by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Open sights were the baseline
- Mounting the scope
- JSB Exact Heavy
- The scope
- Sig Ballistic Match Alloy target pellets
- Summary of this test
Today we look at the accuracy of the Hatsan 85 Mossy Oak Break Up with the scope and mounts that came with it. I find it’s best to test these scopes first before buying a replacement because I have received a few with package deals that really worked.
Open sights were the baseline
Part 3 was a test of the rifle using the open sights that came installed. That test provided a baseline for today’s test, because I know the rifle has to at least be as accurate as it was with open sights. Since I tested it at both 10 meters and 25 yards, I decided to start today’s test at 25 yards.
The open sight test also identified two pellets that were best, out of the several that were tested. So those were the only pellets that carried over to this test. But because reader Bulldawg (as I recall) had asked me to also test the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy target pellets, I decided to give them a try as well.
Mounting the scope
The scope came out of the box with the two-piece rings installed, so all I had to do was attach the rings to the dovetail on the rifle’s spring tube. That was easily done because each ring base clamps to the gun with a single slotted screw. The slot is cut to fit an American quarter coin, and a Euro is slightly too thick at the rim to work. The scope went on the rifle very fast and I hoisted it to my shoulder to check the alignment of the reticles. They were slightly off for me, so I loosened the cap screws on each ring and rotated them slightly until they lined up. This will differ from person to person, so it is impossible for the factory to align the scope for every shooter.
I started the sight-in at 12 feet and found the scope was exactly where it should be. So I backed up to 11 meters and shot again. This time the pellet climbed up to almost the center of the bull, which was the point of aim. So far, so good.
Next I backed up to 25 yards and fired three shots that seemed to hit high enough, if off to the left of the bull. But this was where the test grew difficult. I couldn’t see the bull clearly through the scope — no matter what I did with the focusable eyepiece. I ended up with a compromise that had me shooting on 3 power and seeing multiple crosshairs. If I squinted I could sharpen the image enough to shoot, but the bull was never entirely in focus.
Nevertheless, my first 3 sighters at 25 yards hit close enough to each other (maybe 1/2-inch) that I thought I could run the test. So next I shot 10 pellets.
JSB Exact Heavy
The most accurate pellet at 25 yards in Part 3 was the JSB Exact Heavy, so I chose it first. I couldn’t see the pellet holes through the scope, but I could hear them hitting the steel backplate in my heavy pellet trap, so I knew I was at least staying in the safe zone. When I went downrange to change targets, though, I was disappointed with what I saw.
Ten pellets were scattered across the target in a group that measured 2.362-inches between centers. The test was over! Obviously if I can put ten JSB Exact Heavies into 1.499-inches at 25 yards with open sights, I ought to be able to do at least as well with a scope at the same distance. Some of you wondered why I tested the rifle with open sights first. This is the answer. So I removed the scope from the rifle.
The scope that comes in the box is a 3-9X32 Optima scope that has no parallax adjustment. It’s obviously parallax corrected for somewhere beyond 25 yards, most likely 100 yards. It simply will not do at this distance. I always test the scopes that come with the guns, but in this case, the scope has to be replaced.
No sense shooting any more with this scope, so I will find a good scope and run another 25-yard accuracy test. I will also save the test of the clamp-on bipod for then, since we should know how accurate the rifle can be.
Sig Ballistic Match Alloy target pellets
Someone wanted me to test Sig Match Ballistic Alloy target pellets in this rifle, so I decided to try them after the scope was off. If they are accurate, we should get a good idea from a 5-shot group with open sights. But the first shot went out with a crack like a .22 rimfire cartridge! It was startling and I didn’t want to shoot at again. I compromised though and shot a total of 3 shots, getting a group that measures 1.753-inches between centers, but that’s where I stopped. Even if this pellet proves accurate in the Hatsan 85, it makes too much noise! I would never shoot it, and neither would any of you.
Summary of this test
You might think this test was a failure, but it wasn’t. We learned a couple important things from it. First, we learned that the scope that comes in the box with this rifle isn’t suited for it. And in general we learned that if an air rifle has open sights you should test it with them first, before mounting any scopes. That way you have a baseline of accuracy to check against.
I’ll mount a good scope and we’ll try it again.