Strictly hunting rifle, thermal 100% of the time?

Nov 5, 2013
Currently waiting on some parts to put together a light weight, 100% hunting rifle...have been weighing different options as far as NV/thermal/day optic...i have some experience with low to mid range NV on my ARs, and have used thermal devices a handful of times pig/varmint hunting, but dont have a ton of options locally to get my hands on...was originally planning on a higher end hunting optic for this build, but have been thinking...

current position is, i dont like cheap/lower quality gear, but i dont night hunt enough (IMO) to justify dropping $5k+ on a dedicated thermal or clip on to ONLY be used at would help me justify the cost of a better unit a lot easier if it was used all the time...most hunting locations around me are heavy brush/flat terrain with almost everything being inside 300 yds (50-150 the vast majority)...any drawbacks to mounting a thermal and using it hunting day/night all the time? it would be paired with a high end set of binos during the day for ID purposes. things to consider if doing this? any particualar thermals or specs better at daytime performance? rarely hunt mid day so morning/evening/night would be the time frames mostly used
Maybe not ideal but I kinda faced a similar dilemma, I picked up a 20inch AR-15 with A2 style buttstock, then bought an identical upper. On one i mounted my day optic NF F1 3-15 and on the other upper i mounted a flir pts223. So when the sun sets i just pull the extra upper outa my backpack and swap them.
Jan 5, 2014
Wabaunsee, KS
I use my .22LR(16) for day shooting and night shooting. For night shooting I switch to a thermal, for day shooting I switch to a scope. If I have time, I confirm zero, but even when I don't I'm within about an inch at 25yds and that's close enough for what I do. My shoots are all inside 100yds.

I also have an ir-laser on the .22lr and if I don't feel like taking the day scope off, I go with the ir-laser and a pvs-14 + pas-29 and recently added a patrol on the other eye. But a minimalist setup would be a pvs-14 with an ir-laser.

Here is .22lr with day scope as Burris xtr2 1.5-8x cq-mil and laser max ir-laser. Team Hillary helmet with dual bridge with pvs-14 +pas-29 on dominant (right) eye and ir-patrol on left eye.

And here's the .22LR(16) with the ODIN 17mm, 1x 320(30) on top. This is a great "ratter".

Because my terrain is along a creek and so lots of vegetation ... The thermal is much more efficient at seeing, identifying and engaging the critters in the woods. But I've gotten rats down in the wood piles with the 14 and the laser and an illuminator on the helmet. The rats are looking at me to see what I am going to do. So their eyes are pointed at me. So the illuminator lights them up and I can see them. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to see them without a thermal.

So two choices:

01 - Switch back and forth. Use day scope in the day and thermal at night. That's over all the most efficient. Especially if you have a close spot you can reconfirm zero at 50yds. I happen to have that.

02 - Add an ir-laser to your day setup and get a pvs-14 for your head. You could probably do all that for about $3k. About the same cost as a decent thermal. But then you wouldn't have to switch the day scope and the thermal back and forth.

If it was me, I wouldn't go with thermal in the day. It is a little bit better than going with the day scope at night. But the day scope is great in the day and the thermal is great at night and if it was me I'd use them where they are great and pay a little elbow grease to get it that way.



Full Member
Feb 10, 2017
I just have a lowly pulsar apex 38a but I tested it with the swapping on and off to run on my day rig, it was about an inch off at 100 or so when remounted, good enough for a pig so I had confidence in doing that for awhile. I have since just dedicated a rifle to it, bought a cheap ruger ranch blackout for 400, saved me a lot of weight and I like not having to take wrenches out with me as well to do the swapping with.
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