Pulsar Expert LRF Rangefinding binos
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- Last updated: 28/11/2016
It makes sense really, a set of hunting binoculars with an on-board laser rangefinder (BRF) so you can spot your quarry and know the range for an accurate shot. In the past this has meant two separate items, bino’s and range finders. Fine, but double the cost and twice the bulk. However there have been BRFs for some time but from the top names and commanding top prices!
Now we have more choice as other manufacturers got involved mainly due to the ever decreasing prices of electronics and off shore labour costs. The result is that we hunters have some effective and well priced BRFs to choose from. A good example are the Pulsar Experts! Made in Belarus they offer an affordable, sturdy and practical set of BRFs. For under £600 you have a 1000m laser range capability and a spec of 8x40 tested to IPX4 environments = highly weather resistant.
I am always wary of cheaper items that purport to do what the better made kit can. I have tested many Pulsar products before and they do represent value for money but are not Zeiss, Leica or Swarovski quality, obviously, otherwise the price would be four times as much. Nevertheless, looking at the features left me impressed!
They use a Porro prism that gives a straight barrel design, which is modern and handles well. The outer shell is a durable fibre glass, which keeps the weight down to 33 ozs.
With the protective, flip-up lens caps and case you have a good weather resistant item. In the hand they feel comfortable yet a little plasticky but all the buttons are in the right place and easy to operate. The battery is a CR123A type that lasts for at least 3000 readings.
At x8 magnification they offer a good compromise between power and field of view, in fact at 1000m you have a 114m FOV. True the more power the less light available to the eye and this is not helped by the 40mm objective lens. This gives an exit pupil of 5mm instead of 7mm from say a 56mm objective. However, the multi-coated lenses are Pulsar’s True Colour proprietary type that give a sharp and vivid image. Range finding wise they use an integral laser of 905nm wave length that is accurate to 1000m maximum that offers both single reading and scan (multiple reading) modes. Particularly good is the bright clear readings projected into the field of view from an OLED screen. The diopter is changed for both eye cups that have a deep oblique form to fit the eye and cut`s out extraneous light and can be swivelled to best fit. Focus is as always a rotary knob set between the individual barrels, it’s easy to operate with the fore finger and is fast to use with fine adjustment for sharp images.
They are easy to set up with no complicated set up menus or dials and nothing unnecessary to push. There are two buttons on the top housing. The closest starts the range finder and a red cross appears in the right view, which can be made sharp by rotating the eye piece. Now operate the main focus to get a sharp image in the right hand barrel, and then adjust the left dioptre to make a sharp overall image. Being a hinged design you can also set the inter pupilitary distance by moving the body tubes in and out.
Push the first button again to bring up the red cross in the eyepiece and align with the object to be ranged and then push again to measure. The distance is displayed below the cross. If you hold down the button the Expert switches to scan mode and you can move the cross over a moving object to determine the range. You can change from yards to meters by pushing the second button and also increase or decrease the brightness of the display. Only two buttons, fast and convenient; just what you want out in the field!
You never really know how something works until you take it out in the real world and use it in the field and not a show room. Despite the plastic feel the Experts were not heavy and this was helped by the good strap supplied and a case if you want more protection.
I have to say the image is very good. Flat with no vigneting to the sides and although a little yellow/green biased it was sharp with a good depth of field to it. It’s not a Zeiss but for the money plenty good enough! Even at last light the 40mm objective performed well until it tailed off quickly, due to the x8 mag.
But having said that the x8 is very useful for actually seeing what you are looking at hand held!
The lasers accuracy is dependent on the reflective nature of the target, bright lighting conditions can reduce the range as can fog, haze, rain or snow or if you are ranging into the direction of the sun. But I was impressed with the quick and very accurate readings. Push the button and again and you get an instant reading nearly all the time. I had very few times when they did not range. Overall very good, with clear and bright readings better than some more expensive European models!
I took them out stalking many times and never felt I was using an inferior make and other than last light performance they worked very well indeed. In fact I used them for my first Chinese Water deer stalk and was able to accurately range and find the deer out on the fields and ditches. I shot two CWD does which is a credit to the performance of the Experts.