Hatsan BT65 QE: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Hatsan BT65 QE
Hatsan BT65 QE air rifle

This report covers:

  • Uh-oh!
  • Shooting dynamic
  • Benjamin domed pellets
  • JSB King pelletss
  • Tried the solid bullet
  • The plan

I have quite a report for you today on the accuracy of the .25-caliber Hatsan BT65 QE precharged air rifle. This is a rifle I’ve long wanted to test because of its reputation for power and accuracy at a great price. Twenty-five caliber air rifles have become legitimate hunting guns over the past decade, mostly because of the improvements in pellets. It’s now worthwhile to think of a .25 instead of a .22 if all you want to do is hunt.

Uh-oh!

I actually went to the range a week earlier to test the rifle, but no matter which pellet I tried, the best it would do was about 5 inches at 50 yards. This rifle is really too powerful to test inside my house, so I skipped any 25-yard testing. Pellet after pellet went into large groups. I felt there had to be something wrong with the test rifle. Rather than report on a failure at the range, I contacted Hatsan, which sent me a link to one of Rick Eutsler’s videos on improving the accuracy of the rifle. After watching that video, I removed the barrel from the rifle and found that its crown had some damage.

I informed Hatsan USA, and they immediately sent me another barrel. I installed the new barrel and went to the range again last week. This time, things were different, and that’s what you’ll see today.

Shooting dynamic

I learned during the velocity test that the BT65 QE I’m testing has 16-18 good shots per fill. Since the clip holds 9 pellets, I rounded the number off to 18 shots and shot 2 clips per fill. But there was another thing happening within those 18 shots. The second 9 grouped tighter than the first 9 in every case. It took me the whole range session to confirm that. Unfortunately, I didn’t get all the testing I wanted in that one session, but I now know what needs to be done the next time I go to the range.

The single best pellet is the .25-caliber Benjamin dome. They seem to shoot well all the time. Let’s start with them.

Benjamin domed pellets

The Benjamin dome weighs 27.8 grains, which makes it a medium-weight .25-caliber pellet. When it first came out several years ago, I felt it was the answer to years of requests for .25-caliber Crosman Premiers. It was immediately one of the most accurate .25-caliber pellets on the market.

The first 9 pellets out of the BT65 went into a group that measures 1.296 inches. Within that main group, 5 of the pellets went into 0.273 inches. That’s the level of accuracy I’d been expecting from this rifle! But the entire group has to be taken into account, and it’s larger.

Hatsan BT65 QE Benjamin dome 1st 9
The first 9 Benjamin domes following a fill to 3,000 psi made this 1.296-inch group. Five of the pellets are in 0.273 inches at 50 yards!

Next, I reloaded the clip and shot the same pellet, again. This time, all 9 went into 0.925 inches. As before, there’s a smaller group of 6 pellets inside the main group that measures 0.513 inches.

Hatsan BT65 QE Benjamin dome 2nd 9
The second 9 went into 0.925 inches at 50 yards. This is what I expected from the BT65.

Before I show you some other groups, let me tell you what I think might be happening. I think this barrel is breaking in! I don’t talk about a barrel breaking in a lot, but that’s what this one seems to be doing. I’ve seen other PCP barrels start out this way and then stabilize after several hundred pellets have gone through them. After that, they’re accurate for the rest of their lives, because airgun barrels do not wear out. They last for millions of shots — just like rimfire barrels that are kept clean and undamaged.

I’m thinking that I might clean this barrel with J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound just to see if I can accelerate this break-in process. I bet you’d like to see the results of such a test? I know I would.

JSB King pellets

Another great .25-caliber pellet is the JSB Exact King. They came out a few years ago and instantly became a pellet of choice for this caliber. But on this day, they didn’t perform as well as the Benjamins. The first 9 went into 1.495 inches at 50 yards, and the group was very vertical.

Hatsan BT65 QE King 1st 9
The first 9 JSB Kings made this vertical 1.495-inch group at 50 yards.

The second 9 pellets made a rounder group that measured 1.189 inches between centers at 50 yards. This was the group that clued me into the second 9 shots being better than the first.

Hatsan BT65 QE King 2nd 9
The second 9 JSB Kings made this round 1.189-inch group at 50 yards. This was the group that made me stop and think about the accuracy between the first and second clips.

 

Tried the solid bullet

I tried the .25-caliber solid bullet that Johnny Hill of Tin Starr made for me, but they didn’t feed. I had to drive the bullet back out of the bore with a cleaning rod. Obviously, these bullets have to be sized smaller before I try this again.

This is where I’ll end the report. Although, I also tested the Predator Polymag and Beeman Kodiak pellets, I shot both before noticing how the gun was grouping on the first clip versus the second clip. These pellets didn’t get a fair chance to perform, so I’ll save them for the next accuracy test.

The plan

My plan is to remove the barrel and clean it with J-B Bore Paste, as mentioned above. I’ve examined the crown of this new barrel and see that it’s perfect, so this cleaning will possibly remove any sharp edges left from the rifling process. The result should be a barrel that shoots like one that’s been thoroughly broken-in.

The Hatsan BT65 has a well-deserved reputation for accuracy and power. If the next test pans out as I hope, I may shoot this rifle at 100 yards, like I did with the .22-caliber AT44-10 Long QE.

51 thoughts on “Hatsan BT65 QE: Part 3

  1. BB,
    Last night I took my son to the last pellet gun shoot of the season my club holds. He was shooting his Crosman 760 Pumpmaster and doing absolutely incredible. I was impressed with how accurate the gun was even after I spent an hour getting its Tasco 4x scope zeroed to something acceptable.

    He had a blast and can’t wait to do it again!

    Also, another shooter showed me a rifle that he got at an auction for a steal, when he pulled it out of its case I said immediately “I have to shoot this” it was a FWB 124.

    It was my first time shooting one, and what a great opportunity it was to hold and shoot such an awesome piece of airgun history! Without your blog I’d have known nothing about this marvelously springer.

    Thanks again for what you do!!


    • Many years ago, I bought a 760 for my 4 sons to shoot in the back yard. At about 10 yards we set up some green plastic “Army Men” to play sniper
      These things were no more than 2 inches tall, and the kids and I were able to knock them over easily
      Something to be said about the accuracy of the very inexpensive 760


      • Yes, growing up I had the rifled counterpart of the 760, and the model isn’t coming to my brain and Google didn’t help. I’ll have to look it up in my Blue Book later. However that thing was used abused and still is, my dad uses it to shoot rats occasionally. he says it works as good now as it did 15 years ago. so knowing that the 760 isn’t rifled I thought it would be great for tin can accuracy, but the darn thing can shoot! for $30 it’s a terrific plinker


        • too add, my son was shooting ram sillouettes about 3×5″ if that big at 18 yards. he said ” I’m aiming at the tops of their backs” so proud, he’s already learning holdovers!




  2. I left a comment here about 20 minutes ago but I don’t see it here so I’ll try again;
    B.B,
    Do you suppose the difference between the first and second nine shots is more attributable to the barrel warming up or the valve reaching a more preferable balance or possibly feeding characteristics?


  3. B.B.

    Perhaps later you will do a comparison of this against the Condor SS in .25 (Walther-Lothar bbl.) and see if you can use a solid bullet in the Condor. Oh, BTW, I purchased the Omega Super Charger and encountered a problem after four hours. It seems the water pump broke and I am expecting a replacement part from AoA.


    • Fishmonger,

      There are some solid bullets designed to work in the choked Lothar-Walther barrel, but what BB has been shooting will not work. There are a bunch of guys shooting solids out of their AF rifles, but they are not using choked barrels.


    • Fishmonger,

      I do plan on testing a bullet in an Escape, which is more powerful than a Condor. There is little to compare between the Condor and the BT65. One is a single shot and the other is a repeater with lower power.

      Glad to hear you are being supported on the compressor.

      B.B.


  4. I’m really enjoying this series, BB!

    Did you get to hold on to the other barrel? If so, you could recrown it, then test it, and if it is as good as the replacement, you could use the J-B bore cleaner on one, and leave the other as-is. Also, what do you think of the possibility that they sent you a superior barrel for the second one, in order to enhance the test results?

    I am SURE they do check up on the folks that are testing equipment for them, and I know there can only be a limited amount of correction to results allowed for this, but I am really glad to see the testing done, no matter what!

    Thanks for putting yourself through all of these “trials and tribulations”!


  5. B.B.,

    As a newer airgunner, a couple of points in your report raised some questions…

    First, what exactly is a crown and what does a proper one look like vs a damaged or deformed one? I think I remember some photos in one of your reports a while back, but did not give it much thought at the time. If a new airgunner were to get one these, they might think that a 5″@50yds. is the best that they could get and not suspect a problem. Plus, with barrel shrouds and noise dampeners being part of the barrel assy.,..how would a new airgunner even get a good look at the crown?

    Second, with J-B bore cleaner, you have mentioned that you do not want to get it into the baffles in the noise dampener. So, unless the noise dampener easily screws off, how does one use the compound? You have mentioned that on lower power air rifles, <800fps, that they likely will never need cleaned. But on higher power ones such as this, and others, the occasional cleaning would be required. Plus, I would imagine that not all barrel assys. come apart, as they may be a pressed together assy.

    Just a couple of questions that a newer airgunner might think of as they read your report.

    Thanks, Chris



      • Phoghat,

        Very nice, lots of different types apparently. The triple barrel shotgun barrel at the bottom looks pretty wild. I will check out Google more for images.

        Thanks, Chris


    • Chris,
      I may be able to give a little insight.as for the crown, it’s the finished end of. the muzzle. It’s generally a 10-20degree recession from the barrel’s OD- bore and should be smooth and blemish free ,if blemished at all Any air still pushing on a projectile as it leaves the barrel will do so unevenly.It’s one of the more important features of the barrel and to be guarded as if accuracy depended on it.
      I know of no gun that has a pressed on muffler,ost will unscrew and on shrouded guns the shroud will be removable fo cleaning and maintenance.
      Hope that’ll get you by til B.B. gets on it in the morning

      Reb


      • Reb,

        Thank you for that reply. I did not know that all shrouds and noise dampeners were removable. It makes sense that they would, but I did not want to assume. I have not torn down any air guns yet, so you are way ahead of me on that.

        Thanks again, Chris


    • Chris,

      This is where reading the literature really helps out.

      Read this:

      /blog/2011/09/the-importance-of-the-crown/

      And this, which demonstrates the importance of a good crown:

      /blog/2014/08/bsa-meteor-part-9/

      Read all the parts, as the whole story is important.

      I REMOVED the barrel from the rifle, like it says in the report. The baffles were not there anymore. The barrel was by itself.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        Thankyou for those links. Yes, you are right, there is a wealth of info. in past articles. So much to learn. I read the 1st article and read part 9 of the second and saved it for reading 1~8 also.

        The crown on this rifle must have been really messed up, as you were still “up in the air” in your first link/report. At least in this case,..I guess it mattered alot!

        Thanks again, Chris



  6. B.B.,

    Maybe getting ahead a bit, but have you done any more of the planned evaluation of the Diana Bullseye ZR scope mount you put on the BSA Supersport? I’ve run into a serious barrel droop problem on my Crosman MTR77NP and the Bullseye seems to be the only available option for a Weaver/Picatinny rail. I’d rather try this first before shimming, especially since I’ve had to tighten my rings a bit more than recommended to stop slippage on my gas springers.

    Any other options for a Weaver/Picatinny MOA or droop mount appreciated–everything else I’ve found is for 11mm rails.


  7. B.B. and/or anyone who has an idea,

    Are the powerplants for Crosman’s Vantage Nitro and new Phantom NP identical?

    I’ve never had or even shot a gas spring gun, and the Vantage in .177 is tempting.

    Thanks,

    Michael


    • Michael,

      I don’t know if they are identical, but both are advertised to shoot at the same velocity and I can tell you that companies will get as many uses as they can from one powerplant. So quite likely the answer is yes.

      B.B.


  8. BB,

    did you by any chance take a photo of the damaged crown? It would be interesting to see how a little damage can cause such a poor shooting result.

    Fred DPRoNJ.


  9. BB,
    If one of us buy a Hatsan airgun and have the same problem as you with the barrel, will Hatsan give us the same service as it did to you?
    I have to ask, because you showed that when buying a Hatsan airgun, one may discovered a problem.


  10. Hello B.B. et all,
    Based on prior blogs, I now consider bore brushing with JB paste and a brass or bronze brush a standard part of prepping and breaking in a new gun.

    And as far as your 2nd magazine of pellets grouping better, if the velocity is changing, it may be reaching a sweet spot for one particular pellet.


  11. B.B., I’m shocked that a $700 air gun went out with a damaged crown. Do you know if the damage was done at the factory or not? In fact, seems as though you get a lot of air guns that has problems. Maybe you really don’t, but they just stick out to me. Would a 10 for $10 have caught that? Just wondering as I would look for ways to reduce the chances of getting a bad one. That said, I know PA and most (?) manufactures will make it right, but, it would be nice had they caught it on the front end. And it’s not just air guns, I’ve bought a brand new Ruger 10/22 that was bad once (Yes Ruger). Thanks again for all your work and research! Bradly.


    • Bradly,

      I can’t say I am shocked. Stuff happens. Yes, I do see a lot of it, and I am wondering why that is so, but perhaps it is because the other buyers are playing The Emperors’ New Clothes?

      The fault doesn’t bother me. Stuff happens and when you look at a lot of stuff like I do, a lot of stuff happens.

      I look at how the company reacts when something bad happens. That is the mark of a mature company — when they deal with a problem in the right way. How many dealers and manufacture3s do you know who DON’T do that?

      B.B.


      • B.B., I agree! Ruger, Henry, Daisy and Benjamin (Crosman) are all makers that I know to have great customer service and “Fix” problems. I don’t think I’ll list bad ones here, but one high end maker (Firearm) shocked my Brother and me with their horrible service and not willing to accept any blame. I guess you live and learn.


    • Bradly,

      I’m glad you wrote such a comment. We get comments on this blog and remarks on chat forums that the guns tested in this blog have been cherry-picked and do not represent what any customer would get. In fact, the guns Tom tests are simply pulled off the shelves of Pyramyd Air and shipped. They’re not checked, and we don’t get 10-for-$10 or 20-for-$20 tests.

      Because the flaws found in the blog test products are in the public view, it may seem like we get more flawed products than usual. But I think we’re about average when you consider the huge number of products sent to us.

      Edith


      • I agree Edith. I’ve never bought the 10 for $10 or 20 for $20. To be honest, I didn’t know there was a 20 for $20. That said, due to BB’s tests, I think I’ll buy it with my next airgun purchase.


      • Hi Edith,I hope all is well with you,I have a question, I am considering
        buying the Hatsan bt65qe in .25 and if I get the 10 for 10 test
        Do you think any flaws like the crown head will be picked up.
        The $10.00 cost seems to be a good thing to have in a gun
        that’s costs nearly $700.00


        • MICHAEL,

          I appreciate your concern. And I do think the 10 for $10 test is a good one for this airgun. After all, it is a PCP and any gross leaks will be caught at this time.

          The likelihood of your seeing a problem similar to the one I found is remote. Hatsan wanted the barrel returned because it was only the second one their maintenance guy had ever heard of. he wanted to examine it.

          B.B.


        • Michael,

          The 10-for-$10 service does not involve any accuracy testing, and that’s where B.B. found the crown issue with the gun he’s testing. The service from Pyramyd Air tests basic functionality and velocity. Except for trying to keep all the shots inside the pellet trap, Pyramyd Air’s testers don’t try to group the 10 shots. So, that testing wouldn’t find any crown issues.

          Edith


  12. Here’s confirmation that a damaged crown really will hurt accuracy, something that was thrown into question some time ago. There was also a time when B.B. considered 100 yard shooting with airguns to be a circus act, so the results of the upcoming test will be interesting to see. 🙂

    I wonder what counts as too powerful for indoor shooting. I shoot a 900 fps gun at 5 yards, although not often. My pellet trap can handle it, but I guess the criteria is whether the rest of the house can handle the impact if you miss. I completely missed my trap the other night for the first time in memory even at my distance. Thankfully, it was not with the high-powered gun. It was with the Daisy 747, almost my lowest powered gun. On two occasions, the muzzle bumped the edge of the cardboard box that I shoot into to smother sound, and the gun went off into the ceiling. To my surprise, the pellets were embedded pretty deeply and had to be pried out.

    Matt61


    • Matt61,

      Sounds like you got that trigger set/stoned/polished a “little” too light?

      I assume you shoot past 5 yds.? As for indoors, you got,.. what you got.

      I will say, you are quite knowledgeable on a lot of topics and do put out some long post. Not bad, just sayin’.

      Chris


  13. Yep barrel crown damage is common and a real accuracy killer. Most blame everything else. It is easy to fix though most people will not. I have seen a lot of military bolt guns almost all with some crown damage. That is why many are counter bored, a most extreme way to fix bad damage. We learn a lot when stuff like this happens in a new gun test!



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