by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- First group
- Problem solved
- A good start
- Benjamin domed pellets
- Beeman Kodiak Match pellets
- RWS Superdome pellets
- Back to the JSB pellets
- What about the silencer?
I’ve wanted to get back to this .25-caliber Hatsan BT65 QE for a long time. Today, I’ll tell you what happened. I wasn’t satisfied in part 3 that I was seeing the best accuracy this rifle could produce at 50 yards, even though there were some okay 9-shot groups. This big PCP has the reputation for shooting better than it did, and I wanted to see that; so I removed all the silencer parts and went back to the range.
Over the years, I’ve had problems with airgun silencers — starting with a Daystate Mirage in the late 1990s that just didn’t hold up at 50 yards. When its silencer was removed, that rifle suddenly tightened up and shot like it was supposed to; and that’s what made me aware that airgun silencers are tricky things. When they work, they do so beautifully, and you never know they’re there. But if anything touches the pellet before it leaves the muzzle, all accuracy is destroyed.
Today, all shooting you will see was done with a rifle that was not silenced. And the results are dramatic. This was shot last week on the same perfect day that the Benjamin Bulldog was tested. The conditions could not have been better for shooting 50-yard groups from an air rifle.
As you recall, the BT65 has a 9-round circular clip. So, I shot 9-shot groups instead of 10 for this test.
The first group told me the rifle was performing differently with the silencer parts out. Seven of 9 JSB Exact King pellets landed in a tight 0.598-inch group at 50 yards. But there was a double feed in this first attempt, and I want to talk about that. Those 2 pellets went out the muzzle slower and landed about 5 inches below the point of impact.
The online description says the BT65 has a mechanism that is supposed to prevent double feeds, but the rifle I’m testing doesn’t work that way. I had double feeds both times I’ve had the rifle out to the range. This time, I observed exactly what happened and can now tell you. When the bolt is pulled back, sometimes the circular clip rotates and the striker is caught by the sear but the rifle does not set the trigger. Even though the action is cocked, the trigger isn’t in position to release the striker, so the bolt has to be retracted a second time with more force. This allows the clip to advance again, and a second pellet is pushed into the breech.
Since this was the first group of the session, it was easy to document everything that happened — including the 2 shots that landed low. I also developed a feel for when this situation happens; and when it happened a second time during a later group, I just removed the clip, shot the pellet (after setting the trigger) and installed the clip again.
The real solution is to pull back the bolt harder than I had been. When I did that, the rifle never had another double-feed problem. I put this information in the “getting to know your rifle” category. My point is that although the BT65 is not supposed to double-feed, this one does and I found the way to deal with it.
A good start
I knew the rifle was a shooter when I saw that first group. I wanted to try a couple different pellets, but I also wanted to get back to the JSBs and test them some more. I had another observation on the first trip to the range. I wondered if there’s only 1 or possibly 2 full clips of accurate shots on a fill.
Benjamin domed pellets
Next, I tried a clip of 9 .25 caliber Benjamin domes. In some .25s, these are the best pellet. In others, they’re second behind the JSBs. It’s always worthwhile to try them.
Nine Benjamin domes went into a 1.239-inch group at 50 yards. That’s good, but not great — especially in light of what the JSBs did. I decided to try a different pellet.
I have to tell you that I was seeing some of the pellets in flight. Just before they zipped through the target I caught sight of some of them, and it was stunning to watch them zip through the same hole, time after time.
Beeman Kodiak Match pellets
Next up were .25-caliber Beeman Kodiak Match pellets. These used to be the best .25 pellets on the market. That has changed over time, but they’re still very good in some airguns.
The BT65 put 9 Kodiak Match pellets in a 1.404-inch group at 50 yards. Ten years ago, that would have been a good group for any .25-caliber airgun; but with today’s improved pellets, it’s just mediocre. Don’t stop trying them in all guns, though, because sometimes they’ll really surprise you.
RWS Superdome pellets
I also tried shooting a group with .25-caliber RWS Superdomes; but when the first pellet landed 7 inches away from the aim point, I stopped. I was afraid they might ruin some of the groups on other bullseyes I’d already made, and I didn’t want that to happen. Maybe .25 Superdomes are good in spring rifles, but they don’t seem to be right for the BT65.
Back to the JSB pellets
I really wanted to return to the JSB King pellets to see what they could do when all 9 pellets went into a group. The next group I fired was the second clip after a fill. Nine pellets landed in the group that measured 0.978 inches between centers. We were off to a good start.
I refilled the rifle to 3,000 psi and shot 2 more groups. These confirmed what I suspected all along.
What about the silencer?
I proved this rifle works with the silencer guts removed, but what if I want them? If this was my air rifle, I would work on the silencer to allow it to be used without affecting the accuracy. Since it has several parts — two metal baffle chambers and two other plastic chambers that have felt wrapped around them and the muzzle cap. Somewhere in all of those parts the edges of one or more of the small central holes the pellet passes through is touching the pellet. If the touch is hard, there will be some lead left as evidence. But it it’s sight, there might not even be a mark.
There are a couple solutions. The first is to assemble the silencer parts carefully to align them better. You might have to repeat this several times. Misalignment, alone, can cause problems.
These are the silencer parts from the BT65. The pellet first passes through the two silver chambers at the top left. They have small holes and are probably causing the accuracy problem. Then, the pellet passes through each of the black plastic tubes wrapped with felt. They have much larger holes and aren’t likely to hit the pellet. Next, it passes through the muzzle cap, which also has a larger hole.
If that doesn’t work, I would go through all the parts and slightly enlarge all the smaller holes. That’s what I did with my Daystate Mirage, and it worked. Remove a very small amount of material and stop when the rifle shoots accurately.
The point is that you can have a silenced rifle that’s accurate — it just takes some work. And, not all rifles will even have this problem, so don’t condemn the model based on one test.
Okay — this BT65 can really shoot! It would also seem that the first clip after a fill is the best one.
I still want to try the with some other pellets like the Predator Polymag. I also want to shoot the BT65 at 100 yards. You haven’t seen the last of this big Hatsan!