Night Vision PVS-27/26 Max magnification experience?

Rumlover

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Gents,

I'm curious about the image clarity at 20x or greater with a PVS-27 (or the KNS version, PVS-26). Does anyone have experience with this they can share?

A little background: I've been using a PVS-14 behind my SB 5-25 and at 25x I get a fairly clear image of targets out to around 600m IF I use an illuminator. I'm looking to upgrade to a clip-on sight, but target ID is paramount. I don't want to shoot someone's house dog or one of the toy/mini horses my neighbor has if they get out. Also, If I put the 14 behind my other scopes (USO 3-22 & Nightforce 5-22) I get a blurred image in the center of the glass when above 15x. Switching to a clip on would relieve that issue--funny though, I don't get it when used with my Leupold's, all 5 of them ranging from MK Ar's to MK 4's.

Thanks,
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Victor-TNVC

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    There is only a finite amount or resolution you can squeeze out of any clip-on no matter how good the tube is. Using a PVS-14 at 25x with an Illuminator...What does "fairly clear image mean" which is subjective for ID purposes.

    I've extensively used the AN/PVS-27 and a CNVD/LR with a S&B at 12x with no illumination on a dark night (city sky) and half moon + at 15x with good results. At 18x-20x with active IR, moon etc. you start getting resolution degradation in a hurry and based on the target size this will limit your ID. As for seeing ID'ing a dog at 600m, that is a very tough challenge IMHO for such a small critter but maybe have better ID'ing with those mini horses you speak of.

    We have seen some crazy claims at times with ungodly magnification ranges with Clip-ons with small objective lenses, non Cat lenses all the way up to 30x! Sure you may be able to see the outline of a power stand at 1000 yards, but what detail are you really seeing? Hope this helps a bit. :)

    Edit, I have only used the 26 on 2 occasions at 10x so I cannot comment further on that unit.

    Vic
     
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    Rumlover

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    "fairly clear image" means I can tell if it's coyote or a beagle, buck or doe, hog or calf, etc... Size and shape of legs, body, head and neck are discernible/clear enough for ID. I don't expect to see hair, a collar or count points at that range, but I want more than a couple dark pixels on a blurry image. I've had the same issues with lighting changes degrading resolution at longer distances, even washing out mil-spec IR lasers depending on the angle and % illumination of the moon. That's one of the issues driving my interest in a clip on. I was asking for experience behind a 27 because of distributor claims it's usable to 20x compounded by a brighter image that doesn't need illumination as often as a 14 behind the scope.
     

    RobertB

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    I've been impressed with a pvs14 behind a day scope at times. I've hit a target on a dark night with on with no ir at 1k. But it was tough. A PVS 27 and a cnvd lr with good glass behind it start to go down at like 12x or so. You can turn wm up more but they really start to go downhill for id. You could see a target outline though. A PVS 22 will have good image up to 8x or so.
     

    I^2 Technologies - Peter

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    As far as pure resolution at higher magnification goes the CNVD LR will outperform everything, the 26, the 27 and the 30 will not resolve as well as it does. It's a more powerful clip on in it's magnification and de-magnification. As such it can go high on the magnification scale of Day optics used with it.

    Here is a repost from when the LR came out.

    The CNVD LR has been out now for a bit and I have finally gotten around to writing it up.

    The new unit shown here is the Latest in Clip on offering from L3 EOS Night Vision Systems. It is designed to be used an larger power scopes mainly on a Precision Rifle but it works well clear down to 4 power scopes to include the ACOGs. In fact I have never seen an ACOG look better at night.

    059-1.jpg


    Spec wise this new unit is ASTOUNDINGLY light at 1 Lb 13 ounces with a CR 123 installed. A note on the batteries. The CNVD series can take either a single AA battery (with an adapter) or a single CR 123 battery. Quite handy these days as you might run short of one or the other in the field. A discriminator senses if the battery is either an AA or a 123 and automatically adjusts to accept the incoming voltage. It mounts to a standard Mil 1913 Picatinny rail utilizing a, custom made for the application, LaRue Mount. The Finish is like the earlier PVS-24 done in a Flat Dark Earth Anodizing. I am quite partial to this color scheme. Living in a desert environment and having the unit already done up, means one less thing for me to have to paint.

    As far as Recoil Resistance is concerned L3 is saying up to 338 but I have only run mine on .308. Now that .308 is a less than 7 lb FN bolt gun that kicks like a mule and no issues so far.

    026-2.jpg



    The Lens shade and Junction shroud are made of soft Rubber Ala the PVS 24s. The Lens shade is a bit on the skimpy side and is barely adequate to seal the objective off from incoming light. I will probably replace it with a Butler Creek cap if they make one large enough to fit the Lens shade. The Junction cover however is much better. It has a good bit of stretch that allows one to fit it over some fairly large objectives of Day optics if one wanted to use it. If you don't wish to use it, it stays out of the way quite nicely. I simply rolled mine back on it's self.

    The unit mounts up pretty handily to most Precision Rifle platforms. A friend lent me his Remington mounted quite nicely in an AICS stock to check fit.

    124.jpg


    Now lets get to the Juicy stuff how does it LOOK??? Ok here are a series of Photos taken at 100 yards with a section of a Resolution Chart to show what the unit is capable of doing. Now the resolution chart is the great truth teller and this shows that the CNVD LR is a very good clip on. While the image quality appears fuzzy at the higher powers it is very good, Trust me on this one. This is the roughest optical test outside of a lab you can do with a clip on.


    The Day Glass is a Night Force 5.5 to 22. Before this unit came out, I had said "I would be happy with it if it were clear at 10 power and usable at 12 power." Needles to say I was ready to do cartwheels when I first looked through it and ran it up to 15 power.

    Here we have the image at 5.5 power.

    55.jpg



    Next we went up to about 8 power.

    8.jpg



    Next we went up to 10 power.

    10.jpg



    On up to 12 power.

    12.jpg



    Interesting at 15 power. I wasn't expecting this level of clarity.

    20.jpg



    Lastly at 22 power. A note here, the dimmer image is caused by the output of the day optic shrinking in Exit pupil as it goes up in power. 22 power is stretching the limits of ANY clip on. It isn't as noticeable when looking through the unit with your dark adjusted eye, but the camera did catch it and I was very surprised when I looked at the photos after the fact.

    22.jpg



    Let me recap, the CNVD LR is a light weight, easy to handle and focus piece of gear. It runs on either AA or 123 batteries, oh and did I mention LIGHT WEIGHT? If ya gotta hump a Night Vision Device any real distance, this is the unit for you.

    LIGHT IS RIGHT ! ! !

    Oh and one last thing to cover, the Objective lens in this thing has incredible depth of field which translates into MUCH LESS FOCUSING ! ! ! Even though the LR has retained the most excellent focusing lever from the PVS 24, you don't have to constantly futz with the focus on this unit unless you are looking at very different ranges rapidly. That, in and of itself is a HUGE plus in my book.

    ETA
    I got an email asking what tube is installed in these. They are an L3, Omega spec, Filmed, 11769 variable gain tube, same as in the PVS 14. A note here as well, the On /Off / Variable gain switch like the PVS 24, also comes on dim (tube brightness) and goes up in intensity as you crank it around. I find that I like this a great deal as I generally run anything with variable gain as dim as possible to try and keep my dominate eye closer in Night Vision Adaptation to the non aided eye. So it is nice to not have my Night Adapted vision blown out when the unit comes on.
    Another thing I forgot to mention, bore sight alignment. Most people assume that if it is a clip on it is perfectly optically aligned and ya slap it on and no shift right?
    Not so fast there gunslingers... or in this case precision Marksmen.
    With all clip ons there is a set of specs on this. Usually it is 1 moa. In other words your night time zero should not be more than 1 moa off of your day zero. The hope is that it is (and to quote Marisa Tomme) "to be dead on balls accurate! it's an industry term."

    The spec from L3 for bore sight alignment is .4 MOA or better which is probably the best going among clip ons. The "or better" part is very Important. As these systems first came out of L3, a group of folks were cross checking published repeatability, boresight alignment and other characteristics of the CNVD-LR. That field test information went back to L3 via one of the launch customers. Mod Armory and I2 Technologies (who are both Hide sponsor) as part of that group and we own some of the test equipment used to verify the CNVD-LR's performance in the real world.

    A lot of that testing was comparing the LR to the PVS-27 and while this thread wasn't created to discuss that comparison we did note that with the proper equipment the LR can be re-bore sighted or have the tube swapped without having to go back to L3 in the event that your $9k+ piece of technology falls down a mountain or is otherwise damaged somehow. From speaking with OSTI your only option with the PVS-27 is to send it back to OSTI and a repair is a pretty in-depth process. This isn't a slam on the PVS-27, they designed it that way but that difference may at least be note worthy to a long range clip-on buyer.

    ALL In ALL, this is my favorite clip on. Two thumbs Way, WAY up to L3 for this unit. I consider this some of the best money I have ever spent on any piece of equipment.
     
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    hoosierswat

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    I have a AN/PVS-27 for the last two years. It's actually up for sale in the optics section. Victor is right. You will have a pretty good image up to 12X. After 12X the image will start to degrade. How much depends on the amount of light available. You would be able to tell the difference between a Coyote and a mini horse at 600 yards. If a person knows the difference between a dog and Coyote in the day time he should be able to tell the difference at 400 yards with the AN/PVS-27.
     

    taliv

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    i have/had 2 of the PVS27s and a CNVD-LR and mostly agree with what was said above. I'll add that some nights with full moon or something, going above 12x seemed to be ok. you quickly start to see the pixelation though. but most nights, going much above 12x just looks like static on an old TV set with no image at all.

    the CNVD-LR definitely handles higher resolution and is also much lighter weight. And the focus lever is way, way better than the knob on the pvs27. It was great for short ranges, but i found it marginal for long range shooting with a good IR spotlight and useless without IR. Targets I could easily identify and hit with the 27s past 500 yards would be invisible to the CNVD-LR.

    it also seems to be designed more for AR type platforms with a flat top pic rail as it's sits up higher and is so long that it was difficult to use with my S&B 5-25x and impossible to use with my USO 5-25x. compare the pictures below and you can see two rifles with the same mcmillan A5 stock and badger EFR. One has the relatively long S&B 5-25x and the other has the very short bushnell HDMR.

    First, notice the standard mounting location for the EFR makes the pvs27 just about the perfect length for use with the S&B and the CNVD-LR is similarly great with the short HDMR. However, when I reversed them in the 2nd pic, I had to use the neoprene shield with the PVS27 to cover the several-inch gap, and the CNVD-LR only touched the gooseneck part of the EFR. Some chassis are more forgiving and others like Peter's AICS that have a rail in front easily accommodate the longer length. For reference that NF is an inch and change shorter than the S&B so it looks like you'd still have room, but maybe not with the USO 5-25 which is 3" longer than the NF.

    Also while the collimation spec may be .4 MOA, my CNVD-LR was in fact, half a mil shift, while both my PVS27s were dead on. could just be my luck. but it is possible to adjust the collimation on the unit, though I'm not sure if you're officially supposed to. It wasn't too difficult.

    In the end, I kept the 27s and parted with the CNVD-LR. I might buy another one someday though if i was planning to pack it around extended distances.

    I have shot some hogs and bobcat with the 27s but not at long range. watched some coyote trot from ~700 yards to 500 yards. could see their eyes but not their fur without IR. they were in tall grass though. Farthest target I've shot is full sized ipsc at 1100 yards, which i used to do regularly. Smallest, I guess would be the 2"x4" KYL at 600y off Dustin's grain bin so that 12x didn't hurt me too much.

    cnvdlr.jpg
    cnvdlr2.jpg
     

    Ro_Bird

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    I've been using the PVS 26/30 and the 27 for the last few years (as a sniper). I actual did quite a bit of Fox hunting in Afghanistan during my down time and I found that depending on lighting conditions you can get PID on a Fox or a dog (not that anyone cared) at 400-600 with the 26/30 and about 500-700 with the 27. I normal ran my glass at 8x to 12x anything higher and you'll get pixelation.
     

    308crosshairs

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    My experience with the PVS27 for the last 4 to 5 years has been excellent. My primary use of the 27 is for exterminating pesky hogs and occasionally corn bandit from 490 to 700 yrds with and without IR illumination. The only negative of 27 is the weight, add that to a heavy rifle and it can be a load, other than that 27 is a great n/v scope. I agree that after 12x pixelation sets in, 12x is as high as i go.

    I have had the opportunity to look through a friends CNVD-LR under the same conditions when we were hunting together. We had hogs at a range of 500 yrds and i couldn't till any difference between scopes with almost full moon conditions. With less lighting i suspect the 27 over takes the CNVD-LR.
     

    I^2 Technologies - Peter

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    A couple of quick points. There are some major design differences between the Flir/Knights platforms and the L-3 units. The Flir/Knights stuff is only good up to roughly 12 power because of how much de-magnification the back end was designed with. Also the position of the prisums is closer to the tube. The pros to this are that the Flir/Knights stuff is more forgiving to misalignment of heights and angle relation, to the day optic. The Cons are as mentioned... 12X is the last place things are razor sharp.

    The LR gets better resolution by greater de-magnification. Hence its longer tube in the back end. In Addition the prisms are back there to. The pros to this are better resolution at higher day optic magnification and the fact that you can fix any colimation sins. Flir/Knights stuff, is NOT adjustable after manufacture. NOW... the down side is that LR needs to be lined up to the day optic better. When you align the two optics this gets you looking STRAIGHT though the clip on. This is Always better. I have said it before and I will say it again, not aligning your optics is like buying a Ferrari and running it with non Y rated tires.

    All of the positive physical attributes of the LR (lighter weight, better focus control, on off switch, 123 or AA batteries, did I mention Lighter weight?) outweigh (np pun intended) the competition in the handling department. The Superior optics of the LR are its best points. The entire reason for hanging glass off your gun is the see farther and BETTER ! ! !

    In the light gather department, Let me say this first, I would rather have a dimmer clear image than a brighter fuzzy image every day of the week and twice on Sunday. The argument that the 27 gathers more light because of it MASSIVE objective has two huge down sides. 1 Shitty depth of field which necessitating lots of focusing if your looking at things at different ranges. Lots of focusing with a tiny little hard to manipulate knob. 2. Weight! The thing is a boat anchor. It doesnt need to be anywhere as heavy as it is. Those two things coupled with not enough mag/demag to get above 12 power make the Flir/Knights stuff to me, a BAD choice for a long range optic.

    In conclusion, having had both and understanding all that is going on inside a clip on, I recommend the CNVD-LR over everything else.
     
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    RobertB

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    Yeah, I have a friend with a LR and one with a PVS 27. I would choose the LR ANY day of the week. Peter summed it up pretty good. And he knows more about this stuff than anyone else I know. I would trust his opinion to be the final word.
     

    Victor-TNVC

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    Final word? I think other posters have posted what others including me over many years have viewed at extreme long ranges. It has to do with F/Stops of the devices. The 27 has an incredibly fast one at 1.0 and does have better contrast and brightness at extreme long ranges of 700m+. The CNVD/LR is a smudge better out to 500m, but with it's very fast F/Stop, the 27 is is a gem at VERY long distances. With two equal ITT and L3 tubes. (See below).

    We've also had 3 CNVD/LR's units go back to for collimation issues. Now with all that said, nothing was mentioned about tube selection in these units. I've had some not so good tubes at times from both FLIR and L3, where both units underperformed. We've also used and demo'd a CNVD/LR SYSTEM built glass for a WPT tube with a 81LP and 36+ S/N at the L3 factory, that are few in numbers and are sent to our Mil folks for trials. That's right folks, you've read that spec right and in these cases, we REALLY saw the CNVD/LR shine like no other.

    No final word here, (that is what good technical forums are for...)We offer both here at TNVC and I do like the focus better on the CNVD/LR and if I can constantly get tubes like the one I've discussed we've used at L3, the winner would be clear. Hope this sheds another perspective.

    Hope this helps a few others understand what these devices are capable of.

    Vic
     

    Victor-TNVC

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    by the way, how much do these units (CNVD/LR SYSTEM & PVS-27) run price wise?

    Please do PM us for price, and I would happy to discuss your Hide pricing. Please shop around and do your research with others, then please feel free to give us a call. We will not pressure you, just educate the best we can here at TNVC. Thank you.

    Vic