Hatsan Factor PCP air rifle - test & review
- Credit: Archant
Dave Barham tests the long-awaited Hatsan Factor PCP air rifle, and discovers a seriously nice rifle for the sub-£500 price tag
This rifle has been eagerly anticipated for quite some time, but now it’s finally in production and I’ve managed to get my hands on one of the very first sub 12 ft.lbs. models to hit UK shores. So let’s see what all the fuss is about, shall we?
I’ve seen these extendable stocks on a number of different rifles in the past, and I really like them. A simple push button allows you to pull or push the butt of the rifle in and out to get the perfect length and fit. When fully collapsed, the rifle measures 1025mm (40.3in) and with the stock fully extended, it measures 1090mm (42.9in).
There’s also a cheek riser fitted, which can be adjusted for elevation. This is handy for all those who like to use high scope mounts. Talking of which, you can just about get away with low mounts on this rifle, due to the way in which the magazine loads – there’s nothing to obstruct the tube.
If 10 shots are not enough for you, then how about 24! Yes, the new rotary mag’s for the Factor can hold a whopping 24 shots in the .177 version, with an equally impressive 21 shots in the .22 model. Okay, so whilst I’m talking about the mag’s I might as well tell you that I’m not convinced that these are going to take the rough and tumble of an active hunter like me. They’re made from plastic, and due to their huge size have a very small pivot point via a screw that holds the top clear Perspex cover on. I can see me snagging these whilst clambering over fallen trees or crawling along a hedgerow in search of a clear shot at a rabbit, and only time will tell if the mag’s stand up to that.
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The good news is that they supply you with two magazines, plus a single shot loading ‘tray’ – it’s not a tray as such, more like a moulded plastic single shot mag’, but it does the job.
A LOT OF BOTTLE
I’ve already mentioned that this rifle is hot off the machines. In fact it’s so new that there isn’t even any shot count data for the UK sub-12 models yet. What I can tell you is that it’s in excess of 300 in the .177, because that’s how many shots I put through this test rifle on its first outing. I filled it right up to 250bar and there was still a drop of useable air left in the tank after 12 mag’s, thanks to the huge 500cc aluminium bottle that it comes supplied with, and if that’s not enough for you, there’s an optional extra 580cc carbon bottle available!
As far as the FAC models go, you get 105 shots in .177 (27 ft.lbs.), 100 in .22 (38 ft.lbs.) and 90 in .25 (42 ft.lbs.).
There’s a pressure gauge fitted where the bottle screws into the main action, which is very easy to see and read.
The Factor is nicely balanced, and weighing in at around 9lb once scoped it’s a good weight for shooting both freehand and off a pod. Right then, on to my second and final gripe about what is otherwise an exceptionally good rifle for the money. The fill port is situated smack-bang where your forehand sits at the pivot point of balance. There’s nothing technically wrong with that, but it’s permanently exposed with no dedicated cover.
Immediately in front of the fill port is a Picatinny rail for mounting the supplied handle/bipod, but that also digs into your hand. I must congratulate Hatsan on supplying a soft, heavy-duty rubber covering for said mount, though. It’s the first of its type I’ve ever seen, and let’s face it, there are plenty of rifles out there with Picatinny rails positioned exactly where you want to put your hand. Of course the rail can be removed with an Allen key if you don’t want it there, but that allows the full force of the exposed fill port to dig into your hand.
So on to the supplied foregrip handle/bipod. I’m not really sure about shooting whilst holding the handle. It’s resembles that of a Tommy Gun, and I just can’t get on with it. However, I don’t think that the ‘handle’ is designed to be held, it is, in fact a rather clever little bipod system. Press the button at the top and down pops a couple of legs that can be secured in place by tightening the screw cap at the base. It’s quite clever, and for those who like to shoot rabbits or targets off a pod, like I do, it’s a nice little touch.
One thing you’ll notice straight away about the Factor is the length of the barrel – it’s huge! Measuring in at 585mm it’s far longer than most. Of course it features Hatsan’s QE (Quiet Energy) shroud system, and it really is surprisingly quiet when shot. There is a removable screw cap at the end of the barrel that exposes a ½-inch UNF thread so you can add even more moderation if required, but if I’m honest, I don’t think it needs it.
When it comes to down to the nitty gritty of shooting this rifle, the action is superb. The sidelever cocking mechanism is smooth and very easy to operate. There’s no ‘clunkiness’ associated with the mechanism at all, and every pellet slides into the breech seamlessly. The more I shoot this rifle from the bench, the more I find myself grinning because I’ve got 24 shots at my disposal – more than enough to chop the centre out of a target, and the smooth loading action just widens that grin!
TRIGGER AND SAFETY
I really like the trigger on this Factor. It’s Hatsan’s ‘Quattro’ match model and it has a wide, gently curved, polished blade which gives plenty of control and feedback. The shoe itself can also be adjusted for vertical and horizontal alignment.
It’s a two-stage, fully adjustable unit with a good range of movement for both length and weight of pull. The one sent to me had been set just how I like it with a long, positive first stage followed by a crisp release. I measured the pull weight and it was about 1lb and a few ounces, which is again just right.
There is a manual flick switch safety lever immediately above the right-hand-side of the trigger guard, and the rifle will not fire once cocked if the safety is off but the sidelever is open. I tried numerous times to get it to go off after cocking and not closing the sidelever, but it just clicks and doesn’t release any air.
Like every rifle I test, I try to put at least 200 shots through it before beginning to build an opinion. Although I’ve only had this particular rifle for two weeks as opposed to the usual month (because it’s so new to market), I put best part of 300 shots down the barrel during my first session in my back garden (just 12 mag’s).
There’s something about a 24-shot magazine that makes you want to shoot more. Couple that with the additional spare mag’ and that’s 48 consecutive shots before you have to stop and reload!
What I can tell you about the Factor is that it’s very accurate and great fun to shoot. I can see this being a good all-rounder for those who like to smash targets all day long and those who enjoy hunting, too. I’m in no doubt that this will make a super-efficient hunting rifle, thanks to the accuracy and ease of use.
Apart from the two slight niggles I have about the durability of the mag’s and the exposed fill port, the Hatsan factor is a seriously nice rifle for the sub £500 price tag. It’s going to appeal to those who just like the look of the rifle, as well as those on a budget looking for something that’s going to work as a pest control tool as well as a fun rifle for target shooting.
Distributor: Edgar Brothers
Type: PCP, multi-shot rotary mag’
Stock Material: Ambidextrous, laminate
Trigger: Two-stage, adjustable
Trigger Pull: 1.2lb
Safety: Manual, switch
Calibres: .177, .22 and (.25 FAC)
Magazine: 24-shot .177, 21-shot .22, 19-shot .25
Overall Length: 1090mm (42.9”) Extended, 1025mm (40.3”) Shortened
Barrel Length: 585mm (23”)
Weight: 7.9lbs (3.6kg) without scope
Fill Pressure: 250Bar
Tube Volume: 500cc Aluminium
Shots Per Fill: Around 320 (.177), 300 (.22)
Energy of Test Rifle: Avg 11.2 ft.lbs. over 20 shots
Variation (20 shots): 13fps