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Old August 18, 2015, 11:29 AM   #1
tank1949
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FLIR?

O ho[e this goes to best forum? I have about made up my mind on purchasing FLIR for a hunting rifle. I cannot afford governmental grade FLIR. My budget is under 10 grand, with preference at 5 grand. I have examined several MFGs and all seem to have some sort of E magnification but in magnifying electronically, the image's pixels become large and the image grainy. 60Htz seems to be the best for fast moving targets. All devices seem to grow by a grand or so $$ for every increase in OPTICAL magnification. Example: 1 x is 5 grand, where 9 x is 9 grand. But, if the optical is not clear for higher magnifications, then why spend the extra money? There are not a lot of reviews on the benefits of higher OPTICAL magnification with FLIR. With traditional scopes that have excellent optics, the higher magnifications, the more flexibility a hunter has (my opinion). None describe if there reticules are on the first of second focal plane, if that it possible. In addition, there are not a lot of reviews at all. Most claim to be able to recognize a human at 1200 yards, but try to put 1x cross hairs on a human target at 1200 yards? My gut feeling is telling me to go with a 4x optical 60 htz FLIR.
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Old August 18, 2015, 07:03 PM   #2
michaelcj
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So…what are you hunting at night…. pigs?

We have handhelds in our patrol vehicles [work in a rural county]. Used to locate [ i.e.: individuals ejected in a MVA or hiding in the pucker brush] but….

I would never suggest using one to "Target".

Even the better ones can be less than optimum for positive identification.


In a battle zone where anyone on "that" side of the line is fair game [enemy] I can see an application….

But as far as I'm concerned not for "hunting".

JMHO

Mike

Last edited by michaelcj; August 18, 2015 at 07:13 PM.
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Old August 18, 2015, 07:23 PM   #3
2damnold4this
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I'm gonna agree with MichaelCJ. Use thermal imaging to find game (or whatever) and use night vision to identify it and or shoot at it.
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Old August 18, 2015, 07:30 PM   #4
MarkCO
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Check the local laws for harvesting game.

Then yes, I agree with the two previous posts. I have been fortunate to use Military grade IR and NV in matches and on hunts, and positive target ID is difficult at distance.
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Old August 18, 2015, 11:55 PM   #5
DaleA
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Not my thing at all but here's a review of a FLIR being used for hunting hogs which Michaelcj suggested in post #2 might be the target.

http://www.petersenshunting.com/gear...ght-rs-review/
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Old August 19, 2015, 10:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
O ho[e this goes to best forum? I have about made up my mind on purchasing FLIR for a hunting rifle. I cannot afford governmental grade FLIR. My budget is under 10 grand, with preference at 5 grand. I have examined several MFGs and all seem to have some sort of E magnification but in magnifying electronically, the image's pixels become large and the image grainy. 60Htz seems to be the best for fast moving targets. All devices seem to grow by a grand or so $$ for every increase in OPTICAL magnification. Example: 1 x is 5 grand, where 9 x is 9 grand. But, if the optical is not clear for higher magnifications, then why spend the extra money? There are not a lot of reviews on the benefits of higher OPTICAL magnification with FLIR. With traditional scopes that have excellent optics, the higher magnifications, the more flexibility a hunter has (my opinion). None describe if there reticules are on the first of second focal plane, if that it possible. In addition, there are not a lot of reviews at all. Most claim to be able to recognize a human at 1200 yards, but try to put 1x cross hairs on a human target at 1200 yards? My gut feeling is telling me to go with a 4x optical 60 htz FLIR.
I am pro staff for Third Coast Thermal which is a (primarily) thermal optics vendor out of Texas (www.thirdcoastthermal.com). I hunt exclusively with thermal for both spotting and identification/shooting. NV is great for navigating, but where I hunt, NV is often insufficient for spotting and even seeing many of the critters. My partner runs a Gen III PVS-14 helmet rig. Let's just say I see a lot more than he does. Of course, everybody has their likes and dislikes and not all gear is optimal for all situations.

FLIR brand rifle scopes I know the least about, but maybe I can provide you with some information to help with your understanding of what is going on with thermal optics.

Microbolometer Resolution:
The microbolometer is your thermal sensor on which the lens focuses the thermal image. THIS IS A CRITICAL FEATURE.

Primarily what is available in the market to the civilian consumer right now are three levels of resolution with thermal scopes, 160x120, 320x240, and 640x480/512. There are some variants on the mid range with 336x256 and 384x288. Simply put, you want the LARGEST numbers you can afford (or are willing to afford). Personally, I would stay away from the 160x120 for a weapon sight.

Display Resolution:
Less critical, but basically you have a tiny TV-like display inside your scope that shows you the image. Ideally, you want the display to have comparable or better resolution than your microbolometer. In short, you don't want the display to be a handicap. Currently, I don't know of any models in production that have a display that is not comparable or better, some some older units did.

Pixel Micron Gap or Pitch:
You will see something like "17 µm" or "14-18 µm" in the specs for the units. This is the distance between the pixels in the microbolometer, for lack of a better description. The SMALLER the number, the better as it affords you a better image.

Lens Size:
Most people don't realize this, but a LOT of the cost of the thermal scope is in the price of the germanium (or other rare earth substitute) lens. As with regular optics, the BIGGER the lens, the better for your image, assuming all other factors are equal.

Reticles:
Reticles do not change in size with zoom on most units except the IR Hunter MKII. I don't know that with electronic optics that "focal plane" truly applies as the crosshair sizes are programmed, but I understand what you are asking. Most models have 4 or more reticle options. There is no standard set, though just about all have one or two variants of the typical crosshair. After the typical crosshair, they usually have some different reticle variants, depending on the manufacturer. I like a minimal reticle and often shoot with just a simple dot reticle.

Detection, Recognition, Identification:
Thermal capabilities are often described in these terms. Detection basically means that the sensor and pick up and display a tiny dot that shows to be hot. In architecture drawing class, I learned about drawing to the "vanishing point" of the image. Well, furthest detection happens just slightly closer to what would be the vanishing point from view. Between microbolometer resolution, lens size, and pixel pitch, the better scopes will have a greater detection range and have better images at closer ranges.

Recognition is the point at which you can tell what the thermal signature is. Human is often used as a standard. This is somewhat ambiguous as recognition usually involves keying in on factors such as motion, posture, etc. When hunting, there is often some very gray areas between recognition and identification.

Identification is being able to tell specifically what an object is. Is the human a friend or foe? Do you know the person or not? With hunting, it often comes down to hog vs. deer vs. calf, or raccoon vs opossum, vs. house cat, or coyote vs. neighbor's dog. Again, higher end scopes will allow you to do this at greater ranges.

HZ rate:
This is basically the "frames per second" if you were shooting a film movie. The human eye detects jerkiness in motion below 25 fps. Higher than 25 and things look smooth. A 30hz is usually more than capable of handing your needs. 60 hz will provide a better image for fast moving objects (less blurriness or motion smear). However, 60 hz will eat up batteries faster as well. HIGHER hz will give you a better image in faster motion scenes. It is a nice option, but not needed for post folks needs. I don't like it because of the battery drain issue. In short, this is one of those needs/balance issues. If you don't hunt for long periods at a time , get the 60 hz. If you plan on spending all night out, get the 30hz. If you want the 60 hz and want to stay out all night, then you need to have some alternative power sources (FLIR RS have a built in battery, so you can't just swap out batteries).

Batteries:
FLIR has built in batteries, as noted, on the RS models. Most brands use CR123 batteries. Some like the IR Defense, IR Hunter or IR Patrol have battery extenders that allow you to add an additional battery for a longer run time. Some have the option for external battery packs like the Armasight models. With the FLIR RS, you could put an external battery pack on that will plug into the scope for a longer run time.

Some units will allow for running on AA batteries, usually for not as long, but it gives you the option.

I have run scopes with fixed internal batteries, external, and batteries you can change. Each method has good and bad aspects.

Magnification and Zoom:
THIS IS CRITICAL FOR CONSIDERATION: Thermal scopes do NOT have optical zoom and no variable optic zoom like on daylight scopes. So your native magnification is critical. Depending on the hunting you do, most hunters won't need more than about 2-4x native magnification. MOST hunters are not hunting beyond 200 yards at night or in general and the vast majority of those hunt at 100 yards or less. I would say 95% of my personal hunting is inside 125 yards.

So you look at a scope and it says "3-24x" and you think you are getting a variable power scope. What you are getting is a 3x scope that has DIGITAL MAGNIFICATION. Your steps are usually in a doubling of power. So you have 3x optical magnification, 6x digital, 12x digtal, and 24x digital. The problem here is that with each level of magnification, your resolution is quartered. So at 3x, you are using the full 640x480 sensor, for example. At 6x, you are @ 320x240. At 12x, you are down to 160x120 and the image is starting to pixelate (get blocky-looking). At 24x, you are down to 60x80. The image is very blocky, but still may be useful for some applications.

Here is a vid I did that will demonstrate some of the magnification issue. I am using an Armasight Zeus 3x (native magnification) 640x512 resolution, 17 µm, 75mm lens, 30 hz scope. The microbolometer is actually a FLIR Tau 2. Skip ahead to about the 2:10 mark and you will see me zooming in on a hog before a shot. The hog is at 170 yards. Initially, I am not zoomed. When you see the "2x" at the bottom of the screen, I am zoomed to a digital 6x. When you see "4x" at the bottom of the screen, I am zoomed to a digital 12x. As you can see, the picture gets bigger, but the detail starts to drop out. The more digital zoom, the less pixels in play, and so the less resolution, but as you can see, the zoom was still quite helpful.
https://youtu.be/NXhnA_RY9Jg

FOCUS:
Some scopes have objective focus and others do not, meaning they have fixed focus or electronic automatic focus of some sort. Some of the fixed focus scopes are suboptimal in their clarity, but require no adjustment while still being quite functional from fairly close range (5yards/meter) to infinity. I prefer an objective focus as usually the focus. The IR Hunter MKII seems to do it all without objective focus by the user and still maintaining a very good image.

Recording:
If you want to record through the scope, that is a whole other set of issues, I will be glad to PM with you about them. You can do it with all the brands, it seems. Each brand has different considerations to make that happen, however.

------------------

For the OP, why have you decided on a FLIR? What are your hunting parameters? What game are you planning on hunting? Are you hunting ag fields, pasture, parkland, or forest? What part of the country are you hunting in? Do you plan on recording your hunts? Do you hunt all night or just a few hours? What caliber do you plan to hunt with?

These are all relevant questions as with the various brands and models of scope, there is a lot of apples to oranges comparison. While some of the basics are the same across scopes (you can't really change physics), each of the companies has incorporated some really neat features and some really boneheaded features in their scopes, depending on the likes and dislikes of the individual hunter.

I don't think you can buy too much resolution, but you can buy too little or too much magnification.

Prices on scopes from many companies are coming down as competition increases. Armasight has had multiple price drops this year. If you have a budget of $10k, you can get a very good thermal weapon sight and still be able to afford a monocular thermal such as a FLIR PS32 for spotting purposes. One thing I can tell you is that you don't want to be spending your hunting time trying to scan with the thermal weapon sight on your rifle (or any other optic on your rifle). It is time consuming, cumbersome, some say is unsafe, and is just a plain pain in the butt.
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Last edited by Double Naught Spy; August 22, 2015 at 03:12 PM.
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Old August 21, 2015, 08:29 PM   #7
bbqncigars
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Wow, that post should be a sticky regarding thermal sights. Outstanding!
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Old September 5, 2015, 08:59 AM   #8
tank1949
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Double Naught! You info was incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old September 5, 2015, 10:07 AM   #9
Art Eatman
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I've stuck the thread.
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Old January 8, 2018, 08:03 PM   #10
2damnold4this
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I recently picked up a Pulsar Core and so far, I'm impressed. DNS has a video where a partner of his uses a Core to harvest a feral pig: link

I'm gonna try to get a few coyotes this winter, after I learn the different features.
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Old January 9, 2018, 12:58 AM   #11
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Yeah, prices keep dropping and features keep improving. The Pulsar Core RXQ30 is a lower end scope, but it is functional for typical hog hunting distances for night hunters that are usually under 100 yards. It will actually work beyond that distance for shooting, and certainly a LOT more for spotting animals. I know of folks shooting coyotes inside of 80 yards with them, but usually inside of 50.

Be warned, such scopes are "gateway thermal" scopes, sort of like free crack cocaine. You may get a taste of what thermal can do for you and want more.
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Old January 9, 2018, 04:03 PM   #12
2damnold4this
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Price is what sold me on the Core. In some limited playing with it, it is far superior to the old gen 1 night vision scope I bought over ten years ago.

Any tips on how best to use the Core?
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