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Follow-up gun test: The Hatsan Nova Tact

PUBLISHED: 17:11 06 February 2018

The Compact version of Hatsan's Nova Tact is proof that less is more. .

The Compact version of Hatsan's Nova Tact is proof that less is more. .

Archant

The editor provides a no-nonsense guide to getting the most from the Nova Tact Compact

Click here to see the first test of the Hatsan Nova Tact.

I’ll begin this follow-up test with a bit of a recap, then, in a refreshing break from tradition, I’ll pitch straight in to a practical guide on how to get the utmost from shooting the Hatsan Nova Tact. Sound like a plan? Great – let’s do it.

First, whoever got it together to offer a foreshortened version of the Nova Tact should be given an award for their services to airgunkind. After two months of shooting the .22 calibre test rifle, I can now fully appreciate the transformation in handling, convenience, and subsequent enjoyment, which has been delivered courtesy of turning the full-length Nova into the Compact version.

The Hatsan Nova Tact Compact - it does the things hunters need.The Hatsan Nova Tact Compact - it does the things hunters need.

The kindest cut

I like a compact rifle, especially a sporter, and this Nova is built for the purpose of hunting, no doubt about it. Having now clattered the Hatsan around chicken sheds, log stores, and the inside of a brand-new 4 x 4, driven by its anxious owner who fretted every time he heard the ‘clunk’ of rifle on window surround, I really do understand and value the Nova’s reduction in length, and expansion in handiness. My mind stayed focused on my shooting, not least because I wasn’t freaking out about smacking the muzzle on things, especially when shooting in the dark, as I tend to at this time of year.

Even with all the room in the world in which to swing the test rifle around, the cut-and-shut that turns a Nova Tact into a Compact, really earned its keep. I could also fit an extra silencer, without making the rifle too ‘leggy’, and initially I thought this to be essential, but it really isn’t, unless you want silence for the sake of it, rather than as a means of putting more vermin in the bag.

Keep this charging port clean and sealed, and you'll avoid a 'hole' lot of trouble.Keep this charging port clean and sealed, and you'll avoid a 'hole' lot of trouble.

Fine features

The Nova’s length-adjustable butt and height-adjustable cheek piece combine to offer genuinely improved gun fit, and this is one feature I cannot praise too highly. Another praiseworthy feature is the rifle’s huge shot capacity, which provides over 400, full-power shots in .22, and a reported 300 in .177 from each 250 bar charge. Realistically, in sub-12 ft.lbs. format, the times in your hunting life when you’ll make full use of the Nova’s prodigious output, will surely be counted on the fingers of half a hand, and like me, you’ll top up with air before each hunting trip. This ‘habit’ forms the basis of one of my tips for top performance, but more of that soon.

Now add an excellent trigger, a truly accurate barrel, a 10-shot magazine system that works with total reliability alongside the rifle’s sidelever action, and you have something that matches tactical with practical, for £590. If you like your hunting guns to perform, rather than pose, this lopped-off Nova is quite the package.

There you go; the perfect plug 'n' play situation.There you go; the perfect plug 'n' play situation.

Premium performance extraction

Here comes the ‘shoot it better’ stuff, and it’s all perfectly straightforward, I promise. First, let’s go to the topping up the rifle before every session habit I mentioned earlier. Having found my rifles’ ‘sweet spots’, which is the charge pressure that produces the most consistent shots, I fill my guns to this point before I go hunting. If you do this each and every time you use the Nova, or any non-regulated rifle come to that, you’ll teach yourself what your rifle does throughout the most useful part of the charge. Even if the first 50 or 100 shots from your rifle cause no discernable power-curve or shift in trajectory, the fact that you know what’s happening will improve confidence, because you’ve eliminated another variable.

I didn't fully explore the Nova's open sights capability, but I strongly suggest you do.I didn't fully explore the Nova's open sights capability, but I strongly suggest you do.

Do all the usual stuff

I said getting the best from the Nova was straightforward, and it is, so take full care of the basics by getting those stock adjustments absolutely perfect for you. Keep tweaking them, too, until that rifle fits you without conscious effort or moving your head around to find optimum eye-relief for the scope. This rifle gives you the chance to achieve enhanced gun fit, so make the very most of it.

Of course, the remaining golden rules apply, and these cover pellet choice, trigger settings, and the unrelenting need to keep crud out of the system. Hatsan provide a plastic plug for the Nova’s charging port, and because that port is in an area where grubby hands often wander, it’s essential that you keep it protected. Use the plug, don’t lose the plug, and if you do manage to lose it, find a suitable replacement until your dealer can get you another one from Edgar Brothers. Above all, don’t run that rifle without an inlet port plug.

I didn't fully explore the Nova's open sights capability, but I strongly suggest you do.I didn't fully explore the Nova's open sights capability, but I strongly suggest you do.

Open sights

I was really determined to give the Nova’s open sights a proper go and explore their potential to the full. I didn’t do this; at least not to the level I’d promised myself. I had two sessions with the Nova, where I strolled about the wood yard and blatted a wide variety of targets, from tiny chips of timber to dried thistle heads, and although this proved the effectiveness of open sights out to 15 yards or so, I didn’t honestly push that particular envelope anywhere near enough, and I’d strongly suggest you did just that.

Final thoughts

This is a well-made, highly functional, commendably accurate and completely practical sporting air rifle. It’s also more affordable than many, and those features I’ve listed combine to put the Hatsan Nova Tact Compact on the shortlist of any hunter looking for a reliable companion in the field. It’s no lightweight but it’s certainly handy, and if you value performance over pretty, you need to take a long look at what could be the short answer to your hunting needs.

Specification

Model: Nova Tact

Manufacturer: Hatsan

Country of origin: Turkey

Price: £590

Type: Pre-charged, multi-shot, tactical sporter

Calibre: .22, .177, .25

Cocking/loading: Sidelever

Loading: Via removable, rotary 10-shot magazine

Trigger: 2-stage, adjustable

Stock type: Ambidextrous synthetic, adjustable for pull-length and cheek piece position

Weight: 4kg (9lbs)

Length: 37-41 ins (940-1040mm)

Barrel: 482mm (19 ins)

Fill pressure: Max 250 bar

Shots per charge: 400-plus, in .22, potential 300-plus in .177

Variation over 100 shots: 15fps over 80 shots for .22 on test when charged to 230 bar

Average energy: 11.5 ft.lbs.

Contact: Edgar Brothers at www.edgarbrothers.com

RRP: £590

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