good evening all, i am seeking advice on the best i can get for around 700 to 1700. thanks in advance and if it is a little more than that i may be able to swing it. thanks as i have little to know knowledge on this topic and it would be mounted on an AR.
Hey Patrick, I'll be glad to throw in my 2 cents.
If you want to go with something digital(IR), I'd highly suggest the Sightmark Photon XT. They come in a fixed 4.6x and fixed 6.5x magnification. Generally speaking the 4.6x is my recommendation but without knowing more about your situation and what you want to do with the optic, I wouldn't say for sure. You'd be looking at a price range of $499-$649, plus about $60 for a set of rings. Then, depending on your needs, you might want a really good external IR illuminator that can cost anywhere up to around $200. So you could be looking at anywhere from $560-$900 for a complete setup, ready to roll. The only other option in this price range is the ATN X-Sights and you won't find a whole lot of love for them on this forum. Some guys love them and some guys hate them, it really depends on your personality type in my opinion. The X-Sights have all the bells ans whistles but the trade off is a steep learning curve, a need to be at least somewhat tech savvy, a desire to learn and sometimes a decrease in reliability. Price range would be $599-$699 with no upgraded external IR illuminator.
There are a few really nice Pulsar digital optics in the $1,299 range and they are fantastic but quite honestly, I try to steer guys away from them now days. They are much better than the Photons and X-Sights but often, an external IR illuminator is needed on those scopes as well, so now you are looking at $1,500+ for a digital unit.
At this point, if I wanted to take a step up and spend more than $1,000, I would go with the Pulsar Core RXQ30V thermal. It's $1,899 and it is nothing to throw rocks at. It's a full featured thermal and for the money, you can't beat it. The detection range is going to be close to 1,000 yards for a human sized target and the ID range on a hog, coyote, deer etc is going to be between 200-350 yards depending on the conditions and your abilities. And when I say that is the ID range, that doesn't mean I'd suggest taking shots that far in most normal situations. But I'd say the same thing if you were using a $5,000 thermal. I can't always ID animals that far but it's usually pretty easy to rule out cows and deer and that's step 1 for me. I can then go closer to determine if it's a hog. Here is my initial review of the RXQ30V. http://texashuntingforum.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/6829182/1
I really don't think you would be disappointed in any of the optics listed above as long as you have the correct expectations going in. Yes the more money you spend, the better features and image quality you are going to get but that is an almost endless cycle. You've got to decide what your budget is, what your needs/wants are and then get the most bang for your buck within the options.
If you'd like to ask any questions or talk about it, feel free to give me a call. (877)350-1818 No pressure to buy, no sales tactics, that's a promise.