Nowadays, thermal rifle scopes have gained huge popularity among the hunters, worldwide. Thermal scopes are being used more and more in hunting which is enhancing the hunting experience of the hunters. The most crucial thing a hunter must know before buying thermal scope is that, is it legal to hunt with a thermal scope. Before buying thermal scope, the hunter must investigate if it is legal to use thermal scope for hunting in their area. Thermal scopes have recently been authorized for public use. So, it might still be illegal in some areas.

Lets have a quick look to best thermal rifle scopes available now. If you have more time to explore the topic in-detail with reviews scroll down for that.

Best Thermal Imaging Rifle Scopes 2020

Value For Money
Pulsar Trail LRF XQ38 2.1-8.4x32 Thermal Riflescope, 11.22"
Expert Recommended
ATN ThOR 4 2.5-25x, 640x480, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor, WiFi, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Ballistic Calculator and IOS and Android Apps
Best Budget
Armasight by FLIR Predator 336 2-8x25mm Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope with Tau 2 336x256 17 micron 30Hz Core
Popular
ATN Thor 4 1.25-5x, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor, WiFi, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Ballistic Calculator and iOS and Android Apps
Title
Pulsar Trail LRF XQ38 2.1-8.4x32 Thermal Riflescope, 11.22"
ATN ThOR 4 2.5-25x, 640x480, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor, WiFi, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Ballistic Calculator and IOS and Android Apps
Armasight by FLIR Predator 336 2-8x25mm Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope with Tau 2 336x256 17 micron 30Hz Core
ATN Thor 4 1.25-5x, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor, WiFi, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Ballistic Calculator and iOS and Android Apps
Magnification
2.1x to 8.4x
2.5x to 25.0x
2x to16x
1.2x to 5.0x
Sensor
50Hz
Gen 4 , 60Hz
30Hz
Gen 4 Sensor 60Hz
Display Resolution
640x480 AMOLED Display
640x480 Smart HD Display
LED VGA 640×480
384x288 HD Display
Wifi Streaming
Smart Range Finder
Battery Life
4 to 6 Hours
18 to 20 Hours
5 to 7 Hours
14 to 16 Hours
Weight
1.5 pounds (approx.)
2.1 Pounds (approx.)
1.5 Pounds (approx.)
1.95 Pounds (approx.)
Value For Money
Pulsar Trail LRF XQ38 2.1-8.4x32 Thermal Riflescope, 11.22"
Title
Pulsar Trail LRF XQ38 2.1-8.4x32 Thermal Riflescope, 11.22"
Magnification
2.1x to 8.4x
Sensor
50Hz
Display Resolution
640x480 AMOLED Display
Wifi Streaming
Smart Range Finder
Battery Life
4 to 6 Hours
Weight
1.5 pounds (approx.)
Expert Recommended
ATN ThOR 4 2.5-25x, 640x480, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor, WiFi, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Ballistic Calculator and IOS and Android Apps
Title
ATN ThOR 4 2.5-25x, 640x480, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor, WiFi, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Ballistic Calculator and IOS and Android Apps
Magnification
2.5x to 25.0x
Sensor
Gen 4 , 60Hz
Display Resolution
640x480 Smart HD Display
Wifi Streaming
Smart Range Finder
Battery Life
18 to 20 Hours
Weight
2.1 Pounds (approx.)
Best Budget
Armasight by FLIR Predator 336 2-8x25mm Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope with Tau 2 336x256 17 micron 30Hz Core
Title
Armasight by FLIR Predator 336 2-8x25mm Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope with Tau 2 336x256 17 micron 30Hz Core
Magnification
2x to16x
Sensor
30Hz
Display Resolution
LED VGA 640×480
Wifi Streaming
Smart Range Finder
Battery Life
5 to 7 Hours
Weight
1.5 Pounds (approx.)
Popular
ATN Thor 4 1.25-5x, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor, WiFi, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Ballistic Calculator and iOS and Android Apps
Title
ATN Thor 4 1.25-5x, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor, WiFi, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Ballistic Calculator and iOS and Android Apps
Magnification
1.2x to 5.0x
Sensor
Gen 4 Sensor 60Hz
Display Resolution
384x288 HD Display
Wifi Streaming
Smart Range Finder
Battery Life
14 to 16 Hours
Weight
1.95 Pounds (approx.)

Last update on 2020-10-18 / Ads

What is thermal scope / thermal imaging scope:

Thermal rifle scope is a type of rifle scope that detects radiation or emitted heat from the target and it does not require any kind of visible light in order to produce an image. Animals generate heat from their body and are warmer than their surroundings which makes it possible for the thermal rifle scope to detect them at great distances using thermal imaging. In both scenarios of day time and night time target’s body is warmer than its surroundings. So, it can be used equally well in both day and night. So, the thermal scope basically is a combined thermo-graphic camera with an aiming reticle.
best thermal scope

best thermal scope

Best Selling Thermal Rifle Scope Today

Bestseller No. 1
ATN Thor 4 1.25-5x, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor, WiFi, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Ballistic Calculator and iOS and Android Apps
223 Reviews
ATN Thor 4 1.25-5x, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope w/Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor, WiFi, Image Stabilization, Range Finder, Ballistic Calculator and iOS and Android Apps
  • Ultra Sensitive Next Gen Sensor - Is capable of capturing crisp clear images at the furthest ranges with improved resolution, higher sensitivity, and smooth gradations even in total darkness
  • Ballistic Calculator- Hunt responsibly by making sure your shot hits the target Each and Every time. Range, Wind, Multiple-Weapon Profiles, Angle to target, Temperature, Humidity, Plus more. Helps you determine exact ballistics for expert long-range shots
  • Dual Stream Video Recording - You asked and we listened ThOR 4 not only Streams Video to your mobile device at HD resolution and can simultaneously Record to the SD card inside
  • RAV (Recoil Activated Video) - Recoil Activated Video (RAV) takes care of all your worries. Just relax and focus on your game and let the Obsidian Core do the heavy lifting.
  • Ultra Low Power Profile - No more worries about your batteries dying in the field. At 18+hours of Continuous operation the ATN ThOR 4 will last as long as you do.Eye relief:90 mm.Zero Range 100 yd.Ballistic Coefficient 0.371

Last update on 2020-10-18 / Ads

Best Thermal Rifle Scopes List

  1. 1
    Pulsar Trail LRF XQ38 2.1-8.4x32 Thermal Riflescope
  2. 2
    ATN Thor 4, 640x480, Thermal Rifle Scope
  3. 3
    Armasight by FLIR Predator 336 2-8x25mm Thermal Imaging Rifle Scope
  4. 4
    ATN ThOR 4, 384x288, Thermal Rifle Scope
  5. 5
    IR Defense IR Hunter Mark II 640 60hz 35mm Thermal Rifle Scope

Features of Thermal Rifle Scope

Normally, thermal rifle scopes offer thermal imaging for detecting the target. They contain special software settings to enhance the imaging. Other than that, there are several features which differ based on different brands of thermal scopes. Here are the most common features of thermal rifle scopes!

Magnification

One of the most common features of scopes come with the amount of magnification it offers. Thermal scopes come in different magnification options to choose from. Some thermal scopes don’t work too well in high-magnification whereas others can. According to your hunting needs, you need to find out the best one that suits you. You can find magnication from 1.5x to 50x based on different price range and different thermal scope brands. 

Display and Sensor

Display and sensor for thermal scope is one of the most important and vital issue. Some scope offers smaller display where some offers larger display. For easy detect game and target accurately , larger display is better option. When you are thing about sensor for thermal scope, higher generation gives you more advantage and feature. Gen 4 sensors are better than earlier generation. For smooth performance your should have minimum 50Hz processor otherwise, you may find some delay visualization. 

Day-Night Mode

If you thought thermal scopes are created mainly for night-time hunting, you couldn’t be more wrong. Not all the thermal scopes offer both day and night operations but there are many that work magnificently in both times. If you have a habit of hunting for long hours, this feature would be ideal for you. With this feature enabled, you can hunt in any environment with no matter how much light there is.

Shooting Assistance

Hunters with years of experience can look back to the days when there were a lot of calculations involved in order to take a perfect shot. But, with the growing potential of digital thermal scopes, that has become a thing of the past. Now, thermal scopes come with shooting assistance that will calculate everything for you from distance of shot to air speed and provide you the perfect shooting experience.

Live Streaming in HD

With the progress in technology, thermal rifle scopes have evolved into something that will become a better companion while you hunt. Thermal rifle scopes with digital features allow users to live stream their hunting experience to their phone or tablet through internet connection. On top of that, depending on the camera quality, the video can be anything from HD to 4k quality.

Record Your Hunt

Digital thermal rifle scopes not only live streams your hunts, but also records each and every shot you make in high definition to be viewed later. This is a feature that requires external storage and a shooting sensor. Whenever you pull the trigger, the sensor starts recording and saves the shoot in the memory card.

Normally, thermal rifle scopes offer thermal imaging for detecting the target. They contain special software settings to enhance the imaging. Other than that, there are several features which differ based on different brands of thermal scopes. From different reviewers who have done thermal scope reviews it has been found that the atn thermal scope, pulsar thermal scope and flir thermal scope are the three main brands of thermal imaging rifle scope for hunting. Amongst atn thermal rifle scope ATN ThOR-HD 640 and ATN ThOR 4 are the best. ATN ThOR-HD 640 provides five to fifty times magnification, app support, resolution of 640×480 and it weighs around 4.4lbs. ATN ThOR 4 provides one to five times magnification, app support, resolution of 384×288 and it weighs around 2.7lbs. Amongst pulsar thermal rifle scope Pulsar Trail XQ Thermal Riflescope is the best. It provides two to ten times magnification, app support, resolution of 640×480 and it weighs about 4.2lbs. amongst flir thermal rifle scope FLIR R-Series RS32, Armasight By FLIR Predator and Armasight By FLIR Zeus are the best. FLIR R-Series RS32 provides one to sixteen times magnification, resolution of 640×480 and it weighs around 1.8lbs. Armasight By FLIR Predator provides two to eight times magnification, resolution of 640×480 and it weighs around 1.4lbs. Armasight By FLIR Zeus provides three to twelve times magnification, resolution of 640×480 and it weighs around 1.5lbs. All the above stated thermal scopes are the best thermal scope for coyote hunting.

Benefit of thermal rifle scope

In comparison with night vision scope, thermal rifle scope is beneficial to the hunter.  Thermal scopes detect infrared radiation and do not require any visible light to produce an image. So, thermal imaging devices can be used equally well day and night. It is very useful in foggy conditions and finding targets hiding in crops. It is also helpful in finding wounded targets. It also helps the hunter by scouting the area and making the hunter more cautious if there are any predator around. Another very handy benefit of thermal scope is that it helps to scout the area around the hunter to see if there are any other hunters around or not which adds extra safety.

How thermal rifle scope works

The thermal scope emits a focused light of ІR energy which is undetectable to the human eyes. The targeted area is invisibly lit up and internal scope components gather data in order to create an electronic image. When the thermal scope is turned on at first the ІR detector elements get activated. The scope focuses IR energy on the targeted area. Detector elements rapidly obtain temperature data within the field of view. After that Thermogram gets created which is then converted to electronic impulses. These electronic impulses are then sent to the Signal-processing unit which contains a chip and a circuit board. The Signal-processing unit sends the collected data to the display. Depending on the intensity of the infrared emission from the objects in the field of view the display appears with varying colors.

So, the thermal scope has optics objective lens. Then the IR detector elements. Then, signal-processing unit and finally, the eyepiece. The two lenses are actually germanium lenses as they handle infrared radiation better than glass lenses.

How thermal rifle scope works

How thermal rifle scope works

Why hunter should have thermal rifle scope

During the past several years, we have come to understand that thermal rifle scope has a lot to offer to hunters. Here are some pointers which should be known to understand why hunter should have thermal rifle scope.

Same Optic for Both Day and Night

Unlike night vision optics, thermal technology works in complete darkness and full sun. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology, the flir thermal scope team set up a scavenger hunt for a team of writers in Arizona. It was almost noon when the sun was high and bright and they set out into the desert in teams of six with handheld Breach PTQ136 handheld thermal units to find more than a dozen targets which were plush animals stuffed with ice or outfitted with hand warmers. They were hidden in the bushes and trees surrounding the main office. In a short while, they collected all of them. The point of the exercise was to demonstrate that thermal technology, which is often associated with night hunting, is equally-suited to daytime hunting. That means the same optic can be used for hunting under the cover of darkness and during morning, evening or mid-day setups.

Thermal Optic Have Become More Affordable

Affordability of a product depends on individual budgets, but there’s no denying that the cost of thermal technology has dropped significantly in recent years. For example, the pint-sized plug-in FLIR ONE Gen 3 unit that turns a smart phone into a thermal imaging device costs $199 today. In 2007, that same technology used to cost roughly $15,000. High-quality thermal imaging optics which were once reserved for the independently wealthy, are now within reach of the average consumer. FLIR’s Scout TK, which offers a 640x480 LCD display, multiple color palettes, built-in still and video imaging capabilities and fits in the pocket carries an MSRP of $599. The new PTS line of thermal riflescopes start at $2,199. These may not be cheap thermal scope but compared to what this type of technology used to cost a decade ago, these products are a steal. In addition, technology advances such as the new Boson Core make flir thermal rifle scope gear lighter than ever before.

Reducing Hog Number

Thermal imaging can be very helpful for eradicating pigs. FLIR’s new PTS233 thermal scope is one of the best thermal scope and a compact unit that mounts directly on the rifle and offers a variety of control options to switch color palettes and reticle layouts, and allows to hunt hogs under cover of darkness which is the best time to intercept these feral swine. Pigs are a threat to many of the valuable native wildlife species. Reducing hog populations helps other game and farmers, and a thermal scope is a superb option.

Conserving Wild Life

Thermal technology is being used by wildlife law enforcement to help reduce poaching and illegal hunting at night, and that’s a benefit to all hunters and game populations. There are several records such as in Kenya and the USA where poachers were caught by the wildlife law enforcement officers during night time using thermal scopes.

Eliminating Predators

Serious game managers know that predator control is the key to a healthy population of game animals, and more and more land managers and coyote hunters are turning to thermal optics. A rifle with a thermal optic is lighter and less troublesome than a traditional white light and filter, and it allows the hunter to see coyotes that are hidden in brush or shadow which is something difficult even with night vision equipment.

Protecting Hunters

When camping in grizzly country It is very helpful to have a thermal scope. During such instances, a quick scan of the surrounding area offers some protection against bumping into a big bear when venturing out. But that’s just one way that thermal protects hunters. When hunting deer on public land during firearms season, the secret hunting spot of the hunters get occupied by other hunters. Having a small handheld thermal allows the hunter to determine whether or not there are other hunters setting up nearby, and that can be a real asset.

Finding Wounded Game

Handheld thermal devices are invaluable when trailing game. When the hunter is struggling to get a blood trail in the dark, mainly if caught in an unexpected rainstorm, which makes blood even harder to find in leaf litter a handheld thermal can be a great advantage where it is legal. When thermal imaging is used for hunting, blood stands out clearly, and it is also possible to spot the heat signature of a downed creature in a thick brush.


Thermal rifle scope buyer guide

(what buyers need to check to buy a thermal scope)

There are thermal scopes for rifle that are specifically designed for capturing the target in motion. At the same time there are scopes that are specifically designed for hunting purposes that gives the best thermal imaging for hunting.  Most of the thermal rifle scopes in the market cost hundreds of dollars. So, there are a lot of parameters which should be considered, and one must do some adequate research before buying them. Here are some of the things that buyers need to check before buying a thermal scope.
  • Resolution of Scope and Sensor

  • One of the first features that is needed to be considered when buying a thermal scope for rifle is the resolution. It should be understood that the thermal sensor resolution and resolution of the scope are different from each other. The resolution of the scope is supposed to be higher than the resolution of the thermal sensor. The difference in their resolution leads to a more precise image that can be useful for hunting. A thermal hunting sight with the same scope and sensor resolution will not provide us with a clear image while hunting.

    Scope Detecting Range

    The second feature which should be considered is the scope’s detection range. The detection range for thermal rifle scopes refers to the distance to which one can get a clear image. There are hunting scopes that can provide us with a clear image for distances as far as 4,000 yards. These are high-quality models which fetch a higher price tag. There are also entry-level thermal hunting scopes with a shorter scope detection range of around 1,000 yards. These entry-level scopes are for beginners and armature hunters. These lower-end thermal scopes are never used by professional hunters. Entry-level and intermediate hunters can use the thermal scopes with a shorter scope detection range before moving on to a device that offers a better scope detection range.
  • Magnification

  • The magnification is defined as a thermal hunting scope’s ability to magnify or zoom in on what the observer is looking at. Each thermal scope bought in the market comes with the details and specs about the device’s magnification capabilities. One thing that should be kept in mind that the ability of scope to magnify the image affects its resolution. The two features are indirectly proportional to each other. The higher the magnification, the more it may reduce the resolution of the image seen through the scope and the refresh rate may be slightly slower.

    Refresh Rate

    The refresh rate of a thermal rifle scope is defined as the time its processor takes to refresh the image. Since it is a digitally produced image, a slight delay is found in refreshing the information input into the image data that is seen. The general rule of refresh rate for thermal scopes for rifle is that the higher the refresh rate is, the clearer and more accurate the image will be.
  • Reticle Pattern

  • Another crucial feature that the buyer should consider when buying a thermal rifle scope is its reticle pattern. The reticle pattern on thermal hunting rifles can come in either the four-line crosshair pattern or a single dot reticle. Both of these reticle patterns can have their merits for the hunter. This is something the buyer should choose based on personal preference. The four-line crosshair reticle patterns can be more helpful while hunting at night while the single dot reticles are useful for greater accuracy and precise imaging during the day.

    Lens Diameter

    The diameter of the scope plays a significant role in everything that can be seen through the scope. The field of view from the thermal scope for rifle and its lens diameter are directly proportional. The more substantial the diameter, the more significant field of view will be achieved and also more expensive and heavier. This is something the buyer should consider based on personal preference.
  • Battery Life

  • Perhaps one of the most crucial features which is needed to be considered when looking for a suitable thermal rifle scope is its battery life. The amount of time that the battery can last on a hunting trip plays a substantial role in success. Generally, it is expected that a single full charge of the battery should last for at least eight hours of working time. Anything less than that is not ideal. It is very important to purchase a thermal scope that has long battery life. Overcharging the battery can affect its battery life. It should never be charged longer than necessary.

    Warranty and Guarantee

    It is a fact that thermal rifle scopes are not the cheapest products on the market. This incredibly useful tool can charge a hefty amount. Perhaps one of the most critical factors that needs to be considered when investing in a thermal hunting scope is its warranty period. The device will be taken into challenging conditions when it is attached to the rifle. There is a huge chance that it can get damaged. Making sure that there is an adequate guarantee and warranty before buying the thermal rifle scope is a must.

    Verdict

    In conclusion it can be said that, thermal rifle scope which has only recently been authorized to be used by public has gained a huge popularity worldwide because of its merits. It is a bit costly but it is very helpful in detecting the target in any situation excluding extreme cold.  It definitely enhances hunting experience of the hunter. If anyone has the option to choose and if it is legal in their area, they should buy a thermal rifle scope for hunting as a twenty-four-hour scope option.