Pulsar Quantum Thermal Imager


Junior Member
May 2, 2020
Hi guys,

I am new to this forum and thought I would start with some gear reviews. As I am from Australia, all money references are in AUD.

A while back, before I left for a hunt, I ended up hiring a Pulsar Quantum from a bloke up in QLD, Australia.

Ultimately, I felt way more comfortable trying before buying (@ $2-$7K) as I'd never even looked through one before.

After making contact with the bloke, I received the Pulsar Quantum XQ38 (now discontinued) unit within a couple of days. It came in a Pelican hard case and soft case inside.

The Unit


The Size

Battery Compartment

This unit does not record or take photos, but the next model up does do that.

Rather than a detailed spiel, I'll break down my thoughts in to a few questions.

Q: How does it feel and carry?
A: Bloody great. It is small and light. Holds easily to the eye. Just small enough to fit in large pockets. It doesn't have a lanyard or similar, which would be good. Some times, you found yourself having nowhere to put it.

Q: What is the power supply and what is the battery life like?
A: The unit takes 4 x AA batteries. The battery life is horrendous, if you use shit batteries. Never have I learned nor appreciated the effect that good batteries make on battery life. With the standard silver Eveready batteries, we were swapping out all four within an hour or so - three times per day. With the Eveready Gold, we almost got two full days out of them. I can imagine Lithium would be excellent, but not cheap.

Initially, I found it very odd that this unit was not rechargeable - but, then I appreciated that you'd get little use out of it before needing to recharge. Out in the field, spare AA's are easier and safer.

Q: From how far away can you spot pigs?
A: This unit, genuinely, will pick up the heat signature of a pig from around 1km away. It is astonishing. No - you can't tell from the image that it is a pig. But, if you know how pigs act and where they will be, you will know it is a pig. Many a time we crept closer to cows to confirm.

You won't be able to properly judge a pig over 200-300m. We went off size compared to the others and also targeted lone boars.

Personally, I found the zoom function to be useless. It did not enhance the image, just showed a bigger version of the blob.

Q: What is it like to hunt with?
A: This is the most important part and where I learned the most. Firstly, watch this video for an insight:

On our trip, we used the unit in conjunction with headlamps which we covered with red plastic (less visible to animals). It would be near impossible to confidently walk around with no source of light. What we would do is scan a field and identify the pigs. We would then get as close as possible to determine whether they were what we were after. Often, we scoped and pursued lone boars. We would then walk with the dimmest setting on the headlamp constantly checking the thermal to keep an eye on the pig. Under 200m, we would switch off the headlamp and slowly stalk in (still using the thermal). At 100 or under, we would set up shooting sticks, position the rifle (with an Olight M3XS-UT on top), confirm position with the thermal, then light on and BOOM.

NOW. For the first few attempts I found this process bloody tough and messed up a stalk on a good boar. The thermal throws out your perceptions, massively.

Firstly, the brightness ruins your night vision in the eye you use.

Secondly, everything is perceived in a biased manner through the eye that you have used. That is, you'd often look way too far right (if right eye dominant) when turning on the torch.

Thirdly, distance is not easy to estimate through the imager. The range-finding thingy is useless. What I learned to do was to pick up landmarks in the thermal (such as trees which you can still see sky lined at night). I then got my bearings by looking at that with the naked eye. I then ranged that tree with my Swaro EL's. After losing the first pig, we never lost another using this method. :smoke:

Animal recovery
What a brilliant bit of kit this thing is for such a task. Unfortunately, Guz missed a shot at a lone boar. I managed to connect as he ran off (but I wasn't sure at the time). We then heard commotion in the creek bed about 250m away. I decided it was worth checking to see if we had injured the boar. Without the thermal, the exercise would have been futile as the boar was hiding behind a willow. He was entirely invisible to the naked eye with a torch, but perfectly seen through the thermal. We made our approach, got him to move from the the willow and put him down for keeps. I was blown away.

It is also hugely effective where you are confident of a hit and looking for the animal, as we found with a good boar who managed a 100m sprint on adrenaline. Finding the decked beast through the thermal in less than 2 minutes is brilliant.

I feel I will lose a lot fewer animals with one of these in my hand.

Q: What do they cost?
A: As mentioned, this actual unit is discontinued. A very similar, newer version retails around $2K.

I have since purchased next model up (the Pulsar Hellion XP50), which gives better quality and even greater detection. They get up to just under $7K. I will do a detailed review on it in due course.

Q: Are they worth it?
A: Clearly, this is subjective. In my mind, they are absolutely worth considering for a few important reasons:
1) I hate, with a passion, not finding injured animals. I've never forgotten one that I knew I injured and couldn't find. This tool is so effective in reducing that risk.
2) Being able to spot and stalk in the pitch black, when the big boars are out (especially in pressured areas), is something special. Clearly, there is a form of "cheating" involved, but all the same hunting principles apply as you still have to walk in range of the animal with far superior senses. Using binoculars is a form of cheating anyway - it's a matter for you as to where you draw the line.

Anyhoo, I'm thrilled with experience and am now hooked. My bank account took a hit shortly after hiring this unit.

Any questions, let me know.

Cheers and thanks for reading. :eek:nya:


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