by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Wonderful news for those who have been following the reports of the Hatsan model 25 Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol. It turns out to be accurate, which is why I reserve my final observations until I test a gun on the range.
This big pistol had a lot of strikes against it up to this point. It’s very hard to cock, the trigger-pull is too long and creepy, the gun failed to achieve its rated velocity and the breech is tight. Today, you’ll see how it did on the range, and I think most of my concerns are going by the wayside. This kind of turnaround doesn’t happen that often, as readers of this blog know only too well. We often get a sense of how well or poorly a gun is going to do in the early stages of testing. And this one looked like it was headed downhill. But after you see the results on paper, I think you’ll have to agree with me that the Hatsan Supercharger is an airgun to consider.
Let’s get right to it. I elected to shoot at 10 meters because I had no idea what was in store for me, and I didn’t want to shoot the furniture (again). There were only three customer reviews of this pistol when I was ready to test, and two of them had no useful information. Only one person commented on accuracy, and he said he could get 2-inch groups shooting offhand at 25 yards. Since he didn’t mention how many shots were in those groups, I didn’t give his report a lot of credibility, other than to hope that this test would turn out well.
I used a two-hand hold, with my forearms resting on a sandbag and both hands extended in front of the bag. So the hold was very steady. With a powerful pistol like this, the recoil is pretty violent. It can factor into where the pellet goes, so your hold has to be very consistent. If it is, you’ll group as tight as the gun can — not unlike an M1911A1 Colt pistol that also bounces a lot when it fires. The secret, if there is one, is to always “bounce” the shot in the same way.
Holding the gun this way gained me two big advantages. First, the fiberoptic sights went black, giving me a precision dark sight picture instead of a vague glowing array of dots. And second, the heavy, creepy trigger didn’t matter as much. The hold was so secure that I was able to wait out the very long pull — except for a couple times that I’ll note.
JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome
I began with the JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome for no particular reason. The first pellet landed several inches above and to the right of the center of the 10-meter pistol bull, so I put 12 clicks of down elevation and left the windage alone. The next shot hit the upper right edge of the bull, so I shot two more to see whether the gun could group or not. When I saw that it could, I decided to complete the 10-shot group. Seven additional shots completed this first group, and I didn’t bother looking until I went downrange to change the target. When I did, two things jumped out at me. First, nine of the 10 shots were in a tight cluster that told me this pistol wants to shoot. And second, I noticed that the amount the group had dropped from the first shot was about what I expected the 12 clicks to do. Perhaps, these sights are very precise and can be trusted? That’s what I thought at this point.
This is the first target. Nine of the 10 JSB Exact domed pellets went into a tight group, and I can’t explain the lower one. The 9 shots measure 0.663 inches between centers, while the entire group measures 1.411 inches. This looks encouraging!
Seeing how far 12 clicks had dropped the group the first time, I dialed in 6 more clicks of down and 3 clicks of left, hoping to center the next group. I shot the same pellet as before and didn’t bother looking through the spotting scope for the entire 10 rounds. My fourth shot was a called flier that I saw land high in the white. When I went down to pull the target I was treated to a very tight group with 3 shots that had strayed. The called flier was the farthest away from the group and 2 lower shots were just from me not holding as well as I should have. This group, coupled with the first one, told me this pistol can shoot.
Now that I’ve established a baseline for the gun, I tried the lighter JSB Exact Jumbo RS pellet. Unlike the first pellet, I could see that this one was scattering all around the bull, even without looking through the spotting scope. And, sure enough, when I went t0o examine the target, the group was much larger. So, there’s a clear difference between these two pellets — even though they’re both domes and both made by JSB.
After seeing this target, I wondered if this open group was just due to the difference in the pellets or was I wearing out from cocking this pistol so many times? After all, it does take 58 lbs. to cock it, and that, coupled with the general strain of concentration from shooting, can tire you out. One way to find out if it was the pellet or me was to shoot another group with the 15.9-grain Exact dome that had already done so well.
This last group of 15.9-grain domes shows that I’m getting tired, but also that this pellet does group better than the RS. The 2 highest shots in the white were both called fliers. The low right shot was not called.
And this final group does demonstrate that I am getting tired, but also that the 15.9-grain Exact pellet is better in this pistol than the Exact RS. It’s so nice to have a decisive result like this because it doesn’t leave any doubt. The group measures 1.435 inches, with 9 shots in 1.015 inches.
If you want a powerful spring-piston air pistol, the Hatsan Supercharger is one I can recommend. In .22 caliber, it delivers over 7 foot-pounds of muzzle energy with an accurate pellet, which puts it right up there in the same power class as the Beeman P1 and the RWS Diana LP8. Don’t think that it’s anywhere near as refined as those two pistols; but in terms of power and accuracy, it does deliver.
When I started this report, I said that if this pistol could deliver on accuracy it would be a best buy. Even though it doesn’t make its advertised power, it’s still a powerhouse…and, indeed, it is a best buy at the price. However, if you get it, you’re going to have to do your part to get the performance it offers.