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#5670625 - 03/26/15 02:28 PM Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt
Double Naught Spy Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 4165
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX


Okay, we were coyote hunting. Winds were out of the southeast, quarter value toward us, 8-12 mph, but the wiggler and Foxpro in the field 70 yards out, sheltered by a fence line windbreak of trees. The Hessian, my hunting buddy, said he saw what he thought was a coyote coming out of the bottoms. I got on my scope and identified it as a hog. Little did I know, he was seeing a coyote way off to our left and I was seeing a hog straight out. He panned and said, "And there's a hog..." So the hog became the primary target.

When the video starts, you can barely make out our chatter, discussing various factors and who would shoot. As we had watched the hog come in, we could see its butt was towards us and waited for it to turn.
The scope I am using is the new Pulsar Apex XD50 thermal scope.

http://www.pulsar-nv.com/upload/iblock/09e/instr_apex_thermal_sight.pdf

This is an entry level 384x288 resolution 2x (optical) scope that will digitally zoom to 4x or it can be used as in the video with picture in picture where the smaller picture is the zoomed 4x view. I had hunted with it the previous night with no luck, but watched various animals and learned the features of the scope. The PIP took some getting used to, but seems to be a nifty feature. You get both zoom for aiming and a wide field of view as well.

The video is of worse quality than the image seem through the scope. The crosshairs and text bar at the bottom of the screen look sharp through the scope, but as seen in the video, look a tad fuzzy. The hog also looked sharper through the scope, but was still a small target with just 2x or 4x at that distance.

I zeroed the scope with the POI just off of the tiny "+" crosshair vertical line at 1 o'clock at 100 yards. Given that the scope is a loaner, the cost of ammo, and that the zero was less than 1 MOA from center, I did not zero further. Bullet drop at that distance is just over 6" for the Hornady SST 123 gr. ammo.

I did my cleansing breaths waiting for the hog to turn. The hog turned and I fired. My intent was for the bullet to impact below the midline of the shoulder and hopefully come out forward of the opposite shoulder. The hog was calm and not moving much at the time of the shot.

The bullet hit and the hog ran. The followup shot was just plain wrong, no lead.

A search that night and this morning resulted in no recovery.

I have run the ballistics for various wind values and speeds relative to my 100 yard zero for the first shot. I have checked the video frame by frame for flinch and found none. I made what I believed to be a reasonable shot, but no hog.
Rechecked zero after the hunt and zero was same. The scope performed and the bullet hit, so the rest is the wind, the hog, terminal ballistics, and me. Obviously, there was a failure.

With that said, I think the Pulsar Apex XD50 is a pretty nifty entry level thermal scope. I have a Zeus that I am quite happy with, but if I was on a tight budget, this might be a way I would go. The scope I was shooting was a preview scope, loaner to me. I don't know when this model will go for sale in the US. It was offered to me for a few days and I happily took the opportunity.
_________________________
Kill a Hog and Save the Planet
My Videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG6la_HDvAobPBTDtj5B-lQ

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#5670719 - 03/26/15 03:22 PM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
HuntTXhogs Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 05/04/10
Posts: 2972
Loc: North Ft Worth
Hey DNS -

Sorry that there was no recovery, thanks for the video and the detailed breakdown (shot analysis) as well.

What are your thoughts on the ergonomics of the sight and weight?

Thanks,

HTXH

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#5670774 - 03/26/15 03:58 PM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
Double Naught Spy Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 4165
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
I only have a few hours of use behind it, probably 6 actual hours of viewing time and a lot more of fiddling around with features and such, figuring out what is what.

At 1 lb 9 oz., the scope isn't terribly heavy for a thermal. It is a bit long, but a bit over 2" of that is the eye cup. All of the controls are easy to use and there is no delay in functions when you press a button, unlike some other scopes that have a very brief, but very real delay and so you end up over pressing when you think you didn't press enough on other such scopes.

The objective focus is what I would call a "gross" (versus fine) focus. It doesn't take much rotation to radically changed the focus, but it focuses easy enough and does not drift out of focus. Once I get focused at about 100 yards, the focus is good enough for 50-infinity (and maybe a bit closer). So I don't change the focus much on the objective. The aperture focus is a set and forget operation - worked fine.

The video out port is on the left side and so does not conflict with the ejection port or brass catchers on right-ejecting rifles, which is good.

I was given the scope with about 5 minutes of instruction and told to just play with it. I found the manual on line and used the manual to tell me what a couple of the symbols meant, but that was all the reading I did of the manual. I mounted the scope, pressed and held the side wheel to get into the menu system, and zero'd the rifle. It is a fairly easy process and went quickly.

From there I played with the "modes" and figured out that I like the "rocky" mode setting. It presented the image I liked best in the scope.

When not in MENU, the wheel serves to adjust brightness, contrast, and zoom (when not in Picture in Picture). This is all easy to set.

After that, the big issues are power, NUCing (the calibration of the microbolometer that needs to occur every so often with thermal scopes), and PiP/zoom button. These are the 3 buttons on the top.

Power is self explanatory, but you press to turn on, press and hold to turn off. If you just press to turn off, it turns off the display (sleep mode). A single quick press returns the scope to full operation immediately. This can be important as the full boot sequence is about 10 seconds, rather slow compared to other thermal scopes.

In the menu, you can set the scope to NUC automatically, semi-automatically, or manually. With Auto and Semi-Auto, the scope makes a "zit-zit" sound as it moves a cover in place internally for the NUC to occur. In the manual mode, which is silent, you have to cover the lens, such as with the lens cap, for the NUC to occur. In Auto, the NUCing happens as needed and freezes the image for about a second. I don't like this mode for hunting because I don't want it to freeze just as I take a shot. So I like Semi-Auto mode where I have to press the button when I decide the image had degraded too much. I find that I NUC much less often than the unit does when in Auto.

Then there is the PiP/Zoom button. Again in the menu system, you select which feature you want the button to perform. If PiP, when you press the button, you get the PiP as you saw in the video. The small picture is digitally zoomed to 4x and the big picture is the optical 2x. If you are not running PiP, then pressing the button makes the whole picture go to 4x digital. The button is a toggle. So it reverts the feature back and forth. So you can go from full screen to PiP and back or go from 2x to 4x and back. It took some getting used to, but I like the PiP.

All of the controls are easy to reach except the objective focus as it is at the far end of the scope. I had no problem reaching it, but it is the furthest control. However, you likely won't be moving it a whole lot. The rest of the controls are easy to reach.

And that has been my experience so far.
_________________________
Kill a Hog and Save the Planet
My Videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG6la_HDvAobPBTDtj5B-lQ

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#5670872 - 03/26/15 05:04 PM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
Dirt Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 09/16/10
Posts: 311
Loc: Round Rock TX
Both of you have vids of thermal scopes in use. I see the price on the unit in the vid listed in Euro's or pounds. In your opinions, what are say three scopes to consider within a 5K budget? I can stretch it out closer to 6K if it would make a huge difference.

TIA
_________________________
Those who give up liberty for security deserve neither.

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#5670930 - 03/26/15 05:30 PM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
HuntTXhogs Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 05/04/10
Posts: 2972
Loc: North Ft Worth
In no particular order:

* Pulsar APEX
Armasight ZEUS
ATN THOR
IR Defense MKII

* APEX are yet unproven in the field (durability testing) so it'll take a year or more to weigh it's final placement on the list above.

In my opinion the ZEUS systems look the best overall but I've not had any luck with their added feature of animal specific modes and firmware, I'm so so on the buttons to navigate

THORs also look very good but I'm not a fan on their mount and zero coordinate function, button mashing also included separately

IR MKII is a very strong like of mine if you can stretch that budget give it heavy consideration. If there were s manual focus version it'd be top of the heap, in my opinion.



Edited by HuntTXhogs (03/26/15 05:35 PM)

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#5670950 - 03/26/15 05:40 PM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
Double Naught Spy Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 4165
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
If you have $5-6K, get the Armasight Zeus, IR Defense IR Hunter, or the ATN Thor (my preference for the first 2). If you are on a budget or just don't need thermal very often, then the Pulsar would be the way to go.

I will have one more night out tomorrow and then I return the scope. If anything else comes to mind, I will add it to the thread.
_________________________
Kill a Hog and Save the Planet
My Videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG6la_HDvAobPBTDtj5B-lQ

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#5670981 - 03/26/15 05:53 PM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
HuntTXhogs Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 05/04/10
Posts: 2972
Loc: North Ft Worth
A video showing deer and use of incremental zoom...

Oh and of course an obligatory photo of the scope on the MTGP.

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#5670988 - 03/26/15 05:58 PM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: HuntTXhogs]
Dirt Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 09/16/10
Posts: 311
Loc: Round Rock TX
Originally Posted By: HuntTXhogs
In no particular order:

* Pulsar APEX
Armasight ZEUS
ATN THOR
IR Defense MKII

* APEX are yet unproven in the field (durability testing) so it'll take a year or more to weigh it's final placement on the list above.

In my opinion the ZEUS systems look the best overall but I've not had any luck with their added feature of animal specific modes and firmware, I'm so so on the buttons to navigate

THORs also look very good but I'm not a fan on their mount and zero coordinate function, button mashing also included separately

IR MKII is a very strong like of mine if you can stretch that budget give it heavy consideration. If there were s manual focus version it'd be top of the heap, in my opinion.



I can stretch the budget.

I looked at NVG's web site and there are three pages of aprox 30 or 40 scopes a page.
I doubt I'd pay 16K for a thermal scope including tax so my buget is more of a "what I'd
like to pay" situation. I don't have clue what the differences are between the products.
I guess I should take a few weeks are educate myself..........
_________________________
Those who give up liberty for security deserve neither.

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#5671016 - 03/26/15 06:16 PM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
HuntTXhogs Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 05/04/10
Posts: 2972
Loc: North Ft Worth
if any of these thermals had built in recording that would be an added bonus

There was an event in Marble Falls this past November called Noctober , if you want to wait another 6 months you could see them all hands on probably.

Or rent the two you think are your best choices

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#5671844 - 03/27/15 07:59 AM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
krm944 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 02/13/15
Posts: 38
Loc: Coastal Virginia
DNS-

Thumbs up for the video and review. I purchased one of these units after doing a bunch of research and reading about how well it has been viewed overseas in the 9 Hz version.

I am not sure how I will use the PIP feature yet. Or if I will like it! I suppose since I am starting into thermal with this unit, I can learn to use it/live with it.

IF the hunter sees better quality than the video recorder Im super pumped! At 200 yards I can certainly ID the pig. You probably could tell if it had lipstick on within the viewfinder!

Im already sold on the unit, but what did you NOT like about it?

Kyle
_________________________
Kyle
US Navy
Got Hogs? Always up for a road trip!

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#5672120 - 03/27/15 10:36 AM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
Double Naught Spy Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 4165
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
Hey Kyle,

As the Pip is an option, you can choose to run it or not. I didn't like it at first and probably would not run the scope all the time that way. I could have just run the scope zoomed or unzoomed with no PiP, but we have all seen that sort of imagery before. The PiP is something a bit different and so it got shown.

Dislikes? These are my opinions that are relevant most to my experience and situation and may or may not pertain to you in your situation...

Not a fan of the bolt on mount system. I really have come to prefer the QR systems.

While batteries are easy to change, I have concern for the durability of the battery compartment hatch cover. It is easy to put in new batteries and not get the little hatch cover down properly and have it pop off during recoil. I was warned of this and it happened. So you really have to double check that the cover is properly secured.

Boot time is long, about 10 seconds (counted in Mississippis and not by a stopwatch). Many other thermals come on much quicker, in <5 seconds.

The video cable harness is also the cable for external power and it plugs into the scope on the left side with an elbow plug that orients all the cable back toward the shooter. That is fine if your recorder or external power supply is in your buttstock. I mount my recorder forward. So this in inconvenient. I would want a second cable harness in case of loss or breakage. Regardless of scope manufacturer, if you have some sort of wire plugged into it externally, that is a weak link that is apt to suffer during use. Having a spare is a really good idea.

So far I have not learned what option comes up first when you press the selector wheel. A single tap gets you into either brightness or contrast first, then incremental zoom (when not in PiP mode), then whatever didn't come up first occurs third. As I am more apt to use the incremental zoom more often than changing the brightness or contrast, I think the incremental zoom should be the first option that comes up.

As I noted above, the objective focus is a gross focus where very small turning of the focus ring results in a large change in the focus. I would prefer more movement of the focus ring to effect less change in focus so that it would be easier to more precisely focus. As it is, I need to go back and forth a couple of times to get it refined. However, once done, I generally don't change things for the evening (which is usually the case on my other scopes as well).

2x optical is okay, but not great. I really think a 3x or 4x scope would have been more ideal. I think the shot I took was probably at or just beyond the maximum effective distance because of the lack of magnification for that level of resolution. Granted, most folks aren't going to shoot that far or not do it very often, but it would be nice to have the option.

In the Automatic mode for NUCing, the scope NUCs without warning, resulting in the temporary frozen image during the process (<1 second). It would be nice if the scope gave you a popup warning and the option to not NUC at that time. This is something I like on the Armasight Zeus.

That is all that comes to mind so far.
_________________________
Kill a Hog and Save the Planet
My Videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG6la_HDvAobPBTDtj5B-lQ

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#5672280 - 03/27/15 12:31 PM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
krm944 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 02/13/15
Posts: 38
Loc: Coastal Virginia
Originally Posted By: Double Naught Spy
Hey Kyle,

As the Pip is an option, you can choose to run it or not. I didn't like it at first and probably would not run the scope all the time that way. I could have just run the scope zoomed or unzoomed with no PiP, but we have all seen that sort of imagery before. The PiP is something a bit different and so it got shown.

Dislikes? These are my opinions that are relevant most to my experience and situation and may or may not pertain to you in your situation...

Not a fan of the bolt on mount system. I really have come to prefer the QR systems.

While batteries are easy to change, I have concern for the durability of the battery compartment hatch cover. It is easy to put in new batteries and not get the little hatch cover down properly and have it pop off during recoil. I was warned of this and it happened. So you really have to double check that the cover is properly secured.

Boot time is long, about 10 seconds (counted in Mississippis and not by a stopwatch). Many other thermals come on much quicker, in <5 seconds.

The video cable harness is also the cable for external power and it plugs into the scope on the left side with an elbow plug that orients all the cable back toward the shooter. That is fine if your recorder or external power supply is in your buttstock. I mount my recorder forward. So this in inconvenient. I would want a second cable harness in case of loss or breakage. Regardless of scope manufacturer, if you have some sort of wire plugged into it externally, that is a weak link that is apt to suffer during use. Having a spare is a really good idea.

So far I have not learned what option comes up first when you press the selector wheel. A single tap gets you into either brightness or contrast first, then incremental zoom (when not in PiP mode), then whatever didn't come up first occurs third. As I am more apt to use the incremental zoom more often than changing the brightness or contrast, I think the incremental zoom should be the first option that comes up.

As I noted above, the objective focus is a gross focus where very small turning of the focus ring results in a large change in the focus. I would prefer more movement of the focus ring to effect less change in focus so that it would be easier to more precisely focus. As it is, I need to go back and forth a couple of times to get it refined. However, once done, I generally don't change things for the evening (which is usually the case on my other scopes as well).

2x optical is okay, but not great. I really think a 3x or 4x scope would have been more ideal. I think the shot I took was probably at or just beyond the maximum effective distance because of the lack of magnification for that level of resolution. Granted, most folks aren't going to shoot that far or not do it very often, but it would be nice to have the option.

In the Automatic mode for NUCing, the scope NUCs without warning, resulting in the temporary frozen image during the process (<1 second). It would be nice if the scope gave you a popup warning and the option to not NUC at that time. This is something I like on the Armasight Zeus.

That is all that comes to mind so far.



Thanks for the inputs. All of your negatives really dont scare me away!!

Im glad your cons are really minor things. I am looking into the EPS3 or EPS5 as a battery solution. Seems this pulsar is NOT picky on batteries. While some electronics are sensitive to Rechargable 123s, Pulsar recommends them! They call for a 4-6V battery input, but the Battery Pack is a 12v pack!

I think I want a one piece Quick Detach rail to mount this scope to. Id like to be able to swap from rifle to rifle.

Shooting 200 yards with a thermal is feat itself. I wont say never..but I hope most of my shots are within 100yds.

What kind of battery life did you experience?

Again many thanks for taking the time to write about this unit. I think its $2700 well spent!!!!

Kyle
_________________________
Kyle
US Navy
Got Hogs? Always up for a road trip!

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#5672373 - 03/27/15 01:25 PM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
Double Naught Spy Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 4165
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
Sorry, don't know how many hours. I haven't been keeping track. I will try to watch things with the next battery change.
_________________________
Kill a Hog and Save the Planet
My Videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG6la_HDvAobPBTDtj5B-lQ

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#5673406 - 03/28/15 09:39 AM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
Double Naught Spy Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/18/11
Posts: 4165
Loc: Forestburg, Montague Cnty, TX
Here is a picture of the Pulsar Apex XD50 on my rifle. This will give you some idea of the relative size.



_________________________
Kill a Hog and Save the Planet
My Videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG6la_HDvAobPBTDtj5B-lQ

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#5673592 - 03/28/15 01:16 PM Re: Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope Hog Hunt [Re: Double Naught Spy]
krm944 Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 02/13/15
Posts: 38
Loc: Coastal Virginia
Originally Posted By: Double Naught Spy
Sorry, don't know how many hours. I haven't been keeping track. I will try to watch things with the next battery change.


Well I guess if it didn't seem out of the ordinary then it it's in line with all the other thermals you have used....I think I'm going to get one of the Pulsar External battery kits.
_________________________
Kyle
US Navy
Got Hogs? Always up for a road trip!

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