Hatsan AT P1 PCP air pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Hatsan AT P1 PCP air pistol
Hatsan AT P1 air pistol

This test is being done because in Part 3, the accuracy test, I felt the scope I was using wasn’t giving the Hatsan AT P1 PCP air pistol the best chance for success. It was a vintage Weaver K856, which means a fixed 8x magnification with a 56mm objective lens. Though it doesn’t say anywhere on the scope, I’m pretty sure the scope’s parallax is fixed at 100 yards. At the 25 yards I was shooting, the target was slightly blurry.

The best group I got in that test was five Crosman Premiers into 0.678 inches at 25 yards. That was shooting off a sandbag rest with a rifle scope.

I said at the end of that report that I would return with a different scope mounted and try again, and today is a report on how that went. The scope I selected this time was the UTG 3-9X40 AO True Hunter that hasn’t hit the market yet. It’s a full-sized rifle scope with a suggested retail price of $104.97, so I would expect to see it sell for something less than that. I’m not going to report on this scope in detail today, but you do need to know that it’s a fine scope for this test. The parallax adjustment worked perfectly, and I was able to get the target bulls into sharp focus. The way I had to hold the pistol to use the scope was a detractor, but it’s no reflection on the quality of the scope, itself. I plan to do a full report on just the scope, but I’ll mount it on one of my rifles of known accuracy.

Hatsan AT P1 PCP air pistol with UTG 3-9 True Hunter scope
The UTG 3-9X40 True Hunter scope was a good pick for the Hatsan pistol.

As I reported, the Hatsan pistol has a proprietary quick-disconnect fill probe that isn’t compatible with other airguns outside the Hatsan line, so I attached it to the hose on my Hill pump. I need my carbon fiber tank for filling all my other PCPs that are universally compatible with the Foster-type quick-disconnect fittings, so the Hill was dedicated to this pistol. It took 26 pump strokes to fill the pistol after 10 shots were fired. That’s 2.6 pump strokes per shot. I said in the last report that the gun seems to give the best results with 7 shots per fill; but since the clip holds 10 pellets, I shot it 10 times per fill. All of today’s groups are 10-shot groups at 25 yards. I feel that’s only reasonable because nobody wants to stop shooting and fill their gun in the middle of a clip.

Shooting was off a sandbag rest, which is fine for a PCP. This pistol does recoil a little when it fires, but that’s well after the pellet has left the muzzle of the gun. The recoil is more of a rocket-like push than a typical firearm recoil, and it’s far from the violent jump of most spring guns.

I overfilled the pistol the first time. I couldn’t clearly see the gauge on the pump and wound up putting 3,500 psi into the gun, rather than 3,000. So, just this one time, I shot 20 rounds on a fill instead of just 10. Had my groups been great, I would have gone back to the chronograph and looked at the velocity again with a 3,500 psi fill.

The Hill pump is great because it allows for such a fill. Other hand pumps peak at 3,000, but the Hill keeps right on going to 3,500. I bought it from Compasseco (which is now owned by Pyramyd Air) years ago when I was testing several BSA and BSA-made derivative PCPs because they’re all pressurized to 3,350 psi.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavys
The first group fired was 10 JSB Exact 18.1-grain Jumbo Heavy domes. The scope was not sighted in, and the group landed about 4 inches below the aim point and 2 inches to the right. It measures 0.844 inches between centers. While that’s not much better than good, it beats all but 1 of the groups I made with the gun the last time at the range. Since this was 10 shots and not 5 or 7, I have to say that I did measurably better with the new scope.

Hatsan AT P1 PCP air pistol first 10-shot group 25 yards JSB 18-grain
First 10 JSB Jumbo heavys went into 0.844-inches at 25 yards from a rest. This is adequate accuracy, but nothing to shout about.

Since the built-in pressure gauge said there was still about 180 bar left in the pistol after the first group, I loaded the clip with another 10 JSB Jumbo Heavys and shot again. Before shooting, I adjusted the scope through rough guesswork and managed to hit the lower right quarter of the bull at which I was aiming. I really like how well the new UTG scope adjusts, and I like how the knobs can be locked after every adjustment.

Hatsan AT P1 PCP air pistol second 10-shot group 25 yards JSB 18-grain
Second 10 JSB Jumbo Heavys went into 1.053 inches at 25 yards from a rest. The scope was adjusted after the first group was fired.

This is significant. It means there are more than the 7 shots per fill that I reported in Part 3. But I had to overfill the gun to get the other shots. More on that thought at the end of the report.

Please note that the largest of these 2 groups was 1.053 inches for 10 shots. In the previous test, the 10-shot group fired with the lighter JSB Exact 15.9-grain Jumbos was 2.093 inches. This one is a good four-tenths of an inch smaller. I think that is good evidence that the scope is the big difference this time; and if there’s a secondary difference, it’s that I am learning to shoot this pistol. However, I didn’t shoot this 18.1-grain JSB before, so my comparison isn’t perfect.

The trigger-pull was extremely long and mushy as the pistol came from the box, and it does not help the groups one bit. It’s hard to hold steady when pulling through a long, heavy trigger-pull. Also, I have to hold the end of the scope with my left hand to keep the spacing for my eye so I can see through it. If I were to try to freehand it, I would never be able to see through the scope because the image would keep blacking out with small movements of my eye and hand. So, the hold is both difficult and uncomfortable. A pistol scope would be better, though I doubt the groups would get any smaller with one.

Trigger adjustment
The trigger is adjustable, however, and this is one of those rare instances in which the adjustments really work! I adjusted the long pull in my office after the range and got the trigger breaking fairly crisp and quite a bit lighter. This might have helped the groups by some amount.

I’ve tried adjusting this Quattro trigger in some Hatsan spring rifles before and didn’t see as much improvement; but, of course, in a PCP the trigger isn’t holding such a heavy spring.

Beeman Kodiaks
Next, I filled the pistol to 3,000 psi and loaded 10 Beeman Kodiaks. This time I thought I had it right until the two final shots. Shots 9 and 10 went high and right from the main group. Eight shots went into 0.701 inches, but the last 2 shots opened the group to 1.118 inches.

Hatsan AT P1 PCP air pistol first 10-shot group 25 yards Beeman Kodiak
Ten Beeman Kodiaks went into 1.118 inches at 25 yards from a rest. The first 8 shots went into 0.701 inches, and that’s what we’re looking for.

This group sort of reminded me that 10 shots were too much for the AT P1 pistol on a 3,000 psi fill, even at 25 yards. Eight seemed to be the maximum with the new UTG scope. But there was one more pellet to try.

I took Skenco New Boy Seniors along, but they’re too long for the Hatsan’s clip. They protrude and don’t allow the clip to turn when the gun is cocked. The only other pellet I had to try was the Crosman Premier.

Once more, I got 8 shots in a smaller group that measured 0.791 inches, then shots 9 and 10 went wide and opened it to 1.266 inches. One went to the left and the other went right, as though I was throwing curve balls. I couldn’t see the pellets in flight; but when I saw the hole each one made, it came as a surprise.

Hatsan AT P1 PCP air pistol first 10-shot group 25 yards Crosman Premiers
Ten Crosman Premiers went into 1.266 inches at 25 yards from a rest. The first 8 shots went into 0.701 inches, and shots 9 and 10 went wide right and wide left. Once again, 8 shots were relatively close with 2 fliers.

Based on all this data, I’m going to say there are only 8 good shots per fill in this pistol with a 3,000 psi fill. Given the results of both days on the range, I believe I can safely make that statement. But since I was able to fill the pistol to greater pressure and get additional good shots, I think it might respond well to a fill pressure of 3,200 psi and be able to shoot all 10 shots.

The Beeman Kodiaks and Crosman Premiers seem to be the best 2 pellets in this pistol. Next time, I might try a third pellet that hasn’t been tried…like the JSB Exact RS.

Not done yet
I’m not yet finished with the Hatsan AT P1 pistol. In the next test, which I think will be the final one, I’ll try filling to 3,200 psi to see if I can get 10 good shots on one fill. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go back to the 3,000 psi fill and only shoot 8 shots per group. Now that I have a good scope, 2 good pellets, a knowledge of the power curve and fill pressure limits, plus a newly adjusted trigger, I think I can make the gun perform at its best.

Why am I willing to do all this testing? Because there aren’t that many good PCP air pistols available, and I think this might be a good one once I learn all its secrets. I owe you readers that much because so many of you are considering this one.

34 thoughts on “Hatsan AT P1 PCP air pistol: Part 4

  1. I think you are on to something with the 3200 psi fill pressure.

    Sometimes you have to find the fill pressure for a pcp gun if you cant adjust the stroke or pressure of how hard the striker hits the air valve.


  2. B.B.

    I have been following all your tests of this Air Pistol. I too think its a well made gun & should have more to offer. Looking forward to the final test. Thanks for all the trouble taken for our benefit.

    Errol


  3. Even though this pistol has many short comings for the price, it seems to group nice. Lots of competition in that price range with the AF pistol and the P-rod. You’re giving it a fair shake though, BB!

    /Dave


  4. Pyramyd needs to change their description on their web page for this pistol. It says “Max Shots per Fill: 35″.

    Tom or Edith you may want to bring this to their attention.


    • chasblock,

      Pyramyd Air got that info from the manufacturer. Not everyone has the same idea of what “max shots per fill” means. To most manufacturers/vendors/importers, it means the maximum number of shots you can get without ending up with a pellet stuck in the barrel (not enough air pressure to push it through).

      B.B. gives you the number of shots you get without dropping the velocity more than 100 fps from the first shot. There may be exceptions to that rule, but usually that’s what he goes with.

      In B.B.’s case, it is not called the max number of shots per fill. It would better be called the effective number of shots per fill.

      I know shooters are interested in how many effective shots they can get before needing a refill, but suppliers are not necessarily interested in that or understand how their customers use their guns. For instance, I’m quite sure PCP makers who have never seen a field target match would be surprised that the guns they sell that get “30 max shots per fill” are actually being refilled by field target shooters after 10 or 12 shots in order to maintain a stable velocity and trajectory. Hunters who want to be sure they’re getting maximum impact (and therefore max velocity) are also refilling more frequently in order to have one shot, one kill instead of just maiming animals due to a 300 fps drop in velocity!

      Edith



      • Edith,

        You answered this while I was out at the range. I couldn’t have done any better than you did. You explained way more than I usually do, but what you said is exactly what I was thinking, and you’re right — most manufacturers do not understand how the average shooter will use their airguns.

        B.B.


  5. The Hatsan fill probe for the AT44 platform works fine with the Evanix fill probes on the Renegade/Rainstorm (diameter is the same and the air port is close enough to center of tube to use either one). Looking at the mags I would say Hatsan had access to Evanix rifles during development.


  6. It’s hard for me to relate to shooting an air pistol at 25 yards. Those groups look pretty good to me.

    I’m undergoing a reevaluation of triggers. I like a light crisp trigger as much as the next. BUT if the goal is a steady squeeze with a surprise break. THEN what is the value of a trigger break like a glass rod? That isolates the moment of release when the goal is to make everything a continuous process. I’m getting new insight into this through the trigger on my Mosin. I’ve heard it said that Russian military triggers have no specific letoff. I found that to be true of the AK47 that I fired. But the trigger was very light and my standing groups at 25 yards were not bad at all. For my Mosin, I had the gunsmith install the Huber Concepts trigger. Despite the literature about adjusting the trigger to a double-stage if you want, it really is single stage with no let-off like the original, just a lot lighter and smoother. The gunsmith was cursing out the Mosin triggers in comparison to match G.I. triggers of which I have a shining example in my M1 Garand. And yet, my new killer trigger squeeze comes into its own on this new trigger. I can’t wait to try out the rifle (next Saturday!). Just like the 80s song, “I think I’m turning Japanese,” I think I’m turning Russian.

    One might compare this trigger design to the ultimate standard, the Anschutz, which Duskwight was talking about over the weekend. Mine does indeed have a double stage and a super-precise let-off. But it’s also so light that the let-off almost doesn’t matter. So, for any other rifle than an Anschutz, do we gain anything with a crisp let-off or is it something we try to ignore?

    Matt61


    • Matt61,

      A smooth, crisp, let-off should matter, if you are trying to avoid jerking the trigger, which can happen even with a light trigger. Under the mental strain of shot execution, a lot of us have trouble avoiding the “milking effect” where other finger muscle contractions kick in, causing us to introduce involuntary jerks that disrupt our sight alignment.

      Yes, each shot should surprise you, but really bad triggers can be so long and creepy that they can make shot execution almost exhausting. The more out of practice I get, the more trouble I have with these sorts of problems, and the more I have to consciously tell myself what to do.

      For a heavy trigger, hand strength matters a great deal. You need a firm, but natural grip (i.e., one that does not hinder blood circulation). Beyond that, trigger control is improved upon by finding a grip that supports sight alignment throughout the shot. If a grip is not good, then things like putty help.

      Victor


    • A smooth steady squeeze does not necessarily correlate to a constant trigger movement. Consider that an increase in pressure could be absorbed by the pad of the trigger finger.

      The worst trigger, in my mind, would be the one that has a long pre-fire stroke with constantly increasing pressure, AND which has post-fire travel with greatly reduced pressure. In this style, you’d have heavy hand pressure pushing forward countering the finger pulling back — but as soon as the trigger releases, you’d have the forward pressure of the hand pushing the gun out-of-line.

      In contrast, a trigger with no post-release over-travel means that the trigger stops moving while you still have the opposing pressures of hand and finger countering each other. I have two, if not three, guns with over-travel stops (T/C Contender, Baikal IZH MP-46m, and maybe a Crosman). The stop screw on the Contender actually backed out at the range once, and prevented the gun from being fired! (It was stopping the trigger before the release point).

      This is also were two-stage triggers come in: the first stage is very light, has a long range of motion, and moves most of the sear/trigger engagement. Then the second stage comes in, the trigger pressure rises sharply, but doesn’t really move until the pressure reaches the proper level, at which time it releases — and ideally has minimal over-travel.

      A long, high pressure, trigger makes it difficult to hold on target as the point of aim varies as the trigger moves; a long, light pressure, trigger can be unsafe just due to the light weight (if I ever find time to finish shaping the Baikal grip I’ll work on the trigger — the second stage is too light for my taste; I can’t feel the transition from first to second)[to me, the transition between first and second should be distinct change; the first should move easily, the second should have no [minimal] movement, suddenly “snap”, and have no over-travel after the snap]

      A two-stage trigger can combine the best of both — very light pull while moving most of the sear engagement without affecting point of aim, while having the safer higher pressure at point of release with no noticeable movement of the trigger.


      • I did a lot of competition shooting with a pistol in my 67 year life. Let me give you my perspective on trigger pull.

        On a single action pistol I want single stage pull with a “breaks like a glass rod” let off with absolutely no felt over travel. For competition my goal was 1.5 lbs let off where allowed, or the lightest allowed. So you place your finger on the trigger, and carefully squeeze. No take up, no over travel.

        For double action pistols, the goal was 6 pounds let off with an absolutely smooth consistent pull all the way through the let off point and again, no over travel.

        In hundreds of thousands of rounds testing and shooting, this always gave me the absolute best accuracy. All work was done by me, lovingly, carefully, and painstakingly. It did not matter to me how long it took to get what I wanted. So my longest effort was around 15 hours of work total.

        All my competition guns were either double action revolvers in either Smith and Wesson or Dan Wesson brands, and 1911 semi autos all which started life as Colt guns except my one huge surprise which was a $200 AMT “hardballer” back when they first came out. About $100 parts and around 10 hours of labor later it became the most accurate 1911 I ever owned. The parts consisted of a match bushing, a custom fitted link, three Wolf spring packs to mix and match springs to my liking, Millet sights for the rear, and a set of Colt wood grips. Trigger pull was a crisp 2.75 lbs. That was my go to match 1911 except if they did not allow that low a trigger pull.



  7. OT…well, I had an epiphany ‘forced on me this past weekend’.
    As some here know, I’ve been struggling to get the utmost accuracy from my Savage .22WMR for the past year (when I opened up my shooting world to powderburners).
    Started out with 2MOA on a good day. With the addition of a good scope, lots of time behind the trigger and testing every ammo made I had it down to 1-1.25MOA over 50% of the time.
    But often there would be that flyer that would open up a 1″ group to 2″.
    Well, at the range this weekend I happened across one of the fellows from our local Tactical Team. We were shooting next to each other and I was struggling. A windless day, I was getting a few good groups…and a few lousy groups.
    He watched me shoot and asked why I held the gun so ‘limp-wristed’. (shooting off a bi-pod)
    I explained the ‘artillery hold’, which I have always assumed was a good way to shoot rimfire. Since your not dealing with massive recoil I had (I guess mistakenly) figured there was no need to firmly hold the rifle.
    He told me to hold it firmly…’don’t strangle it, give it a good firm handshake’ is what he said.
    So I did.
    Well…darn…eight 5 shot groups later…the worst was 1.25″, one was a couple were just over .5″ and the rest between .75″ and 1″.
    I’ve wasted a lot of ammo over the last year, all due to not making one simple change in my shooting.


    • Cowboystar Dad,

      Smallbore prone shooters hold their .22 rimfires very tight with a sling in order to hold their position legally above the ground. They use virtually no muscle, but their hands are forced tightly into their sling swivel stop by the tension of their sling. Also, smallbore rifles are very heavy, with most having a heavy (bull) barrel. Add to all of this, a lot of smallbore rifle shooters add counter weights. All that extra weight helps steady the rifle, which is necessary because of the tight sling.

      Unlike springers, which jerk in two directions and introduce torque, .22 rim-fires have a clean recoil. One goal of the smallbore shooter is to have the recoil go straight back, which you can test with good follow-though. The recoil of a springer will fight whatever hold you try to apply. The springs are big, and there’s a whole lot of violence going on with them. A .22 rim-fire’s recoil is a function of a very narrowly controlled explosion, straight down the barrel.

      However, as with pistol, one should never try to strangle the gun for control. That just introduces more problems. Firm, like a handshake is good advice.

      Victor


      • Victor, it was actually quite thrilling after implementing this simple little thing.
        Up till now, even though the groups were shrinking it was still hit or miss enough that when a shot did go right where the crosshairs were I tended to think…’well, isn’t that a nice surprise’.
        Yesterday it seemed that where I aimed…was exactly where 75% of the shots went…and those that didn’t were no more than 1/2″ deviant.
        Yes…quite thrilling.
        I have a V-Tac sling on the gun that I’ve never really made use of…next time I’m out I’ll give it a try as you’ve pointed out.


        • Cowboystar Dad,

          I like the word “thrilling” as it applies to good shooting. I also like the word “satisfying”.

          One of my favorite experiences was with archery. I loved shooting long distance, 75+ yards, in college. Few things are as thrilling and satisfying as releasing an arrow, having time to watch it travel in an arc, and fall near the center.

          Victor


    • The “artillery hold” for spring piston guns applies as so much mass is moving in odd directions on firing that it is better to let the gun “free float” for consistency.

      But there isn’t so much moving mass in the firing cycle — just pure recoil — in PCPs or smaller firearms. (Might be a contributor to the poor groups I had with my .17HMR on the one time at the range — not enough recoil so I just let is sit in the rest; the .308Win I knew would recoil so I had my shoulder tighter to the back of the rest/stock)


  8. B.B./anyone: [off-topic] I just bought the Winchester/Daisy M14 CO2 dual ammo rifle. In front of the rear sight block is a piece where something can be slid into it. Does anyone know what this is? Is it on the real M14 as well? I don’t remember it when I qualified with the M14 back in Basic training.


    • Joe,

      What slides in that dovetail is a cartridge guide, for loading the magazine without taking it out of the rifle, I believe. You don’t remember it because your M14 probably had the guide installed. It serves no purpose on the BB gun.

      B.B.


    • Guide for a stripper clip, I believe.

      Line up the clip in the slot, then rapidly push a stack of rounds (held by the clip) straight down into the magazine.

      My Air-Soft M14 has one, but as I recall, it comes off when fitting part of the scope mounting system.


  9. BB,
    I hope you have some pistols you can test in the house for the next week or two. I don’t think shooting outside is worth it with the heat we are having.

    David Enoch


    • David,

      I love the heat! It doesn’t get too hot for me. That’s what air conditioning is for.

      I went out to the range today and tested two different guns for blogs this week.

      I don’t sweat much for a fat man.

      B.B.


  10. B.B./anyone: [off-topic] So when Daisy cautions not to put away the Winchester/Daisy M14 CO2 dual ammo rifle away without first exhausting the CO2, they are really concerned someone will pick it up and shoot their eye out? I keep mine locked up and all my kids are grown and away. Can I store it with CO2 left over and not damage the seals, etc.?


  11. [off-topic] B.B./anyone: I just bought the Winchester/Daisy Model 11 CO2 BB pistol. No matter what I try the CO2 cartridges bleed out without charging the gun. I’ve tried closing the charging lever fast, slow but no joy. Now I’m out of CO2 until weds. Would someone who owns this pistol please tell me what I’m doing wrong. I can’t tell if it’s me or the gun that’s defective.


    • [off topic] On the Winchester model 11, I had the exact same problem. I went through 2 co2 cartridges and the first time it happened it was pretty scary. I thought for sure that I had a bad one but the 3rd time I slowly aligned the cartridge and put a slight tension on it. And then I kind of firmly and quickly locked it in place. For me it was learning the technique. The instructions were vague . I was about ready to send it back but I read the reviews and others were having similar problems so I tried something different and it worked. Once a got it working it’s super fun to shoot! It’s got a robust blow back and it’s on the louder side of the noise level. Good luck.


      • Hi Greg. Thank you. You convinced me not to return the Win Model 11. More CO2 Powerlets arrived today, but before I tried again I went to You Tube and watched this video:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLk6h8MSR5M The CO2 loading part comes around minute 4:55.

        Turns out the pistol’s instructions had me doing it all wrong. Doing it the You Tube way works fine. You have to firmly pull up on the piercing lever all at once. Hesitate and you will unnecessarily lose some CO2.



      • Hi Edith. Yes, I slavishly use Pellgunoil on all my CO2 cartridges, thanks to B.B.’s advice.

        As you can read above, it was the poor loading instructions that was causing the problem. I watched the guy do it on you tube and…problem solved!

        He mentioned that inserting the cartridge in the Model 11 pushed the oil off the tip of each cartridge. I fixed this by turning the pistol upside down and dropping the Pellgunoil directly onto the piercing needle.

        Thank you for your help.

        –Joe



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