by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
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This report covers:
• BB caliber
• Piercing problems
• Description of the gun
• A lot of BB guns!
The airguns at this year’s SHOT Show were exciting for a number of reasons. I mention them as they come up in these reviews, and today we’ll begin looking at a BB pistol that I was very surprised to see. Hatsan’s 250XT TAC-BOSS bears a strong resemblance to a Ruger Mark III Hunter .22 pistol. Normally, lookalike airguns are copies of either military or otherwise iconic firearms. The Ruger Mark III is certainly a popular handgun, but it’s not really in either category. Yet, here’s a BB pistol that copies it so closely that it even has the quirky Ruger disassembly lever in the back of the pistol grip.
The 250, as I’ll call it for the rest of this report, is powered by a single 12-gram CO2 cartridge that’s contained in the magazine with the BBs. That mag slips into the pistol grip, just like a firearm mag. The gun is made in Taiwan and has an airsoft heritage. That seems to be the popular thing today, an airsoft manufacturer converts one of their guns from 6mm plastic BBs to 4.3mm steel BBs.
The magazine holds 17 BBs in a stack. To load the gun, you pull down on the magazine follower and drop the BBs in through the top portal one at a time.
And, by the way — I know that nearly all airgun makers refer to steel BBs as 4.5mm and .177 caliber these days, but they’re not! BBs measure 0.171-0.173-inches in diameter, which works out to just over 4.3mm. This is important when owners try to do things that won’t work because their guns are mislabeled. That’s why I always refer to steel BBs as either BB caliber or I tell you the nominal measurements.
This airgun doesn’t have blowback but I wanted to make sure, so I installed a CO2 cartridge. Naturally, I used a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip. When the cartridge is pierced, the gas usually stops flowing instantly. It didn’t this time. A soft hiss went on for 15 seconds as I tightened the cartridge more and more, using the large Allen screw in the magazine base. That’s very unusual, so I exhausted the gas and tried a second cartridge from a different manufacturer, also with Pellgunoil on the tip. Since I had to release all the gas in the first cartridge, the magazine was allowed to sit for 10 minutes to return to room temperature before the second trial.
The second time, the gun sealed immediately, just as it should. Since I used a different cartridge for this test, I conducted a third test using the first brand of cartridge, just to see if it was a cartridge problem. It wasn’t. The third cartridge also sealed immediately. This is a lesson in how important it is to always use a drop of Pellgunoil on the tip of each cartridge, because this pistol really needed it!
Incidentally, I really like how the piercing screw is hidden in the base of the magazine. I know BB pistol shooters make a big deal over being able to see the piercing mechanism, and on this gun you can’t.
The gun is finished entirely black. The grip frame and grips are plastic, as well as both sights. The remainder of the parts are metal, including the fluted barrel jacket. The barrel is 6.75 inches long and smoothbored. The shape of the triggerguard doesn’t match the Ruger Mark II triggerguard. This one is scalloped for the finger(s) of a second hand. That’s probably an improvement because two-handed pistol shooting is very popular today.
The gun weighs 29 oz., and the grip is very comfortable. Both sights are fixed, and the front sight has a green fiberoptic tube. That probably makes sense on a BB gun as it is a point-type airgun. You don’t need precision for a BB pistol.
The bolt doesn’t move, though the Ruger-like flanges at the rear will make you at least give it a try. I think a blowback version of this pistol would be so cool because that bolt would come back just like the bolt on a firearm.
The safety is in the same place as the safety on the Ruger firearm, and it works the same way. It’s easy to apply, and a right-handed shooter can both apply it and take it off with their thumb. Once applied, it blocks the trigger.
This pistol is double-action only. That said, the trigger-pull is light and smooth. There’s no stacking (sharp increase in the pull effort) near the end of the trigger travel. There’s a pause at the end of the travel, however, and a skilled handgunner will be able to pull to this point, then squeeze off the shot.
A lot of BB guns!
Before anyone mentions it, I have been testing a lot of BB guns this year. And there are a lot more to come. This seems to be the year of the BB pistol, and Edith and I have selected the ones most people are talking about; or in the case of today’s pistol, the ones they should be talking about.