View Full Version : Night Scope Advice Needed

December 10, 2012, 08:28 AM
I'm beginning a search for a good quality, solid, night vision scope for a .223 AR style rifle, . . . specifically for racoons and coyotes.

The "array" of offerings out there in sales land is mind boggling.

I can't spend over $1500, . . . and would like to stay under $1000.

It needs to be capable of seeing, ID'ing and dropping them out to 200 yards.

Your comments, suggestions, war stories, and horror stories are welcome: mostly looking for 1) your real good suggestions, . . . and 2) your "Stay away from this one" suggestions.

May God bless,

Double Naught Spy
December 10, 2012, 11:04 AM
I have an ATN Paladin. Here is the link to Optics Planet.


It is a decent scope for the money. If you buy a supplemental laser illumnator in the 800 nm area, you can easily see beyond 200 yards. I can and have target shot with mine at 400, but the targets were white. The current setup is good for 100, but a laser will really light up things.

I have a couple of these and have purchased from this seller. It takes about 3 weeks to receive.

That would get you in at under $1000 with reasonable longer range capability. I hunt hogs with my setup.

The Paladin is bulky and heavy. It runs on 1 CR123 battery and I want to saw will run for 8 hours on one battery. Sorry, I don't recall exactly how long it is, but I don't change them often unless I leave the scope on by accident. With illumination, it has a good picture. Without illumination, it has poor light gathering ability even on full moon nights. That is part of the nature of Gen I scopes. The little illuminator that comes with it also runs in a CR123 battery. So you will want spares. They are expensive if purchased at stores, but can be found cheaper online if you buy a few at a time. I would suggest to you that the savings online are defintely worthwhile. ($1-2 a piece versus $3-5 a piece)

The other option, I also have, is a Pulsar Digisight N550. That will set you back $1350. It is also bulky. However, it works very well in lower light conditions without supplemental illuminators. It has its own to use and it works pretty good out to 200 yards for seeing animals, but runs on the same batteries that run the scope and can run down the unit quicker (shorter run time).

The Pulsar is the same company that makes the laser I noted above. Given the little TV screen inside, probably about 400 yards is the max distance to use the scope and be able to recognize things unless they are huge. You can certainly see and identify animals out to 300, but sometimes the ID part is a difficult due to the resolution. Inside 200, it is great.

I use a supplemental light source on mine as well. I use an IR flashlight ($50) that is good to about 150 yards with this scope and I don't have to be picky about the nm range. It will see 900-940 nm ir light just fine and see the 805 nm laser even better. The laser really helps beyond 200 yards, but I rarely use it. With a good moon, no problem hunting at 150 yards for hog-sized critters. To ID coons versus other game, or to even see them (in some cases) as anything other than a blob, you would definitely need illumination at that distance.


The digisight is a bit different to use, but once you get used to it, it is pretty nice, except for the bulk, but within your range, you aren't going to get the tiniest of scopes that perform well.

The run time on the Digisight is something like 2 hours on the batteries. I always carry a spare set. The ones that come with it are not great. Go to Amazon and buy a good set of batteries. They suggest 2500 mah. To get the 2 hours, that is what you want, or more. It runs on 4. Buy 8 and a "smart" charger (charges based on feedback from the batteries and not simply for a set period of time that can result on overcharging and damaging the batteries).

The scope, charger and batteries and you would still be out less than $1420. You might be out less if you can find the Digisight on sale elsewhere. Don't forget to consider if they charge shipping and tax.

If I was in your place and didn't plan on over 100 yards, I would go with the Paladin and save the rest of the money. If I wanted a more versatile scope, I would go with the Digisight.

There may be other good options out there. These are two that I own that I am happy with that fit your criteria.

December 10, 2012, 12:31 PM
I too, have been doing a bit of research on the NV scopes.

Thanks for the great info. DNS.

Double Naught Spy
December 10, 2012, 07:40 PM

This is a decent vid showing the Digisight with a coyote silhouette at 200 yards. You can see what things look like with just the moon (less resolution) and then with the onboard light (more resolution, but things up close over-illuminated).

When using illumination, it is like using a flashlight and looking for a hog in the briar bushes. Much of the light is reflected off of the close foliage and it is hard to see what is beyond it.

There are a variety of vids on Youtube that provide some decent insight and despite some of the claims a fantastic performance, note some of the shortcomings that aren't always explained. Open terrain performance is always much better than cluttered terrain.

FYI, the Digisight can be hooked up to a DVR and if the DVR has a mic, you get sound. You can also change between 4 reticles on the Digisight and even design your own. I find the stock reticles to be too busy for me and so the reticle I use is minimalized.

December 10, 2012, 07:43 PM
To shoot 200 yrds without an IR lite you will need at least grn 3 and they are way over $ 1,500. You will need a high powered IR lite and they will run you a fair pice of change. I have a gen 1 Russian rifle scope but it would be no good at 200 yrds as the ratical is to large for coon at 200 yrds. I now do my nite hunting with gen 111 gogles and a lazer sight on my rifle. I do that so I do not have to point my rifle at a man so I can tell he is a man. My lazer has a 4 moa dot so it is also no good ay 200 yrds for coon. All of that said, coon will pay no attention to you at nite if you do not move. I have had them walk up to within a few feet of me.

December 11, 2012, 01:56 PM
I posted something in the other N/V thread above you might find interesting.

This is a Good Quality European Image intensifying sight, about comparable with the "Zeiss Orion" units that have been popping up recently. its buky & heavy but absolutely capable of ID'ing & targeting a cyote sized target to 200 yds under unassisted moonlight. :)
Stay away from the Russian stuff, much of it is marginal for quality & service, Servise? You have got to be kidding there isn't any buy it & you're on your own.

Double Naught Spy
December 11, 2012, 02:51 PM
Interesting, so what is it (make and model)? Who made it? Where do you get it?

December 11, 2012, 04:54 PM
Its known under several names.
Oldelft "HV5x80AT Mark IV"

"OlDelft" is the Dutch manufacturer, they still exist, but make medical imaging instruments nowadays.

You can get practically the same thing (same opto-electronics package, but Zeiss instead of Leitz optics & a slighgtly different control knob layout) by buying one of the "Zeiss Orion 80 / Fero Z-51" scopes still being sold online.
Here's a link to one on e-bay.

Double Naught Spy
December 11, 2012, 07:50 PM
Cool, that helps a whole lot. I was having issues with trying to picture match, LOL.

Read several reviews online. They were pretty much all positive. If you have a scope with the proper parts and in good shape (Midway apparently shipped some broken scopes to people, LOL), then folks are very happy. As you noted, it is large. After seeing the AR15 image here, it looks like you mount the AR15 to it and not vice versa, LOL. It would be appropriate sized on a Barrett M82A1, though I don't know if it is rated for the recoil.

Users seem impressed with its capabilities.

December 12, 2012, 08:30 AM
Most of the scopes from that era & generation were about the same size & weight. At the time they were state of the art, but better intensification, new technology like the MCP & so on have made the huge heavy sights obsolete for the military.

I think it's important to know that image intensifying sights aren't anywhere as illumination dependant as the older IR types.

I constantly hear reference to gaining distance with accessory lighting. It makes sense with the older IR units as they really benifit from some kind of IR floodlight. The image intensifyers nowhere near so much so. If you think it through the illuminatioin is probably about the same "out there" as it is "in here" so the intensification will be the same. Image intensifying scopes can see all the way to the horizon, but the resoultiion of the tubes becomes the limiting factoer as it prevents good target identification at longer ranges.

Magnum Wheel Man
December 12, 2012, 09:11 AM
Have you considered something like this ???


I looked at these about a year ago... if you mount them on a conventional scope, you can adjust them to illuminate the field of view of your existing ( day time ) scope, for any distance you would shoot a rifle...

my understanding, is that they aren't tactikool, as someone off to the side, could see the green beam from rifle to target, but anything you would find in your target, is only going to see the green light...

I've never tried one for night varmints, but would like to...