Hatsan 95 combo breakbarrel air rifle: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


The Hatsan 95.

Today, I’ll shoot the Hatsan 95 combo breakbarrel at 25 yards with the scope that comes in the package. This is the day we find out what a value the Hatsan 95 combo really is.

The first step was to mount the scope that came in the Hatsan box. It’s a 3-9×32 fixed-parallax scope that carries the Optima brand name. The scope mount is two-piece, and their straps have two screws each. The rifle comes with a recoil stop plate on top of the spring tube, and two different threaded holes so the plate can be moved forward or back. It was in the rear position on the test gun, and that proved best for the eye relief.


This recoil plate fits behind the reat scope ring to prevent movement backwards from the rifle’s recoil. The threaded hole to the right allows you to move the plate forward to reposition the scope rings.

Next, it was time to sight-in the rifle. I do that at 10 feet, which is very quick to get on target, yet gets me on target at 25 yards. If you would like to try my method, it’s explained in this article. I used Beeman Kodiaks for sight-in.

The first things I noticed
Right off the bat, I noticed the rifle shot very low at 10 feet. I expect it to shoot about as far below the aim point as the center of the scope is above the center of the bore, but this was twice that far. That means the rifle probably has some barrel droop, and that can be a problem. If the scope has to be adjusted up very high, the vertical erector tube return-spring relaxes and the tube starts to float. That means the point of impact will move around. That’s not good, and I’ll return to it in a bit.

The second thing I noticed was the image in the scope was very fuzzy. I had to set the scope’s power to 3x when I was at 10 feet, and even then the image was very fuzzy. That was the problem of the fixed parallax. When I backed up to 25 yards, the image cleared up quite a bit — but not completely. At 25 yards, I had to shoot on 5x, which was as high as I could go and still see the black bullseye clearly enough against the reticle to make the shot with any precision.

First group — last group
Since I sighted-in with Kodiaks, they were also the first pellet I tried at 25 yards. I experimented with two variations of the artillery hold — one with the off hand touching the triggerguard and one with the off hand under the rear of the cocking slot. The cocking slot hold is more stable; and with this rifle, it seems to produce the best results. That was the hold I used for the first group.

I fired only 8 shots because I couldn’t see the pellet holes through the scope. When I finally used binoculars to see the group, it was so large that I became discouraged and stopped shooting. In retrospect, that was a bad decision; but I’m getting ahead of myself. Eight shots went into a group that measures 1.218 inches between centers.


Eight Beeman Kodiaks made this 1.218-inch group at 25 yards.

I was now faced with a rifle that performed poorly and a scope that was unusable. I’ll get back to the rifle, but I was finished with the test scope. It is completely inappropriate for an airgun because of where the parallax is set, which is probably 100 yards. The optics are clear enough and the scope does adjust correctly, but if you can’t see the target even at 25 yards, the scope has to go.

The dilemma
If you’ve read this whole report til now, you know that I want this rifle to succeed. Of the three Hatsan-branded spring guns I’ve tested this year, this is the only one that shows any potential for decent accuracy. But as we learned in Part 3, the open sights on this rifle are not that useful, so a lot depends on using a scope. And the scope that came with the rifle is unusable.

So, I needed a better scope. I needed the best scope I have, which long-time readers will know is the Hawke Sport Optics 4.5-14×42 Sidewinder Tactical rifle scope. I use this scope all the time when I want to give the airgun every chance for success, so it was already mounted in two-piece 11mm scope rings. Mounting it on the Hatsan 95 was fast and simple.

I sighted-in the new scope at 10 feet, which proved uncharacteristically difficult. The pellets were wandering around the target and moving away from the group without reason. They were also hitting low, so I attempted to adjust them up; and that’s when I hit the top of the vertical elevation adjustment! The scope was adjusted as high as it will go, and it doesn’t matter how much quality the scope has, no scope does well when adjusted either too high or too far to the right.

The solution
The solution is to crank in a bunch of down elevation adjustment, which I did. The impact point didn’t drop that much, which is indicative that the erector tube had been floating before.

But the next group of Kodiaks was only slightly better than the eight shots fired with the cheap scope that came with the gun! What to do? I know the Hawke scope is good, and I know the rifle can shoot better than this — even with the open sights that aren’t very good.

At this point, I switched over to the JSB Exact Jumbo that weighs 15.9 grains. In Part 3, using open sights at both 10 meters and 25 yards, this had been the best pellet in this rifle. So, I cranked in even more down elevation (perhaps a total of 80-100 clicks at this point) and shot another 10-shot group. You can see from the photo that it isn’t very good. You can also see that it isn’t much lower than the first group. The Hawke scope was definitely adjusted way out of its useful range when it shot the first group.


Ten JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes made this 1.208-inch group at 25 yards. It’s ever-so-slightly smaller than the group made by eight Kodiaks.

What happens next comes from all that firearm shooting I’ve been doing — so, those who don’t like me talking about “powder burners,” listen up! I have a good group at 10 meters and poor groups at 25 yards. Something is not right — with the test, or the way the rifle’s been set up — not with the gun. With the Nelson Lewis combination gun, I know that Nelson Lewis didn’t make inaccurate guns. If I can’t get mine to shoot, the problem lies with me — not with the gun. In the case of the Hatsan, I don’t know whether they can make accurate spring rifles or not — that’s what this test is all about. But if I get good groups at 10 meters, and I did, then I should not get poor groups at 25 yards. Things do not change that radically from 33 feet to 75 feet — they just don’t.

There’s one good reason why I tell you about the challenges I face when shooting firearms that are unfamiliar to me: So you’ll see what can happen and (hopefully) can be resolved by changing the conditions one variable at a time.

We’re not finished!
I think this poor rifle has been sabotaged by a lot of barrel droop and a cheap scope that’s useful only as a tent peg. Under all the mistakes, I think there’s a good rifle in the Hatsan 95. I believe it enough to give it another special accuracy test, and this time I’ll use good drooper mounts to get the scope back into its accurate range of adjustment.

The next test
The next time I test the Hatsan 95, I’ll have the Hawke scope mounted in drooper mounts. I’ll make certain that the scope is near the middle of its adjustment range — if not below. I’ll begin testing with the JSB Exact 15.9-grain pellet, and go from there. I’ll try a couple of the very best pellets I know, including the Crosman Premier, in an attempt to give this rifle every chance to succeed.

I’ll even clean the barrel with a brass brush and JB Bore Paste before testing. I think this is an accurate rifle. If it is, it’s also a real value among powerful spring rifles. If it isn’t, you’ll know that I gave it every chance to succeed.

46 thoughts on “Hatsan 95 combo breakbarrel air rifle: Part 4

  1. Hello B.B. and Fellow Airgunners. Let me say that if persistence paid off, you would be a very monetary rich man. When you test a rifle, whether it be a Beeman R. series, or this Hatsan, that some of us only know about because of this, and the two previous tests, you put your “all” into the job. I learn so much from just following along as you put the rifle through it’s paces. Some other rifle testers, seem to want to tell us that where the rubber meets the road is the final word. No matter how they achieved their conclusions. With you, we check out every bump on the road. I think by you doing it this way, we become a better informed consumer. Not to mention better shooters, as we put into practice, the methods used to arrive at your conclusions. I have been rooting for Hatsan ever since the first test of the “beast”. I have a good feeling about the Hatsan 95.
    Caio–Titus


    • Howdy Titus, Well said. Exactly why IMO, Mr. B.B., Ms. Edith @ all of the input from the gang, make this a class act. Read every word. Thanx, ya”ll. Ride/shoot safe.
      Beaz


  2. I just hope you give a Hatsan Dominator in .177 as much of a chance as you have the other Hatsans. Just don’t get your hopes up too high. I am not saying that Turkey cannot build a great air rifle, but I have not seen it yet. Who knows, maybe China will pull it off someday.


  3. Well, I have seen a lot worse than this. It’s still good enough to impress a lot of people (but not me).

    I hate package deals. First thing you can figure on is that you should buy a better scope and a drooper mount when you buy the gun (shotgun ???). Somehow that affordable package deal does not seem that good anymore.

    So…..
    As another Hatsan slowly circles the bowl as it starts it’s journey to the bottom of the cesspool, I will get another cup of coffee.

    twotalon


  4. A local airgunsmith downtunes most Hatsans to 12 ft/lbs so that the barrel doesn’t move during the shot and also that the recoil is not so destructive to most scopes, apparently standard, they use a lot of spring for the power… After that comes a gasram, and then they are quite accurate, if quite a bit more pricey, but they shoot very nicely then…


    • Shakes,

      I can see where detuning would help a lot, but I’m surprised to hear that a gas spring works. I would have thought it would make things worse — not better.

      B.B.


      • Uses a gasram with less pressure, than what gamo currently has, is used, he takes the gas spring gamo’s reduce pressure and shoots faster with them… then he brings all the velocities down to 800fps 8.44 and then the gasrams feel very nice…


      • Its an easy rifle to gas spring if you have access to a lathe to make a bucket for the trigger end. I used a Titan’s gas spring and found it helped my .177 Mod 95 with a fresh fitted seal to accuracy. I’m getting 900fps with JSB 7.3g but despite the velocity loss over the stock monster preload spring, I can keep it in a dime with a cheap aftermarket scope at 20yards.

        Most who have opened up their rifles have noted on this “inaugural” Hatsan USA shipment, flash and burs and destroyed seals are the norm sadly. Its a crapshoot, despite the great materials if you get a bad barrel like you did on the first well its a door prop.


  5. I guess my thinking is that if this thing needs a better scope plus drooper mounts, which aren’t cheap…all of sudden it’s not going to be much of a deal. It seems it’s going to end up costing as much as more established guns that we know shoot well.
    Off topic…an update on the Savage .22 WMR and the Marlin XT-22’s that my sons received this spring.
    After testing a lot of ammo I’ve got the Savage consistently shooting 1MOA (5 shot groups at 100yds) with Hornady V-Max ammo. I’m now very pleased with my decision to go this route instead of a .22LR or the .17HMR. At 100 yds it is packing as much wallop as a LR at the barrel…and the extra fpe over the .17 makes it worthwhile for my use. Although I’m primarily a paper puncher I do have a number of friends (gentleman farmer types) who have problems with coyotes.
    But the big news is the Marlins. The boys are now 8 and 11 and for doing well in school last year (straight A students) they both received a Marling XT-22. I’m not at all above a little bribery to make sure they study 😉
    Once the rifles were sighted in (50yds) they both decided they wanted to shoot at the same distance as dad (100m). We quickly learned how, just as with airguns, rimfire ammo testing is paramount. First off (because of price) was Federal Eagle ($3/50 in Canada). Real nice shotgun groups at 100m (best I could do was 3-4″.
    Next tried CCI Maxi ($7/50) and they were getting 4-5″ groups…not bad for an 10 year olds but I was hoping for better.
    This past week we tried the RWS Target. Well, all of a sudden they are shooting 2-2.5″ groups (as yet I haven’t given them a try).
    In the hands of a 10 year old I think this pretty good. I’ve told them that their options are to shoot lots (Federal Eagle) and put up with the lousy accuracy…or shoot less of the RWS. No surprise to me they already have taken Mr. Whelan’s (the only interesting rifle is an accurate rifle) teaching to heart.
    Thing is they still want to shoot lots so I’m now on the search for someone who sells this stuff by the brick at a good price.


    • CBSD,

      Is the Wolf Match Target Ammo (the one with the yellow diamond on the outside of the box) available to you? If it costs less than the RWS Target stuff I’d suggest trying a box.

      kevin



      • B.B., yes, I’ve found the best groups I’ve obtained are with the Hornady V-Max for the WMR.
        Do you know if there .22LR ammo is also as good?
        Also…do you, or anyone here have any experiece with the CCI Stinger? It seems quite a bit hotter than standard LR, but it seems that I’ve seen a lot of negative comments (I know…buy a box and test it 😉 )
        Also…does it harm the gun in any way…is it actually possible to burn out the throat of a .22 with ammo like the Stinger?
        Thanks


        • CSD,

          I’m sorry, but I don’t have any experience with Hornady .22 LR ammo or with CCI WMR ammo. I do think that CCI uses the V-Max bullet, which seems to be the most important part, as far as accuracy goes. I just haven’t tried it.

          B.B.


        • CSD: There are a couple of guns that had issues with the CCI Stingers, most notably the Llama .22 pistols, and a couple other auto-loading pocket pistols. The case is a touch longer and this created a chambering problem . I know this because my old man had a Llama .22 pistol years ago. It was a sort of minature 1911, cute little plinker. Other than that, I wouldn’t use them in any very old .22 RF rifles, but certainly,anything made after 1977 should be OK with them. They can be accurate in some guns , as you noted you just have to try them. They were touted as a cheaper alternative to the .22 mag ,but that doesn’t hold up in the real world of practical hunting. They are basically a slightly heavier hp .22 short bullet in a .22 LR case ,that holds a faster burning powder which gives it the higher velocity. One good thing I found using them, was that they didn’t riccochet as easily, and they are a bit flatter shooting than regular .22RF. Of course there were also knock-offs of the Stinger which included the Winchester Expediter, Remington’s Viper, and Yellow Jacket and a couple others. I used to shoot a lot of the Remington yellow jackets, and dispatched quite a few woodchucks with them ,using my standard un-modified Ruger 10-22 carbine. Range was in the 50-75 yard area.


        • CCI Stingers are OK to shoot but most guns won’t group them. Your best accuracy will almost always be standard velocity ammo. Wolf Match Target is the gold standard. Most rifles will shoot it the best.
          For less expensive ammo, I have had good luck with Federal Bulk Pac HP’s.

          Mike


          • Thanks for the response on the Stingers.
            Already at 8 and 11 my boys value accuracy, whether it be pellet, rimfire or archery, they aren’t happy if they aren’t hitting what they are aiming at.
            I was hoping that the Stingers would be more accurate due to their velocity (as the .30gr V-max and its clones tends to be in .22WMR)…but everything I’ve read seems to say it’s an okay plinking round but not all that accurate.
            I’ve just found a heck of a deal on the RWS Target ammo so I’ll probably buy a couple of bricks of that.


  6. Oh dear, yet another Turkish blunderbuss with accuracy of the same, and only velocity to brag about. Hatsan really need to get their act together in the quality control. I can see many a newbie buying one of these based on its performance numbers, and being disappointed with the accuracy, thus another black eye for the reputation of airgunning.


  7. Just read the Nelson Lewis Combination Gun article from Friday. Always appreciate the updates since the frustration in learning to shoot firearms accurately is so similar to airguns. Especially muzzleloaders. I have high hopes for accuracy out of the Nelson Lewis gun even shooting patched round balls.

    Relative accuracy is something that I thought about when reading about the Nelson Lewis gun and todays article on the Hatsan 95. They’re both hunting guns/sporting guns not target guns.

    Having said that, I think both guns are capable of better accuracy than has been seen thus far.

    In part 3 of the Hatsan 95 report there was another 25 yard group shown. It’s interesting to note that in all the 25 yard groups shown shot with the Hatsan 95 there is vertical and horizontal stringing. Could be a dirty barrel. Could be that the best pellets at 25 yards haven’t been identified yet. CP’s and JSB 18.1 have reportedly done well in many others Hatsan 95’s at longer ranges. Surprised that the kodiaks did so poorly at 25 yards after doing relatively well at 10 meters.

    With the vertical and horizontal stringing I can’t help think that the barrel lockup is not as positive as it could be. Some movement side to side and up and down? I think I’ve read that there are synthetic spacers that wear?

    B.B. is certainly giving this one a fair chance. Looking forward to Part 5.

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      The breech lockup seems very solid to me. But cleaning the barrel does seem like a good idea.

      I do think this rifle has more to offer than we are seeing, and I hope to bring it out in the next report.

      B.B.


  8. BB,
    What’s under that right open hole left by moving the recoil plate back? Do you put another screw in it to plug it up? If it’s left unplugged can nasty stuff get down in there and mess up the mechanics?
    -Chuck


  9. I read my below comment over before submitting it and I must warn you I am in gripe mode again today.

    When I see the accuracy capable from a spring rifle like the R8 BB mentioned a few days ago, (or the Bronco) I am mystified as to why other spring air rifles have to be so bad, in any calibre. There must be a spring .22 out there with similar accuracy to the R8 or Bronco. I could answer my own question relating the price of $140 but I won’t accept that as an excuse.

    ***This particular model Hatsan boasts in the PA web site features “Special shock absorber system delivers smooth shooting!” What is it and could this be the “smoking gun”? *** Whoa!!! strike that question! I just reread the specs on the PA site and the “special shock absorber system” is only a thin rubber butt pad (“•Rubber recoil pad with SAS (shock absorber system) that reduces vibration.”) Look at the picture. What kind of marketing buffoonery is that?!
    -Chuck


    • Chuck,

      Re: “I am mystified as to why other spring air rifles have to be so bad, in any calibre.”

      You hinted at price but, I, like you, believe this is only partially to blame. A springer priced under $150.00 has to cut corners. Lessor tolerances equate to harsher firing behaviour which robs accuracy. Getting an accurate barrel in a $150.00 springer is a crap shoot IMHO. I’d call the Hatsan 95 a magnum springer since it’s fpe is close to the R1. A magnum springer is almost always going to be tougher to shoot accurately that a low-mid powered springer like the Bronco or the R8. Nature of the beast. In other words, you have a better chance of getting an accurate springer out of the box if it’s a low-mid power. The Bronco and a R7/HW30 come to mind.

      I’ve learned that springers are funny animals. All the planets have to line up for one to be consistently accurate. Even tuning a gun doesn’t guarantee supreme accuracy. The barrel, leade, crown, breech, etc. have to be perfect. I’ve had chokes and new crowns added to springers as part of tuning to try and get them to shoot. Even adding a choke and recrowning doesn’t solve all problems.

      As far as a “spring .22 out there with similar accuracy to the R8 or Bronco” they’re scarce as hens teeth in my experience. If you go to the other airgun forums these accurate .22 springers are abundant but that hasn’t been my experience. My definition of accuracy is different than most. In general, I think a .22 springer is for hunting and plinking. Not supreme accuracy in target shooting. Having said that, I have a .22 caliber HW35 that was detuned by Paul Watts that is as accurate as any .177 caliber sporter springer I’ve ever owned.

      kevin


      • I have to say that I have found that the Diana line of springer .22 air rifles to be the best value and best performing .22’s. IMO, The 34, 48, and 46 that I have now are all better in .22 than they are in .177. Hatsan will have to really work to catch up with them .


        • I’ll add a .22 caliber Diana 54 that I once owned to my list of accurate .22 caliber springers. Thankfully B.B. helped design the mount that kept a scope in place on that gun not long after I bought it or I would have never known how accurate that gun was.

          What a fiasco it was trying to keep a scope in place on that gun before the new base was introduced. Part of it was my fault since as a newbie I chose one of the heaviest scopes that was ever made. Ah, what fond memories.

          kevin


        • Robert,
          And that’s what puzzles me. If I were building an air rifle I’d be looking at how the other guy does it so well and then use that as a bench mark for my rifle. I’d scrap the thing if I couldn’t get close. Unfortunately, I’m beginning to believe the mind set is let’s build an attractive rifle that’s powerful and let it go at that because our marketers can sell anything as long as they don’t get too close to the truth.
          -Chuck


      • Kevin,
        Thanks for the explanation. Air rifles are seemingly simple machines but as we all have learned from this blog that isn’t true. As you have pointed out there is a host of variables that affect its performance.

        For the record my definition of accuracy is what BB taught me a few years ago on this blog(paraphrased): If you are goint to hunt, pick the range you want to be from your target and don’t hunt until you can consistently shoot 1.5 inch groups at that range.

        In my mind, using this rule of thumb negates any air rifle as a hunter class if it’s not met.

        -Chuck


    • Chuck,

      Your wish is my command 🙂

      I have edited the Hatsan description and hope it meets your expectations. It takes a few hours for the new website to update. However you can see an immediate update if you go to the old site. Let me know if this works for you:

      /s/m/Hatsan_95_Air_Rifle_Combo_Walnut_Stock/2678

      After guns have been tested, I go back and rewrite descriptions if testing doesn’t support what I originally wrote. If we haven’t tested a gun but the overwhelming majority of customer product reviews condemn it, I’ll change the description to reflect what others have found.

      The No. 1 reason Tom and I work with Pyramyd Air is that they want their site to reflect correct/honest/truthful info. If that were not the case, we’d be gone.

      Many years ago, I told Josh Ungier (owner & CEO of Pyramyd Air) that a pistol he stocked was so horrid, so crummy, so inaccurate, so poorly made that I couldn’t come up with anything good to say about it. He told me to tell the truth, and that he didn’t care how long he sat on the guns. If they’re crap, they’re crap. It took YEARS before the guns finally sold. But, the customers knew what they were getting because the description was honest and promised nothing.

      Thanks,
      Edith


      • Edith,
        I just read the description again, looks like 2 hours later, and the Shock Absorber System (SAS) part is still a mystery. I think it looks different but I’m not sure. I’ll give it a couple more hours. Exactly what is the SAS, and, if it is still the butt pad, the current description is even more deceptive to the reader. It makes it sound like there is some kind of recoil mechanism built into the rifle. I’m getting the impression the Hatsan marketers are trying to sell a rubber butt pad as an SAS. That’s like calling the horn button on your car’s steering wheel an Anti-Collision System.
        -Chuck


        • Chuck,

          Did you follow the link I sent you to the OLD Pyramyd Air website? In the bulleted list of features/specs, it clearly states the recoil pad in one bullet and the SAS in another bullet.

          Look at the zoomed images. It shows the recoil pad in one picture and the SAS mechanism in another picture of the forearm:

          /cgi-bin/zoomed_model.pl?model_id=2678

          The second zoomed image from the bottom shows the forearm with a cutaway that reveals the SAS. It does not show the buttpad in that image, nor does it suggest that the SAS is part of the buttpad.

          Edith


          • Edith,
            Okay, you have set me straight! I did look at the new description, however, I did not look at the zoomed pictures. So, now that I have looked at the zoomers it makes a lot of sense. I regret adding to your already busy schedule but I really was concerned. Thank you very much. Your efforts are greatly appreciated, and once again my cynicism nails me and I must wipe the egg off my face. (hmmm…I wonder where that expression came from?)
            -Chuck


            • Granted, one has to wonder about just how effective something that looks like a rubber bushing midway up the forearm of the stock can really be.

              Surely that’s not the only point of contact between stock and action? If it is, one has compression of the rubber along with rotary torque effects (whereas an RWS/Diana m54 has two sets of slide rails, so the motion is linear).


  10. BB,
    These package scopes are something else. I wouldn’t count the scope in a package as worth anything, unless it is branded by a company with a lifetime warranty, in which case you could shoot it until it breaks and maybe get a better one (they change the models and even brands often enough that sometimes you get a good one). Springers are perfect for open sights anyway!


    • Yes, it’s most often best not to buy a “package” that comes with a bottom feeder scope. It’s a waste of money better spent on ammo and a quality scope. Sadly, many folks think they are getting a deal, they aren’t.

      Mike


      • Mike,
        Ya know, in this case, purely subjective on my part, of course, I wonder if Hatsan wouldn’t have offered that rifle for $149.95 anyway and just included the scope to sweeten the deal to increase sales. I mean there is probably already enough margin to make it profitable anyway while increasing market share. What I’m saying is with or without the scope the price would probably be the same so you might as well buy the rifle combo and add your own scope anyway if that rifle is what you want.
        -Chuck



  11. I was out shooting my REPLACEMENT .177 Hatsan 95 (1st one was defective) today, and had some 5-shot groups of .35 & .40 inches, though only at 10 meters (but with intermittent winds). During this process, shooting 1st Hobby, then Tomahawk pellets, I noted a very few DOMED pellets in the T-Hawk tin! Has anyone else ever seen product mixing like this? I’ll have to keep my eyes open a little but wider I guess. I wasn’t shooting weight-sorted pels today…


  12. What are the UK and Canada Hatsan rifles like? Hatsan made so many rifles under different name (for US market)All were high power and shoot harsh .I think for the price point its not bad deal.but even 3x the price the HW80(R1) will give any owner a sense of pride an joy .The Hatsan cant do that.Sorry Hatsan… But dont we love that Turkish walnut,they should do special order stocks for what ever rifle a customer wants.


    • Springers are pretty much the same but under the 500fps/4.2 ft/lbs limit… not great.
      The detuned and full powered PCP’s that were imported here are great.
      The PCP pistols just arrived in Canada last week, I’m still wondering if I should buy one or not and the reports are starting to come in. All the pistols will be detuned because a pistol shooting above the limit becomes a restricted firearm and can only be fired at a range which would really suck the fun out of it.

      J-F



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