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Old 01-14-2019, 09:55 AM   #1
Outdoor Legacy
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Default 2019 Night Vision & Thermal Thread

I've been thinking that it's time for a new night vision thread. The old one was started by Chuy in April of 2014 and it's accrued almost 3,000 replies! That's got to be some sort of record. It's served TBH well but it's cluttered with old and outdated info. I have people calling and PM'ing me asking about scopes that have been discontinued for over 4 years because they saw them mentioned in that thread.

So let's kick off 2019 with a new thread and we can put all of our night vision and thermal kill pics/videos here, our night rifle/scope setup pics and questions and answers about current model scopes.

Good luck and stay safe in fields this year!

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Old 01-14-2019, 10:02 AM   #2
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For a little trip down memory lane, when the original NV thread was started almost 5 years ago, the least expensive thermal scope on the market was $5,500 and the average thermal scope was $7,000-$11,000. For comparison, the most expensive normal consumer thermal scope on the market today is the Trijicon MKIII 60mm at $9,000. Pulsar nor Armasight were even making a thermal rifle scope, only Gen 1, 2 and 3 scopes. Since then, Armasight came out with over 20 thermal scopes and were bought out by FLIR. IR Defense started making high end thermals and were bought by Trijicon.

Now Pulsar, FLIR and Trijicon rule the market with a wide selection of thermal optics, Sightmark is still going strong with their very affordable Photon RT digital NV scopes and traditional Gen 1, 2, 3 scopes have almost become a thing of the past.

As time and technology have moved forward, the prices have dropped considerably and the image quality, features and options have greatly increased. Now we can buy thermal scopes for under $3,000 that would blow some of those $7,000+ scopes out of the water. We now have scopes with built in laser range finders, 6-8 hour rechargeable battery packs, smart phone apps and more. Boy have times changed in 5 years!

Oh and here is a pic to start the thread off.....
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Last edited by Outdoor Legacy; 01-14-2019 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:18 AM   #3
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I am so glad you started this thread. I am looking for a NV scope (dont want to spend the money for thermal yet) that is as affordable as possible, yet still very useable out to 150 yards. Do you have any recomendations?
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:26 AM   #4
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Ill be following closely, looking to upgrade from my ATN X-Sight II
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:28 PM   #5
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If anyone is on the fence about a thermal, give Jason a shout! Super good guy to deal with.

Here’s one of my thermal kills in the new year.
Pulsar trail xq38 on top of a 10.5” 7.62 x39




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Old 01-14-2019, 01:53 PM   #6
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Nvision is a solid scope that is just hitting the commercial market and looks to be a challenger to the Trijicon strong hold on the market.

Pulsar makes a great scope and all their scopes are under $4500.
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Old 01-14-2019, 04:49 PM   #7
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This past Sat night. Big male. Pulsar XQ50 and the 6.5 Grendel SBR.




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Old 01-14-2019, 05:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Javelin View Post
I am so glad you started this thread. I am looking for a NV scope (dont want to spend the money for thermal yet) that is as affordable as possible, yet still very useable out to 150 yards. Do you have any recomendations?
Yes sir I'd highly recommend the Sightmark Photon RT 4.5x42S for $549. Right out of the box you can see 200-250 yards with no extra IR illumination. It's got internal video recording, a super bright built in IR illuminator and its a proven tried and true, proven scope over the last 12 months. Here is my full review on the scope. It's very long but if you really want to know all about the scope before you purchase, it's worth the time to watch.


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Old 01-14-2019, 05:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkp005 View Post
If anyone is on the fence about a thermal, give Jason a shout! Super good guy to deal with.
Thanks so much! How do you like the Convergent caller? I'm trying to decide whether to go that route or the Foxpro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gingib View Post
Nvision is a solid scope that is just hitting the commercial market and looks to be a challenger to the Trijicon strong hold on the market.

Pulsar makes a great scope and all their scopes are under $4500.
Yes sir I agree. For those that don't know, the N-Vision Halo was just announced and it's going to be $5,995 and an extremely strong competitor to the Trjicions. We'll be getting our hands on it soon and I'm very interested to see how the unit looks/feels and performs. I think we already know what the image quality is going to be like.

One tiny correction on the Pulsar, the XP50 is $5,000 but yep their scopes are great. They will be releasing a whole new line of thermals called the Thermions next week at the SHOT Show.
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Old 01-14-2019, 05:57 PM   #10
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I'd love to have a thermal but I hate spending money on something I cant put my hands or see how well it actually works before buying. I'll get in touch this summer when I'm ready to pull the trigger.
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:05 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=Outdoor Legacy;13926158]Thanks so much! How do you like the Convergent caller? I'm trying to decide whether to go that route or the Foxpro?

It sounds great! Iím still kind of torn on how well the hog calling works. We were actually able to pull a big boar off a neighboring place with it and also had a group cone hauling a#% straight to us. The next time we tried it the hogs took off but Iím thinking they might have been trying to get the wind right
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:22 PM   #12
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I’ll be following and reading. Ready to top my new Grendel with something!
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSanders View Post
I’ll be following and reading. Ready to top my new Grendel with something!
I am looking at buying this one. A guyI work with has a friend with this one and sent us a video yesterday of him shooting pigs at 115 yards and it was bada55
This is the one he has:

https://www.amazon.com/ATN-Corporati...on+scope&psc=1
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:50 PM   #14
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Will be following along.
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:31 PM   #15
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Tuned in
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiskeyTango View Post
I am looking at buying this one. A guyI work with has a friend with this one and sent us a video yesterday of him shooting pigs at 115 yards and it was bada55
This is the one he has:

https://www.amazon.com/ATN-Corporati...on+scope&psc=1
I would buy a sightmark before anything ATN just based off the reviews Iíve read regarding customer support.
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:17 PM   #17
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Got her first hog using an ATN Pro 4k on a Ruger American .450 Bushmaster... Itís a match made in heaven!

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Old 01-14-2019, 09:22 PM   #18
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In on this. I'm definitely getting one next month.
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSanders View Post
I would buy a sightmark before anything ATN just based off the reviews Iíve read regarding customer support.
Yeah ATN doesnít have a great record regarding customer support. That being said, I switched from Sightmark to ATN optics strictly based on quality and performance.
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_g View Post
Yeah ATN doesnít have a great record regarding customer support. That being said, I switched from Sightmark to ATN optics strictly based on quality and performance.
My atn has proven very effective for less than $600, all i need in East TX. Going to spend a good chunk of change on a nice monocular that i can use to drive around my lease with no lights on other than the infrared bar!
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:36 PM   #21
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[QUOTE=Outdoor Legacy;13926142]Yes sir I'd highly recommend the Sightmark Photon RT 4.5x42S for $549. Right out of the box you can see 200-250 yards with no extra IR illumination. It's got internal video recording, a super bright built in IR illuminator and its a proven tried and true, proven scope over the last 12 months. Here is my full review on the scope. It's very long but if you really want to know all about the scope before you purchase, it's worth the time to watch.

Howís the battery life? Any battery upgrades available or recommendations on this unit?
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:52 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justindiehl7 View Post
My atn has proven very effective for less than $600, all i need in East TX. Going to spend a good chunk of change on a nice monocular that i can use to drive around my lease with no lights on other than the infrared bar!
Honestly I kept one of my old photons around just to use as a monocular... But Iím cheap like that!
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:03 PM   #23
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Just watched the video. Looks like battery life has greatly improved. I had one and returned it within a day of buying it when they first came out. It ate batteries like crazy. Real interested once again. Definitely will be linterested in the rechargeable battery pack once those are available. 2 hrs +/- on regular batteries and up to 3 hrs on rechargeable pack is pretty good.
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:07 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiskeyTango View Post
I am looking at buying this one. A guyI work with has a friend with this one and sent us a video yesterday of him shooting pigs at 115 yards and it was bada55
This is the one he has:

https://www.amazon.com/ATN-Corporati...on+scope&psc=1
That was probably me! If you work at enterprise it was definitely me! Lol
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:09 PM   #25
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That was probably me! If you work at enterprise it was definitely me! Lol
Yes sir I do! C. Harryman is who I work with and showed me!

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Old 01-14-2019, 10:20 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by WhiskeyTango View Post
Yes sir I do! C. Harryman is who I work with and showed me!

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
Thats what I figured! Lol You poor fella for havin to work with him! The truth is, hes one of my only real friends. The kind of guy that you can depend on if youre in a bind. But dont tell him I said that.

Back to the scope, its SWEET! I love mine and its easy to use
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:23 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stringmusic View Post
Thats what I figured! Lol You poor fella for havin to work with him! The truth is, hes one of my only real friends. The kind of guy that you can depend on if youre in a bind. But dont tell him I said that.



Back to the scope, its SWEET! I love mine and its easy to use
The 2nd to last sentence is 105% on point!!

He's got me and another buddy wanting the scope you have

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Old 01-14-2019, 11:57 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrowslinger1 View Post

Howís the battery life? Any battery upgrades available or recommendations on this unit?
Not great BUT you have to consider this....4AA batteries are running not only the scope but the brightest built in IR illuminator on any digital scope on the market. The illuminator is actually as bright or brighter than most external IR's. For the past models you really needed a $200 external IR to see well out past 125-150 yards (depending on the model) and the RT's will see 200+. So instead of having the buy another piece of equipment and putting batteries in it, you can do it all with the internal batteries.

The other nice thing is you can use any standard USB external battery pack but the best deal going is the Pulsar DNV rechargeable battery packs that work with the Photon RT. They are a sealed battery pack that will replace the AA's and you can't tell from the outside if you're using AA's or the rechargeables. It's a super option for not adding any bulk or weight to the scope and I got 40% longer battery life out of the DNV's in my controlled tests.

- Jason
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:02 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrowslinger1 View Post
..... Definitely will be linterested in the rechargeable battery pack once those are available.
They are available and I sell them like crazy. We're out of stock right now and Pulsar is too, but they should be back in soon.

Link: Pulsar DNV Battery Packs for Photon RT
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:52 AM   #30
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I have been looking real hard at a RXQ30V. Pretty much have the money in hand, but now starting to second guess my choice.

The size I like. The green display I don't have a problem with, or the minimal features either. But I would like to ID and shoot a coyote at 200 yards, and the folks I have talked to, none of them will say for sure it will do that. If it will, that is great, and the direction I will go. Will it, or will it not?

If not...

$1900 is a pretty big chunk of change for me, and I don't want spend it on something I won't be happy with. What is the next level in performance, and what does it take to get there? How much money/what brand and model of thermal will it take to do what I want?
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:57 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outdoor Legacy View Post
Yes sir I'd highly recommend the Sightmark Photon RT 4.5x42S for $549. Right out of the box you can see 200-250 yards with no extra IR illumination. It's got internal video recording, a super bright built in IR illuminator and its a proven tried and true, proven scope over the last 12 months. Here is my full review on the scope. It's very long but if you really want to know all about the scope before you purchase, it's worth the time to watch.

Sightmark Photon RT Digital Night Vision Riflescope Full Review - YouTube

Sightmark Photon RT First Hog Kill - YouTube

Thanks, you will probably hear from me in a month or two
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:44 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jethro View Post
I have been looking real hard at a RXQ30V. Pretty much have the money in hand, but now starting to second guess my choice.

The size I like. The green display I don't have a problem with, or the minimal features either. But I would like to ID and shoot a coyote at 200 yards, and the folks I have talked to, none of them will say for sure it will do that. If it will, that is great, and the direction I will go. Will it, or will it not?

If not...

$1900 is a pretty big chunk of change for me, and I don't want spend it on something I won't be happy with. What is the next level in performance, and what does it take to get there? How much money/what brand and model of thermal will it take to do what I want?

200 yards on coyotes with the RXQ30V is possible in the right conditions but I'd say it's stretching it to all it's really capable of. I'm much more comfortable saying 150 yards for coyotes.

If you really want to shoot that far regularly, I'd save up a little and move into the next level. Unfortunately, the Pulsar Apexes have been discontinued and they were the answer to your solution and by far the best bang for your buck on the thermal market, hands down. The good news is, Pulsar is announcing their new line of thermals next week at the SHOT Show in Vegas and we are expecting there to be a replacement in the Apex price range. We won't know until next week but I say to stay tuned. I'll probably create a new thread in this forum like I do every year just for SHOT Show updates.

Jason
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:12 AM   #33
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Sounds good Jason. After researching the last few days I thought that was what you were going to say. Looks like I need to just keep saving. Currently I think I would have to go to the XQ-38 to get the performance I am looking for. Maybe something new will come out in the meantime that will fill the gap.

Now some speculation on my part....

Seems to me that the RXQ30V has most of the pieces in place to be a really good optic. Mainly what is missing is a bigger lens, and from what I understand those are one of the (if not the) most expensive parts of a good thermal optic. If Pulsar could find a cost effective way to get the next step up in lens on the RXQ30V, they would have a winner.

Last edited by Jethro; 01-16-2019 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:41 AM   #34
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So glad you started this thread Jason! I'll definitely be checking this one daily!.. There are a lot of new scopes and optics coming out in 2019 and it'll be good have a thread to talk about them all...

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Old 01-16-2019, 09:15 AM   #35
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Last nights results with my 6.5 Grendel SBR/Pulsar XQ50 and PVS14 with IR rifle mounted laser.
My buddy I went with used a 5.56 SBR/D760 and PVS14.
2 others were hit but made it to the tree line.








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Old 01-16-2019, 09:34 AM   #36
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Love these types of threads.

Question regarding the Pulsar Apex xq38... it seems to REALLY chew up those batteries, especially when it gets colder than say 45 degrees or so. When it's cold I'm not even sure the batteries will last an hour of run time. Does that seem normal? I'm contemplating getting an external battery pack but will it get in the way since I use it as a spotter as well??
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:31 AM   #37
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Tagged. Good video review of the sightmark, well done. What was the yardage on the hog in the second video? Surprising how good that looks
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:37 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jethro View Post
........

Now some speculation on my part....

Seems to me that the RXQ30V has most of the pieces in place to be a really good optic. Mainly what is missing is a bigger lens, and from what I understand those are one of the (if not the) most expensive parts of a good thermal optic. If Pulsar could find a cost effective way to get the next step up in lens on the RXQ30V, they would have a winner.
You're on the right track. It's no so much just the lens size, although that does matter, it's also the fact that it's not focusable. This is what prevents the RXQ30V, the PTS233 and the Trail XQ30 from having better image quality. (To be clear, I'm not saying they have bad image quality, I'm saying it is what sets them apart). Large objective lens and focusable lenses are very big expense and that's why these less expensive scopes don't have those features.

Long term I'm not sure what will happen but I don't see the RXQ30V being changed or improved much. I think if Pulsar found a way to step up those features, you'd be looking at a $2,500 scope again. Who knows though, if the internal electronics pricing continues to slowly go down in costs, you never know what can happen.

- Jason
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Old 01-16-2019, 11:14 AM   #39
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Thanks so much! How do you like the Convergent caller? I'm trying to decide whether to go that route or the Foxpro?



Yes sir I agree. For those that don't know, the N-Vision Halo was just announced and it's going to be $5,995 and an extremely strong competitor to the Trjicions. We'll be getting our hands on it soon and I'm very interested to see how the unit looks/feels and performs. I think we already know what the image quality is going to be like.

One tiny correction on the Pulsar, the XP50 is $5,000 but yep their scopes are great. They will be releasing a whole new line of thermals called the Thermions next week at the SHOT Show.
They can be found a little cheaper now since they been out for awhile, below MAP.


The Nvision look to be just as good if not a better image then my Reap. I think it is because supposedly the germanium lense is a little better. I am not a fan of the plastic look on the scope, but a 5 year warranty is also HUGE
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Old 01-16-2019, 07:59 PM   #40
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Tagged I need one of these��
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:12 PM   #41
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I had a RXQ30V and for whatever reason I could not get the reticle and image to both be in focus. Returned it and got a Photon RT which I’ve been very happy with. Pulsar rep said today that they have new line of HD digital NV being revealed very soon that should be much better than the RT. I am hoping for a much improved thermal in the RXQ30V/Apex price range...
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:51 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by lglidewell View Post
Last nights results with my 6.5 Grendel SBR/Pulsar XQ50 and PVS14 with IR rifle mounted laser.
My buddy I went with used a 5.56 SBR/D760 and PVS14.
2 others were hit but made it to the tree line.
Man y'all were nailing them!!! Nice job!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunteraudit View Post
Tagged. Good video review of the sightmark, well done. What was the yardage on the hog in the second video? Surprising how good that looks
Hmm, that's been a year ago but I'm thinking that hog was about 45-60 yards. He was somewhere in that range. I'm used to walking up really close when I'm using low magnification thermal and if I'm using a Photon I've had several instances where I literally had to turn around and walk backwards because I was way too close for the 4.5x magnification.lol

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Originally Posted by BobbyJoe View Post
Love these types of threads.

Question regarding the Pulsar Apex xq38... it seems to REALLY chew up those batteries, especially when it gets colder than say 45 degrees or so. When it's cold I'm not even sure the batteries will last an hour of run time. Does that seem normal? I'm contemplating getting an external battery pack but will it get in the way since I use it as a spotter as well??
No sir that doesn't seem normal. I've sold an absolute ton of Apexes, with a whole lot of them going up north to guys hunting in super cold weather. They all end up with a battery pack but I haven't heard them talk about much less than hour. One thing to note, if it's the cold zapping the batteries, it's the cold...not the scope. What brand 123A batteries are you using? I've done a bunch of research and read all the scientific test results and Panasonic always comes out on top but they are silly expensive. Energizer and Duracel are a close 2nd and they lead the rest of the pack by far. I'd consider a Streamlight or a Surefire but I've have mixed results with them the last few times I used them. I'd really suggest sticking to Engergizer or Duracell.

I've got the Pulsar EPS3i battery packs for $129 and they should run the scope for 6-8 hours. I have several customers hunting up north in sub-zero temps telling me they are getting 4-6 hours out of the EPS3i even in those temps. Two guys told me they've been out when their iPhones won't even power on because of the cold but they were shooting coyotes with the Apex. They're more dedicated than me.lol

- Jason
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:07 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by gingib View Post
They can be found a little cheaper now since they been out for awhile, below MAP.

The Nvision look to be just as good if not a better image then my Reap. I think it is because supposedly the germanium lense is a little better. I am not a fan of the plastic look on the scope, but a 5 year warranty is also HUGE
True, but Pulsar is working hard to make those guys either tow the line or get out. No one who's running a legit business was doing that anyway; it costs waaaay too much to run a full time business, pay employees, create content, provide customer service etc. It was the part-timers trying to make beer and ammo money that were the problem. Pulsar has come down heavy in the last few months and anyone foolish enough to risk their wholesale pricing being raised or taking a chance to lose their status as a dealer is pretty dumb.lol

I can't wait to put the Halo next to my REAP and see what they look like side by side. I agree on the plastic look, the Trijicons are nice because of the all metal housing. It's going to be interesting to see if the consumers are willing to throw their money at N-Vision and take a chance on them when Trijicon is....well Trijicon....the best of the best both in reliability and customer service. We will see, I hope to have the Halo very soon.

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Originally Posted by WTJim View Post
I had a RXQ30V and for whatever reason I could not get the reticle and image to both be in focus. Returned it and got a Photon RT which Iíve been very happy with. Pulsar rep said today that they have new line of HD digital NV being revealed very soon that should be much better than the RT. I am hoping for a much improved thermal in the RXQ30V/Apex price range...
Yes there are some interesting things in store on the digital home front. I'm ready to get my hands on it at SHOT. I'll report back. Glad you're enjoying the Photon RT, it's a great scope.

- Jason
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:28 PM   #44
35remington
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Iím in!





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Old 01-18-2019, 03:18 PM   #45
Outdoor Legacy
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Sightmark broke the news yesterday on a new digital NV scope they have coming out. This is something they've been quietly working on for awhile. It's called the Wraith HD 4-32x50 and it will retail for $499. It's full color during the daylight, black and white at night, has video recording and variable digital zoom. It is obviously their answer to the X-Sight. The word is the Photon RT's are not going away and this will just be another scope in their line up. I'm going to be very interested to see how it performs in the area of image quality and the IR brightness. I'll be finding out a lot more next week at SHOT Show. Stay tuned, it looks very intriguing.

Here is a ton of info on it and there are 2 videos at the bottom of the page, including some video shot through the unit.

http://articles.sightmark.com/index....mpaign=SM%20FB

- Jason
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Old 01-19-2019, 07:09 PM   #46
rossivey
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https://youtu.be/hHCgWN6QJso

Anxious to find out more about this one.

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Old 01-19-2019, 10:32 PM   #47
lglidewell
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Shot this one about 30 mins ago at 210 yds! That’s a record for me for this thermal! After h got hit he ran towards me for about 30-40 yds, hit a shallow ditch and did atleast one flip in the air before landing on his back. He kicked for about 5 secs before I sent another one in him. I normally don’t even attempt a shot at this distance, but after last weekend shooting a coon in the head at 175yds, I felt extremely confident on this shot. This 12.5” 6.5 Grendel stacking pork and pasture poodles.





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Last edited by lglidewell; 01-19-2019 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 01-19-2019, 10:37 PM   #48
lglidewell
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Just shot a coyote 2 mins ago! Everything is moving tonight.


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Old 01-20-2019, 03:14 PM   #49
WTJim
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very interested in the Wraith HD 4-32X50 DNV but has anyone heard about the other offering they have debuting? The Wraith 4K 3X? Interested to see if it will have much better image quality over the 1080P offerings...
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:15 PM   #50
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WT, no one knows more than what they showed in that video. From my understanding that will be the only new digital NV offered by Sightmark. I was told the Photon RTís are not going away either, this will be a secondary option.

Iíll see it for myself Tuesday when the show starts and will know more then. Iíll be reporting back!

Jason
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