Thermal vs Night Vision

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Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by JimTom » 29 Nov 2019, 7:33 am

G’day Gents

For those who have gone down this path and are using either night vision or thermal scopes, I would greatly value your opinion on either of these two systems.
Interested in why you chose one over the other and why you think it’s a better option.
I have quite a bit of experience using night vision equipment (goggles not optic sights) occupationally so I have some understanding of the limitations there. In saying that, it was conventional (intensifer tubes, etc) high end night vision and not the digital Night vision available to us.
I have started reading and watching reviews, however would appreciate some input from you blokes.
Thanks in advance gents.
“Shoot straight you bastards, don’t make a mess of it”.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Blr243 » 29 Nov 2019, 6:43 pm

And the answer is .........FEAR. Fear of spending our hard earned money is the reason most of us ( me included ) buy a night vision scope as our first piece of night hunting equipment. I understand this ....a while back .if I were to ask about a high end thermal scope and a dealer said it was seven grand. I would be thinking stuff that no way. You got to be joking. But after learning the lesson the hard way (2200 bucks on a pulsar n v scope that I don’t use) I’m now fully aware that I have made the right decision with the purchase of a thermal scope that’s about 3 times the price ..... it’s not three times better than the n v scope. It’s ten times better. This year I have shot 110 pigs with my thermal and I have shot nothing with my n v. Scope. I might add that my n v scope is fitted with a very powerful after market illuminator......with my thermal scope I have stalked and shot pigs that I originally detected 1.5 k away. I don’t see that’s possible at all with n v. Save some dollars , get the best , and then prepare to be consumed by the night
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Blr243 » 29 Nov 2019, 6:50 pm

The last pig I shot
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Blr243 » 29 Nov 2019, 6:54 pm

Mob
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by JimTom » 29 Nov 2019, 7:02 pm

Mate thank you. Was waiting for you to weigh in on this one. I was leaning towards the NV scope as opposed to thermal, based purely on cost, as you have eluded to mate.
After hearing your first hand experience, I am prob leaning more towards the thermal.
Mate can you recommend or at least suggest a thermal that you think worthy of consideration please mate.
Loved the pic of the mob. If that’s what the money gets you then I think I will save a few bucks and go thermal.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Ferrisweil » 29 Nov 2019, 11:15 pm

For what I do, Thermal is hands down the winner. Yup, it’s more expensive, but we take a lot of shots at pigs on the run. Thermal is way better for this.
I run a thermal monocle to scan with and then swap to a thermal scope.
The thermal monocle allows us to see what we’re after WELL before they see us and there’s no need to put a light over them, therefore less spooked. Pick your wind and stalk in.
It’s been a huge game changer for us and our numbers have skyrocketed. The property owners where we go are astounded at the numbers we are clearing.
Go to YouTube and look up Pulsar Trail XP50 and Thermion Hog hunting. Pretty much exactly what we do without the semi autos...
Happy to answer any questions you’ve got.
I’ve got some cool vids we’ve recorded but don’t know how to post videos on here...
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Ferrisweil » 30 Nov 2019, 1:56 am

I meant to say, I got to have a play with a night-tech ms42 the other night. They have only just gone on sale and initial impressions are really good!
The resolution isn’t as good as the Pulsar Trail/Helion/Thermion XP series (nighttech runs at 384x288 as opposed to XP which is 640x480) however for the price, the night-tech is an awesome bit of kit. Has a variety of palettes, recording, zoom and different reticles to choose from. Main difference I could see might be the battery life. I get 8hrs for the small battery on the Trail and 16hrs from the larger one.
Def worth a look if considering going thermal. I’ve only ever used Pulsar, so it was good to see another brand out there. If money’s not a prob, also check out the ATN Mars Thor. Can’t comment on it as i haven’t used it.
Once you use thermal mate, nothing else will get a look in...
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by JimTom » 30 Nov 2019, 7:04 am

Mate what do you reckon about the Pulsar Thermion XP and XM series?
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by JimTom » 30 Nov 2019, 8:03 am

Also have watched reviews comparing the Pulsar XM38 and the ATN Thor 4. Be very interested to hear your opinion mate.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Blr243 » 01 Dec 2019, 6:38 pm

I have the pulsar xp 50 and the pulsar accolade binos. Very happy with the combination. Roughly 7 k each. I hate to recommend something just because I own it. Only somebody who goes out and spend s 28 thousand on four different brands of scopes can tell you which is best but good luck finding that fellow. I think while you save up for a thermal you have a fair bit of time to do a ton of research. And that research is well worth it when spending so much money. In the next couple of weeks I’ll try to get a night vision pic of my dog at roughly 150 metres with my pulsar nv scope. And I will also get a pic of him at 500 m with my pulsar thermal. Both at same time in the same dark conditions .... then I will post the pics so u can see the contrast difference I need some open country to do this so it looks like I will have to go dingo hunting one Saturday night .......we all know about those times late arv when you see pigs 300 m away when light is fading fast and you have an old fashioned scope. and you do your best to close the gap but u don’t make it in time and it’s too dark to shoot. But it’s frustrating because u can still hear them moving around. With thermal it’s no problem you just cruise on over at your own pace and you shoot them. Then there’s no need to wander back to the hut feeling content with your results because it’s only 7 pm and the night has just begun. remember that if you get a great quality thermal scope it’s easy to forget the pain of the purchase when you see your first mob of pigs in complete darkness ....you will be grinning from ear to ear , your eyes will be popping out of your head .....and you will instantly become aware of your new night addiction for which there is no cure
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Peter988 » 01 Dec 2019, 9:06 pm

I was recently doing some mitigation work with a mate who shots thermal. He also has IR but it stays in the box. Chalk and cheese. The thermal is superb. He uses a thermal monocular wifi’d to a iPad mounted on the dash. Finds the animals with that then goes to the scope. Mega expensive scope. He locates things out to 600M. Doesn’t shoot that distance of course but just poking round in the dark it’s relatively easy to get within distance. The numbers he is taking is ridiculous.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Ferrisweil » 01 Dec 2019, 10:08 pm

If you’re on FB, check out “Thermal Hunting Australia”. Lot of good blokes on there and full of great advice. We even had a night in Brisbane a while back where a few blokes demo’ed their gear for those who are in your boat (looking to buy)
The XP series of Pulsar is superb and the clarity is ridiculous, but with thermal, it really is a matter of, “you get what you pay for”.
As mentioned above, I use Pulsar Helion and Trail but have a look at the new Night-tec stuff. Its only just come out in Oz but it seems an awesome bit of kit for the price.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by JimTom » 02 Dec 2019, 7:01 am

Thank you gents for your input. Sincerely appreciated. Good to hear others thoughts on NV v’s Thermal and your experiences with different brands of kit. Definitely food for thought. After reading your comments I am pretty much sold on the idea of thermal, notwithstanding the money, nevertheless, you generally get what you pay for.
Will check out the Night Tech stuff, thanks for the heads up Ferris.
At present I am liking the look of the ATN Thor 4 or the new Pulsar XM38. Both circa $4,500.
“Shoot straight you bastards, don’t make a mess of it”.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Kel » 03 Dec 2019, 1:13 pm

I'm another satisfied customer with a Pulsar trail XP-50 LRF. I chose that particular model for it's higher resolution over the XP38. That extra resolution helps with identifying what you're looking at sooner than what a lower res sensor can provide.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Blr243 » 03 Dec 2019, 4:39 pm

When there’s tons of pigs about I hate that my thermal scope finds them as far away as 1500 m because if I’m tired it means I have to walk all that way to get them. But if they are scarce I need that long range finding ability
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Ferrisweil » 03 Dec 2019, 7:35 pm

I use Trail and Helion. No way you can positively ID pigs (or any animal) at 1500m. You can see something is there, but you can’t ID them.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Blr243 » 03 Dec 2019, 8:15 pm

At 1500 I can see white dots. Once I saw a white dot at 1200 and I could tell that it might be a pig so I walked for a closer look. At approx 900 I was more sure that it was a pig. So I continued on and I shot the pig. There is no cattle where I shoot. Tall skinny things I know are Roos , horizontal rectangular blobs I know are pigs. There’s no way I’m seeing snouts testicular and tails at these ranges I adjust my settings and focus and sometimes it takes a hell of a lot of looking to make a successful ID. I watch for behaviour and movements. That’s what helps me work out if it’s worth the walk or not. When I shot the 1200 m pig I knew it was one of the longest I had walked from my quad. I have a gps tracker on my quad. So after I photographed the boar I used my tracker just to see how far away I was successful in locating a pig .....my Roos tend not to congregate....they just Sit and feed spread out not real close to each other Eg a dozen Roos spread out over a fifty metre area. But the mobs of pigs are always on the move faster , strung out in a line , then the straggler gets nervous and runs fast to get back with the mob because he’s nervous about being left behind ( safety in numbers. ) then as the straggler runs to get back into the main mob as he runs past the first few at the rear of the pack he makes them nervous too so all the stragglers run and bunch up again , Then they relax and feed again, and eventually they get strung out in a big line again and it starts again with the last straggler gettting nervous. At night I see it time and time again ....when they bunch up in one mob my signal gets stronger and the mob glows brighter in my scope than when they are strung out. ...heaps of time I see Roos and it confuses me when they are too far away Esp a big solo roo all by himself. It makes me think I’m onto a good solo boar. ...I wish there were no Roos. I have also noticed a lot of fresh thick mud on a boar looks different as well ....once I saw a boar mounting a sow in my thermal so I wanted that shot but it just did not work out ..... by the time I was ready he was done
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Blr243 » 03 Dec 2019, 8:25 pm

The Roos on my place know I don’t shoot them , I can ride my quad or walk thru a mob and they just don’t even give a damn ...but the pigs know better. So it’s “casual “behaviour from the Roos and “nervous ““behaviour from the pigs .......if I see nervous, erratic scared white dots with my thermal in the distance I know I’m on ..... these are open cultivation paddocks not scrub. So even at night in pitch darkness the pigs still feel vulnerable out there because they know it’s a long run for the safety of the bush
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by JimTom » 04 Dec 2019, 6:36 am

What would be the minimum specs of a thermal
Scope that you think would be acceptable for the hunting you do?

Do you think either the Pulsar XM38 or the ATN Thor 4 are acceptable?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6arVVGFti44
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Ferrisweil » 04 Dec 2019, 8:51 am

Either of those will be more than fine. For me, the whole point of thermal, is that it allows you to get closer before taking a shot. Depends how you hunt/shoot I spose. If you just sit on a dam or a paddock and scan all night then having a thermal scope as your first thermal purchase is great.
We move around a LOT so my first purchase was a monocle. Meant I don’t have to hold a rifle up to my eyes all night scanning. Too much weight. For years we scanned with monocle and then swapped to a rifle mounted torch. Lucky to now be all thermal.
So if you’re looking at either of those scopes and a scope works well as your first purchase, either of those will be great.
Have a look at the Night tec ms42 as well. Just came out and seems a great bit of kit as well
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by JimTom » 04 Dec 2019, 9:35 am

Thanks mate, will check out the ms42.
My intended use for thermal is as you have eluded to, sitting on a dam, or dead pit and ambushing our porcine friends, and dogs. So distances of around a couple of hundred meters at the absolute most. Prob look at putting it on a 6.5mm at this stage. In saying that I have been thinking of putting it on the .300AAC for the close range stuff. Have recently developed a subsonic load for it too. Thinking a getting a hand held as well for the reasons you stated, will just use scope stationary in the interim and handheld later when I get used to thermal and start moving around a bit more.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Ferrisweil » 04 Dec 2019, 4:09 pm

A mate of mine use a 300 with subsonics and a can (he’s licensed to do so) and it truly does sound like in the movies. It’s stupidly quiet and great on pigs.
If you’re sitting on dams mate, a scope will be great. Once you hook into thermal, you’ll wonder how you ever got by with a torch. Every property I shoot on, I’ve taken the owners out with us at night and they are blown away by how many more you will see. Where we shoot, many of the local farmers have now heard about “the blokes using thermal” and its even got us onto a lot more properties. Our numbers have skyrocketed and the owners couldn’t be happier. We record a lot of the mobs we find and can even send the farmer a video the next day of us blasting into them..... Very cool and works a treat (spreads the word) when they show the neighbors what’s happening on their block.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by JimTom » 04 Dec 2019, 4:28 pm

Nice one mate. Can’t wait to finally get one and start using it. I checked out the ms42 mate and it looks quite good. I do probably prefer the above mentioned items as I prefer the more conventional look. Flawed logic I know, should never choose some based on asthetics.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Ferrisweil » 04 Dec 2019, 5:37 pm

If your spending the coin mate, it should look exactly how you want.
Just a point of interest as I use/have used all three.

The Trail LRF is the biggest and therefore the heaviest but has awesome battery life and the range finder is very handy

Thermion is more a conventional scope shape but battery life ain’t so good. You can always have spare batteries. They’re easy enough to change.

I prefer the Trail because the eye relief on it seems to be better. If it’s going on a larger calibre, I’d get a Trail, if it’s going on say a 243, id prolly take the Thermion. The palette choices on the Thermion are cool but a bit novelty as u tend to only use hot black/white

The night-tech impressed me because of its size. Easily the smallest of the batch and if I was free shooting and weight was an issue, it would be a doozy. Similar definition and clarity to the Trail/Thermion XP at low magnification but gets a little pixilated once you stretch its legs. (Same as the Pulsar and ATN models you’re looking at)

As for the ATN Mars, a mate of mine just started using it and LOVES it! Keep in mind though, he’s using the top of the line, most expensive model. It seems to be a combo of the Thermion and Trail and would also be a good buy.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by scoot » 05 Dec 2019, 6:29 am

How do you find thermal when there are high ambient temps. Ie: not a huge variation between animal body temp and ambient air/ground temp. Is this where a more premium product will "shine" over the cheaper options.
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Ferrisweil » 05 Dec 2019, 7:50 am

Yeah, every night I use it, you mess around with the contrast, brightness and even the palettes sometimes to get the best settings for the temps etc.
It takes a bit but a lot of first time users get caught out on things like ant hills and tree stumps, or even large boulders as you can tend to lose a bit of distance perspective using thermal. Having said that, as soon as you see an animal, it’s ridiculously obvious.
The only time thermal struggles that I’ve found is during fog and mist. Bloody useless at that point
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Blr243 » 05 Dec 2019, 3:57 pm

Occasionally I find myself useing the thermal in daylight , And sometimes if a pile of logs is mostly not in direct sunlight due to tree cover there can be a break in the tree cover that allows the sun to hit one particular log and heat it up. So it looks hot like a pig amongst the logs. In this situation I drop my thermal binos and have a peek thru a small set of normal binos ....if it shows black through my normal binos it’s a pig to shoot but if it looks white like the rest of the weathered logs I know then it’s just a log getting smashed by the sun. I have tried “ rocks mode “ but not really had much success with it. Rocky country just after dark in the warmer months is no fun with thermal binos
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by brinny » 05 Dec 2019, 5:52 pm

Think twicw about buying Pulsars....This issue is starting to be very common....Post off a FB group in the UK....
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by Blr243 » 05 Dec 2019, 7:33 pm

Brinny , you seem to be still haveing a ton of trouble with your scopes, Mine is behaving itself. I have actually been speaking to it and I have told it that if it plays up I will tie it to a tree and burn it alive ..so I guess it’s too scared to run amok
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Re: Thermal vs Night Vision

Post by brinny » 05 Dec 2019, 8:25 pm

Blr243 wrote:Brinny , you seem to be still haveing a ton of trouble with your scopes, Mine is behaving itself. I have actually been speaking to it and I have told it that if it plays up I will tie it to a tree and burn it alive ..so I guess it’s too scared to run amok


Yes mate....Maybe i should have tried that method....Might have saved me a heap of dramas....
The amount of times i threatened to wrap the POS around a fence post didnt work for me though....
I have had 4 Pulsar thermals and all 4 have failed....
The 3 XQ50s i have had have all had POI issues....Mostly shooting 3 inches to the right at 100m....
Most of the foxes i shoot are out to 200m+....so thats 6 inches out at that distance...
I shoot around 3-400 foxes a year and have been using thermals for the last 3 years....
So not exactly new to it....
I cant tell you how dissapointed i was to be having these problems....You sometimes doubt yourself when taking shots and missing....
But the proof is at the range next day when you fire a shot at your target and its 3 inches from where it was the day before....and then putting a group in the same place....
Rezero only to find it doing the same thing, maybe a day or a week later....Happened in half an hour to me one day....
We all pull shots and miss from time to time....
But i cant say that i have ever pulled 5 shots that make a tight group the size of a 10c piece 3 inches from the bull......and that was happening constantly...When they moved they still shot a tight group....but not where it should have been...
Why its happening is anyones guess....
Everyone that is having these issues with them (and there are a lot) is asking the same questions....and getting no answers from anyone....
Why do they send a new scope as a replacement if the one sent back is fixable???.....There is some extremely frustrated angry hunters out there that is going through the same crap...
I take my fox hunting extremely seriously, and do not need or want inferior gear that i pay a small fortune for that has a mind of its own that lets me down...
Is the new GSCI thermal any better??....TBH, i have no idea....Time will tell....Im not getting too excited about it yet, but early indications look promising...
But i can tell you this....It cant be any worse than what i have had....
A day without a hunt, is a day lost.....
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