Hatsan Nova Tact Compact - test & review

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 January 2021

Propped or rested it's easy to shoot, freehand is a different matter

Propped or rested it's easy to shoot, freehand is a different matter

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Airgunner editor, Dave Barham, gets better acquainted with the Hatsan NovaTact Compact in this full air rifle test & review

There's a 1/2-inch UNF for a silencerThere's a 1/2-inch UNF for a silencer

Straight into the firing line, before I get to the review, the first thing I have to say about this tactical rifle is that it weighs a ton. For some, that might be a no-no straight off the bat, but hear me out. The extra weight is mostly down to the massive 500cc bottle up front, which is a real plus point for those who like to spank best part of a tin of pellets down the range at their local gun club, because you get around 330 shots per fill from it.

However, as far as carrying this rifle around a permission all day, it’s obviously not the lightest of the bunch, but for those of us who like to dig ourselves into position in a field or hide, the added weight affords extra stability.

The fill port plug needs to be pushed out with the fill probeThe fill port plug needs to be pushed out with the fill probe

LOOKING GOOD

If you like the look of tactical-style rifles, then you’ll love the NovaTact Compact. It has a pull-out, collapsible synthetic stock, so you can get the perfect fit. The cheekpiece is also adjustable for height, which is another huge plus point, especially if you’re using a scope with a larger bell diameter and have to use high mounts.

The fore end of the stock features a Picatinny rail underneath for mounting a bipod, and there are pre-drilled screw holes at each end into which sling studs are located (supplied).

The ‘QuietEnergy’, fully shrouded barrel features an internal moderator, which makes this rifle approximately 50 per cent quieter than the original model, and I have to say it is really quiet when fired. Even though the barrel is shrouded, there is a half-inch UNF thread underneath a screw cap at the end of the barrel to take another silencer, should you wish to add one. On top of the action you’ll find an ample dovetail groove receiver that caters for both 11mm and 22mm scope mounts

The stock, fully extendedThe stock, fully extended

FILLING UP

This rifle is really easy to fill. There’s a fill port plug situated at the end of the action, which needs to be pushed out with the fill probe - you can get it out manually, but it’s a bit fiddly – especially if you have sausage fingers.

With the fill probe inserted, simply fill the 500cc bottle as you would do with any other PCP reservoir, always using the gauge on your bottle as a reference, rather than the gauge on the rifle, which is situated underneath the fore end of the stock.

You can adjust the cheekpiece for heightYou can adjust the cheekpiece for height

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MAG’S AND COCKING

The range is available in calibres including .177, .22 and .25, all of which are available as FAC-rated models too. Inside the box you’ll find two magazines, which are similar in design to the ones used by Weihrauch. They’re very easy to load – simply push your pellets in – there’s no indexing. Once loaded simply insert the mag’ into the rifle and use the brass locking lever to secure it in place; this prevents the mag from moving about or falling out.

It’s worth noting that this rifle has an ‘anti-double-pellet-feed’ mechanism, which prevents the dreaded double loading, and there’s also a patented ‘anti-knock’ system, which prevents air wastage if the rifle is knocked or bounced for whatever reason.

There is a handy storage port on the underside of the stock, in front of the trigger, in which to keep a spare loaded mag’ whilst out in the field.

The sidelever is spring-loaded, so when you begin to pull it back expect it to ‘run away’ due to the spring. If you’re not holding onto it firmly it will fly out of your grip. Once open you pull the lever back a further inch or so to cock the hammer and engage the rotary mag’ (as well as the automatic safety), then push the lever back into position and you’re ready to shoot.

The picatinny underneath the fore end is for a bipod - not your hand!The picatinny underneath the fore end is for a bipod - not your hand!

TRIGGER AND SAFETY

This rifle features Hatsan’s ‘Quattro’ tigger unit, which is a fully adjustable match-grade trigger that can be adjusted for both pull length and load. My test rifle was set pretty much as I like it, with a fairly long first-stage pull and light release.

There’s a push-button safety at the rear of the action above the pistol grip. It auto resets each time the rifle is cocked and being situated above the grip you have to bring your thumb under and around the grip then over the top to push it off, before bringing your thumb back around and under the stock to regain your shooting position. It’s a bit of a bind if I’m honest, but as far as safety goes, this one ensures that there is minimal risk of accidents.

I found myself pushing the safety off immediately after cocking the sidelever, before I grabbed the pistol grip each time, whilst smashing the targets at the range. It just saves all the faff, but is obviously far less safe when doing so because the rifle is in effect ‘live’ all the time. It would make far more sense to have the safety near the trigger unit, which could then be operated with your index finger without having to take your hand off the grip.

The Quattro trigger is superb - note the handy hidey place for the spare mag'The Quattro trigger is superb - note the handy hidey place for the spare mag'

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TEST TIME

With the rifle fully charged and mag’s loaded, I spent about an hour or so in my back garden getting it zeroed and hammering some paper targets. I found it to be extremely comfortable to shoot from the bench, and the weight of the rifle made it feel sturdy and solid.

Out on the field, I yet again failed to make any kills due to the rabbits having unsociable eating hours during the cold north-easterly winds, but I did set up a ‘tin-can-alley’ and had a really fun afternoon cutting tin cans in half and also popping some fallen acorns.

I put a good 250/300 pellets down the barrel, and the cocking action seemed to get smoother after the first 100 or so – not that it was stiff to begin with, but I did notice a difference from when I was shooting in my back garden. A little bit of ‘wearing in’ goes a long way with most rifles straight out of the factory.

I have no doubts that this will make a great rabbit hunting rifle, but I’m not sure I’d like to use it freehand for any prolonged periods of time due to the weight – over 10lb with the scope and mounts attached – so it’s not one that I would use for pigeons or squirrels.

The cocking lever is sprung-loadedThe cocking lever is sprung-loaded

CONCLUSION

For the money, you’re getting a whole lot of rifle with a great many features, plus it can be customised to your requirements for the perfect fit.

It’s a range rifle or a bipod hunter, not for lugging through a copse or around a farmyard. It will appeal to the tactical stock lovers as well as those wanting a decent PCP on a budget.

This little brass bolt locks the mag' in placeThis little brass bolt locks the mag' in place

TECH SPECS

Model: Nova Tact Compact

Manufacturer: Hatsan

Distributor: Edgar Brothers

Type: PCP, multi-shot rotary mag’

Stock Material: Ambidextrous, laminate

It's a well-balanced rifle, despite the extra weight up frontIt's a well-balanced rifle, despite the extra weight up front

Cocking: Sidelever

Trigger: Two-stage, adjustable

Safety: Manual, push

Calibres: .177, .22 and .25

Magazine: 10-shot (.177 and .22) 9 (.25)

Overall Length: 940mm (butt shortened), 1045mm (butt extended)

Barrel Length: 495mm

The mag system is easy to loadThe mag system is easy to load

Weight: 9.8lb without scope

Fill Pressure: 250Bar

Shots Per Fill: 330 (.177), 320 (.22)

Energy of Test Rifle: Avg 11.4 ft.lbs. over 20 shots

Variation (20 shots): 9fps

Websites: DayState Edgar Brothers

PRICE: £470

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