Hatsan Speedfire - test & review
- Credit: Archant
Dave Barham puts the new 10-shot break barrel repeater from Hatsan to he test in this detailed review...
Is this going to be a recurring theme among break-barrel rifle manufacturers in the future? The list of mag-fed springer rifles seems to be slowly growing, with BSA’s Swarm concept fast approaching Gen 2 and now this little beauty from Hatsan.
I must admit, I was keen to get this rifle on my garden range for some fast-shooting plinking fun – I wasn’t disappointed.
MORE BUDGET RIFLES?
I have received quite a few letters and emails in recent months regarding the ‘Big Test’ featuring the odd sub-£200 rifle review. It seems that quite a few of you are enjoying extended reviews of lower priced rifles, as well as the usual high-enders. Well, this Speedfire is no exception to the rule, costing a mere £162.50!
Don’t worry though, we’ll be upping the ante over the next couple of months.
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This Hatsan rifle features a moulded synthetic stock, which is ambidextrous. However, after checking their website I discovered that it’s also available in wood.
There’s adequate chequering mid-stock, which is where the centre of balance is, as well as on the pistol grip. It feels almost rubber-like to the touch, but it isn’t.
Of course, all these plastic parts make for a lightweight rifle, and coming in a tad under 6.6lbs it’s ideal for younger shooters and for those who find wielding an 8lbs-plus rifle a bit too much to handle.
This rifle comes fitted with fibre-optic open sights, again made from synthetic material, but you can also slap a scope on top.
The fitted sights are more than adequate, though, with the traditional, adjustable rear ‘iron sight’ complemented with a post at the front. I like how the front sight is ‘foldable’ You simply pull it up to use it, then pop it back down out of the way if you want to add a scope. The rear sight has two small green fibre-optic pins each side of the groove, whilst the front post is red.
The rear sight can be adjusted for both elevation and windage, and they are extremely easy to use. I’d go as far as to say that these open sights are some of the best I have seen on any rifle to date.
There is an abbreviated 11/22mm Weaver-style rail bolted to the top of the action to take a scope. The one I have here is the 3-9 x 40 Bushnell Prime, which costs almost as much as the rifle at £149.99! I won’t talk about that scope now, because I think it deserves its own review in a future issue.
Right then, down to the nitty gritty. The ‘Speedfire’ unit fixed to the barrel looks rather cumbersome at first glance, but it really isn’t, and, half of the ‘bulk’ you’re looking at is actually the rear open sights.
The Speedfire system utilises a pretty standard rotary mag’, rather like you’d find on any multi-shot PCP rifle. It’s a spring-loaded indexing type, and very easy to load – just drop a pellet in and turn it to keep the tension on the spring whilst you load the rest of the pellets.
The magazine release button to the left of the housing simply requires a push to launch the mag’ out. I say ‘launch’, because when the mag’ is empty it’s quite light and the mag’ release spring is reasonably powerful, so it really does throw it up out in the air. I quite like the way it does that – it reminds me of breaking a shotgun and the spent shell ejecting.
With a loaded magazine inserted back into the housing you simply break the barrel and cock the rifle, then shoot. You can rattle off 10, or in this case with the .177 model on test, 12 shots as quickly as you can break the barrel. However, the safety button situated at the rear of the action above the pistol grip is an automatic reset type, so you have to pull that back with your thumb each time before taking your shot – better to be safe than sorry.
This rifle is powered by Hatsan’s ‘Vortex’ gas-ram system, and as such there is less recoil than I anticipated. This is due in part to Hatsan’s Shock Absorber System (SAS), which reduces both recoil and vibration inside.
Although the barrel features an integrated moderator and muzzle brake, there is a high-pitched ‘twang’ each time the rifle is fired.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Speedfire features an anti-bear trap device for added safety.
The Speedfire has a two-stage ‘Quattro’ trigger fitted. Straight out of the box, the first stage has a fairly short pull. I’m guessing it travels around 3mm, but it comes to a nice stop before the second-stage pull, which is positive enough. It can be fully adjusted, though, to suit your own requirements.
I had great fun in my back garden with this rifle, setting out some tin cans and spinner targets at 25 metres to see if I could hit them all in under 30 seconds, which I did. I also put the scope on top, got a little more serious on the paper targets and was pleasantly surprised at just how accurate this rifle can be – and with the power output in the low 11 ft.lbs range, I’d have no problems taking this rifle out into the field hunting rabbits.
I really enjoyed shooting this rifle, as did my good friend, Jim Midgley. For the money, I really don’t think I can find anything negative about it – it’s everything you expect it to be, and more.
For the airgunner who has everything, I reckon the Speedfire would make a welcome change.
Distributor: Edgar Brothers
Power Source: Gas-ram
Stock Material: Synthetic, ambidextrous
Safety: Auto reset
Calibres: .177 and .22
Mag Capacity: 12 (.177) 10 (.22)
Overall Length: 46.85in (1190mm)
Barrel Length: 14.5in (370mm)
Weight: 3kg (6.6lbs) without scope
Energy of Test Rifle: Avg 11.3 ft.lbs. over 20 shots
Variation (20 shots): 22 fps