Posts Tagged ‘Hatsan 95 combo air rifle’
by B.B. Pelletier
We have a lot of interest in non-lead or lead-free pellets. I heard from several readers on Part 2, which ran last week. That was when I used the Hatsan model 95 Combo breakbarrel to test both lead and non-lead .22-caliber pellets for accuracy at both 10 meters and 25 yards. I admit that was a scatterbrain test; but after seeing the results, I’m glad I did it. Here’s why. If lead-free pellets do not perform in real-world airguns, they have no value. They shouldn’t be a science experiment, requiring special guns and conditions. If they’re going to succeed, they must work well in the kinds of guns that are used by many shooters.
That said, I’m dialing back my test parameters today and using a spring gun that I know is very accurate — my .177-caliber Beeman R8. It’s probably best to start with a known good gun and then, if the green pellets do work, expand the test out into the more basic types of airguns.
This particular R8 works best with JSB Exact RS pellets. And I rediscovered that this rifle also shoots best when laid directly on a sandbag and is not held using the artillery hold. The advantage of shooting directly off a bag is that it gives the rifle a more stable platform.
I was going to shoot several green pellets for this test, but I decided to limit the test to just one pellet. If it was successful, I could always branch out from there. The pellet I selected for today’s test is the H&N Baracuda Green, a 6.48-grain domed pellet (which is the same as the Beeman ECO Kodiak pellet). The equivalent pellet in lead weighs anywhere from 10.2-grains to 10.6-grains, depending on which H&N Baracuda you sample.
First, I shot a group of 10 JSB Exact RS domes at 25 yards. This group measures 0.502 inches between the two farthest centers. While it’s not the best group this rifle has made at 25 yards, it’s a good one, as can be seen in the photo.
Following that group, I shot the first group of Baracuda Greens. I was prepared to season the bore by shooting as many pellets as necessary for the group to settle down; but as you’ll see, there was no need. Ten shots gave a 0.442-inch group. That’s right, the H&N Baracuda Green pellets beat the best lead pellet I know of for this rifle. I would have to say that’s a positive result!
After shooting this group, I fired a second 10-shot group of the Baracuda Greens to see if the first group was a fluke. Group number two measures 0.543 inches between centers. It’s larger than the first group and also larger than the group of lead pellets I shot before that, but it’s certainly in the same ballpark.
To end this test, I fired a final group of the JSB Exact RS pellets. This time, the first shot did go to a different place than the following shots, so I guess some seasoning of the bore was required; but after that, the shots all went to the same place.
The second group of JSB Exact RS pellets measures 0.422 inches and is the smallest group of the test. But it’s only 0.02 inches smaller than the best Baracuda Green group, and that’s well within the margin of measurement error.
What can I say?
Obviously, H&N Baracuda Green pellets are very accurate in my Beeman R8. They may be equal to JSB Exact RS pellets, which have been the most accurate pellets for this rifle until now.
We have one good test under our belts. Next, I want to test these pellets in an accurate PCP. I happen to have a Benjamin Marauder in .177 caliber, so that’s what I’ll use.
The rest of you can help by testing the Baracuda Green pellets in other airguns and reporting the results. I want to stick with Baracuda Greens for a while before I branch out into other non-lead pellets. I’m glad I did today’s test, and things are looking good for the greens.
You don’t know how good we have it!
If you’re a regular reader, you know that I built an AR-15 lower receiver to test the Crosman MAR177 AR-15 upper PCP conversion. After sending the upper back to Crosman, I was left with a lower and nothing to attach to it. So, I thought I’d buy an upper in .223 caliber to complete my rifle.
In my ignorance, I imagined that buying an upper was a simple process. Well, it’s not! If you think airgunning has a lot of jargon and is confusing, you’ve never shopped in the confusing world of the AR! The websites abound with acronyms, slang and references to things I feel I should know but don’t. Unless you’re extremely careful, you can buy a partial upper and still need to spend a lot more money on parts that aren’t necessarily compatible with what you’ve already purchased.
Ever hear the tale that all AR-15 parts interchange? Well, they don’t, and the chat forums are full of complaints about it! Reading the customer reviews about certain products paints a nightmare tale of confusion, customer abandonment and outright lying by some of the major dealers.
What a snake-pit the AR market has become! I can see I will have to become very educated on the subject of the parts of the gun before I buy — or there’s one other possibility. I could buy a a “completed” upper that has everything needed to fit on my lower and work. There’s just one problem with that. Most (over 80 percent) of the .223-caliber (and yes, I am including those that are chambered for the 5.56mm in this number) complete uppers for sale today have 16-inch barrels, because buyers apparently want the M4 carbine look. But a 16-inch barrel has none of the things I want on my rifle. It’s as if there are only gas spring super-magnums breakbarrels for sale, and I want a TX200 that nobody offers!
Then, there’s the problem of supply. Buyers in this market are at the mercy of the manufacturers, whose websites are the most confusing places of all. It’s a case of, “Place your order and shut up! We will get to you when we are good and ready!” I know they’re experiencing a boom market of unparalleled proportions, but that’s no excuse for the unhelpful fulfillment language they use on their sites.
When I see complaints about the Pyramyd Air website and then compare them to the trauma wards that sell (I guess?) AR-15 parts and assemblies, I thank my lucky stars I’m an airgunner. And, yes, I do plan to soldier on and see this thing through. Unfortunately, when I do get my upper, I may then be in the class of owners whose “half-minute of angle” upper prints a three-inch, five-shot group at 100 yards! Don’t tell me there are good companies I can trust — I’ve seen complaints about all of them.
The bottom line is that if I wasn’t working in airguns, there’s a huge market of AR sales that needs a little honesty, education and Pyramyd Air-type retailing. Given the supply difficulties that exist, I’m not sure that a good dealer could make a go of it in this market, but it’s obvious there would be no competition.
by B.B. Pelletier
This is a long-term test of non-lead pellets that began nearly a year ago. There’s a lot of pressure these days to abandon lead for projectiles and move to some other substance that’s not as toxic. The problem is that there isn’t any material as good as lead. Ammunition companies have been working on this project for decades, and they’ve yet to come up with a substance that can take the place of lead.
I don’t want to get into the discussion of the evils of lead in this report, but suffice to say that a lot of what’s being said about it is untrue. However, that’s not my concern here. I just want to discuss the feasibility of using non-lead projectiles in airguns and hold it to that.
So, I did a little test that I want to talk about today. I tested both lead pellets and lead-free pellets in the same gun at the same distances.
For this test, I used the .22-caliber Hatsan 95 combo breakbarrel that we recently found to be reasonably accurate. I shot the rifle at 10 meters and again at 25 yards; and doing that proved quite revealing. The open sights of the rifle were used for this test.
The best of the best
For this test, I wanted to use the best pellets. For the lead-free pellet, I chose the .22-caliber Beeman ECO FTS. For the lead pellet, I actually tested four different pellets, but settled on just one; and strangely enough, it was the same best pellet that was best in the last test I did with the Hatsan 95.
Before you yell, “Bias!” I know I should test other lead-free pellets in this rifle; but there aren’t that many to test. I do have some others, but in .177 caliber. So, I’ll have to test them next.
Start at 10 meters
I began this test at 10 meters and tried two lead pellets that I knew to be good in the Hatsan 95. The first of those was the heavyweight Beeman Kodiak. When I last v\tested the Hatsan with these pellets in Part 3 of the Hatsan test, 10 shots at 10 meters gave a group measuring 1.073 inches, thought 8 of those shots made a much smaller group that measured 0.529 inches between centers. This time, 10 Kodiaks went into a group measuring 0.834 inches. That’s in between the 8- and 10-shot groups made the last time.
Next, I tried the best pellet from the last test with the Hatsan, which was the JSB Exact Jumbo that weighs 15.9 grains. Ten of those went into a group that measures 0.514 inches between centers. That compares favorably to a 0.648-inch group last time.
The lead-free pellet
Next up was the Beeman ECO Field Target Special pellet, a 9.57-grain domed pellet that has no lead in it. Weighing less than 10 grains, this is extremely light for .22 caliber. So, the question is — Can it be accurate?
At 10 meters, this pellet turned in a 10-shot group that measures 0.704 inches between centers. That’s smaller than the Kodiak group but larger than the JSB group. And it’s a decent 10-meter group for an open-sighted air rifle of the power of the Hatsan 95.
The real accuracy question
Here’s the real question. Ten meters tells us very little about the real accuracy of any pellet. Almost anything can be accurate at 10 meters, but not for very much farther. Real accuracy is the ability to hold a group together at twice the distance and more. To see that, we needed to back up. That’s what I did — backed up to 25 yards and shot again.
At this new distance, the lead-free pellet was again shot 10 times. The group it made this time measures 2.237 inches between centers. That’s a huge group — even when using open sights.
As a control, a group is shot with the JSB Exact Jumbos. We know from the last test of the Hatsan 95 that this pellet grouped ten shots in 1.882 inches. This time, 10 went into a group that measured 1.728 inches between centers. Not only is that very consistent with that last test, it’s also significantly tighter than the group made by the lead-free pellets.
Where does that leave us?
This test has many more cycles to run, but what it looks like at this point is lead-free pellets are not yet as accurate as lead pellets in the Hatsan 95. The first test done a year ago showed some surprising results, and there are many more tests yet to be conducted.
Here’s my take on the lead-free pellet issue at this juncture. They’re accurate enough for plinking, and in some guns they’re even more accurate than that; but to-date, I’ve not seen a lead-free pellet that could do as well as a good lead pellet. Since they cost about the same as premium lead pellets, my advice for now is to continue to use lead if you can.
I believe the pellet makers are working hard to perfect lead-free pellets, because they seem to be in our future. This is a topic I will watch and continue to test as new pellets become available.
by B.B. Pelletier
There has been a lot of interest in the .22-caliber Hatsan 95 combo breakbarrel I’ve been testing! We have even had people emailing Pyramyd Air directly to ask when Part 3 was coming. Folks, they don’t know any more than you do. If you want to know something about the blog, post your comment on the blog and I’ll answer you here.
The Hatsan 95 represents a departure from the other Hatsan spring rifles I’ve tested so far. It’s sized for a normal adult rather than for a giant, and it doesn’t require the strength of Hercules to cock. I found during the velocity testing that the rifle seems to like heavier pellets, so I tested it with some for accuracy. I tested the rifle with open sights because they seem to be a reasonably set even though they’re fiberoptic.
Before testing the rifle at longer range, I first shot it at just 10 meters. Many of you say this is about as far as you can shoot an airgun in your homes, so today’s test should be very revealing.
The sights are fiberoptic and they don’t glow indoors. So, I used them as normal post-and-notch open sights. Unfortunately, the front bead is too large for the rear notch; but I did find it possible to see the top half of the front bead, and I could guesstimate where the bead was centered. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the best I could do.
Forget looking for aftermarket sights for this air rifle. Air rifle sights these days are mostly proprietary, which means the guns they’re on won’t accept aftermarket sights from another manufacturer, unlike a lot of firearms. Since most shooters will use the scope that comes with this combo package, that presents no problem — but I included it because there are always a few people who want to use open sights.
First up was the Beeman Kodiak that did so well in the velocity test. They put 8 of 10 shots into a round group measuring 0.529 inches between centers, but two other shots opened that to 1.073 inches. I can chalk up those two shots to the imprecise sights, so this group looks promising.
The firing behavior of the Kodiaks is so smooth that I think they have to be considered by anyone who buys a Hatsan 95. Not only do they generate more energy than lighter pellets, they also group well — at least at 10 meters.
Next up was the JSB Exact Jumbo that weighs 15.9 grains. It’s usually a good performer when Kodiaks are, so I gave it a shot. It didn’t disappoint.
At 10 meters, 10 JSB Exact pellets went into a group measuring 0.648 inches — besting the Kodiaks for 10 shots. However, as with the Kodiaks, I see a smaller group inside the main one on the left side. It’s too difficult to measure, but you’ll see it, too.
The last pellet I tried was one I don’t usually test, because I haven’t found it to be very accurate. Others have, though, and I think they must all be shooting them in pneumatics rather than spring guns. The Predator pellet is a premium hollowpoint that has a cone-shaped tip inside the hollow point of the pellet head.
At 10 meters, 10 Predators grouped in 1.548 inches between centers, and the distribution was open enough to show that it was no accident. This pellet is not for the Hatsan 95 and was eliminated from further testing.
When you compare this group to the other two, you can see why I think this pellet isn’t right for the Hatsan 95. A group like that at 10 meters is due to more than just imprecise sights!
Back to 25 yards
Now that I knew this Hatsan could shoot, it was time to back up to 25 yards and give it a go. This is where those sights would come into play; because at 25 yards, the bullseye I was aiming at was the same size as the front sight bead I could only see the top of.
I shot Beeman Kodiaks first, and 10 shots went into a group measuring 3.735 inches. That’s hardly a good group, but you’ll notice that just a single pellet opened up the group to that size. Nine pellets made a group that measures 1.613 inches. While hardly a good group for 25 yards indoors, this is where the front sight comes into question. I’ve shot 5-shot groups at 50 yards that measure a quarter-inch between centers with the best open sights, and I’ve shot 10-shot groups that measure three-quarters of an inch at the same distance with the same sights. Clearly, this group grew because the sights were not clear and not because the rifle is inaccurate.
Next up were the JSB Exacts. These had performed a little better at 10 meters, and I expected to see them out-group the Kodiaks at 25 yards, as well. And they did. Ten pellets went into a group measuring 1.882 inches. You can see the dispersion resulting from the fiberoptic sights, yet this pellet shows a tendency to stay together at this distance. Of course, this group is not acceptable, but it does give me hope that this rifle can shoot.
Where does this leave us?
I believe the Hatsan 95 can shoot, and this test shows that. Next, I’ll mount the scope that came with the combo package and try that at 25 yards.
If you’ve been holding off buying a Hatsan 95 until you saw the results of my test, I would say the wait is over. This air rifle can shoot. It’s a breakbarrel springer, so it needs the artillery hold, but it doesn’t seem to be overly sensitive to the hold. It cocks easily enough for a hunting air rifle, and the firing cycle is smooth if you use heavier pellets.
The trigger is very nice, with just a little creep in stage two. I like the wide blade and the general shape of the blade on this gun.
Next, I’ll test this rifle with the scope it comes with.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, I’ll test the velocity of this Hatsan 95 combo breakbarrel. After shooting it for this test, I have to tell you that I’m liking this air rifle. For staters, it isn’t impossible to cock. The barrel requires an effort of 40 lbs. to cock, which is light enough for one-hand cocking (for me) but too heavy for a plinker. It is world’s better than Hatsan’s portable gyms, which go by the model names 155 Torpedo and 125TH.
The second thing this 95 has that those other two don’t is a nice trigger! I mean — right out of the box. There’s a little creep in the second stage, but it’s not much and I can live with it. The trigger of my test rifle breaks at 4 lbs., 10 oz. and the only thing that would make it nicer would be an adjustable overtravel stop.
The rifle jumps forward when it shoots, plus there’s a small amount of vibration I can feel. It’s over quickly and not objectionable, but it lets you know that you’re shooting a spring rifle.
I like the way the trigger blade tracks in this rifle. It feels wide and comfortable to my trigger finger, and I cannot feel any raising as the blade comes back. It feels like a trigger on a far more expensive air rifle.
Velocity and power
If the Hatsan cocks with the same force or even a little more than a Beeman R1, it ought to have roughly the same power, to my way of thinking. So, that’s what I was looking for.
The first pellet I tested was the .22-caliber Crosman Premier. I know that this pellet will average around 750 f.p.s. in a .22-caliber R1. In the Hatsan 95, the average was 734, so pretty close to the R1. The spread, however, went from a low of 699 to a high of 763 f.p.s. The rifle is probably burning off excess oil because it’s new, but the increase over the break-in period will balance that out. We may be looking at the final velocity, albeit with a much closer spread once it’s broken in. At the average velocity, this pellet produced an average 17.11 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
Next up was the RWS Hobby pellet — that lightweight lead wadcutter that gives us a true sense of realistic top velocities for the rifle. Hobbys averaged 801 f.p.s. and ranged from 794 to 805 f.p.s. That’s a much tighter spread and perhaps indicative that the gun is stabilizing — but it’s still too soon to tell. At the average velocity, Hobbys delivered an average 16.96 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. They felt harsh on firing, though; in retrospect, I don’t think I’d use them in this rifle.
The final pellet I tested was the Beeman Kodiak dome. Many people think a Kodiak is too heavy for a spring-piston powerplant, but I disagree. In the Hatsan 95, the Kodiaks smoothed out the firing cycle so that it felt the best of all three pellets I tried. Kodiaks averaged 646 f.p.s. and ranged from 644 to 650 f.p.s. — an incredibly tight velocity distribution!
At the average velocity, Kodiaks generated an average 20.02 foot-pounds in the test rifle — confirming how they felt upon firing. Clearly, the Hatsan 95 has a heavier piston that’s best-suited for heavier pellets. And, since Kodiaks are often among the most accurate types in many guns, it’ll be interesting to see how they do in the accuracy test.
Observations thus far
To this point, the Hatsan 95 is stacking up to be the best Hatsan-branded spring gun I’ve tested. It cocks with a reasonable effort, the trigger is good (very much better than the two other Hatsan springers I’ve tested) and it develops decent power. The gun is also sized right for an adult male — rather than for a giant.
I think the next test will be the rifle without the scope that came with it. I want to really put this rifle through its paces, because it has the potential of becoming one of the best values for the money in a powerful spring rifle.
by B.B. Pelletier
This Hatsan 95 combo breakbarrel is the third Hatsan-brand air rifle I’ve tested since the SHOT Show. I started out with very high hopes for the brand, but the two rifles I’ve tested thus far — the 125TH and the Torpedo 155 — have both been lacking in accuracy and refinement. They both met their power and velocity goals with no problem, but the Quattro triggers on them were not adjustable, as far as I was able to determine.
I’m aware that some people are advocating installing longer screws in the Quattro trigger for better adjustability, but I don’t want to test these guns that way. A new buyer will probably not make that kind of modification, and I want to test these guns as that new person will experience them.
I’ve read a lot of good comments about the model 95 that I’m about to test. In fact, it was those comments that guided me to this rifle. Owners say it’s accurate and also well-behaved. I hope so. I’ll bend over backwards to give this rifle every chance to shine, but I’m not going to do anything that an average new owner wouldn’t do.
The Hatsan 95 is large, but it’s not in the same league as either of the two rifles I tested before. It’s about the same size as other large air rifles, like the Beeman R1 and the RWS Diana 350 Magnum.
I couldn’t resist firing a shot, just to see how this rifle handles itself, so I triggered off one round. The rifle cocks about as easily as can be expected of a spring gun in this power class, and the discharge was relatively smooth. I’ll have a lot more to say about it after I put a couple hundred rounds through the gun.
The metal and part of the walnut stock were dripping with oil when I opened the sealed plastic envelope the gun comes in. I wiped it down carefully; but if there was that much oil on the outside, it makes me wonder about the inside. Let’s hope it isn’t full of oil like some spring guns.
For those who are keeping score, I am testing rifle number 101123711.
The Hatsan 95 is a large spring rifle that has a square-section forearm. The forearm is deep but not wide, feeling almost carbine-like in my hands. The line of the butt is straighter than most air rifles, meaning it has less drop at the toe. As a result, the rifle comes up to the shoulder ready to shoot. The sights will be on a level with your eyes, with no need to scrunch your head lower or higher. It’ll handle a scope well.
The wood is walnut, as mentioned, and few companies do walnut as well as Hatsan. It’s very smooth and even, and the stain is an attractive medium brown. Both the forearm and pistol grip have pressed checkering that’s reasonably rough. The pistol grip is too far back from the trigger and feels clunky to me. There’s no swell on either side of the grip and also no cheekpiece, making the 95 a truly ambidextrous rifle.
I will criticize how Hatsan attached the rubber buttpad, because it looks like they did it with hardware from Home Depot. Two bright-plated Phillips screws look entirely out-of-place on the end of the dark rubber buttpad, seeming to belong more in a men’s restroom on a West Virginia freeway than on a fine air rifle.
The metal is finished matte, which is to say virtually no polishing under an industrial black oxide finish. The triggerguard and muzzlebrake are both plastic, but the rest of the gun (other than the sights) seems to be wood and steel.
The open sights are fiberoptic and the front sight is too big to fit in the rear notch. I’ll shoot this gun with the open sights — at least at 10 meters; but with these sights, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for precision. The front red fiberoptic tube is very dark and doesn’t seem to gather light very well indoors. I took the rifle outdoors on a sunny day; and as long as I was in the sun, the red dot was okay. The moment I stepped into the shadows it faded. The actual dot is very small. When it’s lit, the sights look okay, with two green dots bracketing one small red one. But whoever designed these sights was not a rifleman, because they’re not very useful in the real world.
The rear sight adjusts in both directions and, except for the green dots, is a pretty nice sight. It has a square notch, and I wish I could use it with the front sight, but the housing for the red dot tube in the front is simply larger than the entire rear notch. The adjustments are crisp and positive, and there are scales on both adjustments so you know where you are.
The rifle I’m testing is in .22 caliber, which I thought was appropriate for the power. While I’m on the subject of caliber, have you discovered yet where Pyramyd Air shows the different calibers of the rifles on their website? There’s a small table showing a single caliber in the description, and it’s located to the right of the picture of the rifle. Put your cursor over the table or the words “Choose your airgun” directly below that area and it will expand to show all the calibers that model comes in. Click anywhere in the column for the caliber you’re interested in, and it’ll remain there when you move the cursor off the table. It’s a clever way to fit more information on the page!
The other Hatsan features
The 95 has the Quattro trigger and the SAS shock absorbing system. It doesn’t have the scope rail that accepts both Weaver and 11mm scope rings. The 95 takes only 11mm rings, though it does have a built-in recoil stop.
I normally don’t pay any attention to how much an airgun costs, except for perhaps a sideways glance to make sure it isn’t over the moon. This rifle certainly isn’t, that’s for sure. Until I looked at the price, I thought I was dealing with a $350 airgun — not a $150 gun! Yes, that’s right, the Hatsan 95 retails for under $150! Now, if it isn’t accurate, the price doesn’t matter. I’m not one of those shooters who evaluates everything by how much it costs. It’s either accurate or it isn’t, and I have NO time for guns that aren’t accurate.
If it is, then the Hatsan 95 could well be the best new buy of this year. If it isn’t, I will be sorely disappointed because they seem to have gotten almost everything else right.