If you hunt coyotes or other wildlife, you need the best gear for the best hunting experience. One of the things you need is a thermal scope. It allows you to see your target over large distances and at night. Some come with features that greatly enhance your shooting accuracy. In this post, we will consider some of the best thermal scope for coyote hunting.
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Comparison Table of Best Thermal Scope For Coyote Hunting
1. ATN X-Sight II HD Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope -Best Affordable Thermal Scope
The ATN X-Sight II offers you night vision without breaking the bank. Aside from the night vision, it comes with several other features that make it one of the popular thermal scopes you can buy.
This product is a digital rifle scope that utilizes digital imaging to project the scope’s field of view to the LCD in the scope. This feature alone is enough to make you wonder just how it comes at such a relatively low price!
ATN is renowned for the quality of its products, and this particular unit is one of the top rated thermal scope for hunting from ATN. It has a system resolution of 160 lp/mm and magnification of up to 14x.
It features a trio of primary view setting. Each of these views gives you flexibility in dim conditions and allows you to hunt at night. It also features a ballistics calculator and in-built range-finder that vastly improves your shooting accuracy.
2. Firefield NVRS Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope - Best Night Vision Scope for Coyote Hunting
This excellent thermal scope comes with several features that make it superior to several other options in its price range. It offers impressive image quality and resolution, which is hard to find among contemporary products.
One of the main reasons why we like this product is its build. The Firefield is a lightweight option that is very easy to carry around without significantly increasing the weight of the rifle. Aside from the weight, it is also quite durable. The titanium material used in building the scope can withstand impacts and comes with water-resistance.
It is also very easy to fix and remove from the rifle.
3. ATN ThOR 384x288 Thermal Rifle Scope - Best Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope for Hunting
Up next is the ATN Thor 4. We have earlier reviewed a product from ATN on this list. If you are familiar with the quality from the manufacturer, you wouldn’t be surprised to find another model from the manufacturer on this roundup.
This model is an impressive unit that offers a 384x288 resolution. Therefore, you can rest assured that you will enjoy clear images that offer impressive contrast. It will be easy to see the coyotes you want to shoot.
Optical zoom is set at 1.25x and a digital zoom of up to 5x. Compared with others on this roundup, this magnification isn’t exactly impressive.
It makes up for the relatively small magnification by coming in a compact form that allows you fix it to your rifle easily and without feeling weighed down.
Interestingly, despite boasting of a compact and streamlined profile, it comes with a ballistic calculator and a built-in range-finder. These features elevate your shooting accuracy. Additionally, you can record HD video on this unit.
4. ATN ThOR-HD 640x480 Thermal Rifle Scope - Best Cheap Thermal Scope for Coyote Hunting
Up next is a thermal scope that delivers excellent value for money. The ATN Thor-HD 640 comes with a 640x480 sensor and 10x magnification. Surprisingly, especially considering the relatively low price of this product, it comes with a range-finder. Therefore, if you want to achieve accurate shots, you should pay close attention to this unit. The range-finder helps you to calculate your distance easily and reduces the number of gear you need to take with you.
Another lovely feature it comes with is a ballistic calculator. This will calculate and provide you with an estimate of the area it will hit. Obviously, this, along with the range-finder makes shooting very accurate with this product.
As the name implies, the Thor HD scope comes with HD video recording. This feature might exist in many other scopes, but what they might not have is the Recoil Activated Video. This feature starts recording immediately you shoot; which is pretty sweet.
On the downside, we observed that its images are somewhat grainy and blurry. Furthermore, we noticed that some units come with defects.
5. Armasight by FLIR Zeus 336 3-12x50mm Thermal Rifle Scope - Best Predator Hunting Scopes
One unique feature of this unit is that it is built around the FLIR Predator: one of the best thermal cameras you can find on the market right now. Considering this feature, you might expect this scope to be one of the most expensive on the market. However, it isn’t. It comes at an affordable price.
It features optical base magnification of up to 2x magnification. Therefore, up to that level of magnification, you can expect crystal clear images. It offers digital magnification of up to 8x.
When the digital magnification kicks in, the image becomes somewhat unclear. However, this is improved by the good 640x480 resolution. This resolution means that you suffer little distortion. It will surely help you distinguish between coyotes and other animals.
This model comes with 6 different modes ranging from white-hot to rainbow palettes. It also comes with a trio of customizable color modes.
What is more, it comes with customizable reticles. Therefore, you can customize the scope to meet your hunting needs.
It spices things up by offering on-board video recording.
Another ATN unit, this model is very similar to the ATN Thor-HD 640 earlier reviewed. However, instead of the 1-10x magnification of the latter, this model comes with a 2.5-25x magnification.
Aside from that, it comes with similar features. It has a 640x480 resolution and comes with a range-finder. Thus, it delivers accurate shots over large distances.
This impressive thermal scope from Pulsar comes at a relatively low price but still offers some of the best optical performance you will find on a budget-level thermal scope.
First of all, it comes with 1.6x magnification. In many products at this price level, this level of magnification is usually digital. However, since it uses optical magnification, the result is a much clearer and brighter target. Above that, though, the magnification is digital.
It makes up for the digital magnification by coming with an impressive resolution. The 384x288 resolution is good enough that using digital magnification doesn’t distort it too much. Hence, you will be able to find your targets easily and make quite accurate shots.
It comes with a green sapphire display. We love this color because it serves to reduce the incidence of eye fatigue. It also provides impressive image contrast.
Another feature that makes this scope one of the best on the market is that it can detect heat signatures up to 900 meters away! Hence, you can rest assured that you will never outshoot the scope.
Battery life is decent, not great. The pair of CR123A batteries will last for a decent length of time, but you will have to replace it often, especially if you are a ‘heavy’ user.
For the price, it is hard to find a better thermal scope on the market today as this pulsar thermal scope review shows.
Whether you are a beginner or long time hunter, then you will need all the gear that will enhance your hunting experience. If you are hunting in dim conditions or darkness, the products that we reviewed above are excellent choices. We realize that you might want something other than the good thermal scopes that we have reviewed above, and that is why we have provided this buying guide. In this section, we will consider some of the essential parameters that should be important to you as you make a buying choice.
Thermal Scopes and Night Vision Scopes: What’s the Difference?
Well, many folks today confuse the two scopes and believe they refer to the same thing. They are, however, not the same.
Night vision scopes work using reflected light. Night vision scopes amplify existing light and help you to see your coyote even at night.
Thermal scopes, on the other hand, work using the radiation from the target. You can use a thermal scope in darkness. Regardless of the time of the day, the thermal scope will always work. Thermal imaging scope reviews like this help to differentiate between the two.
Features to Consider
1. Zooming Capacity
Now, if you are buying a thermal scope, especially intending to use it at night, then this feature is quite important. The best zooming capacity will allow you to see a distant target without losing resolution.
The magnification or zoom that you require will largely depend on the type of shooting you seek to do and the range you will do it from. From experience, we recommend choosing scopes that are at least 4x-6x. However, some scopes are up to 32x (which is excessive for most shooters).
2. Lens Capacity
Another feature is the lens capacity. The lens capacity affects the level of performance and provides you with clearer images.
Some of the brands on the market let you replace the lens depending on what you need. Before you replace the lens, you should check out the integration process and the lens power. The better the capacity of the lens, the better the performance that you will enjoy using the thermal lens.
3. Digital Magnification
Scopes feature settings that make objects look closer than they really are. A 12x scope will make a coyote look 12x bigger. The digital magnification is like zoom on your camera. While some scopes feature optical magnification, most options feature digital magnification.
The downside of this feature is that your object will appear more distorted. Therefore, when choosing a thermal scope, it would be prudent to choose one that doesn’t feature very large levels of digital magnification.
4. Screen Resolution
The screen resolution is highly dependent on the lens capacity and zooming capacity, which we have discussed earlier. Before you select the thermal scope, you should check out your screen resolution. If your thermal scope has a bad screen resolution, you will suffer from it. For example, a poor screen resolution means that you might often mistake objects for another.
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5. Objective Size
While some might confuse objective size with magnification, you shouldn’t make that same mistake. The objective size of your thermal scope refers to the physical dimension of the interior diameter of the objective lens frame.
The objective size is quite important because the larger it is, the more light that can pass through the scope. In turn, this creates a clearer image. Therefore, if you find yourself shooting in low-light conditions, you should opt for a scope with a big objective size.
A note of caution: if the objective size is too big, it can make it hard for you to shoot accurately at close range. Furthermore, the bigger the lens, the larger the scope will be. This can make it difficult to lug around.
6. Refresh Rate
The refresh rate refers to the number of cycles per second that the thermal scope can achieve. If you have a unit with a 30Hz refresh rate, it means that it refreshes itself 30 times in a second. A higher value, say, 60Hz, means that it refreshes itself 60 times in one second.
As a rule of thumb, the higher the refresh rate, the better for you.
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7. Battery Life
Imagine hunting in the dead of the night. You can clearly see the coyote you want to shoot down. You lift the rifle, adjust your scope, and then the thermal scope suddenly goes off! If you choose a thermal scope with poor battery life, then this will likely happen to you time after time.
This outdoor device should have a strong power source. Therefore, you should check out the battery capacity, as well as the type of battery that your thermal scope has. Your choice should be able to last you through the night. The products that we have reviewed above come with excellent battery life.
Whenever possible, the best option to get is the lightest and most portable option. Your gun is heavy, and you need to reduce or minimize the amount of weight you are carrying. Heavy scopes can weigh you down; therefore, we recommend that your scope shouldn’t weigh over 5 pounds.
The portability and compactness is another factor to consider. The best scope for coyote hunting with AR is easy to carry around and can fit the rifle without being bulky.
The durability of your thermal scope is largely dependent on the materials of construction. Low-quality materials of construction will result in a thermal scope that will only last for a short period. The best options on the market are made of high-quality, durable materials. Some of the best materials we have discovered include aluminium.
As hunting is an outdoor activity, the chances are that you will be caught in inclement weather. Thus, your scope should be able to withstand bad weather. It should be water-resistant.
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10. Palettes and Reticles
These factors are very important as they affect what you see through the optic. Reticles come in form of crosshairs that can greatly enhance the accuracy of your shot.
Palettes are very useful to the hunter. A thermal scope offers different palettes. Some palettes you will find in a thermal scope, depending on the model include black hot, rainbow, standard night vision, and white-hot.
To get the most out of these features will require that you familiarize yourself with the thermal scope.
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11. Features and Accessories
As with many devices on the market, thermal scopes can come with basic accessories and features, or come with several advanced features. The accessories and features of each scope vary by brand and model.
One of the most common features you will find on a scope is the ability to record audio. It can come with a memory stick or can be streamed via Wi-Fi.
Others are even more advanced. They might show you ballistic calculations and can make your shooting highly effective. Another advanced feature is the range-finder.
Thermal Scopes FAQ
Can a thermal scope see penetrate a wall?
No. Walls are thick and keep buildings insulated. Therefore, your thermal scope does not have the ability to register any heat signatures that lie on the other side of the wall.
Can I use a thermal scope during the day?
Yes. A thermal scope works using heat signatures. Therefore, as long as the target is radiating heat, the thermal scope will always pick it up.
Can I use a thermal scope with a crossbow?
While crossbows are not usually fitted with thermal scopes, you can always customize your own weapon and fit a thermal scope. It will definitely enhance your shooting.
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Do thermal scopes help with long range shooting?
Of course! These devices are designed to help improve your accuracy and identify targets faster. It does so even with long-range targets.
How long do thermal scope batteries last?
The batteries of your thermal scope should be durable enough to last for several hours (up to 8 hours). That way, it wouldn’t die on you as you use it.
Do I need a thermal scope with IR lighting?
IR light generates light that is not visible to the naked eye. However, since thermal scopes work using heat and not light, IR light isn’t essential for a thermal scope.
Is the built-in range-finder an important feature?
It is an important feature to have, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. In fact, some hunters prefer not to have them so they can prove their hunting prowess. However, having an in-built range-finder will improve your accuracy.