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Thermal Imaging scopes


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Thinking about getting one of these.

WOW! Sticker shock.

Are there used/rebuilt models?

 

Just wondering if any pards have any wisdom/experience with these. Seems we have a growing night predator problem here. Four legged kind.

 

As always, you input is most welcome.

 

LDD

 

 

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Full moon and a FIXED power scope will let you see a lot. Couple that with a red spot light and you can see a lot more than you would believe.

Having your eyes adapted to the dark is a must. Try to set up where you don't have a direct view of any light sources. A yard light a mile away will ruin your natural night vision.

 

BTW Variable power scopes suck in low light conditions.

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I just bought a night owl nightshot digital night vision refurbished for my hog gun.  Better than a gen1 light amplification picture. Coupled with an IR flashlight can see out to 150 200 yes. That's about as far as I would want to shoot at night

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ATN sells refurbished night vision scopes. Believe they start at $550. Good  IR illuminator is the key to longer distances. 200 yds is max we’ll shoot hogs at, but probably could go longer. 

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Howdy,,

If there is a little light a 7 x 50 binoc will show a lot.

And not bankrupt ya.

Best

CR

 

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Lawdog,   You need to decide what you are requesting.  Light intensification (commonly called "night vision")  that impart a green color (except the white phosphorus (which are the same but remove the green) or the newer technology that is becoming popular  "Thermal"   Good night vision units are reasonably priced.($1500-2K)  Useable thermal starts about $3K  and good units go to 7K quickly. 

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I'm not much help on cowboy stuff, but this one I know.

On thermal specifically:

Commercial scopes have come a long way recently. The prices are what they are, but the performance you get out of a $5k-7K unit rivals what would have cost the government $40K a decade ago. My last military issued unit was an internally cooled clip-on unit (in front of day optic). It was about $80,000 and could make out a human face with great detail out to 1200M or so. ID of a human with in optimal conditions at 1800 and detection at 2000-2200. What you need for hunting obviously doesn't require that much  

What you want to look for is a combination of factors:

- Lens size and material: bigger is generally more sensitive and provides greater range because they take in more input signal. They're more expensive obviously. A pure germanium lens is more consistent and gives better scale between black and white without any brown/blue tint. Trijicon uses a blended material lens where NVision uses 100% germanium lenses. Not a deal breaker if you only have one unit, but two different blended material lenses may look different to you between two identical optics.  

 

- Native magnification and POV...usually these are at odds. A 1X native is great for FOV, and usually has a couple levels of digital zoom. However, every time you zoom digitally you half your resolution. Native magnification above will give you full image quality at the minimum magnification for a unit. 4X on a 1X native unit, for example, will have 25% of the image quality that it did on 1X. 

 

- Core resolution, pixel pitch, and refresh rate: 640 is better than 320, 60hZ refresh is better than 30Hz...kind of like a flat screen TV. Pixel pitch is measured in microns, they're like a golf score: 12 is better than 17 for example. 

 

- Quality of output screen: Top notch core with a crap screen for you to view it on doesn't do any good. You want an OLED or AMOLED lens instead of an LCD, which give a much better picture, smoother performance, and a wider temperature range. 
 

 

If you're interested in I2 (green/white screen light intensifying NV, not heat signature) that's a whole different ball game technologically. Let me know if that's something you're interested in also, but for hunting thermal is generally a better option.

 

 

Edited by Jon C
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The other good thing about all of these units is reputable retailers will rent them to you for a weekend or so and deduct the price of the rental if you decide to buy. Honestly, you can rent a new one twice a month for a year or two before you get to a purchase price. Renting for occasional use is a viable path. 

Huey Outdoors is a great one, check out Lone Star Boars (his YouTube channel) for great reviews on commercial units. 

Edited by Jon C
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I have a flir and atn thermal .  I bought the atn the other day.  The flir is a few years old.  The flir does fine but is no match for the newer atn thermal.  The atn night vision is not as good.  I've discovered that thermal us better.  The newer thermal let's you see plants etc as well as heat sources.  Thermal can pick up heat on the other side of tall grass and bushes and tree branches but the night vision can not.  Atn also gives range which is important at night.  

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13 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

Stay away from surplus soviet night scopes. Many of their tubes leak x-rays that will do permanent damage to your eyes.

Do you have a citation to support this statement?  The Food and Drug Administration regulates the importation of electronic devices under 21CFR1005.1 to prevent importation of dangerous, x-ray producing equipment.  I did not find mention of excessive x-ray leakage in imported Soviet night vision equipment in the professional literature.

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1 hour ago, Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971 said:

Do you have a citation to support this statement?  The Food and Drug Administration regulates the importation of electronic devices under 21CFR1005.1 to prevent importation of dangerous, x-ray producing equipment.  I did not find mention of excessive x-ray leakage in imported Soviet night vision equipment in the professional literature.

 

It was advice I was given many years ago by someone I respected greatly. He dealt in firearms and old mil- surplus. Said that surplus soviet electronics equipment were often of poor quality and couldn't be trusted.

At the time I had no reason to doubt his word and still don't even though he crossed over several years ago.

 

I got the advice while working to get the manual for a Vietnam era night scope translated from cyrillic so that we could figure out the correct voltage output of the battery pack. I had a friend in the navy that could read and write cyrillic and was waiting for him to return from deployment to get the manual translated.

 

The scope belonged to my Brother in law. He picked one up as partial payment for some work he had done. Don't remember much about it other than it appeared to use a stack of button style batteries. 

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One other item to mention.  I mounted a green flashlight to a 22 mag rifle and scope for my youngest to see with at night and you can pick up the eyes of critters but not aa far as you.might like and not as clear as with thermal.  

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