Night vision scopes under $700


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bkjeffrey
July 12, 2011, 08:26 AM
I know I know........theyre all going to be 1st gen. Thats fine with me.

Theres quite a few NV scopes right around the $400-$500 range. Theres the Yukon line NVRS and NVMT. Theres also the whole line of ATN optics that range from $300 to $10,000!

Im curious what anyone out there may have or has had the chance to use. Im looking for something under $700, preferrably under $500. I guess I would most likely use it on my AR rifles, maybe my 308 bolt gun or FAL..I dunno. Id just like to have one to play with.

Seems like theyre all fixed magnification which is fine. Id really prefer a 1x magnification (no magnification) that I could mount in from of my current day optics...that would be really nice, but I havent found one yet.

So.....yall's thoughts, experiences and opinions are welcome.

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Cryogaijin
July 12, 2011, 09:08 AM
You could build an infra-red illuminated scope for a TON less money than that.

Thing is, most video sensors are quite sensitive to near infra-red. Many of them have IR filters to prevent people from using them for "nefarious" ends, but many don't. Simply find a good small camera with a decent optical zoom, and buy a good IR illuminator (Can be had really cheap.)

Setups like this are sold as TOYS, but are quite effective for what they are. (The Eyeclops set of NVGs are quite decent, and only about $40.)

Using a very powerful IR spotlight, you can get very good illumination and distance on this sort of thing.

bkjeffrey
July 12, 2011, 09:41 AM
So your saying that using my common digital camera and my IR filter for a flashlight the camera would be able to pick up and display images in total darkness with the aid of the IR illumination?

Double Naught Spy
July 12, 2011, 10:25 AM
He may be saying it, but you aren't going to get that contraption mounted on your rifle that will handle recoil.

Note that it is going to be important that the IR filter and IR light be compatible.

The problem with most Gen 1 is that they need IR illuminators for boosting their abilities. Basically, it is like you needing a good flashlight.

The ATN Paladin would fit your needs in your price range (I have one) and the IR illuminator on it is pretty good. You might get 75 yards out of it. For $350 more, you can get a Luna Optics ELIR laser illuminator that will get you out to 150-200 yards. However, the same illuminator will get you out much further with higher generation NV.

Note that note all IR illuminators work well with Gen I. I have illuminators that work great for Gen II but not Gen I.

Strykervet
July 12, 2011, 06:32 PM
A couple of people make a digital scope now. You can hook it up to the computer, download all kinds of reticles, install trajectory maps, etc. I think it has a range finder built in, will work in the dark, and records shots, both video and still, which can be downloaded later. Drawback is the limited range. I think it is only good for a couple hundred yards or so. Elcan is one that comes to mind, but I could be wrong. Somebody else makes one too. I had this idea, but of course can't afford to make it... It is about time someone made one, they should be real popular in the future. The chips could handle recoil much better than glass, are cheaper than fine glass, work in the dark, can be modified, and with proper manufacturing, will be tougher and waterproof to more atmospheres. Check 'em out. They have one on SWFA, at least that is where I think I saw it a few months ago.

1st gen. night vision... Have you used it? I had a PVS-4 scope in the army for a short time on the SAW. It was heavy, 2nd gen., and in one word, it sucked. The image was grainy and it didn't work that well in total darkness. I only had it in basic thankfully.

In my unit, we used PVS-14 3rd gen. monocles. You can line them up behind the reflex sights, you can even get it to work behind an ACOG. It isn't fast and natural, but you can move much better like that, and when you need to shoot, you just line it up. There are also IR lasers that work much better... Those you just zero to 300m using a boresight and a few rounds. You can even use tracers. Anyway, we could hit chemlights hanging around targets at 300m all day shooting from the hip using a PEQ2. Problem with the PVS14? It still has a grainy image in total darkness. But the image on the PVS14 is MUCH better than the PVS7, PVS4, etc. The monocles are also much cheaper than a good weaponsight.

They also had a (PVS6? Raptor?) 6x IR scope for the sniper rifles. Not too bad.

Stay away from ATN. It is junk. You are better off with a used or remanufactured PVS4. That is the oldest/cheapest I'd go with; you might find one for the price you mention. With the PVS14, you can wear it on a helmet, headband, or mount it behind the reflex sight (or all three). It is very flexible. Somebody, I can't remember who, makes a good night vision monocle that does the same thing, looks similar to a 14, but it isn't. The 14 is probably still costly, worth it, but costly. The other one I can't remember cost less, but I can't vouch for the quality. It might actually have been a camera illuminator tube that had a weapon mount...

Expensive, but worth it, is thermal. The image is not natural, but the definition is. Seriously, it is like cheating.

Double Naught Spy
July 12, 2011, 08:25 PM
Expensive, but worth it, is thermal. The image is not natural, but the definition is. Seriously, it is like cheating.

PVS4s, the cheapest I see for a used one starts around $1200. You got a better source?
PVS14s, looks like 2 grand or better.

And who is selling the <$700 thermal scopes these days?

The budget is under $700. Talking about gear so far beyond that range isn't a lot of help.

skoro
July 14, 2011, 02:30 PM
Do you have any experience using 1st generation NV gear? If not, save your money and just get a good flashlight instead. If you have used 1st gen, why on earth would you be willing to spend that much? It's just NOT worth anywhere near that much in terms of performance. Useless without an IR illuminator, which is just a small flashlight that shines in infrared instead of visible light. And you'll only be able to "see" whatever is in the beam of that illuminator. And that will be the same as what you'd see using a small flashlight.

To see in the dark, you have to go to 2nd gen, which is VERY pricey. To see well in the dark, you need 3rd gen, which has gotten radically overpriced in recent years, due to the wars in the middle east.

Cryogaijin
July 16, 2011, 07:07 AM
So your saying that using my common digital camera and my IR filter for a flashlight the camera would be able to pick up and display images in total darkness with the aid of the IR illumination? No, I'm saying that you could take a common digital camera that doesn't have an IR filter on it, and can get a dedicated IR flashlight (such as these: http://www.dealextreme.com/c/ir-flashlights-913 or this http://unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=28_43&products_id=789 ) to act as an illuminator. The benefit of using an LED IR flashlight is that it produces only IR wavelengths: It is vastly higher efficiency than using a normal flashlight with a filter of dubious quality.

He may be saying it, but you aren't going to get that contraption mounted on your rifle that will handle recoil. It is all solid state. Getting components designed to take over 200 Gs isn't difficult at all. No moving parts means nothing for the recoil to knock out of order.

baylorattorney
July 16, 2011, 08:23 AM
The negative replies are about right. I've had about three Gen1 scopes. A Russian, a nam era starlight, and pvs-4? The Russian scope which cost no more than $250 equipped with infrared light was the best one. I actually could find and hit targets enough to make it worth while. I wouldn't spend more. I've shot with my buddies$ 500 gen 1 stuff n it was no better. It simply not worth throwing money away. 200-300 is all gen 1 feasibility. Gen 2 u can get into starting around $1200, so ur better off saving up for that. The difference bw gen 1 and 2 is vast deep and wide. Good luck. It will become an expensive addiction this NV.

Double Naught Spy
July 16, 2011, 12:36 PM
Useless without an IR illuminator, which is just a small flashlight that shines in infrared instead of visible light. And you'll only be able to "see" whatever is in the beam of that illuminator. And that will be the same as what you'd see using a small flashlight.

Not the same at all when you consider the reactions of animals. I can light up deer, hogs, foxes, coyotes, coons, rabbits, etc. with IR and get virtually no reaction or no reaction out of them. Light them up with white light and they often break and run.

It is all solid state. Getting components designed to take over 200 Gs isn't difficult at all. No moving parts means nothing for the recoil to knock out of order.

That is really interesting as there have been several makers of gun cameras that have have some real issues with not handling recoil Gs.

I am still intrigued by the notion of making a night vision rifle scope like you say, but I have serious doubts as to the ease proclaimed.

Cryogaijin
July 17, 2011, 11:41 PM
That is really interesting as there have been several makers of gun cameras that have have some real issues with not handling recoil Gs. The issue isn't the electronics, but the mounting system, most likely. Solid state electronics is a quite mature field, with exceedingly robust components. OTOH, making custom housings that won't drift, and soldering in your power source such that the Gs won't ruin THAT is a bit of a pain.

but I have serious doubts as to the ease proclaimed. I may be overstating the ease a bit. Two things about me: I primarily use bolt action rifles, and thus the housing surviving 10 rounds is more than enough for me. Secondly, I'm an EE who likes fiddling with this stuff. I consider it easy enough that an amature could do it, but I haven't been an actual amature for so long I could be wrong on that.

Double Naught Spy
July 18, 2011, 11:07 AM
OTOH, making custom housings that won't drift, and soldering in your power source such that the Gs won't ruin THAT is a bit of a pain.

Having a product fail is still a failed product. The solid state doesn't mean squat when other parts crap out.

I may be overstating the ease a bit. Two things about me: I primarily use bolt action rifles, and thus the housing surviving 10 rounds is more than enough for me.

So your idea of longevity is 10 rounds?!?!? I don't think the OP wants a disposable NV scope for his rifle.

Secondly, I'm an EE who likes fiddling with this stuff. I consider it easy enough that an amature could do it, but I haven't been an actual amature for so long I could be wrong on that.

Yet we don't see very many of these easy to make night vision rifle scopes on rifles. Maybe it is because they aren't that easy to make after all.

Cryogaijin
July 18, 2011, 11:38 PM
Maybe it is because they aren't that easy to make after all. TBH I'd guess it has more to do with the people who could make one trivially being fairly anti-gun. Most of my peers who stayed in the industry are happily ensconced in **********, and of the "I don't understand why you ruin it for the rest of us!" camp. Kinda aggravating.

wideym
July 19, 2011, 02:04 AM
It's best not to waste your money on 1st Gen stuff. By now most will have plenty of hours on it and used civilian NV scopes can be seriously degraded by idiots who turn it on during daylight hours with out the daylight cover on.

I've used PVS-4s, 5s, 7s, and 14s. 4's are big, bulky, and unless they have been converted to AA battery, very expensive to operate. The same goes for 5's except that they are goggles not scopes. 7's are pretty good and you can still get commercial parts and have them serviced, but 14's are truely the best, although very expensive.

While active duty in the Army we used 7's before I left in 2000, when my guard unit went to Iraq we were issued 14's and I fell in love with them. You can mount them on flat top ARs, helmets, head harnesses, or even cameras. Yes they are expensive (I paid $3000 for mine), but after using them I just couldn't go back to anything less.

InTheBlack
January 25, 2013, 11:53 PM
18 months later... anything new on the market? Price reductions?

A suitable scope with an infrared light source would be fine for many hunting applications.

docsleepy
January 26, 2013, 06:15 PM
What I came up with was a $150 monocular generation one night vision monocular with infrared illuminator. Then a red laser on the rifle. Point like a laser pointer when you see it hit the target pull trigger. I think that's how the Marines do it.

possom813
January 26, 2013, 06:29 PM
ATN Paladin 390 or 410. Those can both be had under 700, closer to 500, I believe.


They both work fine without an extra illuminator, but work a lot better with it. And you can buy an infrared spotlight on ebay for under $50 that will make it nice an bright if you're hunting from a stand that you can mount the spotlight to.

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