As Matthew Godson discovered, the Pulsar C50 lets you hunt round the clock
There’s no doubt undertaking pest control in the dark using either thermal or night vision optics can help boost your efficiency. Thermal scopes are great technology but can be quite expensive, while night vision provides an alternative that’s more affordable yet still delivers results. One product I’ve had my eye on for some time is an offering from Pulsar which offers good flexibility at a reasonable price tag in the Pulsar Digex C50, a digital day and night-vision riflescope with round-the-clock capability
And it really does provide 24/7 use as the Digex C50 employs different lens and sensor operating modes to generate great results at any time. The image produced by the super-sensitive 1928 x 1088 pixel sensor is clear and detailed with full high-definition resolution which, unlike typical thermal, lets you see the target in far greater detail. From sunset to dusk the C50 will display a bright image with correct colour rendering at a time when the naked eye starts to struggle for detail in observed objects.
During daylight the full-colour digital functionality eliminates the need to switch to a traditional optic. If you like to set up a scope and rifle and not mess around with it then this is for you – and you can add a quality return-to-zero mounting system to use the Digex C50 on several firearms. With the ability to save five separate shooting profiles, this means you can configure the scope on five different rifles and have up to 10 separate reticles (distances and/or ammunition settings) zeroed into the device per firearm.
After dark is where the C50 is claimed to have the best sensitivity in its class for infrared spectrum (night sensitivity). It’s highly effective when paired with IR illuminators and can detect larger game up to 550m away in darkness. You have the option to choose Digex X940S (invisible) or X850S (long-range) illuminators and when using these, special firmware algorithms equalise the image brightness shown on the display.
This feature eliminates flood exposure from foreground objects and increases the brightness of more distant targets. What this means out in the field is trees, bushes and tall grass will not be an obstacle for observing far-away targets as all images, even at different distances, will be equally and clearly visible.
Battery life is roughly 10 hours from a single charge and the scope comes with rechargeable batteries and a charger in the carry bag, one a built-in lithium-ion with capacity of 4.9Ah and the other a replaceable APS2 2Ah lithium-ion. Those who like an extra battery in their backpack can buy more to extend operating time. When charging, you can either boost the replaceable battery separately using the APS or charge both in the scope body via the USB Type-C port/plug/cable connection.
The Digex C50 for review had wi-fi which allowed connection to a smartphone and internet via the Stream Vision 2 mobile app, which provides a range of options including remote wireless device software updates and bug fixes, real-time image transmission to mobile devices, remote control digital functions and more. With internal storage of 16GB there’s plenty of room to save pictures and videos of your adventures to share with others.
Other noteworthy features include an instant start-up mode which has you ready for action in just three seconds, while the PIP (Picture-in-Picture) function enables you to see both a detailed box image of the aiming area and main image representing the entire field of view. The base magnification of 3.5x increases fourfold to 14x and zoom changes can be either gradual in 2x step or continuous to set the ideal ratio of magnification to suit. A high-resolution sensor enables accurate aiming over the entire magnification range.
The high-contrast 1024 x 768 pixel HD amoled display offers enhanced colour rendering, high-contrast images and quick-response to provide clear and smooth images. The SumLight enhanced sensitivity software increases the sensor’s ability to passively observe in low-light conditions and at night without IR illumination to maintain image quality. This means on nights with a bright moon you may not need IR depending on your activity. The C50 has a wide-angle eyepiece of 29.5 degrees for comfortable viewing of the HD display with 50mm eye relief, so having comfortable image perception without a ‘keyhole’ effect will ensure you won’t have eye strain and can concentrate on your hunting activities.
The C50 is extremely shock-resistant to cope with high calibre recoil and has a waterproof rating of IPX7 which lets you work in high humidity and heavy rain. Not that you’d do the next one on purpose but it can withstand 30 minutes immersion in water to a depth of one metre. Essentially it’s designed to operate in a wide range of temperatures (-25 to +50oC) to cover all Australian conditions.
The aluminium-alloy body with IR illuminator weighs 1.345kg, which did feel a little front-heavy in the hand but once attached to my Ruger American 204 the weight seemed to even out. I visited the SSAA (SA) Para range to sight-in the scope and found the process straightforward – set your target at a known distance, choose a primary zeroing profile, aim at the target and shoot.
Use the freeze function to hold point of aim at the centre then align your reticle with the impact point. Save the zeroing coordinates and fire a second shot to confirm your point of impact and aiming point are matched. Compared to sighting thermal scopes, I could see the actual point of impact much clearer thanks to the powerful sensor and full HD resolution display and was certainly far more precise with sighting-in than any thermal I’d tested previously.
I used the Digex C50 on a couple of pest control sessions covering both day and night use and during the day could see clear colour images through the HD display at various distances. If you’re used to a glass scope it may seem a tad foreign looking through what is a small HD television screen, though putting that feeling aside you’ll be impressed by the clarity this device can produce through the eyepiece. Unfortunately, that clarity isn’t reflected in saved images but the quality is still good enough to share.
When the sun started to sink the C50 really impressed as I was still able to see colour images right up until last light. With the sun slipping below the horizon and stars appearing in the sky, it still produced reasonably clear images of horses 350m away in a paddock and landscapes much further out. You can switch to black and white and see more for longer before it becomes too dark, then it’s time to switch to night mode.
Once in that mode it’s time to attach the IR illuminator to look into the darkness. I found it worked well, providing plenty of light and reflecting eyeshine back to the C50 for a good sight image. I was more than happy with the reach of the illuminator and was able to clearly spot large wildlife such as kangaroos more than 300m away and small game like rabbits beyond 100m. That’s well within my effective range when operating in the dark, as I normally engage most targets inside 150m so I can move much closer undetected.
The Digex C50 lived up to my expectations as a very capable scope that’s as effective in darkness as it is in daylight. It looks good and offers user flexibility and versatility on multiple firearms. If thermal scopes are outside your budget, this is certainly an option to have you operating in the dark and boosting your pest control efficiency. Pulsar guarantee their products are defect-free in materials and workmanship for three years from date of purchase, with the warranty for rechargeable batteries (supplied or bought separately) being one year. The Pulsar Digex C50 digital day and night riflescope with 850 IR has an RRP of around $2395.