Best Thermal Scope for Hog Hunting of 2019 Reviews
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No hog hunting trip would be complete without a good quality thermal scope. Thermal scopes typically give you the ability to identify your target hogs a fair distance away thanks to thermal imaging. These scopes are commonly attached to your hunting rifle of choice and provide a crisp, clear thermal image of the hogs either during the day, or, at nighttime.
There are a lot of these models to choose from on the market, and they certainly aren’t cheap. We’ve spent countless hours researching and reviewing the top makes on the market, showing you exactly which models to consider and avoid you throwing your money down the drain.
Let’ make your next trip a special one, and get you that perfect model from our list of the 5 best thermal scopes for hog hunting currently.
Top 5 Rated Models Comparison Table
Reviews of the Best Thermal Scopes for Hog Hunting
The ATN ThOR HD 640 is a premium thermal scope with a hefty price tag. It has a 640x480 sensor, paired with a 2.5-5x magnification, for a large, clear image whatever distance you’re hunting at. Combine that with the built-in rangefinder, and getting a perfect shot is easy: you can calculate the distance to your target, even at night, where the infrared thermal scope picks up the hog’s heat. There is also a ballistic calculator, which estimates the bullet’s trajectory. It even has Smooth Zoom, which ATN says lets you zoom in on the target without messing up the aim.
Another cool feature the ThOR HD 640 is equipped with is HD video recording. It shoots in 1080P, so you can see your hunts and follow up on your shooting skills, right afterwards. It even has Recoil Activated Video, which automatically starts recording as soon as you fire. It even streams to your phone or tablet via Wifi – making sharing your viewfinder videos super easy.
The biggest complaint many have is that footage is not very clear beyond a certain point. The large sensor size means it works well up to about 250 yards, but after that, image quality tends to drop off quickly. And despite the high price tag, it’s not as durable as it could be; the knobs tend to stick, and some have been known to break easily.
With that said, it’s still one of our favorites, thanks to the large sensor size and smattering of features, making it a great all-around scope.
- HD Video Recording
- Streams video via WiFi
- Recoil Activated Video recording
- 640x480 sensor size
- Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, Smooth Zoom
- Images get blurry after 250 yards
The ATN ThOr HD 384 is a decent, mid-priced thermal scope with a decently-sized sensor and plenty of features – smaller version of the ThOr HD 640. It has a much smaller sensor, at only 384x288 – but that should be plenty for hog hunting. It also has a zoom range of 2-8x. It also has the exact same Ballistic Calculator, Rangefinder, and even has an HD video recorder that shoots video of your hunts in 1080P.
There’s even Recoil Activated Video, and it includes the same WiFi for streaming to your phone or tablet for watching and sharing with your friends later on.
The main complaints with the ThOR HD 384 include quality control; despite its high price, many people find issues with the screen, finding it blurry and unable to focus on targets more than 100 yards away. The image is very grainy at long distances. Also, small parts, like knobs, tend to break with use, demonstrating the scope’s lesser quality.
Other than that, however, this is a decent choice for a mid-price thermal scope for hunting hogs at night.
- 2-8x zoom range
- Records 1080P video. Recoil Activated Video ensures you never miss a shot
- WiFi lets you stream to your phone
- Ballistic Calculator
- Quality control is bad
- Image is very grainy
- Blurry at more than about 100 yards
Another fantastic scope from Armasight, the Predator boasts a 336x256 sensor and 2-8x zoom, paired with a 25mm lens and 1.6x optical magnification. It also has a super-fast refresh rate of either 30hz or 60hz, and comes in a bombproof, CNC aluminum alloy body that is designed to withstand any impact or weather you could throw at it. There are of imaging enhancements, such as Active Contrast Enhancement, Second Generation Digital Detail Enhancement, Smart Scene Optimization and Automatic Gain Control, to help get a clear shot in any conditions and any time of night.
The Predator also records video, with both an internal recorder and playback, and an external recorder. You can even it control it by wireless remote. You can choose from 6 different reticle patterns - “DOT 4 MOA,” “Line Dot,” “Cross,” among others – and switch between 4 reticle colors. The electronic zoom also has a reticle tracking capability that helps maintain boresight and your aim as you zoom in and out. You can mount it to any MIL-STD-1913 rail or with a quick-release mount and Armasight backs it up with a 3-year warranty, and 10-year on the FLIR detector.
A few things to point out: Image quality is pretty good, though maybe not as clear and crisp as some more expensive scopes. The design is also a bit bulky, and recoil from a heavy rifle can bring it right back right into your face – which can painful. And, it consumes A LOT of power, chewing through batteries quickly. Bring spares, and plenty of them if you plan on being out late.
All in all, this is another great scope, and our winner of the “Budget Buy,” – if you can call it budget. The ThOR 640 is still a much more featured, premium scope, but the Armasight Predator is certainly no slouch, for a lot less.
- CNC Aluminum Body. Waterproof, dustproof, impact-resistant
- 2-8x zoom
- 25mm lens, 1.6x optical magnification
- 6 reticle patterns, 4 colors
- Internal video recorder
- Image quality could be better
- Large; can be uncomfortable on recoil
- Goes through batteries quickly
The most expensive thermal scope on our list is the Armasight Zeus 640. This huge thermal scope has a 640x512 pixel sensor paired with a geranium 100mm lens, and a magnification range of 4x-32x - making it excellent scope for long-range hunting. The body is bulletproof and designed to withstand shocks, drops, impacts, dust, water and even fog – meaning it’s suitable for hunting in any weather or outdoor conditions without fear of damage. It can be submerged down to 20 meters for up to 2 hours.
In terms of features, the Zeus is laden with them: 5 -button wireless remote control, an onboard video recorder with output port, various color modes, a digital compass, digital inclinometer. It records both video and still images, and there is also a wide array of reticle patterns to choose from, so you can find your favorite one. The display is an 800x600 OLED, and it also has a bunch of internal imaging algorithms for enhancing the image – such as Active Contrast Enhancement (ACE), just to name a couple.
But speaking of the display, that’s one place where this scope falls a bit short. Despite having an excellent resolution and costing an arm and leg, the Zeus is a bit lacking in image quality. The picture is grainy when trying to aim, especially around the edges. There have also been a lot of reported quality controls issues.
Quality control issues are certainly not ideal when spending this much, which is why this isn’t our favorite scope. It’s got tons of features, a large sensor and display, and it’s built like a tank. But it’s lacking in a few areas that a scope of this price should really excel at – namely image quality.
- Large sensor size
- 3-24x zoom
- 100mm lens
- Bulletproof, waterproof build
- Internal video recorder/image capture
- Tons of features
- Quality Control issues
- Poor Image Quality
This excellent FLIR thermal scope is a bit different, in that you can use it as a monocular as opposed to just a scope. FLIR stands for Forward-Looking Infrared, and it lets you see animals at night up to 1200 yards away, with a 240x180 pixel sensor with a refresh rate of 30hz, paired with a 640x480 display.
Startup and operation is simple and easy; simply flip it on, toggle through the modes and options with the large buttons (Power, color palettes, E-Zoom and screen brightness) on the top, designed to be used with gloves. Unlike most of the other scopes we’ve reviewed, it doesn’t have an internal video recorder, but it does have a video output for recording on other devices. The body is also IP67-rated, for waterproofness, drops and impact, and weighs only 12 ounces.
The only drawback to this scope isn’t so much a problem with the scope itself, it’s just that it is not meant for mounting to a rifle and aiming. It’s more of a rangefinder for scouting targets at night (hence the name) and finding hogs.
And for that, it’s an excellent thermal imager. It’s also one of the cheapest on our list – making it a no-brainer if you’re simply looking for a rangefinder-type scope, and not one to mount on your hunting rifle.
- Super high quality
- 30hz refresh rate
- IP67-rated watertight, impact-proof body
- Simple, easy, operation
- Scopes out to 1200 yards
- Does not mount to the rifle
- No internal video recorder
What To Look For in A Thermal Scope For Hunting Hogs
Resolution is usually the first thing you want to look when choosing a hog hunting scope. The higher resolution offered, the larger and clearer the image will be; the clearer the image the more accurate your shots will be and the easier it will be to scope out targets and hit them every time. Higher resolution also lets you zoom in on the target further without ruining image quality, so if you’re getting a scope with very large magnification, ensure it is has a high resolution to match. 640x480 is a good place to start; 384x288 is also popular amongst mid-range scopes. Larger resolutions often call for increased prices.
After settling on a resolution, you’ll want to look at what kind of magnification the scope offers. For hog hunting, you probably don’t need a ton of magnification; at least 4x-6x will be fine and will work for anything from 100-yards to 300 yards. At the most, up to 8x-10x is probably fine, but you wouldn’t want more than that for hog hunting; too much magnification can but more than that will get uncomfortably close for shooting at shorter ranges, as you often are when hunting hogs. If you’re too close to the object, you won’t have a wide enough field-of-view and you’ll be in trouble when the target starts moving quickly.
Objective size is the physical size of the lens objective, meaning, the inside diameter at the front of the lens. The larger the objective, the brighter the image – as lighter is able to pass through the scope, creating a clearer, more illuminated picture. A large objective lens can make it much easier to shoot in dim conditions – early morning and dusk. Just don’t get one too big, too large a scope makes it harder to aim at close range, and also means it’s heavier and more difficult to lug around.
If you plan on mounting your scope to your hunting rifle (as you generally do for scopes), look at what kind of mounting accessories it has. Almost all rifle scopes will come equipped with MIL STD Picatinny 1913 Rails, which works with most rifles, but many will also have Weaver rails. If you’re stuck on choosing one, we suggest a Picatinny-compatible scope as it will work on many more rails and rifles.
This is a totally optional feature, but many now scopes come able to record video - usually in full 1080p HD – so you can record your hunts as seen through the scope, come back to them later to view on your own time, and share them with your friends. Some cameras even come with WiFi, so you can stream your videos, as well as play them back externally for recording on different devices.
Most thermal scopes come with a with a four-line MILDOT reticle. Other common reticles may be a Duplex reticle or Dot reticle, which are good for pulling super accurate shots. The MILDOT reticle is usually the best for hunting at night with a thermal scope, however.
Our Top Pick for a Thermal Scope for Hog Hunting is the ATN ThoR HD 640. It’s a high-end thermal scope with a 640x480 pixel sensor, 2.5-5x digital zoom, and a whole host of features that make it stand out from the rest - Ballistic Calculator, Built-In Rangefinder, Smooth Zoom to never lose your zero. It records video in 1080P and streams it via WiFi to your phone or tablet, and even has Recoil Activated Video. We wish the image was better above 250 yards, but for anything else, it’s a trustworthy, quality scope that you will love.
If you would like to spend a little less, we recommend the Armasight Predator, which has a 336x256 sensor, 2-8x zoom, a 25mm lens and 1.6x optical magnification. A bunch of imaging enhancement modes make the image clear and help you get a good shot, while the waterproof, dustproof body ensures it can withstand any hunt.
Whichever one is right for your budget, you’re guaranteed to see your hunts and hogs in a whole new light – any time of night.