by B.B. Pelletier
This is part 5 of what would normally be a three-part test. If you’ve followed it, you know all I’ve gone through to let the Hatsan 95 combo breakbarrel look its best. And today’s report was no exception. I spent more time with the rifle than I usually do in part 3 of any other airgun. I guess I had a burr under my saddle blanket about this rifle from the start. It was so nice-looking, and it was also a spring rifle that most adult men can cock, which isn’t that common when it comes to Hatsan breakbarrels. So, I wanted it to succeed.
Cleaned the barrel
The first step for today’s report was a thorough cleaning of the barrel with J-B Bore Paste on a brass bore brush. From the way the friction lessened the more times I brushed the bore and the black gunk that soon filled the bristles, I knew it was the right thing to do.
Mounted a scope
After the barrel was clean, I set about mounting a scope with droop to compensate for the barrel droop the test rifle has. I had planned to mount the Hawke Sport Optics 4.5-14×42 Sidewinder Tactical rifle scope, but it has a 30mm tube and nowhere in my inventory of available scope rings could I find a droop-compensating mount with 30mm rings. I have them, but they were all doing other jobs. Fortunately, when I was working with Leapers to create their UTG droop-compensating base for RWS Diana spring rifles they sent me a couple samples without the recoil shock shoulder, so I can mount them on any conventional 11mm scope dovetails. Since the Hatsan 95 comes with a scope stop plate already installed, I just backed the base up to it and I was done.
Because the UTG base raises the scope high above the spring tube, I used a set of the lowest Weaver rings I have. With them I was able to mount the AirForce 4-16×50 AO scope with plenty of room to spare. This AirForce scope is the brightest of my one-inch tubes. I don’t usually have it available because it’s mounted on my Talon SS, but the recent test of the Micro-Meter tank has freed it up.
Time to test!
Then it was time to test the rifle at 25 yards. I can report that the droop-compensating scope base did its job and put the scope’s adjustments down into the bottom quarter of the travel range. That means there was more than enough tension on the erector tube return spring, so that can be ruled out as an excuse for inaccuracy. After a quick sight-in at 10 feet, I went back to 25 yards and started shooting.
Beeman Kodiaks are out!
The first pellet I tried was the Beeman Kodiak. But no matter how I held the gun, they simply would not group. I fired about 30 rounds, trying all sorts of holds without success. I tried the Kodiak first because back in Part 3, they seemed to do well at 10 meters. I’d hoped that solving the scope problem would also make them group at 25 yards, but no dice.
So are JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes!
Next up was the JSB Exact Jumbo that weighs 15.9 grains. Like the Kodiaks, these had done well at 10 meters, and I just knew they would shine at 25 yards. But, once again, in hold after hold, they disappointed me. I would put three pellets into the same hole, then throw one an inch away. That could not be blamed on the scope this time.
I even tried shooting the rifle with the forearm resting directly on the bag. Though that seldom works…when it does, it works quite well, and it was worth a try. Once more, the groups were large and open. The shot count was now above 60 without success. I began mentally composing the report that was to say I had failed to get the Hatsan to shoot at all, but something inside kept me at the bench.
Perfect artillery hold is required
By shooting so many pellets, I did discover the best place to put my off hand. The heel has to touch the rear of the cocking slot. If I can feel that, I know the stock is always in the same place. Also, there can be absolutely NO tension when shooting! I have to be entirely relaxed and my shoulder cannot put any pressure against the buttpad. If there’s any tension or if I am holding the rifle in place instead of letting it just rest on target with me relaxed, the shot will always go wide in the direction the rifle wanted to go as I was holding it.
The next pellet I tried was the JSB Exact Jumbo that weighs 18.1 grains. This pellet often shines in certain PCPs, and I wondered if it might make a difference here. But when shot two landed two inches from shot one, I stopped.
Next up was the RWS Superdome that has surprised me in the past. Several readers say this is always a good pellet for them, and I thought it needed to be tried. I got 8 shots into 1.164 inches between centers, but that just wasn’t good enough to satisfy me. So, they were out, too.
While I was looking through my .22-caliber pellets I saw a fat tin of RWS Super-H-Points. This is a 14.2-grain hollowpoint pellet that also cuts a hole in the target like a wadcutter. It shouldn’t be accurate in a spring rifle of this power, but nothing else was working so I decided to give it a try. When the third shot made a cloverleaf with the first two, I felt this might be the one. And it was! Ten shots gave me a group that measures 0.792 inches between centers. Looking at this group, I see the promise of even better grouping once I become more familiar with the pellet. But even if this is the very best it can do, it’s good enough for me.
There is the 25-yard group we have been looking for! This Hatsan 95 likes RWS Super-H-Points. Ten made this 0.792-inch group. See the two holes made by the 18.1-grain JSB? No wonder I stopped shooting it!
The last word
So, what do I think? Well, the Hatsan 95 is definitely an accurate spring-piston air rifle at a great price. BUT — and this is a big “but,” — if you want it to perform you’re going to have to learn how to shoot a rifle. And I don’t mean shooting Uncle Jim’s 30-30 a couple times, either! You’re going to have to learn how to apply the artillery hold to the very best of your ability because this rifle does not forgive laxness.
Cosmetically, this rifle will give you more than any other air rifle in its price range. The trigger is disappointing, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s just not real good. But you can adapt to it and if you learn to hold the rifle right and use the right pellets, it will perform. Based on this test, I think the Hatsan 95 is one of the best buys in a spring-piston air rifle today.