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#3259019 - 11/30/20 05:56 PM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: Yellowhammer]
Kirsch Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 10/13/09
Posts: 2200
Loc: North Dakota
Yes, it should be especially if the Helion is an XP model as they have a wider FOV.
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Korey Kirschenmann
Night Goggles - Pro Staff

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#3259042 - 11/30/20 08:46 PM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: bhallows]
carvercalls Offline
Sponsor/Retired PM Staff

Registered: 07/27/06
Posts: 13502
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By: bhallows
That is also good to know because before talking with you guys the best scope I have looked through was a Halo LR.

Any issues with the super hogster holding a zero? Out of the 3 Pulsars we had in the group 2 of them would not hold zeros.


Don't get me wrong the HALO LR has an amazing picture for sure.. The super Hogster does also.

In no way is the Halo LR 2 to 3 times Better..

I enjoy all the features that the super Hogster has that the Halo does not have..

I have the Super Hogster sighted in for 4 different rifles and move back and forth between all 4 and have never had any issue with it not holding zero.. I love it..
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#3259046 - 11/30/20 09:37 PM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: Yellowhammer]
nortac Offline
New Member

Registered: 03/16/11
Posts: 15
Loc: Tyler Texas
Preface....I’m a little long winded so just skip if you don’t want to read. This is my opinion alone and I am no expert in the field of thermals.

I will give you my two cents on some of the thermals in the 2.5k to 3.5k range. I have been hunting with night vision for well over 10 years and thermal going on 4 years. My first thermal was a Pulsar Apex XQ50. I sold it, thinking I was upgrading to the next level, for a Flir PTS536. The PTS536 was a very incredible optic. I used it for several months then picked up a Pulsar XP50. What a huge difference the XP50 was…..at first. I sold the XP50 and had a Trijicon for a short while. Then had buyer’s remorse and moved back to another XP50. Everything is about resolution, magnification and FOV. The XP50 at 640x480 had a native mag at 1.6x…..at 3.2x it would resolute to 320x240. My preference for native mag is between 2.5x and 3.0x. The Apex would resolute to 336x252 and The SH would resolute to 348x261 at the same 3.2x mag for the XP50.

In the end I sold both the Flir and the XP50 and bought another Apex XQ50. This thermal did everything I wanted at the time. All the features I wanted and needed and nothing more. I used that scope until just recently as I made the decision to upgrade again. Now remember, I’m “upgrading” but that really doesn’t mean much if I’m staying in the 384x288 resolution. I simply thought the new Thermion was the real deal. I purchased a Thermion XQ50. I was pretty pumped up when I got the scope. I have a Nightforce 5-25x50 that was off a rifle at the time. The Thermion was actually BIGGER. It was huge on the rifle. I did some field test between the Apex XQ50 and the Thermion XQ50. The Apex was simply better. It was brighter and provided more detail. Sad thing was I had sold the Apex to a friend of mine and was in the process of getting it to him. Kicking myself now as I should have kept that scope……………….Then comes the Super Hogster. I made the jump and purchased one. The size alone was a huge reason. I also compared the Super Hogster to the Thermion XQ50. And again the new SH thermal to me to provide more detail overall. I was very disappointed in the Thermion. Please, don’t get me wrong it is a great thermal, but…..

I had a chance to view side by side my old Apex XQ50 and the SH last weekend. Both were pretty good with some things going to the Apex and some going to the SH. What I found most interesting is both scopes have very close native magnifications in the specs. 2.8 for the Apex and 2.9 for the SH. Looking through the scopes there was a significant difference. One or the other isn’t as it seems. The magnification was significantly higher in the SH or significantly lower in the Apex. This also gave the Apex a better FOV. The detail was an edge to the SH to me though. My eyes preferred the SH while my friends eyes preferred the Apex…..go figure.

So for what it comes down to for me is size, price, quality, ease of use, size….did I mention size? Without getting in 5k range and having an awesome 640x480 that has a native mag of 1.6 or 2.0…..when the optic is doubled it isn’t much different than the SH. I am really liking the SH for the price point. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea though. There are a few things I really don’t like about it. 1. The startup time is closer to 15sec. 2. Even though it stated there is a manual NUC option and you can even change it to manual NUC it will still auto NUC. 3. The picture is grainy overall compared to some other thermals in the same class and there is definitely more pixelization than other thermals in the same class. Neither is bad at all but it is there. 4. The app is rather weak but works even though only on Android at this time. You Apple folks are SOL. 6. You cannot site the scope while zooming in. 7. The menu is simple….very simple. This is good and bad. I do wish it had some more user control for environment. 8. Background detail is rather weak. I've been told by Bering Optics that it relates to the 12 micron core.

What I like about the SH. 1. Did I mention the size?!? Seriously! Probably the best 35mm 384x288 thermal out there. I have only compared it to 50mm objectives. 2. Battery options. In the menu you can chose from 3v to rechargeable 3.7v and use any 5v usb battery pack. Very versatile. 3. QD mount is effective. 4. On board inclinometer. This is awesome! 5. Picture in Picture. Personally I like Pulsar’s better but this one works. 6. Only 3 buttons. And last but not least did I mention the size?







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#3259061 - 11/30/20 11:29 PM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: Yellowhammer]
Kirsch Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 10/13/09
Posts: 2200
Loc: North Dakota
nortac, thank you for your comments and welcome to PM. I did want to mention about Manual NUC. Yes, when you set it to Manual, it does still do some early NUCing. I was told by Bering this is necessary. I don't have the exact technical reason. However, I was told after the scope settles in, it will stop NUCing when on this setting. I haven't tested it as I actually prefer auto-NUC. I will say on auto-NUC there are times I still manually NUC the SH. I rarely ever had to do this on the 35, but on the Super Hogster I find that a few times a night I may have to manually NUC the scope to get a better image. I am sure this algorithm will improve over time.

As for the startup time, it is a little slow. If this is an issue, put the scope on standby, and it will be virtually instantaneous when you need it on.

My comments on image are what I have said since the first time I looked through the SH. The background detail is OK, not the best I have ever seen and not the worst. However, the animal detail for a 384 scope is very good. I don't shoot at backgrounds, I kill coyotes. I prefer the better background detail on my scanner not my weapon's sight. In my opinion it is the best value in the thermal industry for anyone needing around 3x mag in a coyote weapon's sight.
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Korey Kirschenmann
Night Goggles - Pro Staff

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#3259064 - 11/30/20 11:55 PM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: Yellowhammer]
6mm06 Offline
PM senior

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 8335
Loc: USA

Nortac, I personally think Pulsar messed up big time when they dropped the Apex line of scopes. I have the Apex XQ38 and find it is all I need. Given the fact that the Apex scopes held up very well, held zero and at a lower price point, they were hard to beat.

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#3259083 - 12/01/20 06:44 AM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: Yellowhammer]
Rookietjx2 Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 01/14/18
Posts: 278
Loc: IN
In regards to auto NUC, I turn my scope on at the beginning of the night before I get to the first stand and let it NUC until its heart is content. I turn it off when I get home. Occasionally, I will also manually NUC. I haven't had it NUC in the middle of a shot yet. I'm running an Anker battery pack and still have 1/4-1/2 power when I get home.

I also agree that Pulsar screwed up when they got rid of the Apex line. My partner has an XP50 and it's never had an issue. If/when he decides to get another thermal, he's already said it won't be a Pulsar since they don't have a budget friendly option.

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#3259100 - 12/01/20 09:07 AM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: Yellowhammer]
DoubleUp Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 12/18/10
Posts: 3256
Loc: USA
When my Pulsar Apex XQ50 gives out (if it does) and my old Pulsar Quantum 19a scanner bites the dust, my next investment will be with Bering Optics in a SH Hogster and a Phenom scanner unless there is something a whole lot better that hits the market in between. I just don't see anything on the market currently that can compete image wise and price wise with Bering today.
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#3259129 - 12/01/20 01:54 PM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: Yellowhammer]
Jason312 Offline
New Member

Registered: 01/30/20
Posts: 12
Loc: UT
Nortac,

What do you use the inclinometer for?
I'm thinking at normal thermal shooting distances the incline/decline would be negligible with our flatter shooting coyote guns.
BUT....I don't have much experience with thermals YET smile

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#3259137 - 12/01/20 02:38 PM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: Yellowhammer]
nortac Offline
New Member

Registered: 03/16/11
Posts: 15
Loc: Tyler Texas
Thanks Kirsch for the welcome.
As far as the NUC bit. I'm still getting use to the SH in that regard. for the most part, my habit in the past has been manual NUC. I keep the scope turned off.....scan with scanner until I find what I'm looking for.....turn on scope and shoot. Some nights I never turned the scope on. It started off rather difficult with the SH because of the start up time and the auto NUC. I'm getting use to it though. Just takes time to change habits.

I agree on the surroundings as far as the SH goes. We are not shooting at "surroundings". I just think the 12 micron core is diminishing that part of it. Seems odd but other 12 micron thermals including my scanner exhibit the same trait. The 17 micron cores seem to do better in that regard.


I do agree Pulsar had a winner with the Apex. That line just worked. It never needed to be updated or hassled with. I also never had any issue with holding zero. I can't say that for the XP50. Sad how a company will discontinue a quality product over another. Maybe the Apex worked too good for Pulsars other offering. I never used a Trail XQ50 so I cannot speak to that model compared to the Apex.

One thing I did not mention I like about the SH is the focus. It is pretty much a "set it and forget it" focus. I like that a lot! The Thermion regarding lots of adjustments to fine tune the detail.

Originally Posted By: Jason312
Nortac,

What do you use the inclinometer for?
I'm thinking at normal thermal shooting distances the incline/decline would be negligible with our flatter shooting coyote guns.
BUT....I don't have much experience with thermals YET smile


Jason, I use the thermal for different types of hunting at different ranges for different types of animals. What I found in the past when shooting smaller species of animals over 100 yards if you are canted one way or the other while taking head shots there is a higher probability of a miss. It is hard to tell if you are level or not at night on a tripod. You think you are but it is hard to tell sometimes. The inclinometer in the SH resolves the issue of cant. It's basically having a scope level on your daytime scope with the addition of being able to tell slope too. I understand a lot of people think you cannot be super precise with a thermal. Well you can be and all the things associated with day time scopes apply to thermal as well for precision shots.

I do like my SH a lot and plan to keep it. Matter of fact I am thinking about getting another one. I like it that much. Is it perfect? No. I have yet to find any thermal that is perfect. But it gives me most of what the Apex gave me and more. The faults it has for the most part can be overcome with time and patience getting use to using it. I have had a number of kills on it but keep forgetting to record. LOL! I did manage to hit the button the last kill so one video is it. I'm still working on changing some of my old habits. I will get there.

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#3259159 - 12/01/20 05:40 PM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: nortac]
Kirsch Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 10/13/09
Posts: 2200
Loc: North Dakota
Originally Posted By: nortac
Thanks Kirsch for the welcome.
As far as the NUC bit. I'm still getting use to the SH in that regard. for the most part, my habit in the past has been manual NUC. I keep the scope turned off.....scan with scanner until I find what I'm looking for.....turn on scope and shoot. Some nights I never turned the scope on. It started off rather difficult with the SH because of the start up time and the auto NUC. I'm getting use to it though. Just takes time to change habits.
Yes, it totally makes sense if you have the Super Hogster off. I highly recommend keeping it on or at least in standby mode. If battery life is the issue, get a 5V battery pack like the TRB from Night Goggles, and you can leave it on all night if you want to. One more thing to mention is the current recording size is ridiculously small. 0.5GB of video for 1 hour of recording. You could record about 30 hours of video using the SH. I actually turn my recording on when a stand starts and turn it off when done. The scope automatically makes 10 minute files so starts a new video file every 10 minutes. This results in more editing after the fact to delete extra videos and trim smaller ones. However, it is less that I have to mess with during the heat of the moment with coyotes coming to the sound.

Originally Posted By: nortac
I agree on the surroundings as far as the SH goes. We are not shooting at "surroundings". I just think the 12 micron core is diminishing that part of it. Seems odd but other 12 micron thermals including my scanner exhibit the same trait. The 17 micron cores seem to do better in that regard.
FYI, this changes when you move to 640 res. The 640 res 12 µm like the new Bering Optics Phenom is nothing short of stunning.
_________________________
Korey Kirschenmann
Night Goggles - Pro Staff

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#3259171 - 12/01/20 06:56 PM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: Kirsch]
nortac Offline
New Member

Registered: 03/16/11
Posts: 15
Loc: Tyler Texas
Originally Posted By: Kirsch
Yes, it totally makes sense if you have the Super Hogster off. I highly recommend keeping it on or at least in standby mode. If battery life is the issue, get a 5V battery pack like the TRB from Night Goggles, and you can leave it on all night if you want to. One more thing to mention is the current recording size is ridiculously small. 0.5GB of video for 1 hour of recording. You could record about 30 hours of video using the SH. I actually turn my recording on when a stand starts and turn it off when done. The scope automatically makes 10 minute files so starts a new video file every 10 minutes. This results in more editing after the fact to delete extra videos and trim smaller ones. However, it is less that I have to mess with during the heat of the moment with coyotes coming to the sound.


Purchased one this week. posted in the pic above. I haven't had a chance to use it. This weekend should be good!

Originally Posted By: Kirsch
FYI, this changes when you move to 640 res. The 640 res 12 µm like the new Bering Optics Phenom is nothing short of stunning.


100% agree on the 640x480 12 micron. Different ballgame. But then it goes back to native mag and price point.

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#3259275 - 12/02/20 02:31 PM Re: Best thermal scope in the $3k-$3.5K range? [Re: nortac]
bhallows Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 08/25/17
Posts: 74
Loc: Utah
Tons of knowledge here guys thanks for the conversation.

As for the comments on the Pulsar Trail XQ50, this is the scope I previously had. The scope worked great, held a zero, and I really enjoyed it. I sold it and got out of the thermal game and realized I missed it too much and am now getting back into it.

I have not looked through an APEX so I cannot compare it to that but the Trail XQ50 seems to white wash a lot on background detail if you were looking up high at any angles. This kind of made it hard to determine heat signatures from longer distances. A lot of times with the trail XQ50 we would have rabbits or antelope running around and it was hard to determine what the animal actually was until it got pretty close. The FLIR PTS units I had used in the past seemed to have better detail on the animal and identifying it, but the background detail was not as good.

Overall the Trail XQ50 was a pretty good unit or so I thought until I looked through a HALO LR. I felt that was going to be really hard to beat, but the price for those hurts the pocket book. Being almost 10K in thermal optics is a little hard to justify with the wife sometimes lol

I had not researched new thermals in probably two years and it seems the market has shifted so much. I had never heard of Bering optics until earlier this week. I appreciate the time everyone has taken to give there input.

Already having a Pulsar Helion for the scanner I think at this point for me having better detail on the animal is going to be key for me on the rifle scope.

I can take it or leave it on the video recording, I don't care much for that anymore. I also leave my scope on standby all night so the start up time would not be much of an issue for me.

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