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ATN ThOR LT 3-6 Thermal

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    Posted: May/11/2020 at 12:58
ATN removed most of the gaudy "features" of the "low cost" thermal rifle scopes (bluetooth, digital recording, GPS...) which gave me some confidence it might actually work.  A major problem in the past was with "image freeze" that required a shutdown and restart of the scope.  I believed, and still do, it was due to a memory issue.  While it might still occur, and the scope has instructions for a 15 second press and hold of the power button if "freeze" occurs, I've only had it for a few days but have not had to use this power cycle.  

  • Black hot/white hot viewing modes - having these two modes is a good feature.  In "white hot" the thermal target appears white in a dark background.  Reasonably, in "black hot", the target appears black in a light background.  
  • NUC (non-uniformity compensation coefficients) - viewing one scene for long periods or in changing environmental conditions, clarity can suffer.  The NUC applies a calibration from a built in set of tables, generally determined through extensive testing within the operating temperature range... the software tries to select the best compensation for a given temperature.  NUC can be set to auto-function and/or a manual NUC can be executed.  
  • Sensitivity adjustment - 3 sensitivity settings... low, medium, high... determines minimum temperature the detector can discern...the higher the sensitivity the more detailed the image will be.  
  • Contrast adjustment - Improves clarity... .  Manual adjustment, 3 settings.  
  • 60Hz refresh rate - surprising to find in a scope in this price range.  Normally, lower cost thermal scopes are 30Hz refresh (some 15Hz).  60Hz gives a nearer to real-time image... the difference in 30Hz and 60Hz is noticeable, but can be compensated for... normal "night" hunting situations are fairly easily handled with 30Hz... 60Hz provides for a "cleaner" image, but also has a significantly higher drain on the battery.  I've not had any battery drain issues to date.
  • 3D Accelerometer - Gives cant angle and vertical inclination... good and easy.  Checked with bubble level... good to go.
  • 4 reticle patterns.  Nice feature.  One is "just a dot"  I have not yet fired at any moving targets.  
  • One shot zero -  It works... one will need a thermal target.  I built my own.  I actually took 8 shots, for confirmation purposes, but the one shot zero was dead on.  This is a moderately priced thermal optic that has 2x magnification adjustment (2x is displayed on upper left of the scope when active)... 3x and 6x changed by a button press.                                                
  • The ATN ThOR LT is rated for 375 H&H Magnum and I have it mounted on 300 BLK, suppressed, subsonic... my intended use for it.  I may try it on 7.62x39...maybe 5.56.  Rapid fire is easy with the 300 BLK.
  • The scope has two focus adjustments... one is a very wide range diopter adjustment, the other is for focus at varied distances.  The diopter is set once, the focus adjustment is fast and smooth.  
For me, the scope is "set and forget".  I have tracked, clearly identified, possums and armadillos at 125 yards on cloudy, moonless nights... tracked fire flies at that range as well.  I can easily find and hit (1.5MOA average) my targets at 100 yards and 100 meters and have done so in cloudy, high humidity conditions as well as clear and moderate humidity.  Today is the lowest humidity we've had in weeks... 27%... I have no reason to believe the scope would not do well.  Day and night tracking are both better than expected.  The advertising claims detection out to 475 meters with human recognition at 240 meters which fits nicely in my requirements for thermal, at this time.
My first choice for thermal (for my purposes) was significantly higher priced (over $500) with what I now see as very similar performance... maybe a little edge to the ATN.  I'm glad the other scope was not in stock, so far.  Quality and dependability could always end up being negative, but all looks good with my experience to date.  This is a very early review based upon 50 rounds fired with the scope mounted, but I have no complaints at this point.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scrumbag Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2020 at 23:58
Thanks Kickboxer. Are we finally approaching the era of affordable, reliable, thermal?
Was sure I had a point when I started this post...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2020 at 08:57
Scrummy, "reliable" I cannot, at this point, testify to.  However, I've spent some hours checking DRI and the advertising is pretty close to reality.  It is NOT a "top of the line" quality scope, but it is better than a number of "top of the line" priced thermals that I have used.  For the price, it is a good value... so far.  
I've checked "targets of opportunity" (TOO) out to 200 yards and get very good, quick ID on possum vs armadillo sized "targets", mice vs rats, I even tracked a snake for a bit... it is simple to ID deer and dogs out to the max range I've been able to view.  With spring and all the rain we've had leading to heavy growth, 200 yards is pushing my observation limit when I go and search out a spot for distance observation.  Generally, I'm limited to about 125-150 yards.  
The white hot/black hot features work well, NUC works well, brightness has adequate adjustment, contrast adjustment is not bad... I would actually prefer more settings for contrast, but it gets the job done pretty well.  I would prefer a thermal that has more than just white hot/black hot imaging, but that comes in a much higher priced package.  
 
I mounted it using Millet Angle-Loc windage adjustable rings (it has a 30mm tube) and was able to boresight windage such that it only took 2 "quick" button pushes to adjust windage.  Had about 8 inches of elevation adjustment, but no issues there.  Fast and easy zero that has checked out quite well. 

If it holds up, I'm happy. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2020 at 15:47
Which thermal scope was your first choice you mentioned that you said cost $500 more but was unavailable?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2020 at 16:28
pulsar core rxq30v
To ME, there is not a lot of difference between 50Hz (Pulsar) and 60Hz (ThOR LT).  I got a very short hands on with the Pulsar a while back and was impressed with it.  I did not get to compare side by side, so I really can't say which performs best.  If the ATN quality holds up, I don't believe I've lost anything.  So far it is pretty darn good.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2020 at 21:48
The biggest difference between those 2 scopes (and the main reason for the price difference) is the Pulsar RXQ30V has a 384 x 288 px sensor, whereas the ATN Thor LT 3-6 has a 160 x 120 px sensor, so the former has over twice the resolution. Compared side by side, you should see a fairly significant increase in detail through the Pulsar since it has greater pixel density.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/15/2020 at 06:09
Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

The biggest difference between those 2 scopes (and the main reason for the price difference) is the Pulsar RXQ30V has a 384 x 288 px sensor, whereas the ATN Thor LT 3-6 has a 160 x 120 px sensor, so the former has over twice the resolution. Compared side by side, you should see a fairly significant increase in detail through the Pulsar since it has greater pixel density.
Yeah, I read the specs.
Availability was the biggest factor.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2020 at 10:03
I spent most of the night last night observing performance of the ThOR LT in changing conditions.  I had not planned on it, but it turned out to be a perfect night for such a test.
The night started clear to partly cloudy with humidity in the 30% range, temperature around 70 (at about 2000).  Very good target resolution (small animals such as possums, armadillos, raccoons and a few deer here and there) out to 100-150 yards.  As the night went on, clouds rolled in, humidity went up to 60% and slowly increased from around 2300 on... about 75-80% at 0100 (it was moving around), temperature around 60degF.  The critters were still identifiable, with pretty fair clarity (but, of course, graininess began to increase as the humidity went up.  In this "condition", ID takes more concentration, more effort... won't be making confident "snap shots" in this environmental regime).  At around 0300, temperature began to drop down to a low of 54degF, a fog suddenly descended (and it did descend... virtually no wind at this time) covering the entire area, humidity becoming very heavy over the next hour finally reaching 99% humidity and maintaining that until around 0730 when it began to go down.  At 0330, I could see about 10 feet without the scope... with the scope, I was able to ID the critters pretty well at 50 yards... deer were easy to ID, required some effort to differentiate possums from armadillo and small raccoons (these critters seem to love my area... they are almost always out there).  At 0500, a squirrel came out and was easy to ID, but... small rodent with fluffy tail bouncing around is not too hard to ID from its outline.  There was one point where the little varmint curled its tail up over its back and I would have been hard pressed to ID it as a squirrel until it moved.  After the humidity began to rise, temperature started dropping, that is where the small array size really started to show its limitations...not unexpected.  As the background began to cool, separation between critters and background became greater, but edge blurring was significant.  My distance was in the 40-50 yard maximum.  Beyond that, things began to become "blobs".  There was clearly something there, but not identifiable.  A 384x288 or 640x480 array would have dramatically improved that.  
I got the ThOR LT knowing these kinds of limits would be there.  Now, I have a much better definition of the capabilities.  Though there are significant limits under the conditions where those limits are expected, it still does what I need for it to do.  The auto-NUC can be irritating in rapidly changing conditions, so I turned it off and performed manual NUC at times when things started to fade.  
The battery held up very well... over 10 hours worth on this charge and it is rated at 10 hours.  
Overall, still a good value for my current requirements.  I got it to see if the claims were true and to meet some immediate requirements, and for the most part they are pretty close.  It is not a high dollar thermal scope and does not perform like one, but it has, so far, exceeded my expectations.  
The ATN ThOR LT is the lowest priced decent thermal scope I've encountered.  It is significantly cheaper than the scope that was my first choice (unavailable for 90 days or more) the Pulsar Core RXQ30V.  Truthfully, I would still choose the Pulsar, but this one serves the need for now.  It does not fail in what I need for it to do.  
The ThOR LT is an "entry level" thermal... it is basic, without "bells and whistles".  It performs well in daylight and dark and the "required" functions of contrast and sensitivity adjustment work well, the NUC does a good job, it is clear and crisp in "normal" conditions.  For the "bottom of the barrel", not bad at all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dogger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2020 at 10:46
Glad to hear the scope works for you Dan, but when the hell do you sleep?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scrumbag Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2020 at 11:26
Dan, thanks for this. It is interesting stuff indeed
Was sure I had a point when I started this post...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/21/2020 at 21:19
Originally posted by Dogger Dogger wrote:

Glad to hear the scope works for you Dan, but when the hell do you sleep?
I still don't need much, still find sleep a waste of time.  Spent the day mowing today and just got finished spending a coupled of hours exploring the scope capabilities.  
Certainly, I wish it had more FOV, but I didn't pay for it, so I didn't get it.  
It's funny, I've been getting up in the mornings and going for a walk around the property... I have 4 buzzards that pretty much fly over me everywhere I go... 
My wife and I decided to move our garden... so many critters populating the place we were starting on, I just can't bring myself to shoot them all to keep them away.  There are dens there I never realized... the thermal lets me observe their habits... I guess they own the place...getting soft...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/21/2020 at 21:47
Originally posted by Scrumbag Scrumbag wrote:

Dan, thanks for this. It is interesting stuff indeed
Thank you.  Truthfully, other than a specific need right now, I was not certain I wanted a thermal.  One of those things where if I have it... I have to use it.  I did want to explore the "low end" of the market.  I saw 8 small critters in the couple of hours tonight... 4 raccoons in a pack, 2 possums, 1 bunny rabbit and one deer.  It's funny, the deer very much resemble Harry Potter's Petronus (without all the antlers).   Conditions were pretty favorable... moderate wind, partly cloudy, high 60's, 76% humidity.  
6x can get pretty grainy, but "settles" after a few seconds.  Still, unless in very good conditions, it decreases ability to ID.  Takes more effort, more understanding of what the target is.  
It's been fun.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/03/2020 at 20:21
I've spent quite a few more hours both shooting and "observing" with this scope since last post.  It performs much better than I expected... not "Alpha" quality, but certainly acceptable quality.  On the 300BLK, suppressed, with subsonic ammo it is certainly acceptable for ID out to 150-200 yards.  One must spend some time with it as conditions dictate the speed with which a "verified" ID can be made.  It cannot, does not, compete with a $5000.00-$7500.00 + or ++ thermal optic.  But it is an "entry level" thermal optic that can easily fulfill hunting requirements out to 150 yards and beyond.  One must be willing to spend some time with it, prior to going to the hunting grounds with it, and spend time IDing targets.  
At the moment, it fits every need I have for a thermal optic.  It has all my needed features, all my required capabilities.  
I DO NOT recommend it for those uninitiated in operation and use of thermal optics...meaning it should be used extensively before planning to "pull the trigger" on a live target.  
It has convinced me to move my planned garden.  There is a large "crop" of "critters" this year, determined to consume any and everything we plant.  They can have it.  Indiscriminate slaughter is not my intent.  Moving the garden closer to the house and using raised planters.  The critters win.  However, I have a flock of buzzards that constantly circles my property... they will be very disappointed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2020 at 15:51
Spent some time in some really bad conditions for thermal optics... temperatures high 80's - mid 90's, humidity 85-99%.  I could still ID deer very easily at 70ish yards (due to the time I started, I could not move to another position without scaring everything away, so all my observations were at at around 70 yards max, down to 30 yards), but deer did appear to have a layer of "fuzz".  Small critters were a bit more difficult... at 50 yards, it was almost impossible to discern a possum from an armadillo.  As they moved closer to me, I could make out the differences...30-40 yards.  Observations were constant from about 0030-0500.  As the sun started to break the horizon, images became clearer/cleaner.  Expected results.  
A more expensive, higher quality thermal scope would have given me more range and better imaging at close range.  I know what critters are in my area (what to expect), I have thousands of hours of observing thermal imaging data of all type of targets and creatures in day and night conditions and all types of weather conditions.  The ATN ThOR LT is pretty much a "fair weather" tool.  At 6x, images were very poor.  Use with great caution in poor thermal separation conditions.  Not unexpected.  
Expectation management is critical if one should decide to purchase a thermal scope of this type.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bigdaddy0381 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2020 at 06:00
Thunbs Up Good info.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/27/2020 at 21:01
Since my last post on this scope, I've spent somewhere between 200 and 240 hours with this scope.  It is pretty impressive.  It gets "overwhelmed" at expected times... high temperature, high humidity... but it is overall pretty decent.  Conditions have to be near perfect to get good resolution at 6x, but I've not been unable (with adequate observation time... which will vary from user to user based upon experience with thermal optics and conditions) to ID potential targets at 150 yards and under at 3x.  One can certainly detect at 400+ yards, recognize at 225+ yards, under good conditions. 6x makes things "grainy".  If one does not spend a lot of time observing and classifying different targets, 6x may not be useful.  I generally use 6x after I've IDed a target, if I use it at all.  The zero on this scope is excellent... last three shots I put on a target at 100 yards were basically one hole, 220gr 300BLK suppressed.  That is the configuration I purchased the scope to test and that is where I intend for it to stay.  I've shot pretty small "pest" critters (possums, armadillos, raccoons) out 120 or so yards and have not missed yet, not failed to dispatch the pest cleanly.  Actually, I've disgusted myself and quit shooting the pests... I'm just destroying critters doing what they do.  I've started taking down my bird feeders at night, gave up on my garden, and now I just throw extra seed and corn and watch the critters through the scope.  I actually regret the critters I've dispatched for what seems like no reason to me now.  
I like the ATN ThOR LT 160 3-6 and for the price, it is a real deal.  Battery life is great... if I use auto-NUC, I get 8-9 hours of use.   If I do manual NUC, I get 10+ hours of use.  It's been pretty consistent.  
There are certainly better thermal scopes out there... they COST a lot more.  This is a "get your feet wet" entry to the thermal optics world, will give one an opportunity to learn to use thermal at a reasonable price at relatively close ranges.  I don't think I will ever take a shot at a live creature beyond 150 yards with this scope.  Maybe, but not expected.  Know the limitations and it is a really fun addition to a shooting arsenal.  I think its permanent home is my 300BLK.  
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