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#6971278 - 11/24/17 11:24 AM Thermal unit recommendations
TXRobTRX Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 69
Loc: East Texas
Thermal experts cool

I am completely new to the thermal/NV scene, and been doing a lot of research, but dont know the best route to go on my first thermal purchase

The primary uses I have for a thermal will be:
1. See game in the morning while sitting in the stand to start tracking movement.
2. Help with scouting while we drive around the lease
3. Game recovery

Distant number 4 is to use for nighttime hog hunts. We only do maybe 3 might hunts a year. Would be cool to see them coming in before turning on the lights.

The two leases I hunt on:
1. East texas piney woods with good trails, a number of open clear cuts, and two major pipelines
2. Hill country with wide open views - probably do more pig hunting here but only go 1 or 2 times a year (invite)

Not interested in video recording, sound, or any fancy features until I can get into the scene more and start to figure out my likes/dislikes and my use case changes over time.

Dont know what my budget should be - thats part of my issue.

Looking forward to hearing from the experts here to help a newbie sort through all this....

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#6971338 - 11/24/17 01:05 PM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: TXRobTRX]
Midwaytmm Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 09/14/16
Posts: 201
I donít claim to be expert, anything I say is strictly my opinion.....but Iíve used a lot of this stuff. Without a budget itís open ended. My suggestion would be buy aTWS and use it as a spotter, that way you could mount it to a rifle if you chose . If you can afford it buy IRD, hands down best image. Pulsar is best bang for the buck , and trail model have rechargeable batteries. This is big deal to me . Batteries are $and go dead at wrong time . The trails arenít that much more than apex. You really need to decide on a budget before anybody could give real recommendations. You can rent most of the stuff, but it cost to do that. Maybe try to hook up with someone whoís already got some

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#6971352 - 11/24/17 01:50 PM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: TXRobTRX]
CharlieCTx Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 1424
Loc: Flower Mound, TX
If you have no $ restrictions, then buy an IR Defense/Trijicon product and be done with it.

If you have a smaller budget, you're choices are to buy a scope you can also use as a spotter and place on the rifle to shoot with or have two different units. Spotting with a rifle mounted scope sucks bigly.

You can buy a good used Pulsar HD19/38 (under $2,000) for spotting and get a scope later once you have some experience and learn more about what you want/don't want. Recording a shot is pretty cool, you will want to do it.

Spotting resolution is not as important as shooting resolution, IMHO, if you have to pick where to spend the money.

Remember that thermals can't see through glass, so need a SxS/ATV without a windshield to drive with one. It can also be very exciting as branches, holes/hills aren't readily visible with a thermal. Better to use NV for driving.

An animal down in tall grass or behind bushes is still hidden/difficult to see with a thermal unless you're really close or can somehow look down on it (get on top of your SxS roll cage).

Don't buy anything ATN HD, no matter how good the price.
_________________________
Charlie

M&P-10+AAC Cyclone - Kel-Tec RFB+Griffin Sportsman Ultra Light 300
Pulsar XQ-50
ATN OTS 336-50mm 9hz Thermal Monocular
ATN NVM14 NV Monocular

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#6971371 - 11/24/17 02:30 PM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: TXRobTRX]
Outdoor Legacy Gear Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 03/18/11
Posts: 129
Loc: Appleby, TX
Thanks for all the info, that helps. I think the first thing you have to decide is if you want a dedicated handheld monocular or rifle scope that you will use as a handheld and mount on a rifle at some point if you want. The next consideration is your budget. For entry level up to mid/high range, right now I'd stick with Pulsar to get the most bang for your buck.

For entry level handheld, no frills, no thrills, no recording etc, I'd suggest the Pulsar Quantum Lite XQ23V for $1,699. It's great unit for the price and it will do everything you are asking for. This is not a toy....it was $2,199 a few months ago and Pulsar reduced the price on it to make it a bargain in handheld thermal.

If you want something with a really nice image quality you can bump up to one of the Pulsar Helion handhelds. They start at $2,499 and go up to $3,999. They include several things you probably don't care about....video recording, phone/tablet app for wireless viewing but they do have a really nice long life rechargeable battery.

If you are looking for an entry level weapons mountable scope, I'd suggest the Pulsar Core RXQ30V for $1,899. It is small and would doub1e nicely as a handheld unit, especially without the rail mount on it. It will be a very similar image quality to the Quantum Lite XQ23V.

If you want a REALLY nice image quality and not break the bank, I'd suggest the Pulsar Apex XQ38 for $2,499. The image quality is the same as the $2,800-$3,800 Pulsar Trails but it doesn't have the built in rechargeable battery pack, video recording and phone app. Otherwise, it's basically an identical quality scope.

If those are well less than you want to spend, then yes, you could definitely bump up to the Trijicon/IR Defense products but they start at about $7,000 and that's a whole other ballgame.

I know I've thrown a lot of stuff at you but without knowing for sure if you want a rifle scope or not and not having any idea what your price range is, it's hard to make many more detailed suggestions.

Feel free to ask questions and I'll be glad to help. If you'd like to talk on the phone, feel free to call and I could explain the optics and options in a whole lot more detail.

- Jason
_________________________

Night Vision, Thermal & Accessories
Pulsar, Sightmark, FLIR, Armasight, ATN & More
OutdoorLegacyGear.com
(877)350-1818


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#6973551 - 11/27/17 05:59 AM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: CharlieCTx]
hwy84 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 1286
Loc: FAIRFIELD;TEXAS
Originally Posted By: CharlieCTx

Don't buy anything ATN HD, no matter how good the price.


Why?
_________________________
If the stores closed up tomorrow, a man should have enough Ammunition, Bic lighters,Tabasco sauce, Whiskey, and freeze dried Coffee to last him and his family until the casket.
Johnny Loco


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#6973659 - 11/27/17 08:08 AM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: TXRobTRX]
Deadend Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 2338
Loc: Mineola,TX
Originally Posted By: TXRobTRX
Thermal experts cool

I am completely new to the thermal/NV scene, and been doing a lot of research, but dont know the best route to go on my first thermal purchase

The primary uses I have for a thermal will be:
1. See game in the morning while sitting in the stand to start tracking movement.
2. Help with scouting while we drive around the lease
3. Game recovery

Distant number 4 is to use for nighttime hog hunts. We only do maybe 3 might hunts a year. Would be cool to see them coming in before turning on the lights.

The two leases I hunt on:
1. East texas piney woods with good trails, a number of open clear cuts, and two major pipelines
2. Hill country with wide open views - probably do more pig hunting here but only go 1 or 2 times a year (invite)

Not interested in video recording, sound, or any fancy features until I can get into the scene more and start to figure out my likes/dislikes and my use case changes over time.

Dont know what my budget should be - thats part of my issue.

Looking forward to hearing from the experts here to help a newbie sort through all this....




Buy once cry once
If you haven't used thermal ,,,you will find ways to use it more after you get it
If you can start with a xq 38 pulsar trail and get it all
You will not be wanting anything more ,,,once you start using it
Recording might not be on your list right now but it will be when you start using thermal
It is very handy ,,,,,,,in game recovery ,,, seeing where you hit ,,so on
Pig hunting may move up on your list of things to do
And you can ditch the lights ,,,,,
_________________________
Deadend Outfitters
903-312-0609 Lance Vick
Fun begins where the road ends,,,
Year around guided hog hunts
www.deadendoutfitters.com
https://m.facebook.com/deadendhoghunts/
www.guideonlakefork.com
www.lakeforkduckhunting.com

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#6973688 - 11/27/17 08:24 AM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: TXRobTRX]
ranger 521 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 03/02/11
Posts: 625
Loc: Hurst,TX
following this topic. very interested

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#6973856 - 11/27/17 10:56 AM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: hwy84]
Outdoor Legacy Gear Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 03/18/11
Posts: 129
Loc: Appleby, TX
Originally Posted By: hwy84
Originally Posted By: CharlieCTx

Don't buy anything ATN HD, no matter how good the price.


Why?


Putting it nicely and diplomatically, ATN has gained a reputation for not providing the customer service and warranty repair speed that one would generally expect from an good NV company. There has also been pretty serious complaints in the past about quality control and scope issues. There are other serious complaints but that is it in a nut shell.
_________________________

Night Vision, Thermal & Accessories
Pulsar, Sightmark, FLIR, Armasight, ATN & More
OutdoorLegacyGear.com
(877)350-1818


Top
#6974058 - 11/27/17 01:46 PM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: hwy84]
CharlieCTx Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 1424
Loc: Flower Mound, TX
Originally Posted By: charliec

Don't buy anything ATN HD, no matter how good the price.

Originally Posted By: hwy84

Why?


When they decided to make products using their own thermal cores, the quality of the product and the warranty covering it, went down. Now it's just a cheap thermal (including their Night Vision products) that underperforms anything Pulsar (since they are in the same product areas) makes for about the same $.

I own and use, have used, both.
_________________________
Charlie

M&P-10+AAC Cyclone - Kel-Tec RFB+Griffin Sportsman Ultra Light 300
Pulsar XQ-50
ATN OTS 336-50mm 9hz Thermal Monocular
ATN NVM14 NV Monocular

Top
#6974059 - 11/27/17 01:47 PM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: TXRobTRX]
hwy84 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 1286
Loc: FAIRFIELD;TEXAS
Thank you for the reply.
_________________________
If the stores closed up tomorrow, a man should have enough Ammunition, Bic lighters,Tabasco sauce, Whiskey, and freeze dried Coffee to last him and his family until the casket.
Johnny Loco


Top
#6974340 - 11/27/17 05:36 PM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: TXRobTRX]
Midwaytmm Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 09/14/16
Posts: 201
My advice to anybody is, donít buy thermal or i2..... not sure what meth is like, but the outcome is the same . You spend all your money, to stay out all night, with shady characters . Only to sell all your stuff, and buy something better, to help you stay out longer .....

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#6974342 - 11/27/17 05:38 PM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: TXRobTRX]
Midwaytmm Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 09/14/16
Posts: 201
Side note, my ATN comments, are based on my personal experiences. Iím sure there is folks who are plenty happy with their stuff. I just donít know any of them personally.....

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#6980721 - 12/03/17 07:47 AM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: TXRobTRX]
TXRobTRX Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 69
Loc: East Texas
Appreciate the info so far.

On budget, didnt come up with one because not sure how entry level to low mid-range works from value standpoint. I cant justify the high end that some recommend, but $2k or less is probably doable. My two concerns with budget are either a> buying the mid-range and realizing the entry level was a much better value and had all the features I wanted, or b> the entry level is actually crap and I should have gone low mid-range.

On the mounting on rifle, not sure how I feel about it since I never did it, but I would say that I think 90% of my use would be as a monocular.

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#6980991 - 12/03/17 12:05 PM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: TXRobTRX]
Midwaytmm Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 09/14/16
Posts: 201
If 90% would be used as monocular, get one of those. Even entry level , is better than no thermal. Seems like pulsar, had some on clearance a while back. Theyíre not as good as the helion, but theyíre nothing to throw rocks at either

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#6981660 - 12/03/17 09:49 PM Re: Thermal unit recommendations [Re: TXRobTRX]
Outdoor Legacy Gear Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 03/18/11
Posts: 129
Loc: Appleby, TX
Originally Posted By: TXRobTRX
Appreciate the info so far.

On budget, didnt come up with one because not sure how entry level to low mid-range works from value standpoint. I cant justify the high end that some recommend, but $2k or less is probably doable. My two concerns with budget are either a> buying the mid-range and realizing the entry level was a much better value and had all the features I wanted, or b> the entry level is actually crap and I should have gone low mid-range.

On the mounting on rifle, not sure how I feel about it since I never did it, but I would say that I think 90% of my use would be as a monocular.



All reasonable concerns. Here is my 2 cents again after your updated info. My answers don't change much but I'll try explain them better now that you've given us a little more info.

First off, you will need to decide if you want a monocular or a rifle scope. You can absolutely take a rifle scope off and use it as a monocular but it won't be contoured to your hand the way a monocular will and it will probably be a little larger/longer than most monoculars. If you really don't see yourself using it as a rifle scope, buy a monocular, it just makes more sense. I'd highly suggest the Pulsar Quantum Lite XQ23V for $1,699. It's a great entry level unit and you will not be disappointed for handheld use considering what you've told us so far.

If you really want a dual purpose (mono and scope), I'd probably suggest the Pulsar Core RXQ30V because it's small, lightweight, the closest to monocular size and the price is right at $1,899.

If you want want to step up in image quality, I stand by my recommendation of the Pulsar Apex XQ38. At $2,499 you can't beat the image quality for the money. The image quality is substantially better than the RXQ30V, plus you get 2.1x optical magnification, compared to the 1.6x on the RXQ.

At the end of the day, all things considered, the RXQ will probably serve you best due to it's price and size. It will by far do the best as a dual purpose unit and with the new Pulsar QD mount you can quickly take it off and on your rifle.


Jason
_________________________

Night Vision, Thermal & Accessories
Pulsar, Sightmark, FLIR, Armasight, ATN & More
OutdoorLegacyGear.com
(877)350-1818


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