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Thermal vs NV for Hunting #7611424 09/20/19 01:43 PM
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We do a lot of riding around and shooting hogs on our lease at night. I'm extremely fortunate to be able to mount a friend's Trijicon ReapIR on my SBR when we go. The optic is absolutely amazing, getting a positive ID on hogs vs cow vs deer out to 200+ yards is a piece of cake. We hunt mostly wide open fields, but in the summer the grass gets pretty tall. Lots of shots on running hogs.

My ONLY complaint is that it gets really old having to hold my rifle up all night to scan. Plus I have to mount the optic and re-zero it to my rifle every time I go, because other people use it too. I'd like to get my own dedicated sighting system for my rifle. For the time being, I'll get this and use the ReapIR as a handheld spotter. Down the road, I'll save up more money and get my own high resolution thermal hand held spotter.

SO..... I've got a budget of $3k. I'm fairly positive that I could get a Pulsar unit that I'd be happy with. I've used an XP50. It's not a Trijicon but will get the job done just fine. I've never used NV before. For my budget I MIGHT be able to swing a helmet-mounted PVS-14 and a weapon mounted IR laser. My question is this: for those of you that have used both, is there ANY chance that NOD's w/ aiming laser is a better choice than a weapon mounted thermal unit? Assuming I've got a handheld thermal that gives me the positive target ID I need, is NV a better tool for shooting hogs?

Edit: the part about NOD's making movement easier is a moot point to me. Specifically talking about effective shot placement from 25-150ish yards.

Last edited by Crews; 09/20/19 01:45 PM.
Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7611460 09/20/19 02:17 PM
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I’ll take thermal

Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7611483 09/20/19 02:41 PM
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Thermal for me. Check out the new PRG Micro TS35 + the single lever bobro mount. Under budget and super easy to take on and off for scanning and shooting while maintaining perfect zero.

PRG Micro Thermals & Mounts


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Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: MDMORROW] #7611498 09/20/19 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by MDMORROW
Thermal for me. Check out the new PRG Micro TS35 + the single lever bobro mount. Under budget and super easy to take on and off for scanning and shooting while maintaining perfect zero.

PRG Micro Thermals & Mounts


So the only experience I have with thermal is the Triji, which has 640x480 sensor and same resolution for display. I see these units have a lower resolution sensor, and a higher resolution display. I have great confidence in the ability to positive ID with the ReapIR. I know this is subjective, but let's say out to 200 yards, is the difference in resolution going to be a whole lot worse?

Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7611552 09/20/19 04:05 PM
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It's still very usable but they won't have the usable zoom or the overall clarity of a high end 640 unit. That said they're very usable and have an exceptionally good picture for the money. The size and weight and controls are similar to a reap-ir. You'd be good to 200 no problem. It's hard to compare to a trijicon when you can buy almost 3 to one on some of the budget units. They'll do what you need though.


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Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7611561 09/20/19 04:14 PM
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Why not buy him a return to zero mount then you can zero it and remove it to spot and put it back on later when you need the rifle? Lots of guys do that.

I'm a little pissed off that I've bought two Pulsar thermals only to determine that I have to buy a return to zero mount. Why even put a mount in the box at all if it's junk? It's almost insulting. bang

Oh and I'm going to say thermal too. I will say the CORE I have is cheap and it does a great job...I like it for a cheap entry level thermal.


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Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7611652 09/20/19 05:40 PM
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100%, no questions asked, THERMAL. I've hunted and used both. NV is fine if you are in an open field with no brush or vegetation. But as soon as you get into brush or veg, the contrast of the NV is very limited on what it can see. Thermal will "see" much better through broken vegetation than NV. (But it the heat source is fully blocked, it will not be seen either way).



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Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7612279 09/21/19 03:28 PM
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The problem with night vision is that all the factors that make hogs hard to see in daylight such as foliage, coloration, shade, etc., make them harder to see in NV as well. It can be extremely tough or impossible seeing animals under the night shade of trees without using IR illumination which introduces other issues (reflected light being a significant issue). I don't think NODs with the laser is your best choice. NV is great for navigation, particularly because you can see through glass, but is not as good for targeting as thermal is.

The PRG Micro was suggested. Pig Popper purchased and returned one because it would not hold focus and for other reasons.


Lots of guys do use RTZ mounts. They are great until they aren't, meaning you mount the scope in the wrong slog or something unnoticed interferes with the mounting and all of a sudden, you are shooting to your zero anymore. I have seen it happen more than once.

It was suggested that you get a Pulsar Core. That is one option. I would suggest a FLIR PTS233 if you are going the entry level thermal route. It will cost you a couple hundred more than the Core but you will have a better scope. The other option is going used. Occasionally, folks will post thermals for sale here on THF. Otherwise if you are on FB, there are several thermal groups where folks sometimes post used units for sale.

For example...
Thermal Scope Owners and Hunters
The Thermal & Night Vision Club


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Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7613594 09/23/19 11:35 AM
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Thanks for the feedback everyone, the thought of having the visible aiming laser seemed like it might be an advantage since I'm always shooting at pigs on the move. But it just doesn't sound like it's enough of an advantage to outweigh having a thermal mounted on the gun. That's what I'm used to, and I have to say it's pretty damned effective. The PRG Micro really looks great on paper, I'll have to do some research and decide if it's really the best option. It'll all boil down to a feeling of product support. For that much money I want to purchase something that works and has excellent customer service in case something ever happens.

Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7621819 10/02/19 04:47 PM
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I have both thermal & NV. I have an ATN night vision scope but the thermal is awesome! Everything you think thermal is, it is! The biggest limitation to thermal is thick vegetation, it can't see through it. The other is a light rain that makes virtually everything the same temp.

Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7621987 10/02/19 07:12 PM
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Thermal!!! Only drawback is you can use it thru glass like you can NV. So no running around in a vehicle with windows up.

Use hand warmers to sight in a thermal.

Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7622537 10/03/19 04:08 AM
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Very interesting thread. I wish I had read this before I dropped 3 grand on a PVS-14 and $170 on an IR laser.

Ultimately I'll one day have a thermal scope and use my helmet mounted PVS-14 strictly for navigation

Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Noebet] #7622541 10/03/19 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Noebet
I have both thermal & NV. I have an ATN night vision scope but the thermal is awesome! Everything you think thermal is, it is! The biggest limitation to thermal is thick vegetation, it can't see through it. The other is a light rain that makes virtually everything the same temp.


NV has that same issue. Heavy vegetation and the IR washes out. Rain, and the IR reflects off everything and washes out. Not to mention the idea of using an electronic scope in the rain

Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Judd] #7622542 10/03/19 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Judd
Why not buy him a return to zero mount then you can zero it and remove it to spot and put it back on later when you need the rifle? Lots of guys do that.

I'm a little pissed off that I've bought two Pulsar thermals only to determine that I have to buy a return to zero mount. Why even put a mount in the box at all if it's junk? It's almost insulting. bang

Oh and I'm going to say thermal too. I will say the CORE I have is cheap and it does a great job...I like it for a cheap entry level thermal.


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Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7630615 10/12/19 01:22 PM
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Thanks all of you guys. Anyone here have has any idea about this thermal scope. I'm thinking of taking the ATN ThOR-HD. How will it?

Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7631414 10/13/19 04:54 PM
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The ThOR-HD has about the worst sensor of any of them out there, they are cheap for a reason. The original ThOR's with the FLIR sensor were/are a good scope.


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Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7632357 10/14/19 05:35 PM
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The plot has thickened a bit..... a guy I hunt with has just given me a PVS-14 that just doesn't get used very much at all on long term loan. So even with the limitations vs thermal it's worth it to spend a little bit of money to get it set up for use. Need to find the best value for a head mount, some ways to illuminate, and an IR aiming laser. If it doesn't work out I'll sell the equipment. If it ends up being at least a little useful it'll be worth the up front investment to have another layer of tools for the guys I night hunt with. Hell just being able to drive lights out might be worth helmet mounting it.

Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7632525 10/14/19 09:19 PM
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My gun is topped with ATN Mars4 Gen 3 NV. Myron at NVO recently hooked me up with a Pulsar Axion XM38 thermal for scanning. This little unit is awesome. I can clearly pick out deer at 600 yards eating at my feeder . Only time I'll turn the NV on now is for killin. Just waiting on the wheat to get planted and it'll be pig busting time again.



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Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7632563 10/14/19 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Crews
Need to find the best value for a head mount, some ways to illuminate, and an IR aiming laser. If it doesn't work out I'll sell the equipment. If it ends up being at least a little useful it'll be worth the up front investment to have another layer of tools for the guys I night hunt with. Hell just being able to drive lights out might be worth helmet mounting it.


Driving with a PVS-14 type device is a very good use. You can get by with a simple ebay used J-ARM, helmet mount and Paintball helmet. The cheap helmets can get uncomfortable if you have them on for a while. My experience... illuminators on the helmet work great if you're walking, not so much if you're driving as they also tend to light up whatever you're in, making glare a big problem. You can always hard mount an illuminator on the vehicle, though it's fixed for driving. I drive my Pioneer with my thermal monocular which is OK when you know the roads you're traveling well. Holes, dips and small branches do not always show so well. When it's cold out, you can more comfortably drive with NV as you can't see through plastic/glass with thermal. You don't know what you're not seeing with NV until you start using a thermal monocular, you see everything, except the full road. smile

I'd ask around on the IR Laser, it's not as exciting as it sounds, at least for me it wasn't. You'll need to spend some decent coin on a good IR laser for it to be effective. Also consider if you go thermal on the rifle later, the laser becomes useless, so limited investment.

Have fun with your new toy!


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Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: CharlieCTx] #7632932 10/15/19 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by CharlieCTx
My experience... illuminators on the helmet work great if you're walking, not so much if you're driving as they also tend to light up whatever you're in, making glare a big problem. You can always hard mount an illuminator on the vehicle, though it's fixed for driving.


We usually drive around in a Polaris Ranger without a windshield or doors. Based on your experience is the spill from helmet mounted illumination still a significant issue in that scenario? My primary illumination being helmet mounted vs weapon mounted is particularly attractive. The NODs + illumination as a self-contained unit that other guys in my team can pick up and use for navigation in the base case without needing to have anything on their weapon or vehicle.

Point well-taken on inside the truck, I'm going to try and find some way to convert my fog lights to IR. Maybe replace the bulbs or put a film over them. Haven't done much research on that.

Re: Thermal vs NV for Hunting [Re: Crews] #7633078 10/15/19 02:22 PM
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All of my comments about driving are doing so in a Honda Pioneer 700-4 with a roof and fold down windshield, not a truck. You have to weigh the type of illuminator to put on the helmet... too bright makes the driving a little harder, but better for shooting/spotting. I got to where I didn't use the helmet illuminator on the ranch roads, typical night view was good enough. I had a cheapy I got with my X-Sight I, that could focus to a fairly tight beam, better for driving. The more expensive one (forget the name) was much better for shooting/spotting but tough to drive with. Use a Pic rail mount for whatever you do and you can move it from helmet to rifle.

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Last edited by CharlieCTx; 10/15/19 02:34 PM.

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