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#6207868 - 03/03/16 01:04 AM Thermal Monoculars
HogDogCat Slayer Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 02/29/16
Posts: 4
Hey Guys,

I am in the market for a thermal monocular device. I've been considering purchasing one for quite some time. I've talked to a few people and you get a variety of opinions. The brands that I have looked at are FLIR, Eotech and Pulsar. Is there anyone out there that can give me some good purchasing advice? Perhaps some of you all have experience with these things? Thanks in advance.

Chris

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#6208294 - 03/03/16 11:32 AM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
Double Naught Spy Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 4176
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
Purchasing advice? Buy one.

Beyond that, given advice on a high $ item without knowing how you plan to use it might be a bit silly as we could give you great advice, but that would be wrong for your situation.

How much money do you have to spend?
What is the typical shooting distance for you?
What is the longest distance you shoot?
How far do you need to be able to see and identify targets?
Are you in a forest environment, parkland, or large open fields?
Will this be hand/neck carried or on a tripod?
For how long do you usually hunt?


Edited by Double Naught Spy (03/03/16 05:08 PM)
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#6208354 - 03/03/16 12:25 PM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
dfwroadkill Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 3260
Loc: D/FW, TX
All good points DNS...

I can offer some insight based on my experiences. Though I have used a variety of thermal monoculars, I own the Pulsar HD38, the IR Defense IR Patrol and the ATN OTIS-X. Keep in mind, #budgetmatters....most of the time. On the other hand, buying a product that doesn't meet your needs does little to improve your lot.

The IR Patrol is a 1X product (640 core), the Pulsar HD38 is a 2.1X product, (388 core) and my ATN OTS-X is 6X (320 core).

There is one thing that means everything when you are using a monocular, identification (ID). I don't care that you can detect an object, though one first has to detect in order to ID. But if you detect an object and can't ID it you are playing from behind. It requires more time and effort to determine if you have a target that needs to be pursued if you can't ID it from any reasonable distance.

The thing that helps more than anything with being able to ID is magnification, followed by core size.

DNS and I have hunted together several times. I think he will have to agree with this. Over and over again we could detect objects in say 150 - 400 yard ranges, but determining what they were was sometimes difficult with low mag monoculars. Inevitably, we would turn to my ATN OTS-X, 6X monocular to determine what the object was. I have not hunted with anyone that would disagree with this.

So many times as we look across a pasture with a lower mag monocular we simply cannot determine with enough certainty what the object is and sometimes it is hard to tell if it is moving as the glare of near eye displays can play tricks on you.

I had 2 folks out last night and we were using all 3 of my monoculars. There were times at longer ranges that they could not even tell an object existed, let alone ID it....whereas I would not only detect them, but ID them with the 6X monocular.

I have thought of making a video for a long time to demonstrate how great the difference is, but with the variation in video outputs of these devices I figure that it will not offer a proper testament.

If you always hunt in heavily wooded areas with ranges under, say, 100 yards, it really won't matter. Go cheap, with little mag and you will be fine. However, if you hunt more open areas or a variety, the above will ultimately mean everything. When I first bought that 6X monocular, I heard everyone talking about fov and the ability to scan large areas quickly. It had me questioning my purchase. However, I quickly learned how wrong they were.

Out of every thermal product I have purchased, that ATN OTS-X, 6X has been, by quite a stroke, the best purchase I have made. I can't tell you how many "Oh wows!" I have heard when you hand it to people that are struggling with low mag tools. It is a true difference maker.

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#6208652 - 03/03/16 04:44 PM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
Dale Wilson Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 04/19/15
Posts: 26
Great response dfwroadkill, I originally bought the Pulsar xd38a (1.5X optical 4 dig zoom )for a spotting scope and quickly discovered that even though I could see something far away I wasn't able to tell what it was and it was very frustrating. Luckily I was able to return it and buy the XD50A (2x optical and 8x digital) for the same price and it was a big improvement. I can identify Hogs, deer and coyotes @ 200+ yards fairly well but I would still like more optical zoom at times. When I buy another scope to mount on rifle I will go with 75mm lens - 640 and keep the Pulsar for scanning.

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#6208664 - 03/03/16 04:55 PM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
dfwroadkill Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 3260
Loc: D/FW, TX
You make a good point that I wasn't clear on Dale. Optical zoom is the key. Digital to a lesser degree. up

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#6208692 - 03/03/16 05:30 PM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
Double Naught Spy Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 4176
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
Optical magnification is a key as there is no optical zoom for digital right now. However, it isn't just the amount of optical magnification, but he size of the lens which makes a HUGE difference (all other factors being equal). Additional lens size means a bigger housing and combined means more weight. dfwroadkill's until has a nice big lens and a very nice image, but is considerably heavier than my FLIR PS32.

As with other aspects of hunting, there are tradeoffs that come into play, hence my queries and hunting style/needs.
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#6208714 - 03/03/16 05:57 PM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
Dale Wilson Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 04/19/15
Posts: 26
I hate to even say the "ATN" word after my experience with the X-sight but they are coming out with some pretty nice looking thermal scopes (at least on paper) with the Thor-HD series.

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#6208868 - 03/03/16 07:39 PM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
dfwroadkill Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 3260
Loc: D/FW, TX
ATN has always been fine with their thermals. I think if they keep and continue to sell their standard Thor line which has some updated firmware and a new, different lens that offers a nice sight picture they will be fine. I would avoid the Thor HD line like the plague until they thoroughly demonstrate it actually works.


Edited by dfwroadkill (03/04/16 08:32 AM)

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#6209151 - 03/03/16 10:33 PM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: Double Naught Spy]
dfwroadkill Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 3260
Loc: D/FW, TX
Originally Posted By: Double Naught Spy
Additional lens size means a bigger housing and combined means more weight. dfwroadkill's unit has a nice big lens and a very nice image, but is considerably heavier than my FLIR PS32.

As with other aspects of hunting, there are tradeoffs that come into play, hence my queries and hunting style/needs.


Weight and size are something to consider, but I have been wearing that unit around my neck most nights with no issues.....and I'd certainly trade its capabilities for the difference in weight and size.

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#6209243 - 03/04/16 06:14 AM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
Double Naught Spy Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 4176
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
Right, so when HogDogCat Slayer comes back and shares with up more about his wants, needs, and resources, we can figure out which costly optic will suit him.
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#6209436 - 03/04/16 09:01 AM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
dfwroadkill Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 3260
Loc: D/FW, TX
He asked for purchasing advice based on experience. I must have missed the part about costly or budget. I based my statement on what I learned from my experiences (not cost) in owning and using thermal monoculars. BTW, the ATN is in the middle on cost, but my favorite as a monocular.

I have already stated that if the environment if heavily wooded and the view no longer than 100 yards, buy basically anything. The HD 19 will work for that.

Forget cost for a moment (if you can), when we were out you asked if you could use my HD 38. You did so because it outperforms your PS32. You could see things better and ID them easier. We struggle at times to even detect with low mag monoculars, much less ID. So, as we cruised pastures looking for hogs, you couldn't tell if something you saw in the back of a pasture was a hog or cow or whatever (using the HD 38) and I would pass you the 6X ATN's. Boom, issue decided. That is all I am saying guy. If you purchase purely on budget it gains you an ability you didn't have. Many times you will be able to tell there is something there, but you won't know what it is. The 6X saves a lot of time and effort because it gives you the answer immediately.

OP, if your question is based on budget not capability, your choices narrow. I would go with the FLIR PS32, Pulsar HD 19 or Pulsar HD 38. The FLIR is about $2,500.00, The HD 19 runs in the upper teens and the HD 38 goes for around $2,800.00.

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#6209483 - 03/04/16 09:41 AM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
fr3db3ar Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 02/08/15
Posts: 283
Loc: Holland, MI
I would say your best bet is to rent a few and see what you like. Whomever you rent from may apply all those fees to a purchase.

Personally I have the Pulsar HD38A and I couldn't be happier.

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#6226307 - 03/17/16 01:28 AM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
HogDogCat Slayer Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 02/29/16
Posts: 4
Hey guys, thanks for the responses... I have been out of pocket for awhile. I can tell you this.. I definitely do not want a thermal scope for a couple of reasons. For one, they cost about twice as much on average. Secondly, I think you become one-dimensional with a thermal scope. You can shoot but it's tougher to scan. I hunt in West TX, specifically around Post, TX. It can be fairly open and then there are parts that can be heavy cedar. Lots of mesquite flats though. I consulted with a group called the Ultimate Night Vision. They sell all of the thermal monoculars, scopes, etc. They give an unbiased opinion because they have looked thru, tested and hunted with all of them. They all seem to agree on one thing, they will all do what you need them to do it all depends on how far and how good you want the resolution to be. I did find that the FLIR Scout III-640 is the only thermal monocular that you can buy for under $5,000 that has a 640 resolution. They also loved the Eotech X640 but it's almost $2,000 more than the FLIR 640, which is $3,499.00. I've heard great things about the Pulsars as well. I know people that have the FLIR PS32 and love it, even though the resolution is not as good as the 640 and it's an older model. My objective is to be able to scan mesquite flats, cedar thickets and other areas up to 600 yards and be able to identify Hogs and then move in on them and spot stalk them with Wicked Hunting light setups that I have. The FLIR scout III - 640 has a 1200 yard range but as long as I can see for half that distance, and identify hogs then that's sufficient.

That all being said, does anybody have any advice? By the way, I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of the feedback and I apologize for being so tardy on my reply smile

The HogDogCat Slayer

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#6226652 - 03/17/16 10:33 AM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
Double Naught Spy Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 4176
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
So you don't want a thermal rifle scope, but want a monocular. Cool.

For your distances, if you can find what dfwroadkill is using on sale somewhere, that would be the way to go. However, they are no longer in production and getting harder to find, but it is worth a shot.

The Flir Scout III 640 @ $3500 is a big price reduction from where it was previously. I think they were about $5K when they came out. I have the PS32 predecessor and like it. I have not seen the 640 version.
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Kill a Hog and Save the Planet
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#6226737 - 03/17/16 11:23 AM Re: Thermal Monoculars [Re: HogDogCat Slayer]
dfwroadkill Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 3260
Loc: D/FW, TX
You will be able to detect at 600 yards with that monocular, but I would be concerned with identification. It will be hit and miss.

I like more native mag to ID at longer ranges. That'said just me.

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