by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Start at 10 meters
- H&N Baracuda Match 4.53mm
- H&N Baracuda Match 4.50mm
- Crosman Premier 10.5-grains
- JSB Exact Heavy 10.3-grain
- 25 yards
- Baracuda Match 4.53mm at 25 yards
- JSB Exact Heavy at 25 yards
- JSB Exact Heavy at 25 yards
- Air Arms Falcon pellets at 25 yards
- The feel of the gun
Today we begin looking at the accuracy of the Hatsan 85 Mossy Oak Break Up air rifle. We now know this is a powerful rifle that seems to have a smooth trigger. Let’s see if that means anything downrange.
Start at 10 meters
I started this test at 10 meters. Instead of 10-shot groups I fired 5-shot groups with each pellet. The only thing I’m trying to do is refine the sights and select the best pellets for further testing. All shooting today is off a rest (sandbag), using the classic artillery hold with the off hand touching the front of the triggerguard.
All shooting was done with open sights. That eliminated the possibility of the scope causing accuracy problems right off the bat. This way we will know what the intrinsic accuracy is before we mount a scope and should not get confused when we do.
H&N Baracuda Match 4.53mm
First I tried some H&N Baracuda Match with 4.53mm noses. Given the power of the rifle, they seemed like a good match. Five of them went into exactly 0.50-inches at 10 meters. This may be a pellet to test at 25 yards.
H&N Baracuda Match 4.50mm
Next I was curious how the same Baracuda Match pellets with 4.50mm heads would do. Five of them went into 0.619-inches between centers at 10 meters. That’s not much larger than the first group, but for some reason it seemed so. I decided not to test them at 25 yards.
Crosman Premier 10.5-grains
Next I tried 5 Crosman Premier heavies. They didn’t do very well. The group measures 1.262-inches between centers at 10 meters. This pellet is not right for the Hatsan 85.
JSB Exact Heavy 10.3-grain
The last pellet I tried at 10 meters was the JSB Exact Heavy 10.3-grain dome. This one surprised me by producing the best group of the day. Five bullets went into 0.408-inches. I will definitely try this one at 25 yards.
Five JSB Exact Heavy pellets went into 0.408-inches at 10 meters. This was the best 10-meter group.
Now it was time to back up to 25 yards and try the best pellets again. I began with the H&N Baracuda Match 4.53mm heads.
Baracuda Match 4.53mm at 25 yards
The sight setting remained the same as for 10 meters and 10 pellets went into 1.912-inches. The group is taller than it is wide, but I didn’t see any reason for that. It might be an aiming error, but the next several groups should tell me whether it is or not.
JSB Exact Heavy at 25 yards
Next up was the JSB Exact Heavy that had done so well at 10 meters. Ten of them went into 1.499-inches at 25 yards. That was the smallest group at this distance. And this group is fairly round, which tells me that the previous tall group of Baracuda Match pellets was not due to aiming errors.
Air Arms Falcon pellets
Just for fun I selected a previously untested premium pellet at random for the final pellet to test. I chose the Air Arms Falcon pellet that did so well in a number of rifles over the years. I know it will be going very fast out of the 85, but remember my 11-part Velocity Versus Vibration test back in 2011 showed this pellet can be accurate at over 1100 f.p.s.
But in the Hatsan 85 Falcons are not accurate. One pellet landed off the paper and the overall group was 2.755-inches between centers. Clearly it isn’t this big because of the velocity, so the vibration pattern of the rifle must be off.
The feel of the gun
Accuracy day is when the real feel of the gun comes through. Holding it steady on target allows time to evaluate all the performance parameters. The trigger is heavier than I thought and I can feel movement through stage 2, though there is absolutely no creep (jerky start-stop movements).
The recoil is pretty heavy, but it’s all going forward. There is very little vibration, but the hollow plastic stock amplifies everything. The rifle feels sharp and sudden when it fires.
Now we know what this rifle is capable of. It should do at least this well with a scope, but probably better because of the increase in aiming accuracy. The scope test will be next, followed by a special new 11mm to Weaver adaptor mount from Leapers. Lots more to come!