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#6967595 - 11/20/17 10:17 PM I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice.
Roll-Tide Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 06/11/15
Posts: 3810
Was heading out the gate the other day and ran into guy across county road. He proceeds to tell me he bought a thermal scope and has downed 200 plus hogs in three months.

He let me look through it, as it was dark. My first time ever to look through one, it was impressive.

So it got me thinking. I don't have a huge need for one and don't want to spend a ton of money on something I will rarely use.

Option 1. Sightmark Photon, 650 bucks
Option 2. ATN Thor for 2000.

What I have read and what concerns me is the IR illuminator and can hogs and coyotes see it.

I won't shoot over 200 yards...

Any advice welcomed.....

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#6967616 - 11/20/17 10:59 PM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: Roll-Tide]
Outdoor Legacy Gear Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 03/18/11
Posts: 127
Loc: Appleby, TX
Great questions and you are not alone in this dilemma. I'll try my best to help.

For most guys, it simply comes down to your budget. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's a matter of whether you are rich or broke, I'm saying it often just depends on how much money you want to spend. Some guys (even with the money) could never dream of spending $2k on a night vision scope and they are perfectly happy with the digital NV like the Photons. However, there is some truth to the saying, "once you go thermal, you never go back." grin

The Photons are excellent, a real bargain for the money. With a good external IR light you can pretty easily see hogs out to 200-225 yards. I used a Photon since the day the first ones were released and I've killed a lot of hogs with them, especially the XT models. They work great but the thing about digital NV is, when it comes to seeing animals out past 225+ yards, you never know what you are missing because.....you never see it. I hope that makes a little sense. Basically you don't know you are missing seeing hogs out there at 300-400 yards because you never knew they were there. With thermal, you see them and go to them. That's how you kill so many more hogs with thermal. You see hogs you'd have missed otherwise.

The furthest I can see in one direction in my pasture is 450 yards. I can stand on my back porch with thermal and scan that whole field in 5 seconds and tell you affirmatively there are NO hogs out there. With something like the Photon, in 10 seconds I can tell you there is a 95% chance there are no hogs within 200 yards of my back porch. That's a big difference. I'm missing seeing many acres of land.

A lot of it also comes down to how you are going to hunt. If you are going to sit in a stand with a feeder at 50 yards and you won't be able to see past 200 yards in any direction, digital NV will work fine. It's still more work than thermal scanning around and you will still miss seeing a few hogs from time to time but generally speaking, you won't miss seeing a ton of stuff.

Thermal also has uses while deer hunting during the daylight when using it as a spotting scope because again, nothing can sneak past you. Thermal is also one of the greatest tools you can have on tracking job because you can find a dead deer or hog laid up that you'd have walked past and never seen without it.

I want to mention a couple other things....

Quote:
Option 1. Sightmark Photon, 650 bucks


Which Photon is this? The new RT's that aren't released yet? I ask because there has been a price drop and the most expensive Photon XT is the 6.5x50L and it's $599 now.

Quote:

Option 2. ATN Thor for 2000.


Don't take this the wrong way and I don't want to be rude about it, but I would not suggest buying the $2,000 Thor. There are other thermals in that approx price range that will waaay out perform that Thor unit. I think most on this forum will agree.

I know I've rambled a good bit but if you'd like to talk on the phone one day, give me a call. I'd be glad to help answer any questions I can. I spend most of my day talking to people in the exact same scenario as you are, I'm glad to help.

- Jason
_________________________

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Pulsar, Sightmark, FLIR, Armasight, ATN & More
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#6967624 - 11/20/17 11:06 PM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: Roll-Tide]
Roll-Tide Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 06/11/15
Posts: 3810
Please elaborate on other units, I just saw the Thor at Cabelas. I'm definetly open.

You make excellent points, and I love your youtube videos...

Yes I was talking about the 6.5 Photon...

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#6967706 - 11/21/17 07:00 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: Roll-Tide]
Midwaytmm Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 09/14/16
Posts: 196
I wouldn’t spend a penny of my money on an ATN product. This is based on my experience, and is strictly my opinion.

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#6967722 - 11/21/17 07:27 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: Midwaytmm]
SingleShot85 Online   content


Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 1852
Loc: S.A. and Kinney Co.
Originally Posted By: Midwaytmm
I wouldn’t spend a penny of my money on an ATN product. This is based on my experience, and is strictly my opinion.


your opinion is shared my many.........

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#6967723 - 11/21/17 07:28 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: Roll-Tide]
FiremanJG Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 22048
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Outdoor Legacy Gear, very informative post. up
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#6967728 - 11/21/17 07:33 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: Roll-Tide]
SingleShot85 Online   content


Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 1852
Loc: S.A. and Kinney Co.
I had thermal and dumped it, NV all the way for me (w/ respect to shooting past 100yrds).... of course now that I already have NV a nice compact hand held or ever helmet mounted thermal would be nice

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#6967848 - 11/21/17 08:51 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: SingleShot85]
RiverRider Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 7380
Loc: Wise Co.
Originally Posted By: SingleShot85
I had thermal and dumped it, NV all the way for me (w/ respect to shooting past 100yrds).... of course now that I already have NV a nice compact hand held or ever helmet mounted thermal would be nice


I bet I'm not the omly one who would like to know what led you to your conclusions.
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#6967924 - 11/21/17 09:47 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: Roll-Tide]
syncerus Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 2502
Loc: Dallas, TX
Like the others, I strongly suggest doing research before purchasing an ATN product.

Unless strictly hunting under feeders, you will need a weapon sight and a spotter. Ideally, one has the $$$$$ for thermal for both. Of course, the rest of us mortals have to compromise somewhere. I have several NV units of varying quality and will probably pick up a quality entry level ($2000-2500) thermal spotter sometime next year. My suggestion is this: buy a Photon XT or wait until the new RT units are released. Get a quality IR illuminator. Get your feet wet, and you'll figure things out pretty quickly. Unless you're ready to commit $$$$$, think quality entry level thermal for spotting and NV/digital for shooting. One final thought: in spite of some disadvantages, one major advantage of digital is recoil durability when compared with conventional NV.
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#6967941 - 11/21/17 09:59 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: Roll-Tide]
Roll-Tide Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 06/11/15
Posts: 3810
I appreciate the ATN advice. I'm open, and don't know anything about ATN at all.

I'm open to any entry thermal.

Some good points are made.

But:

Are hogs and coyotes spooked by IR illuminator? Don't want to by NV and not be able to hunt anything.


Edited by Roll-Tide (11/21/17 09:59 AM)

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#6967961 - 11/21/17 10:12 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: Roll-Tide]
syncerus Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 2502
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: Roll-Tide
Are hogs and coyotes spooked by IR illuminator? Don't want to by NV and not be able to hunt anything.


800nm IR units give a modest red glow. 900nm units are completely invisible. 800nm units will illuminate for as far as you can see to shoot with digital. 900nm units have much more limited range. Animals that are heavily night hunted may clue into the red glow of the 800nm units, but the vast majority will not given sensible usage on your part. If you're concerned, buy quality illuminators in both ranges and then make the call for a given hunt.
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#6967965 - 11/21/17 10:13 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: RiverRider]
SingleShot85 Online   content


Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 1852
Loc: S.A. and Kinney Co.
Originally Posted By: RiverRider
Originally Posted By: SingleShot85
I had thermal and dumped it, NV all the way for me (w/ respect to shooting past 100yrds).... of course now that I already have NV a nice compact hand held or ever helmet mounted thermal would be nice


I bet I'm not the omly one who would like to know what led you to your conclusions.


Detection amazing....... Identification not so much, didn't fit my needs i was shooting mostly 300-600 on steel and the occasional vermin making the mistake of crossing the range during a night shoot (dogs/yotes/calves/deer/hogs all look the same at that distance) and when I realized that my day optic was useless with the thermal clip on and i was looking at a generated image and you refresh rates, mega pixels and bla bla bla, I was out....

I do realize the advantages of thermal which is why I would mind one now but when it was one or the other.... well

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#6967992 - 11/21/17 10:32 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: Roll-Tide]
Midwaytmm Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 09/14/16
Posts: 196
Most Illuminators do give of a red glow. But only gonna bother pigs when you’re real close. I like to get inside 20 -40 yds before we open up. I just kick the light off before then . If we get busted, we’re still pretty damn close.....

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#6968021 - 11/21/17 10:49 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: SingleShot85]
DocHorton Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 4546
Loc: DFW
Originally Posted By: SingleShot85
Originally Posted By: RiverRider
Originally Posted By: SingleShot85
I had thermal and dumped it, NV all the way for me (w/ respect to shooting past 100yrds).... of course now that I already have NV a nice compact hand held or ever helmet mounted thermal would be nice


I bet I'm not the omly one who would like to know what led you to your conclusions.


Detection amazing....... Identification not so much, didn't fit my needs i was shooting mostly 300-600 on steel and the occasional vermin making the mistake of crossing the range during a night shoot (dogs/yotes/calves/deer/hogs all look the same at that distance) and when I realized that my day optic was useless with the thermal clip on and i was looking at a generated image and you refresh rates, mega pixels and bla bla bla, I was out....

I do realize the advantages of thermal which is why I would mind one now but when it was one or the other.... well



A cheaper thermal is really not much better than a good digital NV, and likely the reason you couldn't identify at 300 yards. I can pretty easily identify the difference in hogs and deer at over 600 yards with mine.

If you want a life changing hunting experience then spend the money to get a good thermal.

OP, save up, get a good thermal that costs at least $3000 like one of the newer Pulsars....trust me, you will be glad you did.

I started with a green kill light and scope, then a digital NV, and moved up to a badass thermal (IR Hunter Mark 2)....one of the best decisions I have ever made in regards to hunting.

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#6968032 - 11/21/17 11:01 AM Re: I'm perplexed. NV or Thermal... Need advice. [Re: DocHorton]
SingleShot85 Online   content


Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 1852
Loc: S.A. and Kinney Co.
Originally Posted By: DocHorton
Originally Posted By: SingleShot85
Originally Posted By: RiverRider
Originally Posted By: SingleShot85
I had thermal and dumped it, NV all the way for me (w/ respect to shooting past 100yrds).... of course now that I already have NV a nice compact hand held or ever helmet mounted thermal would be nice


I bet I'm not the omly one who would like to know what led you to your conclusions.


Detection amazing....... Identification not so much, didn't fit my needs i was shooting mostly 300-600 on steel and the occasional vermin making the mistake of crossing the range during a night shoot (dogs/yotes/calves/deer/hogs all look the same at that distance) and when I realized that my day optic was useless with the thermal clip on and i was looking at a generated image and you refresh rates, mega pixels and bla bla bla, I was out....

I do realize the advantages of thermal which is why I would mind one now but when it was one or the other.... well



A cheaper thermal is really not much better than a good digital NV, and likely the reason you couldn't identify at 300 yards. I can pretty easily identify the difference in hogs and deer at over 600 yards with mine.

If you want a life changing hunting experience then spend the money to get a good thermal.

OP, save up, get a good thermal that costs at least $3000 like one of the newer Pulsars....trust me, you will be glad you did.

I started with a green kill light and scope, then a digital NV, and moved up to a badass thermal (IR Hunter Mark 2)....one of the best decisions I have ever made in regards to hunting.


seriously... who the hell said anything about "digital", digital NV is even worse than thermal.....

this is the unit I owned armasight apollo-336-30hz-50mm thermal-clip-on vs my armasight gen III CO-x on 6x-12x 3/4 moon clear no external illum that thermal can't even serve as a battery holder to the NV......


Edited by SingleShot85 (11/21/17 11:05 AM)

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