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Night Vision Back Again! Dedicated Thermal or Clip On?

Willie Miller V

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Jul 20, 2013
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I’m back shopping around again since Xmas has passed. I’m hoping that products from last years Shot Show will hit the streets! I’m upping my budget from $2500 to $3500 minimum. Again, I’m wanting something clear that I can have some magnification for killing Yotes up to 400 yards, magnification that’s not too blurry to degrade the image. Please help me again, anyone!
 
I use the armasight CO-LR clip on night vision in front of a Leupold 6.5-20x50 mk4 on Sam bar deer out to 500m easily. I can clearly see the ears and tail twitch. Combined with an armasight hand held thermal to find game it is a great set up. I appreciate it is not the new gear but might help you from a reference point perspective.
 
$3500 minimum!

I assume when you say "Dedicated Thermal or Clipon" you mean "Thermal Clipon" ...

This issue with thermal clipons under $10k (other than used ones that started out over $10k but slipped under as a result of getting used) is the limit is about 7x .. and for most of the 640s it is around 5x and for most of the 320s it is around 3x. You are zooming in on the TV screen and give up resolution quickly.

Dedicated thermals put their magnification on the front end so you get 2x or 3x or 4x with full resolution. The problem with most of the dedicated thermals is they have "hunting" reticles which assume you are shooting at 300yds or under with a fairly flat cartridge and do not need a lot of reticle support for elevation holding. Like the reticles in the IRD/TEO thermals have decent support for ranging and holding for movers out to about 300yds, but 400yds would be a stretch. You would be using the critter as the reticle.

The SNIPE is the only under $10k clipon I've used that can support 7x and 7x would work for yotes at 400yds. The pulsar 50mm clipon can get to about 5x and that might work.

Other than that, the FLIR T-75 is available from PR_Infrared for $11,900 shown price and I saw a 10% discount coupon on there yesterday that would make the price $10,700. The T-75 is a thermal clipon and supports up to 12x so it would definitely work. But technically it is a $10k+ device.

For NV clipons the PVS-30 refurbs are around $5k and will support around 16x depending on who you ask. Get one of those and a good ir-illuminator and a tripod and you can try to stretch it out to 400yds ! That would be the least costly way to go to have full reticle support. The thermal clipons that support 10x+ magnification will be 2-4 times more expensive.

The pulsar 75mm apex is a 3x unit and has usable reticles for long distance. That is a dedicated thermal you can usefully use at up to 2x digital or 6x net. So that is another option, if you can find one.

 
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Wow! I knew it would be expensive but not that high. As far as Clip On or dedicated, I’m fine with just a Thermal that has a decent reticle for shooting predators. I don’t have to have mil dots or hold overs to reach 300-400. That’s just a maximum range I’ll be shooting. When these companies advertise a 2-12x with 640res does that mean you actually get up to 12 power zoom? If I could get close to that without too much deterioration in image quality that would be great.
 
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When these companies advertise a 2-12x with 640res does that mean you actually get up to 12 power zoom?

Negatif ... I answered that question for you a few weeks ago .. but maybe you are testing me to see if I will give them same answer in 2018 !!! :D

==
With thermal, whether clipon or digital magnification, does not matter. You are zooming in on the pixels ... each 2x of magnification (on the day scope or digital magnification) you loose half your resolution in both horizontal and vertical. 640x480 becomes 320x240 etc. for 2x.

on the other hand, front end or "optical" magnification gives you full resolution.

2-12 means 2x on the optical ... so a 640x480 scope would be 640-480 resolution at 2x.

Pushing 2x digital means you are going to 4x net meaning 2x optical and 2x digital.

Resolution goes to 320x240 ... you loose 75% of your pixels.

Another 2x digital and you go to 8x net which is 2x optical and 4x digital

So your resolution is 160x120 you lost another 75% of your pixels. For most people this is the max they can use, though it is quite fuzzy.

==

I’m fine with just a Thermal that has a decent reticle for shooting predators

Most thermals have at least a dot or a simple cross hair ... but if you are using the critter as the reticle that should be sufficient. I've done that out to 300yds at night, holding 16 inches up, using the critter as the reticle, holding up above and behind the head. Some have fancier reticles that help with ranging and holding for movers ... like 5 or 10 mil hash marks. the pulsars have reticles that can be used for holding.

 
Thanks WigWam. I actually wasn’t testing you, I’m just a complete moron when it comes to this Thermal game. I think I’m actually starting to understand what you are trying to explain to me as far as magnification and image degradation. Obviously I would be better off with anything that has a 640 res vs 320 if I were going to use increased scope magnification. Of course that means more money. I’m still learning the difference between front magnification vs rear. I watched the video on the Flir Thermosight Pro PTS233 and learned a little bit. I wish that the PTS533 would hit the shelves but the Zeus series prices have been dropped some. What are opinions on the Zeus 4-16x 640
 
In the Armasight Zeus realm, the one you want is the Zeus (standard) 75mm 3x 640(30) ... OP shows it for $4995

https://www.opticsplanet.com/armasi...ope.html?_iv_code=0A-HS-ZEUS3-TAT163WN7ZEUS31

Call them and tell them you will buy it today for $4,500. That should work. They send out 10% discount coupons on the time.

If you want post sale support, buy from a real dealer (not a box store like OP) but try to get that $4,500 price.

 
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... I knew it would be expensive but not that high. ...

Expensive? Put one of these in your cart ...

https://www.greyfoxindustries.com/products/utc-x

==
I don't think you can find a cart to put one of these in ...

spartn_mr-2015-09-690-datasheet-photo.jpg


But if you could, they would cost 2-3x as much as the UTC !

http://www.leonardodrs.com/products...acquisition-rifle-thermal-night-sight-spartn/

==

Should you get a pulsar or an armasight or a trijicon ?

Right now, the pulsars hold down the budget end of the market ... they have amazingly good images for the price ... these are the "bang for the buck" entries.

At the other end of the under $10k market ... the Trijicons are king due to the OASYS cores. They have the best image under many conditions, meaning you can id smaller critters faster at greater distances with the trijicons.

==
2-3 years ago, the Armasights were king. FLIR bought them out, and it is not clear what the strategy is. We hear they fired the entire support staff and Armasight support was actually pretty good at least within the thermal civilian space.

==
If you want to spend under $5k, I would get a pulsar ... one of the trails if you can afford it or one of the Apex if not.

If you are up to spend over $5k, then I would get a trijicon. I have three OSASYS core units and they are king for detail with a thermal under $10k ...

==
FLIR/Armasight may bounce back. But I'd wait a year on them. And new stuff announced at SHOT usually doesn't show up for an average of 9 months ... so don't think because someone saw something at SHOT that you can buy it in 2 weeks ... even if they say you can. We've been led down that path too many times !! :D

 
In the Armasight Zeus realm, the one you want is the Zeus (standard) 75mm 3x 640(30) ... OP shows it for $4995

https://www.opticsplanet.com/armasi...ope.html?_iv_code=0A-HS-ZEUS3-TAT163WN7ZEUS31

Call them and tell them you will buy it today for $4,500. That should work. They send out 10% discount coupons on the time.

If you want post sale support, buy from a real dealer (not a box store like OP) but try to get that $4,500 price.

Are the Zeus waterproof? I didn't see it listed on the specs.
one of the benifts of the used pvs30 and some milspec thermals are they can take a beating and run in bad weather
 
As Wig mentioned the Aramsight Zeus is a solid piece of gear. I have logged countless nights in heavy rain and lots of humidity. And she is still going strong (over 2 years) I'm now using the Zeus as my primary scanning night optic. PVS-30 had a chance to show me what she could do last night and tonight. Killswitch, I'm now a believer, I could literally see the blades of grass blowing in the night air. Unreal clarity.
 
As Wig mentioned the Aramsight Zeus is a solid piece of gear. I have logged countless nights in heavy rain and lots of humidity. And she is still going strong (over 2 years) I'm now using the Zeus as my primary scanning night optic. PVS-30 had a chance to show me what she could do last night and tonight. Killswitch, I'm now a believer, I could literally see the blades of grass blowing in the night air. Unreal clarity.

That's good to hear
 
... Are the Zeus waterproof? ...

Not completely. The power switch is the only weak spot. On the Zeus Pro a water proof power button was substituted, so the Zeus and Apollo pro lines are waterproof. But the Zeus and Apollo standards are not. Water gets in that switch and then they will not power on until the water dries out ... usually about 24 hours. But it takes a "Noah's Rain" to induce this condition. I had it about 1-2 times per year with my Apollo.

 
Not completely. The power switch is the only weak spot. On the Zeus Pro a water proof power button was substituted, so the Zeus and Apollo pro lines are waterproof. But the Zeus and Apollo standards are not. Water gets in that switch and then they will not power on until the water dries out ... usually about 24 hours. But it takes a "Noah's Rain" to induce this condition. I had it about 1-2 times per year with my Apollo.

That's good to know , thanks.
I saw on another thread you has a UTC, How does it stack up against a UTM and Skeeter? I was really impressed with how well the skeeter worked for such a small package
 
Well the UTC is a purpose designed clipon, so it is optimized for operating in front of a day scope. UTM and Skeet are optimized as spotters.
UTC has collimating lens on the rear. UTM and Skeet have diopter adjustable lens on the rear. UTM and Skeet can work as dedicated scopes in a pinch, but that is not their primary design purpose. They can also operate as clipons in a desperate pinch, but again that is not their design purpose.
With the UTC, I can move it around from rifle to rifle and it is dead on POI to the day scope no adjustments are needed or even possible.
With diopter rear lens devices, you should count on needing to make adjustments every time you mount to a different rifle and you should expect to be off +/- 1 moa whenever you remount.

Now, as a helmet mounted thermal spotter, the skeet is probably the best we can buy. The patrol has a 12um oasys core, the skeet 640 has a 17um oasys core, but the skeet is half the size and half the weight. If you can find a used one for under $10k, that is a good deal. But for the new typical shown price, like $18k ... is the skeet worth 2.5x as much as a patrol? Not in my book ! Smaller, lighter and it has a laser.
The UTM is "in the middle" more useful in the secondary purpose of dedicated scope, still not optimal as a clipon, but a bit large for use on a helmet.
Used ones under $10k are interesting.
But for me, in the space the skeet and UTM occupy, I'd rather have a Patrol and I just ordered one to put my words in to practice!
In the past 4 years, I've owned an ATN ODIN (which I still have a like. For a 320 device it is still very used on my head beside a 14) ... and a Q-14 mod 0 ... which I sold, mostly because until the Universal Bridge came out I could not figure out how to mount a mum-14 form factor device beside a pvs-14. I know how now, but I sold the Q-14 mod 0.
Also have pas-29/coti and it is useful close in beyond 300yds everything is a blob, so ok for detection, but for id best within 100yds. But it gives you some fusion, see with the thermal, aim with the ir-laser, seeing the laser with the 14. I've been using it with good results for the past couple of months on my coop patrols. So I've run the gammut of helmet mountable thermals and completing the circuit now with the patrol, though 2+ years after many people went down that road :)

The UTC primary purpose is long distance in front of day scopes ... magnification 3x up to 20x. You get some pixelation above 15x but still no problem seeing and hitting targets.

==

So UTC versus UTM and skeet is apples to oranges ... they have very different purposes. And throwing in the PATROL, I'd say the patrol does as well as the UTM or Skeet at everything except size, weight (skeet only) and built in laser (which is useful but not essential for my purposes).

 
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Hello,

What thermal optic or clip-on would y'all recommend for a pellet gun? I currently have a Arken EPL-4 4-16x44 FFP with 10yd to infinity parallax mounted onto it.
 
?

I wasn't playing either need something for 100yds max. Maybe this forum isn't informed on airguns?
 
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Budget?

any of these would work:

Budget: $1K Up to $5k+. . . it depends if it has the features/ it doesn't look like a potato

Prefer to have something with mrad's, variable magnification. . if I have to spend another $2k to get an mrad scope then ill go for that. Mind you I only know how glass tech works not thermal so I don't know if FFP or SFP apply or if mrad notches even exist on them yet

There's a lot of drop with airguns past 75 yards+

I was also wondering if it was smart to just keep the scope im using now, or get another platform entirely.
 
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