Pard DS35 70 day and night scope: no escape for rats
Mat Manning sets up with the Pard DS35 70 day and night scope and heads out to rid a friend’s chicken run of unwanted guests
Pard DS35 70
Price as reviewed: £750
Pard has been at the forefront of the recent night-vision revolution and has won a loyal following by striking a desirable balance between value for money, image quality and ease of use. Its latest offering, the Pard DS35, is built around those principles and takes development a stage further in terms of features and performance, then by packing it all into a frame that looks very much like a conventional telescopic sight. I appreciate this last advancement because those familiar proportions make for a better-balanced set-up.
The unit on test is the DS35 70 version, which Sportsman Gun Centre sells for a reasonable £749.99. That’s still a significant outlay, but it compares favourably with similar offerings and you get a lot for your money. This model is 370mm long — plus another 60mm for the rubber eyecup — and weighs 830g including the supplied Picatinny mounts, flip-up lens cover, 18650 rechargeable battery and integral IR illuminator. The RF model costs £100 more and features an integral laser rangefinder.
I found the Pard easy to set up. The right-hand turret unscrews to reveal the battery port, and a USB cable is supplied for onboard charging. If you want to take advantage of the video and photo capture functions, you need to insert your own micro SD card, as I did, which plugs in beneath the cap on the right-hand side of the eye-bell.
Gone are the days when you had to spend a fortune to get a decent night-vision scope. While infrared (IR) optics have become more affordable, their quality has improved quite significantly, and most of these gun sights produce a good colour image by day as well as the monochrome lamp-free after-dark viewing they are usually bought for.
Pard DS35 in depth
My first outing with the DS35 was on my garden range, having mounted it on my FX Impact air rifle for a night on the rats. After powering it up with a long press of the standby button — another long press switches it off and a short one sends it into power-saving sleep mode — I used the dial at the rear of the eye-bell to focus the display, which only needs to be done once. (Read more on ratting with air rifles here.)
Operation of the main features is straightforward. The top turret turns to switch between 5.6x and 11.2x magnification — it’s 4-8x on the DS35 50 model — and a quick press on its top opens the basic menu. A long press offers more options. These menus give you access to features including the ballistic calculator, self-activated recording, Wi-Fi connectivity, picture-in-picture mode, date and time setting, display brightness, reticle settings and zeroing. There are six reticles and each can be viewed in red, white, yellow or green.
Zeroing is the familiar process of taking a shot, using the control to move a cursor to where the bullet or pellet struck, then saving the new setting. I had it bang on after three or four shots — you can save zero profiles for different guns and the image shifts so the crosshair remains at the centre of the display, regardless of any adjustments you make.
Mastering the controls is far simpler than it sounds, and you are unlikely to need to navigate the main menus in the field. The three buttons at the front of the ocular bell operate the more commonly used features, including photo/video recording and shifting between daytime and night-time viewing.
One thing I really like about the Pard is that it enables you to select a view that fills the sight picture with a round image, rather than the rectangular display that has been the norm with night vision.
Satisfied that the Pard DS35 70 was doing what I wanted it to, and that I had a reasonable command of its basic controls, I readied myself for a trip to a friend’s farm, where rats had been causing problems around the chicken house. The rodents had been draw in by the poultry feed during the recent cold spell. Most of the rats seemed to be travelling across from a hedgebank by a storage container but, judging by the excavations in and around the chicken run, some had decided to settle in.
I arrived about an hour before nightfall in the hope of bagging a few with the Pard in its full-colour daytime mode, but the rats refused to venture out until the light began to fade. After switching to night-vision mode and turning on the integral illuminator at the lowest of its three power settings, I spotted the glow of ratty eyes on the bank.
The rat was only about 9m away, so I needed to refocus — an easy job, thanks to the lever on the Pard’s front-focusing dial, which really helps in the dark. With the image pin-sharp, I settled the crosshairs on the unsuspecting rodent’s head and rolled it over with a clean strike to the skull.
That first shot heralded the start of a busy spell and I managed to nail four more rats over the next half an hour. During that time, I really appreciated the Pard’s gyroscope feature, which shows the scope’s vertical and horizontal angle on dials on the display. The latter reading is an absolute boon for ensuring that you’re not canting your gun, which can really affect shot placement when using a high-sided gun like my Impact.
I sat it out for another two hours and managed five more rats before I headed for home, at which point the DS35’s battery still had plenty of charge left. The new Pard gave a great account of itself and, while my evening on the farm didn’t stretch its long-range potential, rifle shooters would find it useful for foxing.
Need to know
- Model Pard DS35 70
- Price £749.99
- Length 370mm (without eyecup)
- Weight 830g (incl battery and mounts)
- Magnification 5.6x to 11.2x
- Features Ballistic calculator, full-colour daytime viewing, six reticle designs, four reticle colours, gyroscope, video recording, Wi-Fi connectivity, integral IR illuminator, mount and battery supplied
- Contact Sportsman Gun Centre
Also worth considering
This offering from Sightmark delivers exceptional value for money. Its features include 4x to 32x magnification, full-colour daytime viewing, 10 reticle designs, nine reticle colours and video recording. The Wraith comes complete with mount and illuminator.
- Price £599.99
- Contact Scott Country
Like the DS35, the Alpex packs a high-tech digital day and night optic into a package with similar proportions and balance to a normal scope. Features include exceptional colour image in twilight conditions, onboard battery with long runtime and recording to integral memory.
- Price £799.99
- Contact Scott Country
InfiRay Tube TD50L
The InfiRay Tube TD50L is another option for shooters who want a digital day and night optic with similar proportions to a conventional telescopic sight. This model boasts features including onboard recording with 16GB memory and an integral rechargeable battery.
- Price £749.99
- Contact Highland Outdoors