Hog Hunting with the New Pulsar Apex XD50 Thermal Scope

Double Naught Spy

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I got to test this on my 6.5 Grendel AR15 for several nights last week and got 2 chances to hunt with it and have two videos to share as a result. This scope was loaned to me and is a pre-release scope. These will supposedly be out for sale in May. Here is the manual that has a specs page for those of you who are interested...

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

Here is what the scope looks like on my 6.5 Grendel AR15...

Cropped%20Riflereduced_1.jpg


In short, this is an entry level thermal scope. The Apex line is preselling for $3000-4000 (this one being as low as $4K, but lists for $4500). It is a 384x288 resolution, 50 hz, 2x (optical) with 4x digital zoom capability. Sportsmansguide has the XD50a for $3K for members, but I do not know what the difference is between the XD50 and XD50a. Sorry. The scope is basically a little long, but relatively thin, and comes in at 1 lb 9 oz. The scope I used only runs black hot or white hot, which is all I think most folks will normally use. Scopes like my Armasight, or other brands (ATN, IR Defense, FLIR, etc.) have the psychedelic, bizarre color palettes, but aside from toying with them, you don't see hunters really ever using them. They use black hot or white hot.

Amongst other more normal features, the scope does something I have not seen elsewhere and did not originally like, but now have decided it is really cool. You can run the scope as full screen and jump to zoom to 4x by pressing a button or use the roller wheel to incrementally increase zoom. That isn't the unique part. When in Picture in Picture (PiP) mode, you can view as full screen at regular 2x resolution or press the zoom button and you get a little popup screen in the top center that is the PiP and the PiP is the 4x view. It takes some getting used to, but what I discovered in the second video, it is really useful. Sometimes you need more magnification to make a longer range shot, but you don't want to have to much magnification or you lose your field of view (FOV). With PiP, you basically get both. You have the wider FOV at 2x for things like searching or trying to get on running targets, but you have the tiny zoomed PiP for more precise shots.

In this first video, we were coyote hunting and set up with a caller and wiggler at 70 yards when a hog appeared at 220 yards at the feeder. I had zero'd at 100 and shot at 200 and knew the approximate bullet drop for the range. While I hit the hog, the hog did not go down, so the video sheds some light on what may be the near functional limits for this scope on a target that size and orientation. You can certainly still spot and recognize targets at much greater distances, however.

https://youtu.be/yLurdf917VE

I was able to go along with Glenn and Michelle Guess of Hog Zombies for the evening here in Texas. We came upon a sounder on both sides of the road. We stopped over 100 yards out and were getting out and I set up with the thought we were going to be shooting from there, but Glenn suggested we close the distance. We got down to within about 60 yards of the closest hog. Two of us set up to shoot, but I ended up being the only one shooting. Glenn gave the okay to start and I shot a bigger sow at about 60 yards and she went down. I then picked up two runners in the commotion and confusion that followed. You can see all this in the video. However the key points here are that I was able to make the first shot quite nicely with the PiP zoomed image and then picked up, tracked, and shot at the moving hogs using the bigger screen unzoomed 2x image. It is a nice feature.

The third hog should have been head/neck shot as she was just standing there, but in my adrenaline fueled state of mind, I put the shot on the shoulder and she ran, of course, the exit wound creating a racquetball-sized cavity and the bullet striking and breaking the opposite leg. The second hog also was similarly hit, but was dropped with a followup shot as well. In all, the shot distances ranged from 40-80 yards and the scope performed very well.

https://youtu.be/AA2ePTCbQcw

I like the scope. I would like to see a 3x version instead, but this one is certainly function for normal hog hunting distances for most hunters.
 

npaden

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Very cool. These things are starting to get pretty close to my price point.

I wonder how long it will take the pigs to realize they need to haul tail out of there like they would during the daylight after the first shot rings out? In that 2nd video that 3rd kill actually stopped not even 20 or 30 yards from the first dead one.

During the daylight they don't stop running for 200 - 300 yards after the first one hits the dirt.
 

Double Naught Spy

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North Central Texas
Where and how far hogs run when being shot at seems to be full of variables. My guess is that this group had not been hunted before or not in a good while. That some ran toward me was just a bonus. According Glenn Guess who was coordinating things, one of the hogs ran by me with just yards. I heard the hooves thrumming by on the ground, but was too fixating on the third hog to do anything about it.

The Pulsar scope is about half of what a comparable ATN scope was running 2 years ago, so the prices really are coming down. It is due to several reasons including improved technology, more competition, and (I am told) less government contracts.

With that said, when you can buy one, regardless of brand, I think you will find it will be a game changer.
 

1_pointer

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Way cool technology and a good use for it!

I'm thinking one of those on a suppressed rifle firing subsonic rounds would allow one to put a bigger dent in the population.
 

killercajun

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Mar 17, 2015
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nice

awesome video, you can see the blood flying in the 2nd video on the 2nd hog shot, thanks for sharing
 

Double Naught Spy

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That was actually blood and a lot of teeth. I led the 2nd hog a bit too much for the distance and so hit a bit forward of the skull, but it dropped the hog and the hog quickly succumbed to its injuries.

You can also see the 3rd shot on the 3rd hog over penetrate as well.
 

Mthuntr

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In the Sagebrush of SW Montana
Still a bit out of my price range but I suppose if I ate Ramen and Spaghetti-Os for a few months I could afford one. The problem being that coyotes would probably be the legal prey up in this part of the world.
 

Double Naught Spy

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Dec 14, 2014
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North Central Texas
Here is one more video. I think the Pulsar Apex may be going back after this. I was only able to get it a short while and the return date keeps changing...

https://youtu.be/eEpEmI6YJmc

I received an email from the landowner that hogs were apparently back on his property. I met him Thursday evening and he explained that he found rooting on the SW side and suggested I hunt a feeder in that area.

After baking in the sun for about 3.5 hours, I saw some dark spots moving through the bush. I was facing into the sun, but it had finally gone down below the level of the trees. A turkey had tricked me earlier in the same area and I thought a group of turkeys was about to come out, but it was hogs.

Two sows and seven itty bitty piglets presented themselves and as there was still daylight, they all looked about as black with the naked eye as they did through the scope. I picked the most cautious sow as my target. She also seemed a bit larger.

She dropped with the first shot. The second shot was into the grouped piglets and one of those tumbled out and I panned over and tried to lead the other fleeing sow. I led her too much. I went back to check on the piglet and it was GONE! I kept scanning, thinking that maybe it was swallowed up in high grass or a low spot as I could not see it anywhere. It wasn't until I reviewed the video that I understood what happened. I tried following their exit route to see if I could find the piglet, but was not successful.

In the end, one 120 lb sow, 115 yards, right at dusk. The shot entered a bit low, breaking her right humerus, traversing under her head and clipping the back of the left mandible before exiting, apparently taking a lot of blood vessels along the way. She was a good bleeder. She was wet. Apparently, they had been swimming.

As per the landowners instructions, I dragged her away from the feeder and sliced her open for easy access by other animals.
 

Double Naught Spy

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North Central Texas
Thanks, Yankee, everything on it is functional and I use it. I think it looks cool, too, but everything is really there for a purpose.

Pretty awesome Double Naught.Thanks for sharing.

Is it a normal thing that landowners request you leave the carcass on their property?

No. The few places I get to hunt, I can keep the hogs if I want to. One guy has a designated carcass area where they must all go. One place just wants them dragged out of any ag fields or roadways, ideally into the edge of the woods. This guy will bring out a tractor for the really big hogs, but otherwise is happy just getting them away from the feeders so that the deer and such will not be too bothered. He has me split them open to make it easier for the buzzards and yotes to tear them apart. They are usually gone in 24 hours if they are as small as this one (120 lbs.) and sometimes gone by morning. I haven't figured that out yet. At my place, they tend to linger a few days.
 
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