Thermal scope

Discussion in 'Hunting Equipment, Gear & Optics' started by Dewald, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. Dewald

    Dewald AH Veteran

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    I’m looking for some advice on a thermal scope. Of late I’m dealing with quie a bit of bushpig that see the red illuminator from my infrared scope.

    In addition we have substantial spotted hyena and black black jackal trouble, and I want it for them as well. This will be purely a tool for shooting pigs and predators as effectively as possible at night.

    What are your feelings between ATN, Pulsar or any other brands?

    Also, I see the ATN Thor either has a 384x288 or 640x480 sensor. How much difference does that make?

    Shot distance on bushpig is between 10&100y and on the jackal and hyena rarely over 200y. I’d appreciate any thoughts and advice, especially from those using thermal scopes.
     

  2. Lance Hopper

    Lance Hopper AH Member

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    dewald,

    I guide thermal hog hunts in Georgia, USA. Without question you want a pulsar. The picture is fantastic and they have the best customer service going. I recommend the XQ50. It is the 384 resolution, but the base start magnification is 2.7 as opposed to 1.6 for the 640. And the 640 is $1,000 more. For $500 more you can get the built in laser range finder. The 384 resolution is plenty good enough for me to differentiate between a pig and a deer at 300-400 yards, and detect them at considerably further range. I hope this helps.
     
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  3. Ross Reamy

    Ross Reamy AH Senior Member

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    Dewald,

    Like Lance I guide thermal hog hunts as well, albeit in Texas.. Pulsar in my opinion is by far the best bang for the buck, the Trijicon and N Vision image is slightly better but not enough to justify the price difference and all the features of the Pulsar, like the ability to record and the use of a rechargeable battery.

    I’m a fan of the 640 units rather than the 384 though, especially if you only plan on owning 1. You can pop it off the gun to use as a scanner then pop it back on to use as a scope with the QD mount.

    The 640 units have a clearer image and as a scanner I like them better because of the much wider field of view. If I was strictly buying to use as a scope there’s not a lot of difference in image quality once you zoom the 640 units as a lance stated.
     
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  4. Dewald

    Dewald AH Veteran

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    Thanks for the advice Lance and Ross. Much appreciated.

    In South Africa ATN is available (via ATN Europe based in the UK), whereas I’ll have to bring a Pulsar in myself. Should I rather stay away from the ATN? I’ve looked through their X-sight, and didn’t think it was much better than many cheaper infra-red options.
     

  5. Ross Reamy

    Ross Reamy AH Senior Member

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    Forgot to mention that in my post, I’d avoid like ATN the plague. Some of their thermal units seem decent but their customer service is essentially nonexistent.
     

  6. Dewald

    Dewald AH Veteran

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    Thanks Ross. This is the kind of info I need. I’m always weary when only one brand has the monopoly in a country.
     

  7. Dewald

    Dewald AH Veteran

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    So between the XP38 and XP50, would the main difference be better FOV with the XP38, and some more magnification with the XP50.

    Will Image quality at the same magnification be the same?
     

  8. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    Thanks for the info- I'm wondering how the new Leupold HD unit compares, other than I think that it isn't designed to be used as a sight.
     

  9. Tucketed

    Tucketed SILVER SUPPORTER AH Member

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    I believe the Leupold is a handheld not really a rifle scope. It’ a nice sensor but it’s lens focal length and diameter is to small to get out to longer ranges. I would also look at FLIR. Out of all the commercial thermosights FLIR is the only one to manufacture their own sensors. In general smaller pixels the higher resolution the smallest on market is 12microns tied to a long focal length lens will give the better down range performance. For what your looking for, if you don’t need the heat signature I would look at night vision with a top end imaging intensifier tube not most of the junk out there. Night vision at the same price point as thermal with an IR illuminator will give you the best resolution and not scare anything away.
     

  10. Tucketed

    Tucketed SILVER SUPPORTER AH Member

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    It’s not for everyone but the Sig Sauer Echo is a decent sight for around a $1K. Certainly for 100 yards and under. I actually have the patent on it and helped design it. It was designed to be a very low cost thermal one of the first 12 micron sensors and without an eyepiece. It uses a display and no eyepiece working like a reflex sight in infrared not visible so it aims both eyes open. Again not for everyone
     

  11. Ross Reamy

    Ross Reamy AH Senior Member

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    Yes sir, main difference will be FOV is larger on XP38 and slightly more magnification on XP50. The XP50 will have a slightly better image, but it's minimal. If most of my shots were under 100 yards I'd go XP38, if most were over 100 I'd go XP50. Either way, be sure to get the QD mount.
     

  12. Ross Reamy

    Ross Reamy AH Senior Member

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    I'm a Leupold scope fan, but their thermal is basically useless. It just doesn't have any image quality whatsoever.
     

  13. Dewald

    Dewald AH Veteran

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    Thanks Ross. Most will certainly be under 100 yards. I just shot a bushpig an hour ago at 20y. But for $500 difference I might go XP50.

    I do have a one piece 30mm cantilever mount on my current Yukon Photon than returns to absolute zero every time, and Warne QDs on the Swarovski Z5 3,5-18x44 that I alternate on the rifle. Never had a problem with them. I realize the scope is top dollar, but at the cost of predation by hyena, and jackal, and bushpig damage in the sugar cane it will pay itself off.
     
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  14. 35bore

    35bore AH Legend

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    Pulsar clip on. I have zero regrets from that expensive purchase. They are amazing...
     

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