Gun test review: Hatsan Predator
- Credit: Archant
Dave Barham tests the latest PCP air rifle from Hatsan – the mighty Hatsan Predator comes in at just £455 and is ideal for target shooting from a rest
Yes, I know, I’m ‘having a Turkish’. Yet again, I find myself reviewing another rifle from Turkey, and do you know what? I’m not going to apologise. There are some great rifles coming out of Turkey right now, and if I’m honest, they’re keeping the industry alive with ‘interesting’ rifles – this Predator model being no exception. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, for certain, but as you will discover here, it performs very well, even if it does have its flaws.
A heavy air rifle ideal for bench shooting
Right then, let’s get straight to the nitty gritty shall we? This is one beast of a rifle, definitely not something I’d want to be lugging around field all day. It weighs in at 11.2lbs unscoped! Aptly named ‘the Predator’, all I could envisage whilst testing this rifle is Arnold Schwarzenegger shouting, “Get to the choppa!” In fact, the only thing that’s missing is a big-ass grenade launcher mounted underneath it.
All joking aside, it’s too heavy for me to shoot standing for any prolonged period of time, and I’m a 6ft 5in tall lump. That said, when I was shooting from the standing position, the extra weight and excellent balance of this rifle did make for some sturdy shots.
I’m going to switch things up a bit this month and give my verdict at the start of this review, because I think it’s important to understand where this rifle sits within the market. Obviously, there are the die hard (not a film reference) collectors who will find this rifle interesting and exciting.
Then there’s a real case for this rifle appealing to those who like to shoot from a bench. It’s sturdy, really sturdy, and it shoots extremely well from a bipod. Likewise, it shoots well from the prone position, so I would have no problems hunting rabbits with this rifle from a fixed point in a field.
If you like your ‘tactical’, military-style rifles, then the Predator is definitely going to appeal to you – it’s just not really a practical hunting rifle, in my opinion.
Hatsan Predator features overview
Okay, so I’ve given my thoughts on where I see this rifle in the marketplace, but what about the specs and build? To start with, Hatsan is very keen to point out that the Predator has a 400cc bottle, plus 50cc air tube. I can only presume that the extra 50cc could be the space between the bottle and the valve – there’s very little information on the subject without taking the whole thing to bits.
You’ll notice that the bottle forms the rear end of the stock, which is also quite common on these tactical rifles, and fill pressure is 200 bar, which is pretty standard, but this gives around 160 useable shots in .22.
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Where this rifle really does score big on points is the sheer number of design features. It has a precision rifled, choked barrel for accuracy, which is threaded and capped at the end for a ½” UNF moderator.
On top, there’s a Picatinny rail milled receiver for both 11mm and 22mm scope mounts, plus a Picatinny rail underneath at the fore end to house a much-needed bipod.
The rubber butt pad has a huge range of customisation available for both elevation and fit angle, which is achieved via two large screws on the side of the stock and an Allen screw situated in the rear. It also has an ‘elasticated rubber’ cheek piece for added comfort and comes with sling swivels attached.
The Predator comes with iron sights
This rifle comes supplied with a really good set of adjustable front and rear ‘Truglo’ fibre-optic sights, both of which are detachable for scope use. The front sight is adjustable for elevation via a small screw knob, something I haven’t encountered before, and looking down the rifle through these sights gives a very clear picture of what’s going on – the fibre-optics literally ‘glow’ and make it very easy to see what you’re doing. For those who love open sights, these are some of the best I have used.
Loading the multi-shot mag
I was sent the .22 model for review, which gives 14 shots per mag’. However, the .177 gives a whopping 17 shots, whilst the .25 version gives 13 shots per mag’. Incidentally, you get three mag’s supplied with the rifle, two of which are held firmly in a recess on top of the rear of the butt section of the stock – it’s a great design and very practical.
Loading the all-metal mag’s is easy and very similar to that of another well-known manufacturer – you simply press each pellet into the rear of the mag’. The mag’ is then inserted into the loading port from the right-hand-side – you can’t put it in any other way, and there is a mag’ locking slide to keep it in place once you’ve put it in.
Trying out the bolt action
The bolt action is quiet, but the initial pull-back requires some force. It does glide effortlessly forward to push the pellet into the breach, though. It also has an ‘anti-double pellet feed’ mechanism, preventing more than one pellet being loading into barrel, which is a nice touch.
The reason why it takes so much effort to cock this rifle is partly due to the filling system. You see, each time you pull the bolt back to cock the rifle, it moves a sliding metal cover backwards, which covers the fill port some 8 inches in front of the bolt.
It’s the only way you can fill this rifle, by cocking the bolt to reveal the fill port, and this happens every time you cock the rifle. For me, it’s not the best design feature, but it works. I just really don’t like the idea of the fill port being ‘opened’ and exposed every single time the rifle is cocked.
Two stage trigger
The manual safety is a lever type and situated immediately behind the bolt. The trigger is two-stage and is one of the key selling points for me on this rifle – it’s lovely to use. It’s a heavy pull straight from the factory, clocking in at just under 3lbs, but it feels really nice and crisp. There are two screws for adjustment, which are easy to access and use – one is for travel, the other for load.
The Hatsan Predator practical field test
So how does it perform? Way better than I anticipated! The Predator is accurate, very accurate, and I was easily putting five shots into a 10mm bull at 30 metres on the range. I tried a range of pellets including JSB Exact, RWS Superdomes and Air Arms Field, all of which gave similar results. The average shot difference was 18fps over 10 shots, which for an unregulated rifle is very good, hence the great accuracy achieved.
As I have already mentioned, I’d have absolutely no problem hunting rabbits with this rifle, it’s more than capable and consistent for the job, but give me something almost half the weight for wandering around woods when targeting pigeons and squirrels!
I like the Predator, for all it’s little niggles, it’s just something way out there and unlike anything else I’ve come across to date. Plus, it gives you a great workout just getting it in and out of the case – what a way to burn off some of that lockdown belly!
Distributor: Edgar Brothers
Type: Pre-charged, multi-shot
Max Fill Pressure: 200 bar
Tube Volume: 400cc
Stock Material: Synthetic
Stock Type: Ambidextrous
Cocking: Bolt action
Trigger: Two-stage adjustable
Calibres: .177, .22 and .25
Safety: Manual, ambidextrous
Overall Length: 1100mm (43.3in)
Barrel Length: 585mm (23in)
Magazine Capacity: .177, 17 shots; .22, 14 shots; .25, 13 shots
Weight: 11.2lbs (5.1kg)
Shot Capacity: .22, around 160, .177, around 150
Variation (10 shots): 18fps
Average Energy: 11.5 ft.lbs.