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Airgun Review: The Daystate Pulsar

A Pulsar is a neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation; the radiation can be observed when that beam points directly to the Earth. Neutron stars, however, are very dense and have short regular rotational periods, they also produce very precise beam intervals between pulses that can range from milliseconds to seconds for each individual star. Certain types of Pulsars rival atomic clocks when it comes to accuracy of keeping time.

I’ve long been fascinated with the wonders of the Universe, and space travel is something I’ll probably never experience. But, fortunately for me, in February of 2015 Daystate launched an air rifle of the same name, and 4 years on I still have mine and the Pulsar is still in production, but has it lived up to its namesake?

 

full view of daystate pulsar

 

My Pulsar hasn’t been used since late November of 2015, it’s been stored in the hard-plastic case it came in when I first purchased it, along with the Hawke scope I had attached to it. Pulling out the case, I unclipped it to open the lid. Inside the case I found everything the Bullpup came with, including the standard quality glossy owners manual, the production certificate, the single shot tray, the multishot magazine and a Huggett Belita silencer I’d purchased as an extra. Everything in the case appeared to be as new as I’d left them more than 3 years ago.

I pulled out the bullpup, appreciating the weight of the airgun and the rigidity of the plastic pistol grip. My Pulsar is the black synthetic soft touch version. The pistol grip comes with a flap on the bottom that can be clipped open - upon opening the flap the fill valve I’d previously stored there popped out.


 

trigger view for daystate pulsar

 

Pulling on the cocking lever prompted the digital display to illuminate, the digital indicator read zero BAR, it was clear to me, the rifle although had been stored full of air was now empty. The information screen then flashed to indicate the batteries were also running low on power.

 

digital power indicator

 

I put the rifle down and found the correct allen key required to remove the stock to access the battery holder. Now all I needed was 6 AA batteries, and after pinching batteries from my 3 year olds remote control car, I was up and running again. I was however a little dubious of whether the rifle would hold air pressure. I connected the foster fitting quick connect to my 12litre dive bottle and then unscrewed the filler cap at the front of the bullpup and connected the quick connect foster fitting valve to the airguns air reservoir. I cautiously proceeded to fill the rifle. Much to my surprise I heard a low-pitched ping as the valve on the reservoir opened and I listened to the slow quiet hiss of the reservoir filling. I curiously watched as the pressure display on the screen increased from 0 to 196 bar, (my dive bottle only has enough air pressure to fill to this level), then I closed the valve on the dive bottle. I didn’t bleed off the excess air trapped in the hose, instead I left the airgun to stand for a few minutes to see if the air would drain out naturally via a poor deformed or damaged seal or O ring. It didn’t and the air pressure held at 196BAR. Interestingly, after dry firing the bullpup the pressure readout fluctuated for a brief moment from 195 BAR to 196 BAR and also displayed 195 shots for a moment before switching to 196 shots. Nonetheless I was pretty impressed with what I was seeing.

 

stock view - daystate pulsar

 

I loaded up the .22 magazine and quickly checked the muzzle energy of the airgun with ten shots through my trusty Combro Chronograph, a practice I’m all too familiar with when taking a new or old airgun out for a shoot. I was thrilled to see the high power setting on the Bullpup’s display returned power results that are within The Violent Crimes Reduction Act 2006 threshold of sub 12ft/lbs airguns. The chronograph was informing me the airgun was giving a muzzle energy of 11.77ft/lbs with the 15 grain JSB Exact Diablo pellets I was using.

The weather in the North West of England had started to brighten up as the April showers decided to take a break for the weekend. I made my way to my private retreat of my woodland for an afternoon of long range target shooting. As I lay in the grass with the sun on my back I wondered if the Pulsar and scope combination still held zero; I’d last used the Pulsar to shoot a duck target set out at 100 yards and I was now set up to replicate this. I locked the duck into my crosshairs and dialled in the 24x magnification on the scope. Zeroing in on the first duck I exhaled for my first shot, shaking my head as it missed, the pellet drifting 2 mil dots to the left of the target. I raised my head to check for wind and concluded there wasn’t enough of a gust to blow the pellet off target. There was however a slight breeze from left to right, but this shouldn’t influence the point of impact, or at least not send the pellet in the opposite direction. I could only put the scope alignment or out of zero down to previous use. I began thinking back to when I last shot the Pulsar more than 3 years ago, I must have adjusted the rifle to the left to allow for 2 mil dots of wind coming from the right moving to the left. I twisted off the scope turret cover and rotated the turret 8 clicks, shifting my cross hairs to the left where they needed to be, before zeroing onto the first duck again.

Looking down the rifle and scope whilst in prone position was easy and the small plastic adjustable cheek piece that sits over the action felt very comfortable, holding the forend of the Pulsar with my left hand, I released the pistol grip from my right hand and reached back to my right ear to cock the bullpup. The rifle cocked effortlessly although the whole cocking process felt somewhat uncomfortable when compared to the BSA Defiant I’d recently been using. I felt as though I was reaching back to pick something out of my ear.

I sighted in the first duck and pulled on the factory set electronic trigger, the trigger is ever so light and responsive, the pellet left the muzzle with a swift crack and down went the duck. I noticed a slight upward jerk of the muzzle which was something I couldn’t remember experiencing before. I repeated the process for the other three ducks which also fell continuously shot after shot; my sixth shot of the day was used to reset the 4-duck target, and this required a 100-yard shot on a 30mm kill zone. I took a little longer with this one regulating my breathing hoping to make 5 good shots out of the past 5, ignoring the shot I’d used to zero the Pulsar. I was pleased with myself after making the shot and watching the 4 adjoining ducks bounce back up. There was no one around for miles to celebrate my shooting success with and I doubt the sheep in the adjoining field would be impressed, so I silently acknowledged the Bullpup for accuracy and thought about the Neutron Star the Pulsar must be named after.

I spent the next couple of hours shooting the Pulsar Bullpup at different ranges and at paper targets checking consistency and accuracy. Sadly the Pulsar ruined the day for me as it hit everything it was aimed at shot after shot. It was then when I sat up with my mobile phone in my hand, and switched Netflix on, to watch an episode of Only Fools and Horses. I lay in the grass with the Pulsar beside me as I laughed out loud, listening to Trigger make silly comments regarding his broom.

As the sun began to set, I finished shooting the air out of the Pulsar and began reflecting on the Pulsar’s performance and the afternoon shooting session. The Pulsar had made the day of shooting all too easy, and I remembered why the Bullpup had gone into storage in the first place. This Bullpup was just too accurate, and being so accurate made shooting it effortlessly boring. I could however see myself impressing the socks off someone I could be shooting with; I could see how the Pulsar would test the ability of a shooter. This Bullpup is deadly accurate and if I found myself missing a beat with this Pulsar, my own Neutron Star, there would definitely be something wrong with my shooting ability.

Below is one of the photographs taken on the day, the Pulsar can be seen laying on my fleece and the gun case beside it. If you zoom in on the photo you might be able to make out the Duck Target sat on the fence in the distance at 100yards.

 

the shooting setup

 

The Bullpup itself comes with a short shrouded 430mm (17inch) match grade barrel. The shroud has a series of baffles inside the business end that direct the blast from the muzzle back down the shroud, reducing the report of the bullpup. The shroud end is fitted with a removable UNF thread protector which when removed allows the user to fit an aftermarket silencer if someone chooses to do so. I did mention above how I was surprised by a slight muzzle flip, and as I continued to shoot the Pulsar through the afternoon, I opted to attach the Hugget Belita silencer which did wonders to completely remove the muzzle flip and further suppress the sound of the airgun. The silencer however made no difference to accuracy. Here’s a 2inch diameter, ten shot group I shot with the airgun, on a steel plate set out to 100 yards. I believe the group would be closer together if the Pulsar was fitted with a high magnification scope.

 

shooting at a target

 

The action and most other steel components of the Pulsar are all steel, anodised in black, the action houses the electronic gubbins inside and underneath which are also concealed in the butt end of the stock. The cocking lever and cheek piece can easily be reversed to suit left and right handed shooters, and the accompanying instruction manual gives a detailed explanation of how this can be carried out.

At the heart of the Bullpup is the electronic computer and the revised version of the Harper Patent valve system for increased efficiency, and high shot capacity from its large 300cc aluminium air cylinder that sits snugly under the shroud and within the moulded plastic forend. The airgun’s action also houses Daystate’s patented slingshot hammer system, which reduces hammer bounce ensuring an absolute minimum amount of air is wasted shot after shot. The plastic forend of the stock conceals the built-in laser - this can be set to come on when the rifle is cocked - I opted not to use the laser.

Under the reservoir is the forward placed electronic trigger, linked to an electronically powered solenoid set under the action of the rifle. The clever computer allows the user to set the power output of the rifle between low, medium, and high. I haven’t tested the low and medium settings but the manufacturers data suggest 6ft/lbs at low power, 9ft/lbs at medium and just under the legal limit of 12ft/lbs for high power.

 

an aftermarket silencer

 

The Bullpup’s information screen is located on the left hand side of the stock, in the lower non-adjustable section of the cheek piece area, and is well positioned. The screen can be used to set the power, check fill pressure and shot count, adjust screen brightness and control the built-in laser pointer, as well as an array of other things I’ll be messing with in the near future.

The synthetic soft touch stock I opted for has a coating over what appears to be moulded plastic, and is truly ambidextrous. The pistol grip feels comfortable and well placed adding to the balance of the bullpup. The small hinged clip storage compartment under the pistol grip is also a nice touch allowing for storage of the single shot tray, fill valve or magazine. I do however believe the prototype of this bullpup may have been designed to operate with a 9-volt single battery, as a 9-volt single battery does sit purposefully in the pistol grip, but I may be wrong. A quick google search will reveal an aftermarket 9-volt battery holder, that can easily be retro fitted to the rifle, to replace the 6 x AA battery holder, although I do believe this will void the warranty on the airgun.

The Pulsar is also equipped with an array of safety features, these include an anti double loading mechanism, a cross bolt safety catch and a bolt open deactivator. One other neat feature is how the magazine is indexed via a puff of air and a pin actuator through a small hole in the action, where the magazine sits.

The new Daystate magazines are also ambidextrous allowing the user to load them into the breach from either side of the Bullpup. The magazine can easily be altered for loading into the preferred side of the bullpup by removing and repositioning the retaining pin and holding magnet. The single shot trays are a simple and effective design and switching from single to multi shot mode is as easy as clicking your fingers.

The rear of the stock is fitted with Daystate’s adjustable butt pad, allowing for vertical and left and right rotational/angled positioning, thus allowing the user to configure the fit of the bullpup to be bespoke to their needs. I found the factory set position was adequate for me, but I can see myself experimenting with this sometime in the near future.

The scope rail is fixed to the shroud, and is an all metal 11mm dovetail. The rail also has a spirit level built into it, unfortunately my experience with the position of the spirit level left me thinking it needed improvement. It was difficult to look at when sighting in the rifle for a shot. My eyes Just found it hard to focus onto, whilst trying to sight in the scope at the same time.

Upon returning home I filled the rifle to 190BAR and shot some unsorted .22 (5.51 head size, 15.89 grains) JSB Jumbo Exact Diablo Pellets through the rifle whilst recording the first 40 shot results through my Combro Chronograph. The results are illustrated in the chart below:

 

velocity graph for Daystate pulsar

 

More than 3 years after launch, my impressions of the Pulsar have changed. What I thought was an ugly bullpup has grown on me - it now looks the business and feels a lot more natural. I feel my initial impression of shock and horror was a little premature, as with most things we don’t understand, we fear. I've really got to know this Pulsar Bullpup, or as much as I’d like to get to know it. It’s an airgun that’ll stay in my collection for years to come, I will however only use it when I have to impress someone with my shooting ability. I hope it still works after another three years of storage.

The Pulsars Pros

  • The Pulsar comes complete with everything you’d likely need to get shooting, (with the exception of a scope, pellets and an air source. Many PCP shooters however already have these additional items on hand), in a well-presented sturdy carry case.

  • Shot count is enormous and impressive for a small compact airgun.

  • Sturdy all metal anodised action, that’s not likely to rust and requires minimum after care.

  • Effortless cocking lever.

  • Adjustable electronic trigger, the Pulsar really does fire at the touch of a button.

  • Impressive accuracy and consistency.

  • Electronic display screen with an onboard computer that allows the user to control every important aspect of the Pulsars shooting performance, also enabling the user to tailor the performance of the Bullpup to their individual needs. For example, setting the power of the airgun.

  • Back venting shrouded barrel, that reduces muzzle report.

  • Large 11mm scope rail and a ballistic polymer dovetail rail on the foregrip.

  • Built In laser.

  • The Pulsar is a true ambidextrous Bullpup, that allows the user to move the cocking lever, cheek rest, and the loading of the magazine to either side of the airgun.

  • Adjustable rear butt pad, that can be adjusted up or down and rotated at angles to the left and right, allowing the user to purposefully fit the bullpup into the shoulder.

  • Anti-double loading feature, no more worrying about getting pellets stuck in the barrel.

  • Harper Patent Valve System, designed to produce shot after shot consistency.

  • Daystate’s patented slingshot hammer, which reduces hammer bounce and reduces air wastage to a minimum.

  • The Pulsar comes complete with a magazine and single shot tray, although at the retail price I’d have liked a second magazine thrown in.

  • Something that impressed me more than anything, the airguns ability to be picked up and used after more than 3 years of storage.

  • A handy storage compartment in the pistol grip.

The Pulsar’s Cons

  • I’d like to say there aren’t any, but unfortunately the cocking lever is placed in the worst position possible, and tickling my ear every time I need to cock the airgun just isn't for me.

  • The weight; it can feel a little heavy being lugged around the hunting permission, and the lack of pre-fitted sling studs as standard does no favours for the Pulsar.

  • Poorly placed spirit level; this for me appears to be an afterthought, or maybe only useful when first mounting a scope to ensure the Pulsar is level.

  • Too many batteries required to power the Pulsar. The pulsar runs off 6 AA batteries, supplying 9 volts to the onboard computer - surely this battery compartment should have housed a 9 volt 6LR61 battery to help reduce the weight? Daystate do offer a Lithium Ion battery as an alternative, but for the price I paid for this airgun, I expect this to come as standard.

 


Daystate Pulsar - Technical Specifications

Model & Manufacturer

Daystate UK.

Air Gun Type

Side Lever Bullpup

Available Calibre Variants

.25, .22 and .177

Weight (Unscoped)

3.4 – 3.8 kg (7.5 – 8.3 lbs) depending on stock type and battery type

Length (Without Silencer)

760mm (30 Inches)

Barrel Type

Match Grade

Available (Stock Options)

Laminate

Walnut

Synthetic Black Soft Touch

Trigger Type

Electronic release. Adjustable for weight and length of stage

Power Plant

Pre-Charged Pneumatic (Compressed Air)

Maximum Fill Pressure

230 Bar

Shot Count .25 (As Stated by Manufacturer)

55 (in 36ft/lbs)

Shot Count .22 (As Stated by Manufacturer)

250 (in 12ft/lbs)

Shot Count .177 (As Stated by Manufacturer)

220 (in 12ft/lbs)

Loading

10 Shot Magazine and Single Shot Tray

Safety

Cross Bar (Airgun is deactivated whilst the bolt is open).

Optional Extras

Sling Studs, Air Stream Silencer, Lithium Battery.

Accuracy (Variation in Ft/sec over 40 shots)

6ft/sec

Average Muzzle Energy

11.77 ft/lbs

Recommended Retail Price Synthetic

£1699.00

Recommended Retail Price All Other Models

£1949.00

Manufacturers Website

WWW.DAYSTATE.COM

 

 

My final thoughts on the Daystate Pulsar; it’s definitely an interesting airgun to own, and has certainly taken off as far as the Bullpup market share is concerned. The Pulsar is a very accurate and consistent airgun, but does the accuracy make the Pulsar a boring gun to shoot?  Maybe, or maybe on the day I just needed to relax, and preferred to watch an episode of Only Fools and Horses whilst laying on the grass with the sun on my back. The Pulsar is definitely a Marmite airgun, it's going to be an acquired taste, and I feel most bullpups are headed in this direction, I've learned to appreciate its unique design and I'm sure you will.

I hope you enjoyed this review and as always shoot straight and shoot safe.

 
Ray Hussain
Airgun Expert and Enthusiast
Published on 2019-04-10