My top recommended product for today is going to be the ATN X-Sight II. It has a 3-14X with a built-in rangefinder and can also do ballistic calculations. It can also record your hunting experience with the 1080p HD Video recorder.
As may already know the best time to hunt hogs are at night. One of the reasons for this is that hogs have a keen sense of smell and do not need to rely that much on eyesight to find their food.
This is the reason why these intelligent animals tend to be most active from 18:00 up to 21:00. This can also be the reason why most hunters prefer night time hunting when hunting hogs.
But there is only one problem.
It is obvious enough that hunting at night time can bring its own challenges such as your inability to see at night. This is where night vision equipment such as night vision scopes play an essential role.
This is also why I get the question as to what is the best night vision scope for hog hunting. There are so many different types of scopes, and only a small selection is going to be good enough for hog hunting.
In this article, I am going to cover 9 scopes that I deemed the best in this regard, and I am also going to present the different types available, the cost, magnification aspects, built-in rangefinders, etc.
What Night Vision Scope is Best for You?
So you went through my nine suggested scopes, and you still could not make up your mind?
This section will help you to find the best night vision scope for hunting hogs at night.
There are four core fundamentals that you need to understand before you can even think about before purchasing the product.
These fundamentals include the following:
- The types of night vision scopes
- Upgraded night vision scopes
- Integrated features (Video Recording, rangefinders, and ballistics)
These points are easy to understand, and if you have a grasp on them, you will make a much better choice. Without further ado, let’s start with the types.
1. The types of night vision scopes available in the market
As to date, there are currently 5 different types of night vision scopes available in the market today and can also be broken down into 3 groups.
The selection will include generation 1-3, digital and also thermal. Let’s start with the first generation.
a) Generation 1
This generation got started by using ambient light to produce an image. This feature is made possible with the help of light intensifier tubes. This intensifier tube will intensify the light up to 1000 times more than the human eye.
It is also important to note that this device is dependant on infrared illuminators to “see” in the dark. Another critical fact to remember is not to expose the intensifier tube to daylight as it will result in burnt out tubes which will make them useless.
Another problem with gen 1 scopes is that the image quality is not that great. If you are into generation 1 night vision scopes, then I will recommend the Firefield NVRS which is also the least expensive option in this review.
b) Generation 2
The generation 2 is going to be the improved version of generation 1, and I will elaborate on this below.
This version also makes use of a light intensifier tube but will include a microchannel plate that will allow for more light to pass through and will result in better image quality.
This version makes use of the same technology which results in the same drawbacks regarding light sensitivity. Generation 2 scopes is a massive jump from the previous generation regarding image quality. I currently do not have any gen 2 scopes listed in this selection.
c) Generation 3
This generation is the ultimate version of the generation series. This gen is very similar to the gen 2 but will include a chemical to the photocathode screen which will result in the brightest and sharpest images in the generation series. This version also has the light sensitivity problem. There are no listed gen 3 products in this selection.
d) Digital version
This type is newer than the generation series and also makes use of infrared technology. This types also makes use of CCD chips and functions the same as a video camera that also incorporates night vision. Most night vision scopes that are digital will also be able to record the experience. This technology gives the same image quality as that of generation 2 scopes.
If you ever come across a night vision scope that can record videos or images, then it is most likely a digital type scope. Another positive remark that I can make is the digital scopes are not that sensitive to daylight as the standard generation types. This ability can result in daytime hunts as well.
The only drawback of this type of scope is that it consumes batteries. The best digital scope in this review is going to be the ATN X-Sight II which was my top pick.
c) Thermal vision
Some people might want to put thermal vision into a seperate category, but this type of scope is also extremely beneficial for the sake of hunting hogs if not better than standard night vision.
This type of scope makes the use of heat instead of ambient light to produce an image. This type is very similar to that of digital featurewise.
It is not sensitive to light which means it can be used in night and daytime hunting. It also has a detection range of up to 1000 yards. These devices can also zoom and record videos just as that of digital scopes. It is also important to note that thermal scopes might be more expensive than standard night vision scopes.
What I liked about this type is its use when hunting. Because it makes use of body heat, the hogs or any other animal for that matter will stand out of the surrounding area which will make them nearly impossible to miss. The best thermal scope in this selection is going to be the ATN Thor HD which is the ultimate scope for hunting hogs.
2. How important is the magnification of the scopes?
When it comes to shooting long range, then you cannot just disregard the magnification aspects of scopes. You can have the best thermal or night vision scopes on the market, but if you cannot see the animals, then you are wasting your time and money.
The problem with some night vision scopes is that the magnification can be somewhat limited. The reason for this is because the further you want to view, the less ambient light will pass through your scope. Moonlight also plays a massive difference between how far you will be able to see.
The magnification ranges from a minimum of 3 times (3X) standard view which is the absolute minimum for when you want to hunt hogs at night. Most of the scopes will have an option when you can toggle between different magnification sizes.
The maximum magnification available is going to be 18 times standard view which is more than enough for hunting hogs. The ATN Thor HD is an excellent option for when you want to hunt up to 18 times standard view.
3. How much do these scopes cost?
Night vision scopes can be very expensive especially when you want to move into the thermal direction. They can range anywhere from $250 up to $3500 which is a massive jump.
What I have also realized is that digital scopes are the least expensive ones on average where all of them are less than $1000. It is also important to note that most digital scopes will be similar in quality than generation 2 scopes which is also very expensive.
So this is why I love digital scopes. They have the same image quality as that of generation 2, has more features without the risk of damage from daylight, and they cost less than standard night vision scopes as well.
Quite a bargain are they?
The most inexpensive option in this selection will be the Firefield NVRS which is a generation 1 scope.
4. Upgraded night vision scopes
Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation where you already have a proper quality scope, and you also want a night vision one. Most people are sentimental when it comes to hunting scopes, and they do not want to exchange it for a night vision scope.
But what if you could attach a device to your existing scope to transform it into a night vision version. This scenario is the reason why there are upgrade kits available. These kits will fit onto the objective lens of your scope and will convert the image into one that is night vision.
The image will then be projected onto a screen that can be attached on top of your scope.
Have a look at the video below for more info:
If you fall into this category, then please have a look at the NiteSite Viper 110.
5. Integrated features (video recording, rangefinders, etc.)
Sometimes you want to be able to share your hunting experience with other people that were not even present while you took down that boar.
One way to do this is with the help of video recording. Some of the digital and thermal scopes will have this ability. Some will make use of an SD card while other rely on smartphones to do the job. Another great feature that must be mentioned is going to be the rangefinding aspects of some of the scopes.
This feature is an excellent tool for those hunters that do not want to carry too much gear with them (including a rangefinder). If a scope can calculate the distance between you and your target, then this leave room for more opportunity.
What if a scope can do all of the calculation and manage your ballistics as well?
It would be awesome would it not?
Some of the scopes in this review can do everything which includes rangefinding, video recording, ballistics, compasses and do not forget about the night vision aspects. One scope that can do all of this will be the ATN X-Sight II which makes you wonder why it was my favorite and still is to this day.
#1 ATN X-Sight II (Top Pick)
Best For: For those that want a night vision scope that can also do ballistics and video recording.
It is not hard to grasp why the ATN X-Sight II was my favorite. It has much more features than other night vision scopes that are within the same price class. It has a 3-14X standard magnification which is more than enough for hog hunting. It also has other great features such as a rangefinder and a ballistics calculator which takes the human error out of the equation.
Once you have your range, this gadget will automatically calculate your point of impact. You can also record your shots with the built-in 1080p HD Video that will record your hunting experience. The digital image quality is also in HD for a more vivid view. This device will also store all of your videos on an SD card that can later be replayed.
You can also connect this range finder to your smartphone through wifi where the calculations will take place. This product also makes the use of a barometer, compass and a gyroscope. You easily mount this product on a Picatinny rail.
#2 Firefield NVRS (Least Expensive)
Best For: Best for those that do not want to spend a fortune on night vision equipment.
The Firefield NVRS is going to be the least expensive option of the lot and costs also $200 less than the ATN X-Sight II but with fewer features. The night vision scope has a magnification of 3 times normal and makes the use of a 42mm objective lens.
This product is also a Gen 1 type night vision scope which is considered entry level. It has a Titanium body which is regarded as very rugged and has a battery life of up to 20 hours. It also makes the use of a weaver mount for attachment purposes.
#3 ATN Thor HD (Highest Value)
Best For: This product is best for those experienced hunters that want to take their night hunting to the next level with thermal imaging.
If you are after the best of the best when it comes to night vision, then you will love the ATN Thor HD. This model makes the use of thermal (detects heat instead of light) imaging which is the best way to spot animals in the dark but is also the most expensive. There are four options available regarding the magnification, but I will recommend the 4.5-18X magnification.
This product has the same features as that of the ATN X-Sight II which includes a rangefinder, compass, ballistics calculator and more. This product can also connect to your smartphone which will do all of the calculations for you. You can also record your experience with the video recorder for when you want to share your marksmanship with your friends.
#4 Night Owl NightShot
Best For: Best for beginner to intermediate hunters.
The Night Owl NightShot is another good option for hog hunting at night. It has a magnification of 3X standard view and is also a Gen 1 type scope. The infrared laser can stretch up to 100-200 yds. This product is also waterproof and makes use of 4 AA batteries that can supply power for up to 5 hours. It can also be mounted on a Weaver or Picatinny rail. You also have the ability adjust the windage and elevation to match your current conditions. It also has three reticle types which have both a white and black configuration. This product is very similar to the Firefield featurewise.
#5 Sightmark Photon
Best For: This product is best for avid hunters that want to have recordings of their hunting experience.
The Sightmark Photon is also another excellent option for hog hunters that want to have recordings of their shots. This scope has a magnification of 6.5 times standard view which is not bad. It also has six different reticle options that will vary between different colors as well. It has a 50mm objective lens and can easily give you great details for up to 200 yards. You can also adjust for elevation and windage which can come in handy. It is compatible with a weaver rail and can also record videos of the shots that you have taken.
#6 Pulsar Digisight N750
Best For: Best for beginner to intermediate hunters.
The Pulsar Digisight N750 is another excellent addition to this selection and is a digital scope that is similar to a Gen 2 or even an early Gen 3. It has a magnification of 6.75X standard view and makes the use of a 50mm objective lens. You can also adjust the scope according to the elevation and windage to suit your surroundings.
You will also have good quality visual up to 600 meters which makes it ideal for hog hunting. It can also be attached to a weaver rail and has excellent zeroing abilities. You can also adjust the contrast to suit your lighting conditions. There is also a video output where you can record your shots.
#7 Armasight Zeus
I would highly recommend the Armasight Zeus for those hog hunters that are serious about thermal vision. They regard this scope as one of the best thermal scopes commercially available and what is there not to love. It has a 3-12X standard view magnification and makes use of a 30mm objective lens. You can also change some of the color settings of this cope to give you a more detailed picture.
You also have access to a remote control switch. You can attach this scope to your rifle with the help of a Weaver or Picattiny rail. You also have the choice to choose between 4 reticle colors which include white, red, black and cyan. They made the hull of this product out of aircraft grade aluminum allow which is robust and lightweight
#8 Pulsar Trail XQ30
Best For: This scope is best for hunters that want the best of the best of thermal imaging.
If you did not like the ATN Thor HD, then the Pulsar Trail XQ is for you. Both products are very similar in features with some minor differences. This scope has a magnification of 2.7 up to 10.8x standard view and also makes use of a 42mm objective lens. This scope is also a thermal night vision scope similar to that of the ATN Thor.
You can also detect the distance with the help of the built-in rangefinder that has a range of 2000 yards. It has a picture-in-picture mode that is helpful for zooming in on your target without losing the full picture. This scope can also connect to your smartphone with the help of WiFi where you can record and even stream your hunting experience. The recoil will then activate the video recorder.
The batteries will also allow you to have up to 16 hours of use. This scope is also compatible with both the weaver and Picatinny rail. This product is also waterproof that enables you to hunt during the rain. This scope also has 15 zeroing distances.
#9 NiteSite Viper 110 (Best Add-on)
Best For: This product is ideal for those hunters that want to upgrade their existing scope to a night vision scope.
There will always be hunters that already have a proper quality scope and would instead like to upgrade their scope to one that is night vision. If you are one of these hunters, then you will love the NiteSite Viper 110. This night vision system can effortlessly fit onto any scope. This product has an identification range of 110 yards which might not seem like much. This screen size is also around 3.5 inch which is not that bad. This product is also water resistant, and the batteries will work up to 7 hours before they need to be recharged. The only problem that I had with this device is that it might make your rifle bulkier than it already is.
Night Vision Scope Comparison Table
|1. ATN X-Sight II (Top Pick)||3-14x||Digital||$$|
|2. Firefield NVRS (Least Expensive)||3X||Gen 1||$|
|3. ATN Thor HD (Highest Value)||4.5-18X||Thermal||$$$|
|4. Night Owl NightShot||3X||Gen 1||$$|
|5. Sightmark Photon||6.5X||Digital||$$|
|6. Pulsar Digisight N750||6.75x||Digital||$$|
|7. Armasight Zeus||3-12x||Thermal||$$$$|
|8. Pulsar Trail XQ30||2.7-10.8x||Thermal||$$$$$|
|9. NiteSite Viper 110 (Best Add-on)||N/A||Gen 1||$$|
I often find that beginners have a hard time to choose the right night vision scopes for their hog hunting needs. There are so many different types available which makes it even harder.
It is also imperative to be open for expert advice before buying these gadgets because they tend to be somewhat expensive.
If you have already made up your mind as to what scope was your favorite, then please leave a comment below and inform us as to which one you have chosen and why.
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