 Member

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    My budget is $5-6k the terrain on my property is flat hayfields I would just use it for coyotes on my property ( not actively hunting but they bother my goats so hopefully after I kill a couple they will look elsewhere)
    I will also use it to hunt pigs, my lease is young trees lots of low scrub
    Thanks for the replies
     
  11. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    As your budget won't allow for a Trijicon IR Hunter 35mm 2.5x, your best bets would be an N-Vision Halo and the Pulsar Thermion XP50. The latter will save you about $1000. I have not used the Halo, so I can't say for sure how it stacks up with the Thermion XP50, but in your price range, those would be the best options. I think you would be better served for your distance needs if you could save a bit more for, or find a used Trijicon IR Hunter 35mm 2.5x, either Mark 2 or Mark 3 (same hardware, slightly different firmware). There are several groups on Facebook where folks sell their used gear because of upgrading or moving (out of country or to states where it is not allowed for hunting).
     
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