Thermal scope

Dewald

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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.
 

Lance Hopper

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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.
 

Ross Reamy

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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.
 

Dewald

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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.
 

Ross Reamy

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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.
 

Dewald

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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.

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

Dewald

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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?
 

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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.
 

Tucketed

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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.
 

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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
 

Ross Reamy

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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?

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.
 

Ross Reamy

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

Dewald

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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.

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.
 

35bore

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

BeeMaa

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Reviving a thread here on thermal scopes...

My wife and I are looking at getting one.
Before I even read this I was looking at Pulsar.
Now I'm looking at them even closer.

We are trying to decide between the Thermion XP50 and XQ50.
The main differences being the sensor, resolution and zoom.
The XP is $1K more than the XQ...so basically it's better, but how much better?

Most of our shots would be inside of 250 yards.
And most of those will be inside of 100 yards.
But we sometimes have the opportunity to shoot at 300+.
Wondering if the added $1K of the XP is worth it for us.

Lastly is sourcing one from somewhere.
Not a lot of places want to keep $4K in overhead sitting on a shelf.
Any on-line source that someone knows of would be good.
 

bowjijohn

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I am far from a thermal expert and for some time held off buying as ‘something better will be along presently.

I recently bought the pulsar thermion XM 50 and having used it every night for the last 3 weeks, I can confirm that I’m very pleased with it

easy to use, easy to zero and with a baseline magnification of 5.5 it works well on rats at 25m, rabbits at 100m and (I suspect) larger game well out past traditional hunting ranges

clearly, as they work on temperature differences, they will offer a clearer image on cold nights

learning to recognise a blob at range does take some practice though
 

Red Leg

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I have the Thor ATN 4 1.25 - 5x 384. I have not needed customer service other than for initial setup and was speaking with a technically competent human being in a couple of rings of the phone. I should also add the help needed was with operator head space and not the device.

It has a lot of functionality that is of no interest to me (video) and others such as range finding and ballistics that are of no value at the ranges I shoot at night.

Positives are that it works and is ideal for a target out to 100 meters. It can easily detect game out to 300 meters. It is also very useful as a vision aid in walking without a flashlight to a stand. It is true thermal technology that was only available on Apache attack helicopters not so long ago.

Negatives are that anything above around 3.5X is no longer clear enough to be useful. "One shot zero" which they advertise is clearly beyond my ability if not the technology. Vertical correction seems to be around 1 MOA per crosshair movement and horizontal corrections around 2-3 MOA. Naturally, the target always seems to be between the horizontal corrections. Sighting in the rifle itself is challenging because even in broad daylight one is aiming at a heat source (hand warmers work great) rather than the clear target one sees through actual optics.

All that said, the system works, and I will not need to upgrade until the technology advances a bit more.

pig.jpg
 
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bowjijohn

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For zeroing I use a 2" washer heated with a lighter for 25m and 50m

A 3" steel gong preheated with boiling water at 100m and 150m

I can just about see the heat signature of the round's impact in the sand backstop if I miss

That is even with the little old .17 HMR

Scale that up to 308 or 6.5 and the heat splash should be easily discernible beyond those ranges - especially if you have a solid backstop

for a long while I wanted a scope with LRF but, to be honest, if you stay within MPBR it really doesn't matter

For longer ranges, knowing your shooting ground helps with range gu-estimation
 

Angelo_orygun

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Reviving a thread here on thermal scopes...

My wife and I are looking at getting one.
Before I even read this I was looking at Pulsar.
Now I'm looking at them even closer.

We are trying to decide between the Thermion XP50 and XQ50.
The main differences being the sensor, resolution and zoom.
The XP is $1K more than the XQ...so basically it's better, but how much better?

Most of our shots would be inside of 250 yards.
And most of those will be inside of 100 yards.
But we sometimes have the opportunity to shoot at 300+.
Wondering if the added $1K of the XP is worth it for us.

Lastly is sourcing one from somewhere.
Not a lot of places want to keep $4K in overhead sitting on a shelf.
Any on-line source that someone knows of would be good.

Check out Ultimate Night Vision, they rent everything out so you can try it first and I believe will give you a credit for you rental towards a purchase...
 

BigSteve57

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Reviving a thread here on thermal scopes...

My wife and I are looking at getting one.
Before I even read this I was looking at Pulsar.
Now I'm looking at them even closer.

We are trying to decide between the Thermion XP50 and XQ50.
The main differences being the sensor, resolution and zoom.
The XP is $1K more than the XQ...so basically it's better, but how much better?

Most of our shots would be inside of 250 yards.
And most of those will be inside of 100 yards.
But we sometimes have the opportunity to shoot at 300+.
Wondering if the added $1K of the XP is worth it for us.

Lastly is sourcing one from somewhere.
Not a lot of places want to keep $4K in overhead sitting on a shelf.
Any on-line source that someone knows of would be good.
The folks at HOGSWAT swore by Pulsar and it's the brand we used when we hunted with them. I'm not sure of the exact model but the night vision aspect of those scopes was stunning. We hunted during a new moon and it was literally pitch black; you couldn't see your hand in front of you. Those scopes made it like bright red pigs walking in front of a white on black background. Utterly incredible.
 

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