Posts Tagged ‘Shock Absorbing System (SAS)’
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.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is the day we see the accuracy of the Hatsan 125TH air rifle I’m testing. I have a surprise for you, and it isn’t what you expect. Just to review, the rifle comes with a scope that’s best not used. It’s very poor optically. And their mounts are very lightweight, so I didn’t use them today, either. Instead, I mounted my favorite scope, a Hawke 4.5-14×42AO Tactical Sidewinder that I have raved about in other reports. It’s the sharpest scope I have (don’t own it yet, but I expect to), so no one can say the Hatsan rifle didn’t get the best optics.
Hatsan has a scope base that gives you the choice of Weaver or 11mm rings, and the Hawke scope was already mounted in a set of BKL 30mm medium rings with double topstraps. With these butted against the Hatsan’s scope-stop plate, there was no way the scope or rings were going to move under recoil — even the heavy thrust of the 125TH.
After the scope was mounted, I cleaned the bore. And that was when I got the surprise. Even a brand-new brass cleaning brush slipped through the bore with little resistance! I thought for a moment the rifle was a .22 and of course I was using a .177 brush. But no — the rifle I’m testing is a .177. It just has a very large bore. How large? The rifle I’m now testing has the largest bore of any .177 air rifle I’ve ever examined!
I looked through the bore to make sure it’s rifled, and it is. But there are no pellets in my inventory that begin to be large enough to fit this bore — which is why I got the results that I did.
Note from Edith: I asked B.B. if this is so big that it might be .20 caliber. He took a .20-caliber pellet and tried to insert it, but it was too big. So, this is just an oversized .177.
Still a drooper
If you recall, this rifle is a drooper. I knew that, but there are ways to test droopers that don’t compromise the scope. Pick a small aim point located as many inches above the intended impact point as necessary and let that be your aim point for every group. After adjusting things as much as possible, the groups were still landing three inches below the aim point at 25 yards. But if the groups you shoot are tight, you can always replace the rings with a set of droopers afterwards.
The first pellets I tried were Beeman Kodiaks — more to keep them from breaking the sound barrier in my home than for any other reason. I knew from earlier testing that middleweight pellets will go supersonic too easily in this rifle, and every shot will crack like a rimfire!
After I got the sight adjusted, I proceeded to shoot the best group of the day. In fact it was the only complete 10-shot group I fired in this test, because all other pellets scattered so much in the first three shots that it wasn’t worth my time to complete the group.
At 25 yards, 10 Kodiaks made this group that measures 1.336 inches between centers. The pellet at the low right isn’t part of the group. This is similar in size to the best groups made with open sights.
The group is terrible, but it tells me something important that I haven’t noticed until now. Notice that many of the holes are elongated rather than round? These pellets are wobbling as they fly downrange! Some look almost as though they were tumbling when they hit the target. There’s no way they can possibly be accurate when they fly like that, and that’s why I didn’t complete any other groups. Not only were the pellets scattered, many of them also tumbled or wobbled like these. Nothing I shot could ever be accurate in this airgun. When I looked back at the earlier targets from previous tests, I noticed some elongated holes there, too.
The other pellets
At first, I tried to keep the velocity below the sound barrier, so I tried JSB Exact Jumbo 10.2-grain domes and 10.5-grain Crosman Premier heavies. Both wobbled in flight and scattered worst than the Kodiaks. I don’t have the new JSB Exact Heavy 10.34-grain domes, but there’s little reason to think they would have performed differently.
I did try a couple middleweight pellets — just to say I did. Some old Beeman Trophy pellets I had on hand cracked like a .22 long rifle, and they did make a couple round holes, but they also scattered widely and one of them did rip an elongated hole.
On to other, lighter pellets. The H&N Field Target was on the border of supersonic. Some were, others weren’t. But I got more elongated holes with this pellet, as well.
Then I tried RWS Superdomes. I thought their thin skirts might blow out and hug the bore better than the other pellets. But, once again, I got all supersonics and elongated holes. Three shots opened to two inches, and I just stopped shooting.
That is as far as I am going to take the Hatsan 125TH. I’ve shot it with open sights, with the scope and mounts that come with it, and with the best scope available. I’ve checked the screws and cleaned the bore. I’ve tried a range of the best pellets. Nothing seems to help. This rifle I’m testing is simply not going to be more accurate than these tests have already demonstrated.
The bottom line
The Hatsan 125TH is a $200 magnum spring rifle. It has their best trigger, their shock absorber system and their Weaver/11mm scope base. Yet, it also has a barrel that’s so overbore that it doesn’t stabilize any pellet I tried. The trigger is too heavy and doesn’t adjust very far. The rifle cocks hard but gets easier as it breaks in. In the end, though, the test rifle wasn’t accurate. I could forgive everything else if I’d been able to shoot a good group with this air rifle.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today will be something different for many of you. This Hatsan 125TH air rifle combo I’m testing is more than just a test of one new gun. It’s really a test of the Hatsan trigger, the SAS, the scope mounting rail and the potential accuracy of Hatsan air rifles in general. So this is an interim step toward the goal of discovering if this air rifle can shoot.
We saw the potential accuracy with open sights in the last report; but as I noted, the front sight is too big for the notch in the rear. The accuracy wasn’t as good as I believe it can be.
I mounted the scope and rings that came with the combo. The two-piece rings were attached to the scope, but they weren’t spaced correctly to engage the cross-slots in the rifle’s scope rail, so I loosened the caps and adjusted them after installing both rings on the rail. It took only a couple minutes, and Hatsan included the one Allen wrench that I needed, so it was no trouble.
I needed to position the scope as far to the rear as it would go to get the correct eye relief, so the fact that the rings had to be moved wasn’t a problem. They would have been moved in any case. Although the rings are thin two-screw cap rings, they seem to be strong enough for the lightweight scope that came in the package.
The scope in this package is not one you will want to use — even for a little while. The parallax is fixed at long range; and no matter how low you adjust the power, the image seems fuzzy and indefinite. And that’s the heart of today’s report, because I could’t even shoot as well with this scope as I did with the less-than-optimum open sights in Part 3.
However, I went through the trouble of sighting-in the rifle with this scope just to see things like the barrel droop. And it did droop, though not as much as I thought it was going to. At 10 feet, the pellet was hitting about seven inches below the aim point. After adjusting the reticle about 100 clicks up, I got on target. There was room left to adjust, and the erector tube did not feel as though it was floating. As I said, the aiming was so indefinite that I felt the scope wasn’t doing the rifle justice.
But I did not waste any time testing multiple pellets with this scope. I used only Beeman Kodiaks for sight-in and, after confirming the gun was sighted but the scope wasn’t helping, I decided to end the test.
The trigger seems to be smoothing out as the test progresses. That agrees with what some owners have said about the Quattro trigger, so we may see an improvement over the first thousand shots. Other spring guns have such improvements, which is why it’s often good to withhold judgement until a couple tins of pellets have gone through the gun.
It also felt as though the cocking effort had dropped significantly. In Part 2, I measured it at 51 lbs. But when I measured it for this report, the effort required to cock the rifle had dropped to 45 lbs. A six-pound decrease is very substantial!
Where to now?
Okay, why did I stop the test with just one 10-shot group? Simple — the rifle was not doing well because I wasn’t able to see the target. There’s no sense shooting any more pellets with this scope, so I stopped.
I also now know that this rifle does, indeed, suffer from a drooping barrel. The next scope I mount will be mounted to take care of that problem from the beginning. I’ll also mount a relatively good scope (i.e., one with bright optics and a fine reticle) to give the rifle every benefit of the doubt.
Don’t get discouraged from this test. As I said at the beginning, it’s an interim test. We’re by no means finished with this rifle, yet. But it’s useless to waste time when you can clearly see there is a problem, which is what I learned today. With another better scope, we’ll return and complete the test. Only then will we know if the Hatsan 125TH in .177 caliber is an air rifle to choose.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, I’ll report on the Hatsan 125TH’s accuracy using open sights. It was a day of learning the rifle, and a lot was discovered. In the next report, I’ll mount the scope that comes with the rifle and test it again. But today it’s open sights all the way. When you read tomorrow’s report, you’ll understand how appropriate this test is.
The 125TH has a post-and-bead sight with TruGlo fiberoptic inserts. Fiberoptics are a poor choice for precision shooting because they cover too much of the target to aim precisely; but when you shoot outdoors on a bright day, they’re quick to acquire. Out to 25 yards, they’re adequate; but never choose them for long-range shooting or for hunting in the woods.
The rear notch on the 125TH is too small for the size of the front bead — hence I found it difficult to see any light on either side of the post when sighting. I also discovered that the barrel is drooping quite a lot; because even with the rear sight adjusted as high as it will go, I was still shooting below the aim point at 25 yards. That won’t get any better at longer distances, either. So, I think a scope will be better if I can get it to accommodate the droop as much as I need.
The first pellet I tested for accuracy was the Beeman Kodiak. I selected them because I knew they wouldn’t break the sound barrier, and I was shooting inside the house. The distance was 25 yards, and I used a 10-meter pistol target. The hold was at 6 o’clock on the bull. The first group was the best one of the day. It won’t look that good to you, but I learned a lot from it.
The group was 1.272 inches between centers, but it was taller than it was wide. The width is only 0.956 inches. This a characteristic that holds throughout this session.
Pellets that didn’t work
I tried JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes that went supersonic, but they were not grouping well. And Air Arms domes that also weigh 8.4 grains are equally bad. Both pellets broke the sound barrier and gave quite a crack as they went downrange.
The absolute worst pellet of all was the H&N Rabbit Magnum II. For starters, it’s designed with straight walls, so you can’t load it into the breech of a breakbarrel. You have to have something to press it in because your thumb isn’t hard enough to push it to engrave the rifling on the sides of the pellet. But I knew that going in. The first shot was about four inches higher on the target than any other pellet, and I hoped that I had found the miracle pellet for this rifle. Alas, the second pellet dropped about a foot (12 inches) at 25 yards, went through the reflector of my spotlight and popped the light bulb! Needless to say, I stopped shooting those pellets at that point.
Crosman Premier heavies
I figured the 10.5-grain Crosman Premier heavy pellet might do well, so I gave it a try. They grouped in 2.111 inches overall, but side-to-side the group was just 1.34 inches. Again, the group was taller than wide. I’m tempted to try this pellet again when the rifle is scoped.
I tried a different hold with the Kodiaks that were the most accurate pellet to this point. This time the group measured 1.71 inches between centers, but the width was only 1.152 inches. Again, taller than wide.
So, the hold didn’t improve things, but it’s now clear that the open sights are causing the problem. I’m not getting enough precision in the vertical orientation, which is why all the groups are significantly taller than they are wide. That means using a scope should show a marked improvement.
How the rifle feels
Whoever suggested trying to pull up on the trigger blade — I can’t do it because the thumbhole stock forces my hand to pull the trigger straight back. And the trigger is too heavy for good work. While there’s no creep in the second stage, there’s considerable travel that can be felt. I have the trigger adjusted as light as it will go, so this is a detractor.
The SAS works very well. I can feel some vibration with the shot, but it dies quickly, which must be attributed to the SAS.
The rifle recoils heavily. But it also rests very well on the flat of the hand, so it isn’t difficult to shoot. The best hold point is with the off hand touching the front of the triggerguard.
If the trigger were lighter, this rifle would be a pleasure to shoot. I’m getting used to the cocking effort needed, and I can’t wait to see how the rifle does with a scope.
A good day!
You might feel from these targets that I had a bad day, but with what I learned about the rifle I think I had a very good day. Next time, I’ll know two pellets to try going into the test, and I’ll also know the best hold to use. Until I did the pellet velocity versus accuracy test a couple weeks ago, I wouldn’t have known that it’s harmonics and not velocity that opens these groups. Let’s see what I can do with that newfound knowledge.
What is it?
Can any reader identify the tool in the photo below, and tell us what is it used for? It will play a part in an upcoming blog.
What is it?