The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Pulsar Talion XQ38 riflescope: simple to use, yet very effective

The Pulsar Talion XQ38 riflescope’s easy operation and clear thermal viewing help Mat Manning harvest a few pesky rabbits for the bag

Pulsar Talion XQ38 riflescope

Pulsar Talion XQ38 riflescope

Manufacturer: Pulsar

Price as reviewed: £1,950

Rabbits are making a real comeback on some of my shooting permissions, and the recent unseasonably warm conditions have seen their peak breeding season extended. While I am glad to see them back in good numbers, landowners are less impressed. On one estate where I control grey squirrels, the trees are now facing an added threat from rabbits, which have developed a habit of nibbling bark from around the base of saplings. The rabbits here are most active just after dusk, especially at this time of year, and I thought one of my sunset sorties would serve as a fitting test for the Pulsar Talion XQ38 riflescope thermal riflescope. Thomas Jacks had sent me this optic to put through its paces, and I was eager to try it out after pairing it with my Weihrauch HW66.

Thomas Jacks was unable to supply a Pulsar mount with the Talion but instead sent me an Innomount. This neat mount features a brilliant quick-release mechanism, which makes for secure attachment and fast removal. It adds another £259.95 to the Talion’s £1,949.99 price tag, although the Thomas Jacks kit with optic and Pulsar mount should be back on sale at £1,989.95 by the time you read this.

One small snag with the Innomount model sent to me was that it had a Picatinny attachment, and my Weihrauch has dovetail rails. A set of adapters provided a quick solution, although I would say that the Talion ended up mounted a few millimetres higher than I would really have liked. On the plus side, the Talion weighed just 960g with the mount fitted (and closer to 700g without) and at around 32cm long, including its rubber eyecup, made for a very balanced setup on the little .22 rimfire.

Pulsar Talion XQ38 riflescope

The Talion was supplied with a quick-release Innomount for secure attachment and rapid removal.

Setting off with the Pulsar Talion XQ38 riflescope

My outing kicked off with a quick inspection around a stand of newly planted oaks. With the sun still setting, there was just enough light to see that the rabbits hadn’t yet made it past the guards on these saplings, which had done well to survive the summer drought.

Moving on around the outer margins of the main woods, it wasn’t long before I spotted a grey squirrel making the most of the final minutes of daylight. Had it been up in the treetops, I wouldn’t have deemed the shot to be safe, but this bushy-tail had made the mistake of venturing on to the ground, where a bank served as a safe backstop.

The XQ38’s thermal-imaging sensor boasts clear viewing out to 1,350m, so I had no problem getting a sharp view of a squirrel at around 30m after winding down the focusing dial, which turns smoothly and features a really useful raised lever.

I nestled myself into a comfortable kneeling position, pushed off the safety and squeezed the trigger to snuff out the squirrel with a clout to the head. As someone who does most of his shooting with airguns, using a 42-gr bullet to despatch such small quarry feels somewhat heavy-handed, but it certainly did the job.


The Pulsar Talion XQ38 riflescope is capable of far greater things than whacking squirrels at relatively close range, and I am sure that it would be excellent for fox control. Image quality is extremely impressive, and the scope is equipped with a raft of useful features. It has 2.5x to 10x digital magnification (x4 zoom), plus a picture-in-picture option to give magnification a further boost. There are eight different colour palettes and 10 different reticle designs, which can be viewed in nine colours. The unit also has Wi-Fi connectivity, enabling use of the Stream Vision 2 app, and you can save images and video.

Most importantly, the Talion XQ38 is a doddle to operate. Basic functions such as zoom and image capture are controlled via three soft-touch buttons on the ocular bell. The advanced menu is opened by pressing and holding the rear ‘menu’ button, then you rotate the dial on the outside of the controls to scroll and press the ‘menu’ button to make your choices.

Zeroing is the usual method employed by most digital scopes. Set to ‘zeroing’ mode, take a shot at the target, hold the reticle on aim and move the cursor to where the shot struck and then save the new coordinates — it couldn’t be simpler. You can save up to five different zero profiles (each of which have capacity to save a further 10 range settings) for different ammo or an entirely different gun.

The removable, rechargeable battery has a runtime of up to nine hours. The shockproof Pulsar Talion XQ38 riflescope has been built for unsympathetic field use, and its IPX7 waterproof rating means it can tolerate a drenching. (Read our list of the best waterproof shooting coats.)

an extremely clear view of this rabbit's heat signature

Pulsar Talion XQ38 riflescope gives Mat an extremely clear view of this rabbit’s heat signature

Straightforward shot

Back to my outing, and darkness had closed in by the time I spotted my first rabbit, which stood out like a sore thumb on the Talion’s display. At under 40m, it was another straightforward shot.

Conditions weren’t the best, and a lack of wind meant there was virtually no ambient noise to mask the sound of my approach. It was so quiet that I could hear the dewy grass squeaking against the soles of my boots — and so could the rabbits, no doubt.

It turned out to be a challenging evening, but I managed to add two more rabbits to the bag before heading home. The Pulsar Talion XQ38 had performed very well; I enjoyed using it and look forward to doing so again. Its uncomplicated operation made easy work of a tricky night’s shooting, its modest proportions were well suited to my mobile approach and its sharp image quality made for confident quarry identification and accurate shot placement.

The best part of £2,000 is a lot of money to spend on a riflescope, but it amounts to excellent value for money when it buys you one this good.

Pulsar Talion XQ38 riflescope

Mat eventually gets a chance at a rabbit as night closes in and has an easy shot

Also consider

Hikmicro Panther PH50 LRF Price £2,279.99

This thermal riflescope has an integral rangefinder that displays distance to target on the viewfinder. Supplied with a Picatinny mount, it has four thermal colour palettes, is powered by a removable 18,650 battery and boasts a detection range of up to 2,500m.

InfiRay Tube TL35 Thermal Riflescope Price £2,599.99

The TL35 is a thermal optic with proportions very similar to a conventional telescopic sight, so can be attached with standard mounts. Features include 1,815m detection range, built-in rechargeable battery pack, and photo and video recording to an on-board 16GB memory.