There is something really fun about taking a person out for the first time that has never used thermal, one who has been hunting with a green light, and letting him experience thermal for the first time. I brought out two Grendel rifles, each with a different Pulsar thermal scope, the laser rangefinding Apex 384 resolution XQ38 and the new Trail 640 resolution XP50. Bob had a great experience, despite the hogs showing high proficiency at hide-n-seek. We had sounders out in fields, hundreds of yards away, not down wind, a couple before we even starting a stalking, that just wandered away into the woods. WTH??? People always like it when "hogs are on the move" but sometimes, they can be on the move just a little too much, LOL. Even so, Bob had a great experience, got to shoot some hogs, and even a coyote.
Another great video. That Range finding feature is freaking awesome.
It really is, but with reasonable limitations. Where it comes in most handy is the fact that thermal gives such a 2D image with zero real depth perception. If you are in a strange location or just a wide open field without landmarks of known distances, it can be really hard to tell how far away a target is, particular if you are utilizing zoom. If you only shoot at say the native magnification, you can start to judge the distances of standardized objects by how small or large they are, but when you use the zoom, what is familiar to you goes out the window and screws that up. When trying to judge non-standard sized objects, such as hogs, it can be hard to tell if a 100 lb hog is 100 yards away or if a 200 lb hog is 200 yards away. At the start of the video, there was a sounder that was over 400 meters away(you can change the metric to yards). How would you know if those are larger hogs at long distance or just smaller hogs closer to you? To be honest, I mentally guessed they were 250-300 yards away...having been on this property a few times in the past. Being more than 100 yards off in this case would not have resulted in making a shot not anywhere close to on target because of longer distance trajectory and bullet drop.
The limitations I have encountered are pretty much what you find with other daylight laser rangefinders. They rangefind at a fixed magnification. In this case, the scope goes back to native magnification for doing this. You are provided with a sighting box (some LRFs have circles or crosshairs) and the laser is going to be inside of that box (circle/crosshair) and so there is a bit of variability of precise aiming, even with the crosshair. This is because the laser beam does spread out over distance and this means that you can unintentionally range objects for which you are not trying to determine their distance. For example, in a field with high grass, you may accidentally range a grass stalk or stalks that are sticking up between you and the deer you are trying to range or in an open field, you accidentally range over the top of the back of the deer to some point in the distance. So it is always best to get a distance estimate more than once to be absolutely sure.
In the video, I ranged the coyote a couple of times and came up with distances that varied by 14 meters. The coyote had moved, but not by that far. No doubt the discrepancy was due to being unsteady and ranging slightly behind or in front of the coyote. That the two measurements were close were sufficient to provide a ballpark figure to let me know that the coyote was within the known (to me) trajectory for the round. It also told me that the coyote was farther away than I thought as well.
Laser rangefinders are very useful, but one must be cognizant of their limitations as well. If you keep those in mind, then you won't be unexpectedly fooled. For thermal, such a benefit can be HUGE.