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I am considering dipping my toe into the night vision thermal market. Is there an economy version that I can get started with before selling my first born? I have some Monstrum scopes and while I know they aren't top quality, for the money have been extremely happy with them so I'm curious if there is a night vision/thermal version of that brand?
 

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Talk to a knowledgeable dealer that carries multiple brands. They should be able to help you out. Be ready to answer some questions. Budget, range and what you plan to use it for. Travis Shelton at Santa Claus Optics took good care of me. I’m running a Bering Optics Super Hogster. Had I not had my mind made up prior to purchasing, I would’ve went with a thermal scanner and a digital night vision scope instead.
 

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Talk to a knowledgeable dealer that carries multiple brands. They should be able to help you out. Be ready to answer some questions. Budget, range and what you plan to use it for. Travis Shelton at Santa Claus Optics took good care of me. I’m running a Bering Optics Super Hogster. Had I not had my mind made up prior to purchasing, I would’ve went with a thermal scanner and a digital night vision scope instead.
Why would you have picked the NV instead? I have a AGM hand held thermal ($400) and on the fence about the rifle mounted optic. I can get 2 night vision for 1 thermal.

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Why would you have picked the NV instead? I have a AGM hand held thermal ($400) and on the fence about the rifle mounted optic. I can get 2 night vision for 1 thermal.

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Less money overall. Better positive identification (PID). You have to be able to determine for sure what you’re shooting at. I got mine for coyote hunting. If watching them come in you tell by actions and movement if it’s a coyote. If it just “magically appears” and is standing still, could it be a domestic dog? Telling a difference between *****, possums and skunks is difficult for me as well. Especially if they are in taller grass and you can’t see their backside as well.
Hope that make sense.
 

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Why would you have picked the NV instead? I have a AGM hand held thermal ($400) and on the fence about the rifle mounted optic. I can get 2 night vision for 1 thermal.

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Be sure of your state laws pertaining to night vision as some states prohibit any and all types of lights for hunting.
 
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Minnesota was lucky enough to finally change it last year to allow thermal and night vision for Coyote and fox. It was hand held only with shotgun during a certain time before the change.

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I run a Wraith HD 4-32 and an AGM Rattler 35 for hogs. The Wraith is a little high in magnification for close in work on sounders or in woods but the Rattler is just right and still good for a little past 200yds. While you do have better positive ID with NV, if you have any vegetation etc in front of you it may white out the image (just like an IR trail camera). With thermal you can scan and instantly know if anything is there as it literally glows. I drive around the farms holding a thermal handheld out the window (wifi hooked to phone) and have a buddy watch the phone screen for any critters in the woods. Works well for not hitting deer on back roads at night too.

The clip on and off works well for feeder situations or riding around scanning fields. There is a little bit of shift when you reattach but its usually only 1/2" or so. The issue with that is if you need to act quickly it can be hard to reattach in the same exact rail slot in the dark, so having something else on the rail to bump against or mark location helps.

Getting into night hunting for the least money possible is only done with NV but at least you are in the game. Coyote hunters are the main ones that seem to stick with NV for reasons mentioned above such as better ID due to seeing the amilas markings etc. Most hog hunters are shooting at multiple sometimes up to 20-30 moving targets and finding them in woods or even grown up fields at night can be difficult with NV, yet jumps out at you with Thermal.

The Wraith HD in either 2-16 or 4-32 can be picked up online for $401.20 shipped to your door so it will be hard to beat that. If you are hunting coyotes or longer range hogs the Wraith HD 4-32 would work great if you are hunting hogs in thicker stuff or getting close then the 2-16 would be best. The Wraith 4K 3-24 can be had for $640 shipped and the Wraith 4k Mini is brand new, 2-16x and runs $800. A Wraith HD and a thermal handheld would be a good cheap combo.

Bering Optics Hogster 25 and 35 as well as the AGM Rattler 25 & 35 are all great entry level thermal scopes. The main differences are the AGM has internal video recording, an Am. Defense QD mount and a stouter battery latch and often a little less expensive. Some companies even sell a package where you buy an AGM rattler and get a free TM-160 ($400) handheld.
 

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I've been looking at the sightmark Wraith hd 2-16x28. Any thoughts on it for MN coyote and once per year (wish it was more) hog hunts?

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I agree with everything sfs13 said.

I have used a few different types of thermals buddies and family members own. However I don't have enough experience to recommend a specific thermal brand or model.

I have more experience with night vision and some experience with the Wraith HD but not the newer 4k. Day and night picture quality is very good. Range is limited at night. To get out past past 150 yards or so, I would recommend the models with larger objective lens and/or an additional infrared illuminator. With an additional infrared light you can easily identify targets out past 600 yards.

The focus ring is fussy and a bit of a pain to use. A hose clamp or zip ties wrapped around it make it easier to use one handed. The control buttons might be difficult to use with gloves but are relatively straight forward and easy to learn. Sighting in is pretty easy. Only two or three shots are necessary and can be done in the daylight. It is relatively lightweight and compact. Battery life is decent. Compared to other infrared night vision, the wraith has relatively low whiteout after the shot but may be frustrating if multiple targets are routine.

I have a photon RT at nearly the same price of the Wraith HD, The Wraith is a bargain. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of more expensive night vision scopes but you won't be disappointed.
 
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Where are you seeing the NV for $401?

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Battlehawk armory

Adding a big Sniper hog light works wonders past 150yds. I would suggest a 66LRX as you can buy a different head if needed etc and it runs on somewhat common 18650 batteries instead of the coyote cannon which has much harder to find batteries (21700) and no interchangeability between models. I have a 38 and will order a 66LRX head if needed for longer distances.

The biggest thing to take into consideration is base magnification and how far you will be shooting. All of these have digital zoom which unlike optical zoom gets grainier each bump up in magnification. A 3x is a nice compromise for a scope if you want the 4K. If you want the cheaper version and plan to shoot mostly at longer ranges (>100yds plus) get the 4x, if you plan to shoot shorter (<50yds) with occasional long shot get the 2x.
 

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I have the Rattler 35. Guts and sfs are spot on in their descriptions and opinions, IMO. Wraith is the best NV I’ve seen, but the Rattler or Hogster will make you wish you just waited and saved up. Just my two cents (only worth one cent with current inflation haha).
 

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I have a flash hider on mine, and with thermal, you get the brief flash that washes your optic but the higher quality optic, the faster the refresh rate. Look at some of the videos on YouTube of thermal hunts. Not sure on NV, however. Waiting on my Omega to get out of jail….
 
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