I'm an addict to thermal night-vision and it's become one of the most important features of my shooting. Ever since I bought myself the Seek XR30, and then upgraded to the XR Pro, it was obvious that I would need more, and my latest fix has come in the shape of the Pulsar XQ38.
I bought this little beauty at the recent Shooting Show, from Scott Country International, and it is still available at around $3,400, and yes I do realise that this is a hell of a lot of money, but to me, it's worth it.
After playing around with the different thermal spotters on show, and deliberating all weekend, I decided on the Pulsar Trail XQ38 Thermal Riflescope. It falls beautifully in the palm of your hand and the four control buttons are ail easily accessed one handed, after just a minimal amount of usage.
My first trip out with the Pulsar thermal rifle scope was the following weekend. The sun was out and I doubted the spotter would be any use because it was getting quite warm. My fears were soon eradicated as I looked through the eyepiece and immediately saw a fluttering, low down above one of my feeders.
Focusing the lens brought me face to face with a perfect thermal image of a woodpigeon at around 50 yards, but masked from the naked eye by various little branches and ivy.
I took the trusty .22 10-22 to the shoulder and fixed the crosshairs on the identified area, but I was presented with a tough shot through the foliage with maybe a 50mm window between me and the woodie. Everything was up to the job, though, and the first kill of the day dropped sweetly to the ground.
The day continued with me purposely spotting everything with the thermal before picking up the rifle and taking the shot. I was even checking out robins at least 100 yards away - obviously, I couldn't identify the robin at that distance with the Pulsar, but the Ruger confirmed everything.
I ended the short day with three woodies and two squirrels, but more importantly I had received a phone call out of the blue asking if I'd be interested in clearing a factory of feral pigeons. Was I ever!
We arranged for me to meet the factory manager the following week, and to give the factory the once over, mainly to give him the assurance that the thermal night vision clearance would all be taken care of professionally.
The new Pulsar Core offers the convenience of converting a daylight riflescope into a thermal rifle scope, suitable for casual users who do not need to dedicate a rifle for thermal only use.
The Pulsar Core FXD50 Front Attachment Thermal Sight also supplied with an eyepiece for use as a hand-held spotter.
High resolution thermal sensor; ultra-light and compact; waterproof to IPx7; magnification hand-held: 5x / 10x, magnification rifle-mounted: controlled by scope; one-shot zeroing; wireless remote control.
Suitable for rifles producing up to 6000J ME.
Ready To Purchase: Buy Pulsar Core FXD50 Front Attachment Thermal Sight Now
The Leupold Tracker Thermal Viewer will changethe way you hunt and assist you when out hunting. Now you can spot elusive game hiding in thick cover, or find downed game in dense brush, day or night.
The thermal signature of a game animal is equally visible during the day or the night with the thermal viewer. Atthe time of writing I hadn'ttested a unit in the field but am told that the Thermal Viewer can scan it's surrounds up to a distance of 600 yards to find a trophy or crop raiders via it's thermal properties.
Some of the features of this new Leupold Tracker Thermal viewer include a direct view display of some 1.22" round screen, 4x digital zoom, start-up in 3 seconds, 10 hours continuous use and 5 Optional Thermal Filters. The new Leupold LTO also comes with a 5 year Electronics Warranty and a host of other features.
Ready To Purchase: Buy Leupold Tracker Thermal Viewer Sight Now
The new Quantum XQ Series of thermal imaging monoculars is the next generation of TI unit from Pulsar, succeeding the Quantum XD series. And there are a bag of upgrades thrown into the mix.
The 384x288 sensor has been upgraded and now has a 17um pixel pitch which has allowed for increased magnification that has extended the man-sized detection ranges up to 680m (XQ19), 1350m (XQ38) and 1800m (XQ50).
The stadiametric rangefinder has been simplified and now has a dedicated button. Finally, the start-up has been reduced to just two seconds, and all models come with a remote control.
Price: Around $2,999.
Technology has moved on apace since the Digisight N550 revolutionised foxing a few years ago, but the newest version of that unit is still up there among the very best.
The night time sensitivity has been doubled, the magnification now smoothly zooms from 3.5x to 14.0x and the field of view has been increased by almost 30 per cent on the previous model.
Also in the range is the Digisight LRF N970, which has a built-in 400m rangefinder that displays True Horizontal Distance (THD) and Angle of Elevation (AoE). Being digital, both models are resistant to bright light exposure.
Price: $1,299 (LRF $1,499).
Thermal imaging pioneers FLIR are back with a new 640x512 version of their Scout unit. Providing a more detailed than ever before, its sight picture is also boosted by a digital zoom with 2x or 4x options.
And you can choose from white-hot, black-hot or 'Instalert' mode to suit your surroundings. Lightweight and compact, the unit is nevertheless rugged and weather-proof - and it's powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery.