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Mar 25th, 2012
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Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope #6779001 05/30/17 10:39 PM
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Hey guys I've fielded a lot of questions in the last few months about the all new entry level Pulsar Core RXQ30V thermal rifle scope, since we got our initial hands-on experience at SHOT in January. For those that don't know, this is the least expensive thermal rifle scope to hit the market at $1,899. The very first production units shipped into the US last week and while it was a very small quantity of scopes, I was able to get one of them and spend some time with it this weekend.

This is not a full review, which I plan on doing later, but hopefully this will be a good starting place and answer a lot of the questions that people are asking. (A couple pics of the scope I took are down below)

My very first reaction was noticing how light weight the Core feels. With the Pulsar QD mount and the 2 CR123A batteries in the scope it weighs about 1lb 8oz. It's a little over 11 oz without batteries or the mount. It's also a noticeably smaller housing than what I'm used to with most thermals. The whole scope is 9" from the objective to the back of the rubber eye cup. If you take the eye cup off, the scope is only about 6.75" long. I know this is going to sound crazy, but because it's so small and lightweight, especially without the mount, I can seem some guys on a budget buying it to use as a monocular, as well as a rifle scope.

I'll list a few of the specs of the RXQ30V for the guys who are unfamiliar with it. This is not a cheaply made, low end toy. Pulsar was not afraid to put their name on this scope and for good reason. It feels and functions just as well as you'd expect from any Pulsar scope. The RXQ30V has a 384x288 core at 17 microns, 50 Hz refresh rate, AMOLED display, 1.6x-6.4x magnification, Picture in Picture zooming and a 985 yard detection range on a human sized target. Those are the same exact specs that are in the $2,799 Pulsar Trail XQ30, so as you can see, Pulsar did not cut corners on this scope. The AMOLED display is tinted green which is marketed as a feature causing less strain on the eye. While I've only used it for a few days, my initial reaction is that I agree. I actually think I really like the green tint.

Since I mentioned all the positives, let's go ahead and get the obvious negatives out of the way right up front. The unit has a fixed focus, there is no manual focus at all. There is no video out port, so there is NO way to record video or still images from this scope. Other than that, I can't think of any major feature hindrances the scope has compared to the $2,500-$2,800 Pulsar Apex models. I will go ahead and note that I found no issues at all with the fixed focus. The image always appears to be in focus, even objects at 10 yards. I honestly don't see this as a negative at all and several of the new higher end Pulsars are fixed focus as well.

Let's quickly talk about the overall use and performance of the RXQ30V. I have to admit that I've been using the top of the line Pulsar Trail XP50 every day for 2 months now and it's amazing. So going directly from that to the Core RXQ30V was not really fair to the Core. Those two scopes are apples and oranges and their cost is over $3,000 apart; you can almost buy 3 Core's for the cost of 1 XP50. Judging the Core on its own merits, it is a really nice scope. The clarity is really good under 150 yards. Being a 384x288 resolution, you really start to wish you had more pixels for those longer distances, which is to be expected but I really started to notice it at 200-250 yards. As mentioned the scope has an optical magnification of 1.6x and a digital zoom all the way up to a max 6.4x. In my opinion, the 6.4x is nearly unusable because you've just lost too much resolution at that point for the image to be of much use. There just aren't enough pixels there when you are starting at 384. 3.2x looks decent and is definitely usable and helpful in many situations. I spotted deer at 400 yards in 2'-2.5' tall grass and with a little time of watching them, I was able to identify them as deer. I could clearly see their head/neck profile enough to confirm they were deer but with their head down, it was impossible to know if they were hogs or deer. *Quick note: anyone who has used thermal much can attest, ID'ing an animal with thermal in tall grass at 400 yards can be very difficult, if not impossible sometimes and this includes even the top of the line optics. The complaints about the digital zoom and 384x288 resolution are also true of other more expensive thermals with the same specs.

I had a little trouble zeroing the scope but I eventually got it done. I've used Pulsar's one-shot feature many times before and it's really nice but for some reason I had issues this time. I'm willing to say that the root of the problem was my user error and that was me being in too big of a hurry to get it sighted in. Zeroing thermals can be a little tricky anyway and having 2 people would have helped. Either way, I got it and feel like it was my fault, not the scope's. It's worth noting, the menu icons can be really hard to see on the left side of the display and I noticed this while zeoring. I'm not sure if this is because of the green tinted display or if the icon coloring should be a different shade? To really see the menu icons well you need to have that area of the display looking at something with a dark contrast. It's a minor issue but it is something I noticed pretty quickly.

I've been using the new Pulsar Quantum Lite XQ23V thermal monocular ($2,199) daily for a couple months now and I would say the image quality side by side with the Core is nearly identical. I'm not sure why but sometimes I feel like the Quantum Lite has an ever so slightly better image but I'm not really sure if that's true. I need to do some more comparison. I had some guys over last night and I took the Core off my rifle and I was letting them use it as a handheld along with the Quantum Lite and they all preferred the Core. I honestly think it's something about the green tint on the display that attracts people.

I've rambled long enough but in closing for now, what I'd say is, I think for an entry level thermal, at $1,899 it's a real deal and I believe this could be a gateway drug into thermal, just like the Sightmark Photon has been a gateway drug into NV hunting since it was released. Will guys who own last year's Apex, ThOR or Zeus sell their scope for this? Nope. But someone who is currently using a Photon, X-Sight, Gen 1 unit etc and would like to get into thermal on a budget, this is going to be a great option and I don't think they will be disappointed.
I hope this helps and feel free to ask any questions and I'll do my best to answer. I've got more Core RXQ30V's on the way soon, so if anyone is interested or wants more info, give me a call or drop me a PM and I'll be glad to help.

- Jason




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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6779109 05/31/17 12:03 AM
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Thanks for the review. I've been waiting to hear about their performance. I'm one of the guys you mentioned that owns an X-Sight and a Photon. They'll both be up for sale soon so I can buy my first Pulsar thermal. cheers


Originally Posted by KRoyal
Haha yea I polished that thing for hours.
Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6779254 05/31/17 01:59 AM
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With this review I think I could get into thermal, being retired and cash shortages.

Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: ImTheReasonDovesMourn] #6779344 05/31/17 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted By: ImTheReasonDovesMourn
Thanks for the review. I've been waiting to hear about their performance. I'm one of the guys you mentioned that owns an X-Sight and a Photon. They'll both be up for sale soon so I can buy my first Pulsar thermal. cheers


We're in the same boat. I'll be in the thermal market early next year.

Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6779395 05/31/17 06:06 AM
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More info to come tomorrow on the real life performance. It's 1AM and I just walked back in the house from giving some hogs a dirt nap with the Core RXQ30V. grin I'll go ahead and say this.....it performed 3x better than I expected and I already had pretty high hopes. I'm super impressed now, stay tuned for details.

- Jason


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6779514 05/31/17 01:33 PM
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Good write up. I'm glad to see them becoming more affordable.


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6779527 05/31/17 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted By: Outdoor Legacy Gear
More info to come tomorrow on the real life performance. It's 1AM and I just walked back in the house from giving some hogs a dirt nap with the Core RXQ30V. grin I'll go ahead and say this.....it performed 3x better than I expected and I already had pretty high hopes. I'm super impressed now, stay tuned for details.

- Jason



It's been 7 hours, Jason. Time to wake up and give us the details. grin


Originally Posted by KRoyal
Haha yea I polished that thing for hours.
Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6779580 05/31/17 02:33 PM
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Good write up. I got two in yesterday but they were already spoken for. As soon as I get one that I'll hang onto for a couple days, I'll be doing some reviewing as well. It's a great little unit though. Nice size and super light. There's a lot of performance for the money in these.


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6779986 05/31/17 07:25 PM
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As MDMORROW said, these scopes are starting to roll in. I just got a call that I should have more here tomorrow and 1 of them isn't spoken for. There will also be some Trails in the box too if anyone is looking for one.

So the story is, I spotted 4 full size hogs (100-200 lbs) at about 400 yards with the Pulsar Quantum Lite XQ23V. I'd had a bunch of fresh and really bad damage to my pasture in the area they were at, so I went into this stalk with a serious vengeance. I made my way to them and when I got about 125-150 yards away I couldn't find a good way to get much closer without taking some risks of them seeing me. It was clear with a partial moon and I'm sure I stood out like a sore thumb standing in the grass. I could have definitely gotten off a good shot at this distance but I'm not shooting these hogs for pure sport, I want to kill as many as possible every single time. I finally decided I'd risk spooking them to close the distance. As I was moving towards them they were slowly rooting and milling away from me a little which was to my advantage because it put their butts to me. I got to within about 75-85 yards of them and decided it was close enough.

I use a monopod on these long stalks because it weighs almost nothing and I leave it extended to the perfect height I need it. I picked out the closest one to me and she was also the closest to the wood line. I used the picture in picture zooming so I was looking at her at 3.2x magnification but I still had the rest of my screen at 1.6x so I still had my full field of view of the other hogs. That is a HUGE benefit of the PiP in my opinion. I shot the first hog and dropped her in her tracks. Now it was just time to start slinging lead. To my surprise the 2nd hog closest to the woods ran about 10 ft and stopped. I shot it and it took off running and stumbled, that's all I needed to see. The other 2 hogs were running to the woods but not near as fast as I expected, probably because the grass was tall and the ground was so wet in places there was standing water. They got about 40 yards from the woods and almost came to a stop. That was a fatal mistake. grin I hit one good and they took off running again and I shot the other hog and I'm very confident I hit it as well.

All in all, I shot 9 rounds, I dropped one and 2 more looked to be very solid hits and the 4th hog I feel confident got some lead poisoning as well.

As for the performance of RXQ30V last night, I was extremely impressed. When the shooting stopped and the hogs disappeared I stood there a moment and thought to myself...."A $5,000 thermal wouldn't have helped me hit any more hogs than that." It really did great and I stand by my comment that I think this will be the gateway into thermal for a lot of guys. At this point, I have absolutely no hesitation recommending this scope to guys who want thermal on a budget. Feel free to ask any questions.

- Jason

*Warning*
If you don't like graphic bloody hog images, don't scroll down past the first picture. The 2nd image shows why I'm sold on the Hornady Black .223 75gr Boat Tail Hollow Point ammo. At $14/box and repeat performance like this, I'm sold. I'm not saying there isn't better ammo but for the price it is a real deal, plus it's 75gr, which is hard to find in a .223 round, especially a hollow point. I've been extremely impressed with the results on every hog I've shot with it. Not trying to turn this into an ammo debate, just posting up some results on a very fairly priced ammo.

And yes that is the same hog. It was really strange, her hair looked black on one side and reddish on the other. I'm sure the lightning made it worse.




Last edited by Outdoor Legacy Gear; 05/31/17 10:07 PM.

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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6780148 05/31/17 10:13 PM
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Thanks for the update. Great shooting.


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6780188 05/31/17 11:08 PM
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Using a cash back credit card (new account / application) you can easily save an additional 150.00 off this scope.

That would bring the price down to nearly 1700 for a thermal riflescope !!!


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6780599 06/01/17 12:00 PM
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My question is, if the scope is dismounted from the rifle to use as a hand held, how well does it return to zero once remounted to the rifle?


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6780685 06/01/17 01:26 PM
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The pulsar mounts haven't lent themselves to quick disconnect in the previous year models , you had to go aftermarket for that - I believe these newer Pulsar scopes will have more options but I'll have to get my hands on one to say for sure


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Pig_Popper] #6780701 06/01/17 01:42 PM
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In OP's photo, I see levers on the mount, suggesting QD and tool-less. That's a big deal, if it returns to zero. Everybody knows it's easier to swing the scope by itself than an entire rifle, an no responsible hunter wants to accidentally point a muzzle at a hunting buddy.

I ask, because in my A.O. it's large expanses of plowed ground, skirted by tree line. We have to drive quite a bit. Stop, scan 180 or 360, move again. I'd like the scenario to be a handheld thermal, until we see the sounder, then quickly attach it to the rifle before we stalk closer.


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: FiremanJG] #6780713 06/01/17 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
In OP's photo, I see levers on the mount, suggesting QD and tool-less. That's a big deal, if it returns to zero. Everybody knows it's easier to swing the scope by itself than an entire rifle, an no responsible hunter wants to accidentally point a muzzle at a hunting buddy.

I ask, because in my A.O. it's large expanses of plowed ground, skirted by tree line. We have to drive quite a bit. Stop, scan 180 or 360, move again. I'd like the scenario to be a handheld thermal, until we see the sounder, then quickly attach it to the rifle before we stalk closer.


I'm thinking about selling my XSight and hand held NV Monocular and buy one of these. You're welcome to demo it if/when I get it.


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: KRoyal] #6780900 06/01/17 04:21 PM
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All's we gotta do is schedule a night to go stalk around my land.


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: FiremanJG] #6780937 06/01/17 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
My question is, if the scope is dismounted from the rifle to use as a hand held, how well does it return to zero once remounted to the rifle?


The RXQ30V is using the same exact mount that the new Pulsar Trails are using. I can only speak from my experience but on both the Trails and the RXQ30V, I've had them off and on my rifles almost constantly and they've returned to zero with no problem at all, every single time. Again that is with multiple Trails and this Core. As I tell everyone when it comes to any QD scope mounts; you need to test it yourself and your mileage may very. I take my NV scopes off multiple times a week to show customers, compare side by side on the bench with other NV units etc and I've had 0 issues with these new mounts returning to zero.

Now I will say that these mounts don't lend themselves to actually re-attaching to the rail very easily. I adjust the allen screw on the opposite side of the QD mounts when I'm first attaching the scope to the rifle and I get a good snug fit, so the scope mount doesn't have any forward or backward wiggle. When doing that it makes for a tight fit when the mount is removed or replaced on the rail and sometimes it takes a little finessing to get the mount back on the rail. This is minor unless you were planning on removing the scope constantly and needing to replace it in under 20 seconds.

Originally Posted By: Pig_Popper
The pulsar mounts haven't lent themselves to quick disconnect in the previous year models , you had to go aftermarket for that - I believe these newer Pulsar scopes will have more options but I'll have to get my hands on one to say for sure


Zero Delta has a new high end QD mount for the Pulsars coming out soon and it's going to be really nice. I've got them on order if anyone is looking for one. The issue is, they are going to be $249, so that's a pretty hefty add-on for an $1,899 optic, unless you just really don't like the Pulsar mount. I think it's going to be very popular on the Trails though.

Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
In OP's photo, I see levers on the mount, suggesting QD and tool-less. That's a big deal, if it returns to zero. Everybody knows it's easier to swing the scope by itself than an entire rifle, an no responsible hunter wants to accidentally point a muzzle at a hunting buddy.

I ask, because in my A.O. it's large expanses of plowed ground, skirted by tree line. We have to drive quite a bit. Stop, scan 180 or 360, move again. I'd like the scenario to be a handheld thermal, until we see the sounder, then quickly attach it to the rifle before we stalk closer.


I've probably touched on most of this in the above answers about the mount but I'll try to expand a little further and answer your question about your exact scenario.

While I think the RXQ30V will make a good monocular and still double as a rifle scope, I don't really think trying to use it in both capacities on the same hunt is going to be extremely feasible, especially with the current Pulsar mount. Again, I have no major issues with the mount, but I don't think it's designed to be re-attached while in a big rush, in the dark, while holding your rifle. I'm not saying you can't do it, it just doesn't seem like it would be very handy to plan on repeatedly using it that way. I believe it would be much easier and more likely to work ok when this new Zero Delta mount that's coming out but even then, you'll want to be sure you put the mount back into the same picatinny slots every time and doing all that in the dark in a hurry, won't always be easy.

So at the end of the day, will it work for what you are considering? Sure. Will it be the easiest and best solution? No but then again, if it saves you from having to spend another $2,000 on a thermal monocular, then it might well be worth the hassle.

I hope that answers some questions. Feel free to ask more, I'm always glad to help.

- Jason


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: KRoyal] #6780945 06/01/17 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted By: KRoyal

I'm thinking about selling my XSight and hand held NV Monocular and buy one of these. You're welcome to demo it if/when I get it.


You aren't alone. This is going to be what a whole lot of guys do. I talked to a customer yesterday who I sold a Photon XT setup to a couple years ago and he loves it. But the idea of selling that and being able to get into thermal this affordably has him thinking hard about it.


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6780989 06/01/17 05:46 PM
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Thank you for the reply. Perfectly answered.


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6781144 06/01/17 08:51 PM
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I see a big market for these in lieu of a dedicated handheld. I would imagine a lot of guys will buy this as a spotter that will do double duty as a backup or buddy scope. It's certainly the right size and shape to be a good spotter. Pulsar has really upped their game recently. Everything they've put out has filled a niche of some sort and has been of good quality. I will have a new Helion XP50 in hand this weekend and hope to do a quick video review on it. That's their flagship spotter.


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6781163 06/01/17 09:06 PM
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Is there a magnifier lense attachment option for the helion , can you cover that feature in your review? Thx


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Pig_Popper] #6781207 06/01/17 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted By: Pig_Popper
Is there a magnifier lense attachment option for the helion , can you cover that feature in your review? Thx


There is. I'll go over that.


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6782280 06/03/17 12:56 AM
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The only thing that keeps me out of this scope is the lack of video. Otherwise I'd be all over it. I'm holding out for the LRF APEX.

Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: Outdoor Legacy] #6784183 06/05/17 03:38 PM
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That Apex LRF is real cool. I used one when I was at Sellmark headquarters a while back. Simple to operate and worked very well. I think we'll see more thermals with laser incorporated in time. It's a super nice feature.


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Re: Inital Review of the Pulsar Core RXQ30V Thermal Riflescope [Re: fr3db3ar] #6784465 06/05/17 08:49 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 385
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Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 385
Originally Posted By: fr3db3ar
The only thing that keeps me out of this scope is the lack of video. Otherwise I'd be all over it. I'm holding out for the LRF APEX.


The lack of video out is a real stickler but Pulsar had no choice. If they put video out on the RXQ30V, they'd kill the Apex sales. The more I use the Core in the field the more I'm thinking this is the thermal game changer. It's just flat out amazing for the money.

The LRF's are ok. I've used them on the new Apex, as well as the new Digisights. I just don't find them extremely handy nor as easy to use as I'd like. Again, I'm not saying not to buy one and if I hunted smaller game like coyotes I can see where it might be more handy. On hogs, I just do my best to get close enough to not have to worry about the distance. All hunting condition are different though, so I know a lot of people will like them.

My biggest issue with the LRF's is the cost. On an Apex, it's a $500 upgrade for the LRF models. The Apex XQ38LRF is $2,999. If you want to record video, you've got to buy an external recorder and cable at a cost close to $250. So now you've got $3,250 in your Apex LRF with a video recorder and you've got to mess with the recorder, cables etc. Not the end of the world but it's no where near as nice as built in recording. For $2,799 you can buy the Trail XQ30 and get the built in video recorder, Stream Vision and the battery packs, which are a huge plus to me. For $3,299 you can get the Trail XQ38. I'm not saying the Apex LRF's are a bad deal if you really need/want the LRF, but otherwise, they aren't the best bang for the buck, in my opinion.


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