by B.B. Pelletier
Today is velocity day. Before I dive into the test, I want to say some things about today’s test. This is not supposed to determine the velocity of the best pellet for this rifle. It’s supposed to give a general range of power that can be expected from a rifle like this. That way, you’ll have an understanding of all the pellets that aren’t tested. They should either fit within the range or be very close to it.
I must admit I had some misgivings about this test, because the Hatsan 125TH is such a powerful spring-piston air rifle. I already knew it took a lot of effort to cock. I’d estimated over 50 lbs. in Part 1; and when I tested it for today’s report, the bathroom scale went to 51 lbs. If you’d like to learn how to measure the cocking effort of a breakbarrel air rifle like this, watch this video.
Hatsan advertises this rifle as getting 1,250 f.p.s. with lead pellets in .177 caliber. And this one does! I’ll spare you the anticipation — the 125TH hits its advertised velocity on the head!
Three things to watch
There were three things I was curious about. The performance of the new Quattro trigger, the amount of vibration transmitted through the stock with the gun’s Shock Absorbing System (SAS) and the general firing characteristics. Let’s look at the trigger first.
The Quattro trigger resembles the Air Arms TX200 trigger more than a little, which in turn is an improved Rekord trigger. The Quattro has adjustments for the length of the first-stage pull, the pull weight (which is the weight of the second-stage release) and the weight of the first-stage pull. I adjusted it several different ways, and the lightest pull I got was 6 lbs., 5 oz. — which is heavy for the best work. The letoff is very crisp after adjustment, and I do like the wide trigger blade very much. But this is not a TX200 trigger.
I believe the SAS is doing its part to attenuate vibration, but there’s still a lot to be felt when the gun fires. Perhaps nothing can completely tame this action short of a master tune, because the long piston stroke makes the rifle leap forward at the end of every shot. So, those scope stops are not there for window dressing! The vibration dies off fast, which I attribute to the SAS doing its part.
This is a really big spring-piston air rifle, and it does move around a lot when it fires! I believe it’s fully the equal of the old British-made Webley Patriot, which was legendary for its recoil. Factor that into your buying decision. The 125TH is a hunting rifle — pure and simple. Or buy it for the bragging rights. But don’t expect to plink a lot with it unless you have 18-inch biceps.
As I started the velocity test, I noticed two things. First, the rifle is not over-lubricated. There was some honking during initial cocking, but that went away after 30 shots. Second, the big gun diesels heavily with the first few shots. I saw Beeman Kodiaks clocking 1,194 f.p.s during the initial shots! That’s to be expected with a rifle of this power — but it never detonated. So, praise for the spare lubrication!
The Beeman Kodiak, whose weight is back up to 10.60 grains, following several years of lighter weights, averaged 1,021 f.p.s. in the 125TH. The spread went from a low of 1,013 to a high of 1,042, but only two pellets went faster than 1,024 f.p.s., once the big gun slowed down. The total spread was 29 f.p.s. I think it’ll stabilize around this speed, if not increase just a little with a break-in. At the average speed, this pellet generated 24.54 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That’s really cracking for a .177!
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
The next pellet I tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier dome. This is a light pellet for a rifle of this power. Plus, it’s a Premier, and the antimony in the lead will tend to lead the bore at these velocities. These pellets averaged 1,186 f.p.s. and had a spread from 1,167 to 1,191. At the average velocity, they produced 24.68 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Did you notice that the velocity spread of 24 f.p.s. is tighter with these than with the Kodiaks? I believe that shows that the rifle is settling down quickly.
Hatsan advertised 1,250 f.p,.s. with lead pellets, and RWS Hobbys are the normal test pellet for velocity with lead pellets. Of course, any of the other 7-grain RWS pellets would work just as well. The Hobbys fit the breech of the 125TH loosely, yet they produced the tightest velocity spread of all three pellets, varying by just 19 f.p.s. They averaged 1,254 f.p.s. and went from a low of 1,248 to a high of 1,267 f.p.s., generating an average of 24.45 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
This was my first test of a true Hatsan airgun, so it represented an introduction of the entire line for me. I’ve tested other air rifles they’ve made, but always under other names; and the specifications are subject to change when someone else sells the gun. This time it was just them. I think the impression is a good one, in general. The Quattro trigger could be a lot lighter without compromising safety, but the SAS is probably doing everything it was designed to do.
They met their velocity specification with lead pellets, just as they advertised. That was both surprising and encouraging.
This is a big, powerful spring-piston rifle and my plan is to treat it that way. I’m not looking for quarter-inch groups at 25 yards, though I would be delighted to get them. But next I will test the rifle using the open sights. They look like a good set, and that will give me some time to find a good pellet for this rifle.