Pulsar Digisight LRF N970
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- Last updated: 23/03/2018
Pulsar needs little introduction to savvy night hunters; distributed by Thomas Jacks, they have been responsible for revolutionising the Night Vision industry. This is primarily due to the shift into digital technology that started with the Yukon Pulsar Digi sight, the original N550. Digitals can safely be used in day or night and use a CCD array, not a tube, as do conventional NV scopes!
Size and weight has shrunk, and the addition of all manner of add-ons and features make Digital NV sights flexible and user-friendly, as you can select many standard options. For example; reticle type, brightness, range settings etc. Technically they are more like a digital camera, as you have a lens to focus the image, which is caught on the CCD sensor. This can then be digitised and manipulated for light gain, clarity, saved to memory; in fact, all sorts of things, before being displayed on an LCD screen. The price point is now at a level that for sub-£1500 you get genuine Gen 2 Plus performance at a fraction of the cost it used to be.
The latest N970 sight from Pulsar has now eliminated the last NV taboo, rangefinding, which can be hard to judge at night. This new model has an integral laser rangefinder (LRF), so now you can accurately place shots in total darkness.
As with all Pulsar NV sights, the body is a tough, fibre-reinforced polymer and light at 900-grams. Even with the integral LRF, lighter than older models. It measures 340x95x94mm, so when mounted it fits reasonably low (by NV standards) and is well balanced. It mounts by twin Weaver claws that can be set on two or three positions to suit a one or two piece bases and allows the correct eye relief of 67mm for the telescopic eye cup. Operationally, you have a simple layout, with a combination of push buttons and wheels. Forward/right is the small focus wheel, on top a rubberised button that operates the LRF. Rear/right a rubberised push button for the programmable control. Behind this is the large main function or menu button that has a push set centre, with an outer wheel for navigating through the menus.
There are also video and power outlets, the latter using the optional EPS3i or EPS5 power pack to be attached. These substantially increase the run time over the standard 4x AA batteries designed for primary use. On top is the ON/OFF turret and IR power selection – low, medium and high
A small 915nm IR projector is also built-in, which enhanced images when no ambient light was available. You can add a more powerful IR unit, such as Pulsar’s own X850, or a superb Laser Luch, also a part of the Thomas Jacks family. These fit to a secondary Weaver rail on top of the body. There’s an integral, flip-up objective lens cover, which lays flat when open, so does not obscure the IR device.
Best of all on this new model is the integral 905nm LRF on the right side. It has a useable range of 400 metre, more than good enough at night! To operate, you push the large button on top of the unit, (see field use) for results. There’s a remote-control pad that can be Velcroed to the stock for easier operation.
Another great feature is that the N970 LRF uses a true horizontal distance and angle of elevation that is accurate to plus or minus 1 metre. This means that when you range at any angle of shot you get the true distance. There is also an auto shut off after 10-seconds if the rifle is tilted at 70° from vertical and 30° horizontal. And a warning light shows in the screen when it’s inclined more than 5°.
As with all these digital units, the features are all accessed via the main menu button and then you select the menu in menu options as you like, here are the key features! There’s a zoom magnification range of 3.5x power that I find is fine for normal use, but with that new LRF fitted the mag can be digitately zoomed to 14x. Clarity is surprising good with a good definition and overall brightness that can be enhanced as necessary. Yes, at higher mag it pixelates more but you do get used to that in practice. A 30% increased field of view makes the N970 handy for close range usage in barns on rats etc. for better peripheral vision.
The IR laser is 915nm and has no red glow signature, making for more covert usage. This can also be used with the X850 for greater range i.e. fox use but for rabbit ranges the built-in model is fine.
I like the choice of reticles on offer, 11 in total and so you can use one that is correct for your intended quarry size or locale, for prefect aiming. You can also change the colour with four choices from black or white cross hair with the aiming central dot being either red or green, dependent on the background and quarry. The OLED screen is frost-resistant and has a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels display, with a very good contrast to define game from foliage. You also have a usual operating range from -20 to +50°.
After mounting the N970, you need to zero your rifle. Here, it is best to have the manual to hand, as there are a few options. You can use the ‘Freeze Frame’ option, where you take a shot and then freeze the image. Next, you adjust the reticle to align perfectly with the bullet hole via the main menu button and wheel. Simple! You are sighted in, and you do not need to hold the rifle steady either, as the frame is frozen.
Alternatively, you can opt for a one-shot deal, keep the rifle rested and then choose the virtual reticle mode that allows the X and Y axis to be altered via the menu and large control knob until the cross is on the impact point. There are 50 clicks up and down elevation (total 100) and 40 left or right (total 80) each with a value of 17mm, quite crude but at the ranges at night it works fine. Once zeroed, you can also use the three video profiles that store zero data for three alternative rifle zeros. Thus, allowing the N970 to be mounted to three differing guns if desired. Within these profiles you have an additional five zero ranges; so, combined with the LRF, you can switch between zeros for trajectory range compensating as needed.
The night vison ability is largely based, as always, on the lighting conditions at the time. With no residual light, it struggles, as would a Gen 2 scope. But as soon as some moon or other light is available, the image really improves. Turn on the IR and the image becomes clear, with good contrast for accurate shots. One word of warning- if the IR beams reflect off foliage, it can white out your view.
The laser really helps with getting a round like a 22 rimfire that has a rainbow-like trajectory hit its mark. This really takes that doubt out of what range the quarry is in unfamiliar terrain and lighting conditions. Push the button on top and the range finding indicator appears and the reticle disappears. Press the button again whilst aimed at the target and in the top right-hand corner of the display the range is displayed, with the option of metres or yards. There is also a scan mode when the button is held down for two seconds and the image and range become ‘live’ as you scan for targets.
There is no doubt that digital NV has transformed our operational and financial needs and requirements. It allows a cheaper product with greater detection and more features to be packed into a lighter shell. You also have the benefit of eye safe use and no damage in bright sun light. Yes, the menu-in-menu does curdle my brain, but it gives a great degree of flexible use and my kids love it! Best of all, is the addition of the LRF that solves that age-old problem of unsure ranges whilst shooting at night. Now you have a safe, range accurate and good detection range for the new Pulsar LRF N 970, great value for money in my book.