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#6124190 - 01/07/16 01:44 PM Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted?
jefeh Offline

Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 622
Loc: Bailey, Colorado
I'll be purchasing a Thermal sometime in 2016. What are the plus/minus of a handheld vs. a rifle mounted unit. I'm thinking a handheld to find game and then use the nightvision I already have mounted on the rifle. Let me know your experiences with handheld or rifle mounted thermal.



#6124467 - 01/07/16 04:34 PM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
shoots100 Offline

Registered: 01/27/15
Posts: 131
Loc: Flatlands of NY
I have two thermal monocular and scopes + an X sight & photon XT scopes and a Yukon ranger handheld.
90% of the time I use a handheld thermal for viewing and a night scope for shooting.
It's a lot easier and safer to do a quick scan with the thermal.
Both of my thermal scopes have quick release mounts, so I've used them to scan and if needed, re mounted to take a shot.
That's what I did before getting a thermal monocular.

#6124473 - 01/07/16 04:40 PM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
Jethrowins Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 10/30/14
Posts: 37
I know Tyler from UNV rents out the units. I would ask him, he usually spends his nights out hog hunting.

#6124539 - 01/07/16 05:24 PM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
JCCinOhio Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 08/27/14
Posts: 38
I've rented both from UNV.. I tried the EOTECH X320 and the Pulsar XD50A. While I liked the XD50A a lot, it got cumbersome after a few hours trying to scan with it mounted on the rifle. The handheld was much more comfortable, though I didn't really like the small screen of the X320. Pretty sure I'm going to be buying the Pulsar HD19A once I can scrounge up the money. Then I'll use my PVS-14 for targeting and ID, and the thermal for detection.

#6124779 - 01/07/16 08:03 PM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
Rcinit Offline

Registered: 03/04/10
Posts: 503
Loc: Copperas Cove
I have a pair of Armasight Zeus 3-24x75m thermal scopes. A night vision scope and a night vision monucle. What I have found most useful is to scan with the thermal scope. Unmounted of coarse, safer and easier that way. Then stalk using unmounted thermal or night vision monucle. Switch to the mounted thermal or night vision to shoot with. If there are several pigs one of my hunting partners will shoot first using the night vision then I'll start in with my rifle mounted thermal for running shots.

#6125021 - 01/07/16 10:22 PM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
bigjoe8565 Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 06/30/08
Posts: 4081
Loc: Mesquite, Tx
I'm considering a hand held NV device for scanning. Any thoughts on an expensive unit that works decent?

#6125052 - 01/07/16 10:56 PM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
jefeh Offline

Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 622
Loc: Bailey, Colorado
Thanks for the input! The scanning with a thermal and shooting with a night vision scope is what I was leaning towards. I think I'll rent a handheld next time I head down for a hog hunt and see how I like it.

#6125394 - 01/08/16 09:01 AM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
ccoker Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 3362
handheld scanner to find them is the best way for me..

Disclosure statement
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Dealer - Armasight and Steiner Optics
Affiliated with Trijicon, Wilson Combat and Crux Suppressors

#6125641 - 01/08/16 11:38 AM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
HansAg Offline

Registered: 06/16/15
Posts: 95
Having both is ideal. Hand held to spot and stalk though. Really like having the thermal mounted though.
Southern Buck Outfitters
Premier Whitetail & Exotic Hunts in Texas

#6125745 - 01/08/16 12:36 PM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
ccreyeder Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 08/07/11
Posts: 305
Loc: San Antonio, Tx
If you can only get one, then monocular would be my advice. Couple something like the Pulsar HD19 with a photon XT and you have a great combination. That is my setup and use it a couple weekends a month. I recently picked up a Hunter MKII scope, and even on my SBR it is pretty heavy. I would hate to have to scan all night with it.

#6126073 - 01/08/16 03:33 PM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
Hunter-Steve Offline

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 843
Loc: Plano. TX
I have both the HD19A handheld and a Quantum XD50A scope. I got the HD19A first and after 5 or so outings where I could easily see targets via the handheld thermal and then had difficulty locating with a digital NV scope on my rifle I decided I had to get the thermal scope. In hind sight, if I were to get one and only one it would be the scope. That way you can shoot what you see without getting frustrated locating it in the non thermal scope.

I often keep my rifle on a tripod with a two point rest and plug in an external monitor so I can watch without holding a heavy rifle up to scan all night.
NRA Life Member - NRA Certified Instructor

#6126836 - 01/09/16 08:14 AM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
Dale Wilson Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 04/19/15
Posts: 26
Hi Jeff, I was I was going through the same delema spend 3k on a thermal monocular or get a scope. I went with getting the Apex xd50a scope and it is working great as a spotting scope but I'm thinking now I will end up mounting it on my rifle.I don't have experience with any other thermal scopes but the Apex is awesome. I first bought the XD38a from Amazon but found the xd50 for the same price and returned the 38 and glad I did becuase the 2x along with the larger lense make a big difference. One tip if you go with the scope , I bought a quick realease slig ring that mounts on the scopes weaver rail to put on a lanyard on so you can hang it around your neck.

#6126948 - 01/09/16 09:24 AM Re: Thermal---Handheld or rifle mounted? [Re: jefeh]
fr3db3ar Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 02/08/15
Posts: 328
Loc: Holland, MI
I'm currently using a HD38A for scanning and switching to either the Xsight or the N850 depending on what I'm running. I'm selling the N850 and going with a thermal scope as well after being able to see critters with the thermal that I just can't pick up with any NV.


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