Scan w/ IR - Shoot w/ NV

Jan 5, 2011
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#1
I have read in several different places that many night hunters scan w/ Infra-Red then shoot w/ Night Vision. Can anyone explain why this is a preferred method?
 
Jan 11, 2010
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NYS Flatlands
#2
You spot critters easier with thermal and positively identify & eradicate with NV.
At further distances, thermal ID isn't great, so you don't want to end up accidentally shooting something you don't want to shoot.

SJC
 

softcock

novice judgmental prick
Mar 24, 2006
906
166
43
Oregon
#3
NV has superior image clarity, with superior magnification of projected target image over thermal . Thermal is superior over NV with scan and detect of target . It only logical to shoot with NV and scan with thermal .
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edit add:
shoots100 / beat to the typing & post couple minutes before me but he saying about exact thing as I .
Both have there drawbacks but marry the two together / therm. & NV and you got best of everything working for you .
.
 
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Jan 5, 2014
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Wabaunsee, KS
#4
While I disagree with some sort of "mandate" to hunt a certain way ... I do hunt differently from this. As the years go by, I find myself using NV less and less. I do tend to use it more on unfamiliar ground, primarily for navigation, especially when driving.

But for detection, PID and engagement I use thermal strictly. My terrain has a lot of woods and NV can't see into or through woods ...

I do think thermal requires more experience to be able to interpret what you are seeing. And thermal users need to be able to commit to extensive hours behind thermal before relying on it for PID.

==
There is a story of a blue on blue incident in Afghanistan. Involving the Brits around Sangin. There were two groups of brits out that night ... one group hunting for IEDs along a road on foot ... a second group farther down the road, to the NE, performing overwatch on the road trying to prevent IEDs from being laid. The groups did not have sufficient radios. To communicate they had to relay their messages between 2 layers of HQs. The overwatch group had a 2 man sniper team one of which had a thermal scope. The sniper had never trained with thermal, never touched one before deploying to Afghanistan and never used one in combat before that night. The sniper team reported people on the road. The team on the road believed they were 2 km to the SW of where the sniper team were located and hence they were not the ones being spotted. The sniper team received approval to engage the enemy on the road, who they were convinced were enemy laying IED. After two shots were fired they heard the road clearing team had been fired on. The sniper team ceased fire.

"Thermal" took the primary blame and lack of radios took the secondary blame.

I don't place the blame on the widgets. I place the blame on the commanders and the subject matter experts. The SMEs failed to convince the command that training was REQUIRED prior to using thermal. And the command I blame for not knowing training was REQUIRED.

I wonder if it is events like these that give the impression that thermal doesn't work for shooting. I don't know, it works for me. My fields and woods have yotes, coons, opossum (all predators for my chickens and the yotes harrass my cattle) and cattle and deer (not targets). I have to be as sure as anyone else of my targets and thermal woks fine for me. I only have about 2,000 hours behind thermal over the past 5 years, but that seems to be enough to have the ability to PID or not and to know the difference. I've PID'd yotes out to 500 yards many times. I've PID'd cattle and deer out much farther. But the farthest I've shot critters is 300yds. Hogs I've ID'd out to 600yds in fields with yotes and deer. And at 600yds in high winds it is not so easy. But the high magnification and the best cores I can buy all help. Mk3 60mm up to 18x on 4x digital and UTC-x 16x/20x in front of day scopes. The UTCx is a little clearer but both are very usable.
 
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Rerun7

Furious George
Feb 18, 2017
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Fayetteville, Arkansas
#5
Distance is a huge factor. My primary hunting spots contain shots within a couple hundred yards so it’s pretty easy to pid targets with thermal.

I only use my NV for nav and rely on thermal for shooting. I may think differently if I was able to shoot farther.
 
Dec 23, 2008
1,690
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ohio
#6
i run it generally thermal scan/detect and nv for shot but my reason isnt usually pid. it boils down to 110% confidence in your gear. if youre a long range guy that puts thousands of rounds down range a year it becomes very easy to trust your mechanical optic/reticle to be exactly where it says it is. thermal just doesnt do this perfectly and i dont care if its pulsar, trijicon, bae/oasys, flir. they all have a digital reticle on a pixel screen. most times and at most distances that may be enough....sometimes its not.
 
Likes: Darkside-Six
Jan 5, 2014
1,296
242
63
Wabaunsee, KS
#7
Ok, long distance shooting with thermal. And for purposes of discussion, I will limit "long distance thermal" to 500yds to 900yds which has been our practice. This is versus IPSC(2/3) steel which we heat with a propane torch.

My primary shooting buddy and I have been practicing long distance shooting with thermal for the past 15 month (since Sept 2017).

I will admit this requires some gear ... and some of that gear is currently (almost) unobtainium ... and further for practical hunting purposes, long distance thermal is not so useful. If I was regularly shooting yotes from say 300yds to 500yds then the knowledge skills and abilities overlap, but I don't even do that yet.

So what gear ?
For me, the primary issue with long distance thermal has been the reticle. Most commercial thermals don't have hold over reticles. For hunting with like mk3 60mm, I use the critter as the reticle and I memorize my holds. So I hold 6 inches over the desired point of impact for 200yds with the 5.56(10.3) or 12 inches for 250yds. The hold is based on the critter.

For long distance, I want to use my day scope reticle. And for long distance I want to use some magnification, at least 1x per 100yds ... so for 900 yards I want at least 9x. Well this means the gear needs to include a long distance thermal clipon.
So we need one of these and then I also want the second team member to have a good thermal spotter, For this, we now use the mk3 60mm.
Pairing these two gadgets together gives us sufficient gear to get the job done. IPSC(2/3) steel from 500yds to 900yds heated.

Gear:

Shooter Rifle
.300WM(24) REM700/Criterion Barrel/McRee G-5 Burris xtr2 5-25x scr-mil BAE UTC-x
Barnes Precision 220gr


Spotter Carbine
5.56(10.3) mk3 35mm (later 60mm)
On tripod


Me out with buggy and propane torch re-heating targets. The 600, 700, 800 and 900yd targets are visible.
Thru the lens of the 35mm on 4x digital


In one particular session, my buddy was the shooter and I was spotter. We knew the base wind was 9 MPH from the East, as we had been shooting at various times during the day as well. WIth the spotter, I was able to see the trace of the bullets, the dirt splash of the misses and the bullet fragmentation on the targets (another splash looking effect) of the hits. I had no problem seeing everything.

==
So long distance thermal target shooting is definitely possible, with the right gear.

How practical is it ?
How much does it translate to hunting?

The last 3 yotes I've gotten have been with a .308 rifle on a tripod with a mounted range finder and the utcx in front of a day scope. All those were still inside 200yds, but I have the confidence now to go out to 500yds if I have a shot.
I've seen several yotes 300-500yds sitting in amongst the cows at night "yip barking" and seeing the cows getting up from being bedded down. So this behavior is harrassment. I will be targeting these sorts of sightings for engagement this winter.

Because the yotes are sitting there for at least severral minutes, sometimes 5-10 mins engaging in this behavior, there is time to range the critter and dial up the magnification on the day scope etc. Looking forward to it !
 
Dec 23, 2008
1,690
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ohio
#8
its not so much a long range thing. anything beyond 500 at night for hunting isnt practical. ive been doing this for over a decade and ive killed untold numbers of predators. its more about the dynamic of it. thermal works awesome and for areas that are tight, timbered, rolling etc. the 0-200yd thermal is awesome. but when you have multiples and movers/runners that will need engaged almost always at the 300-450yd before they stop and take that proverbial look back for their mate on the flat tundra here...your 200yd thermal zero dont get it. add heavy wind in and forget it. you just left an educated yote in the field. ping it with a laser that you can see and know for certain youre on the dog with your clip on. hold the dope/wind and you have a much better chance bringing an educated dog to the truck. thats my experience and i feel like i have plenty of it,

they both have their place at the table of night hunting. even more so in a tactical environment where thermal just doesnt do everything. a well rounded night operator better have and be able to effectively use both.
 
Jan 11, 2010
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NYS Flatlands
#9
I've been using thermal and NV for a long time.
Most area's I have the authority to engage targets at my discretion.
I rarely engage targets past 400 yards at night, but could easily do it with my thermal scopes.
In areas I don't have approval to engage 100%, I use a thermal scope, spotter and a NV monocular for 100% ID and limit my shots to 200 yards max.
After decades of time behind each, I still prefer thermal and can tell what's what before I attempt to shoot, if I get a good look at it.
As has been mentioned, get some time behind whatever Night optic your going to use before hunting with it.
It's the ethical thing to do.
SJC
 
Apr 4, 2011
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Fort Worth, Texas
#10
So for your guys that spot with thermal and shoot with NV what sort of setups are you using? I have several thermals and a PVS30 and see how it could be done this way but the PVS30 is a beast to haul around. I could see a PVS14 with a laser but it’s only 1x as far as I can tell.

So I guess the question is how do you get the magnification to the NV to make the PID?
 

softcock

novice judgmental prick
Mar 24, 2006
906
166
43
Oregon
#11
So for your guys that spot with thermal and shoot with NV what sort of setups are you using? I have several thermals and a PVS30 and see how it could be done this way but the PVS30 is a beast to haul around. I could see a PVS14 with a laser but it’s only 1x as far as I can tell.

So I guess the question is how do you get the magnification to the NV to make the PID?
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PVS14 on the helmet and Laser/illumination on rifle is the best for foot travel . I will and occasionally stop and do a scan-search with thermal on foot also . After I am at my chosen call spot, I put the pvs9 on the rifle . The pvs14 get flipped up and I only spot using thermal .

So for my rifle 'shooting' NV, I don't set my pvs9 on the rifle till I get to my chosen spot to call and it rides in the pack on foot travel . when finished calling on a stand and on the move pvs9 goes back in the pack . I shoot wearing pvs14 with laser and illum walking from the truck, and back . Thermal for spotting hangs from neck on lanyard .
My rifle for walking/packing and shooting is kept as lightweight as I can . 16-inch barrel, suppressed, AR15 (.25x45 ) with wearing smaller 1-6x scope and laser-illum. unit .
( for Me ) 1-6x power on my scope is plenty enough for all my needs and for most shots with the pvs9 image . I mostly do my shooting with 4x .
If I shooting over 150 yards, with all my holdovers . I will use 6x on the scope and use subtension with reticle .
.
 
Jan 7, 2014
122
17
18
Fort Wayne, Indiana
#12
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PVS14 on the helmet and Laser/illumination on rifle is the best for foot travel . I will and occasionally stop and do a scan-search with thermal on foot also . After I am at my chosen call spot, I put the pvs9 on the rifle . The pvs14 get flipped up and I only spot using thermal .

So for my rifle 'shooting' NV, I don't set my pvs9 on the rifle till I get to my chosen spot to call and it rides in the pack on foot travel . when finished calling on a stand and on the move pvs9 goes back in the pack . I shoot wearing pvs14 with laser and illum walking from the truck, and back . Thermal for spotting hangs from neck on lanyard .
My rifle for walking/packing and shooting is kept as lightweight as I can . 16-inch barrel, suppressed, AR15 (.25x45 ) with wearing smaller 1-6x scope and laser-illum. unit .
( for Me ) 1-6x power on my scope is plenty enough for all my needs and for most shots with the pvs9 image . I mostly do my shooting with 4x .
If I shooting over 150 yards, with all my holdovers . I will use 6x on the scope and use subtension with reticle .
.
This is how I roll in every detail. I am in between thermal units at this time, looking for a nice lightweight scanner. The PVS-9 provides remarkable detail at distance. 600 yd was not difficult. SWR Radius sits on PVS-9's side rail. With practice, you can control an entire field at night. Thermal picks stuff up with incredible ease, and the right NV device will let you ID and hit at medium to long range.
 
Apr 4, 2011
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Fort Worth, Texas
#13
So again speaking from a place of ignorance. The PID with NV is really only a viable option from a static observation point at which magnification can be hooked up? And tell a dog from a coyote?

Just from the surface would appear that a high mag thermal like the Trijicon 60s would be best option for less than say three hundred yards? Especially after a 2x zoom that would get you to 9x?
 

softcock

novice judgmental prick
Mar 24, 2006
906
166
43
Oregon
#14
So again speaking from a place of ignorance. The PID with NV is really only a viable option from a static observation point at which magnification can be hooked up? And tell a dog from a coyote?

Just from the surface would appear that a high mag thermal like the Trijicon 60s would be best option for less than say three hundred yards? Especially after a 2x zoom that would get you to 9x?
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You just have to do what is necessary with what equipment your using to make ID . If your not positive on your target you shouldn't be shooting it .
The more hours you put into search and spotting out at night, you will just learn and know what your looking at even without perfect clarity .
After years out at night, 'things living out at night' , sitting, laying, walking around . Even with low-end-$$ thermal I can tell difference between cow, elk, horse, deer, coon, owl, cats, dog, coyote, people ..etc .

If I can't tell.. that really peeks my curiosity and I take the time to check or I move closer to make sure . And You do occasionally get weird shapes of movement from what you normally see from the usual animals . A big Hooter sitting in a field can look just like a bobcat sitting on it's haunches . A few miniature donkey moving across a field can look like coyotes .
One of the weirdest I seen that sticks in memory . It quickly appeared out from behind a large tree after I had just popped a coyote . About 300+ yard out, it looked just like a Cougar in long shape and low smooth movement . In Reality, was a Doe Blacktail ( sneaking ) head back, neck stretched out, legs bent low and crouched walking, 'gliding' low smoothly across field to treeline .

As far telling a dog from coyote . you can easy tell a dog from a coyote . A lot of feral cats at night, but Never domestic dogs run at night around here, and they all stay Territorial close to there own properties and bark a lot . If any domestic dog does run around out at night around here it gets fuckedup fighting Coyotes or killed .
.
 

Victor-TNVC

Gunny Sergeant
Aug 5, 2007
1,609
18
38
USA
www.tnvc.com
#15
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You just have to do what is necessary with what equipment your using to make ID . If your not positive on your target you shouldn't be shooting it .
The more hours you put into search and spotting out at night, you will just learn and know what your looking at even without perfect clarity .
After years out at night, 'things living out at night' , sitting, laying, walking around . Even with low-end-$$ thermal I can tell difference between cow, elk, horse, deer, coon, owl, cats, dog, coyote, people ..etc .

If I can't tell.. that really peeks my curiosity and I take the time to check or I move closer to make sure . And You do occasionally get weird shapes of movement from what you normally see from the usual animals . A big Hooter sitting in a field can look just like a bobcat sitting on it's haunches . A few miniature donkey moving across a field can look like coyotes .
One of the weirdest I seen that sticks in memory . It quickly appeared out from behind a large tree after I had just popped a coyote . About 300+ yard out, it looked just like a Cougar in long shape and low smooth movement . In Reality, was a Doe Blacktail ( sneaking ) head back, neck stretched out, legs bent low and crouched walking, 'gliding' low smoothly across field to treeline .

As far telling a dog from coyote . you can easy tell a dog from a coyote . A lot of feral cats at night, but Never domestic dogs run at night around here, and they all stay Territorial close to there own properties and bark a lot . If any domestic dog does run around out at night around here it gets fuckedup fighting Coyotes or killed .
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Good posts HC....So mamy want to "sell" thermal without ever talking sense in the PID dept. Simple facts when many say they can ID this or that at unGodly distances with low end thermal.

Nice work