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SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed #8835580 04/17/23 11:08 PM
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Goal of this thread is to INFORM and EDUCATE - not debate and defecate : Now that , that is out of the way cheers

THIS IS NOT MY VIDEO - yet I firmly believe the concepts are sound in practice and logic about HOW TO SHOOT LONG RANGE WITH THERMAL.

Credit to YouTube user - IRAQVETERAN8888


Takeaways from the video:

Warning: DISCLAIMER - ALWAYS make ethical shots, no animal should ever suffer. If you aren't confident and don't have enough of the checkbox below ticked then you shouldn't be shooting long range with thermal (at least not primarily as a goal)

1) Buy good equipment, the rule of thumb really should be - If you expect to perform well at extended range with thermal then expect to spend some significant money! DON'T BELIEVE ADVERTISING OF SCOPE COMPANIES - inform and educate yourself

2) Caliber considerations - FAST and FLAT will increase your chances of success. Do your homework on "energy" downrange as well as drift and drop - you want to deliver as much terminal effect on target when shooting 300 yards or more.

3) Stock considerations - a stock correctly fitted to your length of pull. A collapsible AR style stock may not be optimal nor would a pistol brace. Don't try to be cute, if you want to hit long range you need solid cheek weld and length of pull must be tight.

4) Optics - In the video the setup is a clip on thermal , its essentially acting as a passive device and the dialing in of "dope" is on the day optic. Clip on systems need to be co-aligned with the day optic, typically there is a shifting of the thermals screen position to offset the POI shift it adds to any given system. Know how to do this and get it EXACT. Telescopic adapters like the one shown in the video (appears to be a Rusan) require you to clock and time the optic in the adapter and then ensure fitment is tight to prevent walking of the device. Note: The thermal clip on reference in the video is a HikMicro TH50C Thunder Pro (not a unit USA is familiar with), the shooter says "he believes it is 1080 res" - which it is not, it is 640 res with a 1024 res near eye display which is critical to have the highest resolution on both components (sensor and screen) for taking long range shots because the day optic is magnifying onto the screen of the thermal.

Dedicated thermal optics are a whole different bag (of tech) they certainly aren't designed to be passive units - they come with their own "challenges" in terms of accuracy and repeatability. You'll want a quality thermal with AT LEAST 640 resolution. Up and coming tech may boast 1080 or even 1280 resolution but this thread isn't meant to imply that you should spend that much to be successful. You should also research screen resolution and go for at least 1024 res but really 2560 is preferred and available for middle budget pricing - do your research.

Make sure the mount of your dedicated thermal is up to the task, American Defense, Bobro, Larue, Unity Tactical or a proprietary that is well built and robust.

5) Tripod - The video doesn't clearly show but is sure to state that two tripods were used to make the shot. The isn't really optimal for most shooters, so whatever "sticks" you're using be sure you are as rock stable as possible. Practice your rifle skills with regularity with the thermal to become confident.

6) Ammunition - Use what your rifle likes and is accurate with, skip FMJ or Tumble Upon Impact style projectiles. Factory ammo may work, Reloads may work, again - practice makes perfect here

7) Zeroing method - This is somewhat of a "spin-off" from Item 4, thermal scopes typically afford users with a number of profiles to switch between. Explore using these to enter dedicated zeros for long range shots, I'd recommend mastering 100/200/300 yard dedicated zeroing before stretching it out further. There are many nuances and principles to zeroing thermal optics (or clip on systems) and if the tech affords you an advantage - use it. I've not found many videos that clearly demonstrate or articulate how to zero thermals at extended ranges which is somewhat interesting - we should find these and post them to this thread.

8) Range Finding - I believe the video states it pretty clearly, ITS A MUST and range often due to variables that can cause error in readings. I think one of the best things said by the shooter is that at extended ranges the animal doesn't know you're there so you have all the time in the world (to make that ethical shot).

9) Clear ID of animal (target) - having a buddy with you helps to assist in validation, maybe two / three various optics looking at the target will see things that an excited solo hunter might miss. Bottomline , one of thermal challenges (Cons) is positive ID so do whatever you need to - to ensure ID

I think that sums up the initial thoughts on this topic

What questions do you have ?

And if you've zeroed long range and been successful with it please share pictures, videos, resources, other threads, ANYTHING on the topic that has a beneficial value.

With more and more thermal optics coming to market with LRF and ballistic solutions we are fast approaching the dawn of a new era - lets try to make it a safe one...


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Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: Pig_Popper] #8836011 04/18/23 05:28 PM
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What I am going to require is a Mil reticle in the optic. If I've got that, I've got it made. And there are thermals with Mil reticles.

When anyone knows how to use one, flat shooting is irrelevant, as long as you have enough reticle available. Old skewl Mil reticles give 5 Mils total elevation. A thermal for me would be going on a .308 Win, 155 gr TMK @2600 fps MV. 500 yards is 3.0 Mil hold from a 100 yard zero.

And my policy is for everything to have a 100 yard zero. Nothing is zeroed farther. Your elevation can shift with weather changes. And if you zero at 200+ yards, you're zeroed for that wind. If the wind changes, your zero changes. With Mil or MOA based scopes, there is no good reason to zero farther than 100 yards.

Tight shooting ammo is always important. It is especially important when someone is going to try to hit things farther away. I haven't shot a factory loaded round of rifle ammo in over a decade. For anyone afraid to load their own, don't be. With a fairly inexpensive kit anyone can make really good ammo, that is for more consistent than mass production ammo, and often safer ammo than mass production.


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Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: Pig_Popper] #8836047 04/18/23 06:36 PM
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Good stuff JG , reticles probably should be it’s own item on the checklist

I liked IR Defense (later Trijicon) reticles but a true MIL reticle is certainly something that would need to be verified by checking on the range .

Some companies put out a reticle guide or specification chart for their reticles and that is always helpful.

Adjustment values sometimes leave users unable to accurately zero (to the .1 of an inch) because of pixel spacing of the screen so adjustments may be .34 (more than .25 per click on day optics).

Higher resolution screens are the answer to getting tighter zeros on thermals as is progressive digital zoom zeroing where adjustments are finer at 2/3/4x zoom.


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Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: Pig_Popper] #8836105 04/18/23 08:03 PM
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If I'm going LR with a thermal, it is likely a clip-on and I'll use the MIL setup in the day scope for adjustment. LR with a thermal is going to be a situation where I'm firing one shot and it has to count. This is for a beast of some sort that isn't cooperating with closer means. It's probably a wary coyote that I haven't been able to trap, kill with a short weapon, or call in close. It might be that I have a shorter weapon with me, but this guy hangs up. The rig has to be set up and ready to go. You will likely need two people. The target will be of pretty high value. I'm not shooting a sounder at long range because it's easier to get closer.


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Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: Pig_Popper] #8836140 04/18/23 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Pig_Popper
Good stuff JG , reticles probably should be it’s own item on the checklist

I liked IR Defense (later Trijicon) reticles but a true MIL reticle is certainly something that would need to be verified by checking on the range .

Some companies put out a reticle guide or specification chart for their reticles and that is always helpful.

Adjustment values sometimes leave users unable to accurately zero (to the .1 of an inch) because of pixel spacing of the screen so adjustments may be .34 (more than .25 per click on day optics).

Higher resolution screens are the answer to getting tighter zeros on thermals as is progressive digital zoom zeroing where adjustments are finer at 2/3/4x zoom.


A Mil scope, adjusting in .1 Mil translates to .36" at 100 yards.

That zero is plenty fine enough.


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Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: Pig_Popper] #8836146 04/18/23 09:08 PM
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How do you intend to range your targets?


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Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: RiverRider] #8836160 04/18/23 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by RiverRider
How do you intend to range your targets?


Probably a secondary thermal with LRF.


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Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: RiverRider] #8836277 04/19/23 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by RiverRider
How do you intend to range your targets?


When I shoot long range I’d need a laser range finder (LRF).

May 1st Bering Optics is supposed to launch their first batch of LRF scopes.

It continuously scans ranges out to 1200 yards (way further than I’d shoot).


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Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: Pig_Popper] #8840700 04/26/23 08:59 AM
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Perhaps a distraction, but.........

I have lost two coyotes and a bobcat in the last six months because I could not determine the POI, when employing thermal at night at ranges from 50 to 120 yds., much less 200 yds.+

Finding my kill is very important to me.

Question for you long range guys.

My experience has been, hunting in daylight, that unless game is ranged before shot and one does not have a landmark by which to come close to determining the POI and the critter is not DRT, after 150 yds. or so, one usually does not find the critter.

So at night, with thermal and no depth perception, even with LRF, what has been your experience on finding a critter shot at a distance.

Quien Sabe,

GWB


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Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: Geedubya] #8841856 04/27/23 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Geedubya
Perhaps a distraction, but.........

I have lost two coyotes and a bobcat in the last six months because I could not determine the POI, when employing thermal at night at ranges from 50 to 120 yds., much less 200 yds.+

Finding my kill is very important to me.

Question for you long range guys.

My experience has been, hunting in daylight, that unless game is ranged before shot and one does not have a landmark by which to come close to determining the POI and the critter is not DRT, after 150 yds. or so, one usually does not find the critter.

So at night, with thermal and no depth perception, even with LRF, what has been your experience on finding a critter shot at a distance.

Quien Sabe,

GWB

What caliber are you shooting?

Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: Pig_Popper] #8841877 04/27/23 10:04 PM
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Geedub...if I am understanding you then the way I would approach it (I already do) is to use a thermal monocular to locate downed animals. I'm not shooting too far myself, maybe up to 200 yards at times and still I know what you mean about the lack of depth and distance perception using a thermal. And I'm not even hunting in challenging terrain, either. I do find my monocular handy for locating stuff, though. Unless the pigs fall in a hole or a swale they're usually not too hard to find out in the pasture or wheat field. It sure beats wandering around with a flashlight.


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Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: Geedubya] #8841896 04/27/23 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Geedubya

My experience has been, hunting in daylight, that unless game is ranged before shot and one does not have a landmark by which to come close to determining the POI and the critter is not DRT, after 150 yds. or so, one usually does not find the critter.

So at night, with thermal and no depth perception, even with LRF, what has been your experience on finding a critter shot at a distance.


I will be honest with you. I have had trouble finding piglets shot inside of 15 yards in tall grass.

Typically, I would find a downed much like in daylight if I can't see where it is down. Even if using a rangefinder and knowing said critter is X number of yards away, that has only given you a distance, but not a direction. In daylight a big hog can virtually disappear in a sea of knee-thigh high coastal Bermuda.

With that said, it is very easy to not be able to walk a straight line to the target. In fact, without visual cues, people tend to walk in circles. So if you deviate from course you set to the animal, you may not find it because you aren't actually walking to it, despite the fact you know the distance. If no landmarks near the animal, then I will look for a landmark beyond the animal. Often, it is something like a distant cell tower (could be several miles away!), or a particularly tall tree, a gap in the distant tree line, etc. This should keep you on track to the animal. The problem at night, however, is seeing landmarks can be tougher.

At night, I would be scanning with a thermal monocular as well to help locate the downed animal. When I get to the spot where I think the animal should be, I plant my shooting sticks in the ground and start and expanding spiral search pattern. How much I expand each revolution will depend on how thick/tall the foliage is. Taller/thicker foliage means a lot more revolutions with a tighter spiral.

We have even used a visible laser pointed at the spot when the trigger was pulled and still had trouble finding the animal because the grass was so tall. In some cases, if you aren't physically within a couple of feet of the animal as you search, you may not be able to find it without a lot of searching. We had that problem hunting an oat field. The oat plants would nearly swallow an adult hog under their little canopy.

9 times out of 10, thermal at night works better than a white light. I run both when looking for downed critters.

Or, you could do what my relative did when we could not find hogs in his oat field. He would let the buzzards find them for him the next morning.


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Re: SO you want to shoot thermal long range huh ? Well you better read up HERE to get informed [Re: Pig_Popper] #8841909 04/27/23 11:16 PM
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I have an LED flashlight that makes white, red, and UV light. I understand that blood glows in UV light, and I've taken that light with me before a number of times but I somehow never remember to try it for finding a blood trail. It may work great, or it may not be worth a damn at all...but it could be a possibility. If I can remember to do it, I'll test it out next time I get to go on a hog murdering spree.
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