Burris BTC 50 Thermal Scope Review (Clip On)


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Simply add thermal imaging to your daytime scope by adding a thermal clip-on.

There is no need for QD mounts or switching out optics due to the time of day.

While we’re accustomed to seeing the same, pricey models offered by big-name brands in the thermal industry, Burris enters the game with their own line of thermal optics.

The BTC is just one series that brings performance and affordability to the game.

As one of the newest thermals to the market, it will likely find its way to being compared against the top thermal scopes currently available.

What does the Burris BTC bring to the game?

Quick Overview...

What We Like: Easy to operate

What We Don’t Like: No included adapters

Best Uses: Night Shooting, Day Shooting, Tactical Use, Hunting, Scouting, Varmint Control, Surveillance, Close to Long-Range, Clip-on, Monocular

  • Thermal Resolution: 400x300
  • Pixels: 17 microns
  • Refresh Rate: 50 Hz
  • Eye Relief: 10 mm
  • Color Modes: 4
  • Battery: 2x CR123/3+ hours
  • Dimensions: 7 x 2.3 x 2.4”/15.8 oz

Our Verdict: For a clip-on that provides great competition against thermal clip-on alternatives in the market, the Burris BTC is a sight for sore eyes. With multiple color palettes, screen modes, user adjustable settings, and decent thermal specs, the BTC is a great and affordable option for hunters, SHTF preppers, and duty officers.

Who is the Burris BTC 50 Best Suited to?

If you’re already a Burris fan, then you need a Burris BTC to complete your optics collection. For others, Burris provides a fresh of breath air for those who are looking for brand variety past an ATN, Pulsar, and previously Armasight dominated industry.

The BTC 50 is the larger model out of the two clip-ons, the other being the BTC 35 with its 35mm objective lens. These units are clip-on scopes, so they’re not designed to be used alone but instead with your daytime optic.

They tend to be pricier than standalone scopes, but they allow you to maintain your reticle and all the familiarities of your daytime scope. All you’re doing is adding thermal.

How Does the Burris BTC 50 Perform?

YouTube video

It’s awesome to see Burris get in on the thermal imaging industry to provide some competition to ATN, Pulsar, and AGM. BTC stands for Burris Thermal Clip-on, and that’s exactly what this scope is.

It lacks a reticle for use as a standalone scope, but it can be used as a monocular and clip-on. Interestingly, it does have a Hot Track mode that puts a crosshair on the hottest targets seen within the FOV (Field of View).

With a 1024x768 color OLED display, 17-micron sensor with a large 50mm lens, and 50Hz refresh rate, you have more than decent imaging for thermal coyote hunting, surveilling, and taking out pests out to 1000 yards. Burris lists detection range for the BTC out to 750 yards as a conservative distance, but don’t be surprised to hit steel with repeatability out to 1000 yards.

While the battery life is on the poor end of the spectrum, thermals are power hogs to begin with. But there are some battery-saving features that come into play to help stay out longer in the hunt.

You can track blood trails, spot evasive predators, and keep an eye on trespassers and fugitives while you’re on duty. The BTC makes things easy to see in the dark and keep ahead of the game with great thermal specs, an intuitive interface, and simplicity at its core.

Features & Benefits

Burris BTC 50 Clip On Thermal Rifles Scope Side On
Image Credit - Burris

Easy to Operate

The BTC has a 4-button interface. The power button is located on the objective lens end of the scope followed by the Up, Menu, and Down buttons.

The Up button also controls the zoom feature and allows you to toggle through 1x (optical), 2x, and 4x digital zoom. Keep in mind that you’re also using this with your daytime scope.

The Mode button provides access to quick scene setting changes. There is Snow, Default, Desert, City, and Forest scene modes for pre-calibrated contrast and brightness settings for the conditions you’re in.

The Down button provides fast access to color palette modes of which there are four: Green Hot, White Hot, Black Hot, and Red Hot. The Red Hot palette is Burris’ signature palette that is similar to White Hot but provides a heat signature with the red color.

The BTC also has a focusing ring found on the objective bell. It allows you bring to focus targets at various distances – easy does it, right?

Easy Zeroing/No Rezeroing

The BTC is just like any other thermal and night vision scope with its X/Y coordinate zeroing method. It’s basically a one-shot zero program that allows you to set your zero for various ranges, take a shot, and realign reticle coordinates to get on zero.

Zeroing can be done during the day or night, but it’s vital to have targets that can be resolved by the thermal imaging unit. 

Since the BTC is a clip-on thermal scope, you can essentially remove it from the daytime scope and attach an eyepiece guard for use as a handheld monocular. Once you spot your herd of hogs, remove the eyepiece and reattach it to the daytime scope. You don’t need to rezero or recalibrate the clip-on – it’s ready to go.

Great Thermal Features

The BTC has 400x300 thermal resolution with a 17-micron sensor and 50Hz refresh rate. With a 50mm objective lens, the larger micron sensor is the better option for it to take in a lot more information.  

One cool feature is the Hot Track. You can toggle this feature on and off and it actually puts a reticle on the screen. In Hot Track mode, the crosshair is automatically placed directly on the hottest heat signature in the FOV.

You also have stadiametric ranging and manual and auto NUC for a consistently improved image.

Side-Loading Battery Compartment

Burris BTC 50 Clip On Thermal Scope Side On
Image Credit - Burris

The BTC has a side-loading battery compartment on the left side of the scope, and when the cap is tightened down, it’s completely waterproof. It takes two CR123 batteries and provides over three hours of operation. Auto Power-Off helps to conserve battery life. You can also use an external power source via the included cable.

Even though it needs two CR123 batteries, the overall weight of the scope is still kept to a minimum heft. The entire unit comes in at 1 lb (approx.) which is pretty darn good for a thermal clip-on. It’s barely larger than the ATN Tico that provides 8+ hours of operation, but then again, the BTC has a large 50 mm aperture versus the 35 on the Tico.

Limitations

No Included Adapters

One thing that seems to be a downer is the fact that the BTC doesn’t come with any attachments required to use it as it is designed – as a clip-on. Since objective bells of the daytime scope come in different sizes, you will need to purchase the right size for your setup separately.

While this can be a critical flaw of buying an expensive thermal unit, it’s not unlike other brands like ATN that sell the adapters separately.

Burris intends to release a Picatinny rail mount and three adapter rings in sizes 38-46mm, 48-54mm, and 56-64mm. Each adapter will have 6-8mm of adjustment via the spacer rings included with the adapters.

Popular Questions

Is the Burris Thermal Clip-on Covered Under the Forever Warranty?

Unfortunately, Burris thermal optics are not covered under the Forever Warranty. Their thermal clip-ons come with a limited 3-year warranty.

What Accessories are Included with the Burris BTC?

Standard accessories included with the BTC 50 clip-on are a carry case, blinder, battery cable, USB power cable, and user manual.
Optional accessories purchased separately include adapter rings, remote control, Picatinny rail, video cable, and external eyepiece.

What is the Difference Between the BTC 50 VS BTC 35?

The BTC clip-ons have the same features and capabilities. The optical and physical specs will vary since the BTC 50 has a 50mm objective lens and the BTC 35 has a 35mm objective lens.

Are the Burris Clip-on Thermals Compatible with the Eliminator Scopes?

If the Eliminator scope has a built-in LRF, the BTC will attach to the objective end but will render the laser rangefinder feature ineffective in the Eliminator scope.

What is the Recoil Rating for the Burris BTC 50 Clip-on?

The Burris BTC clip-on scopes are recoil rated to 500G/1ms. They can handle recoil from popular .308, 6.5 Creedmoor, and more.

Conclusion

The BTC clip-on is quite an impressive, little unit. It’s an excellent choice for any shooter who wants to add thermal vision to their daytime scope.

Even though the price may seem expensive, the extra size you get from the BTC 50 over the BTC 35 is worth the small jump. In reality, thermals used to be unaffordable, and some high-end options still are. Burris brings a reasonable price point for the BTC clip-ons.

Are you ready to get your thermal game on? Night hunting and blood tracking is now part of your skill set.

Further Reading

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