by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- The rifle
- Synthetic and metal
- 200 bar
- Compressed air
- Impressions so far
Today I start looking at the Hatsan Gladius .177 long. This is a large, powerful precharged pneumatic (PCP) hunting rifle that has a very high rating from satisfied customers. I’m testing the rifle in .177 caliber, but it also comes in .22 and .25. There is also a short Gladius in all three calibers that retails for $50 less than the long ones.
The long Gladius is large, weighing in at 10.6 lbs. without a scope. The Gladius is a bullpup design that doesn’t take full advantage of the bullpup style — at least in the long version. I asked for the long rifle so I could test the maximum power (in the selected caliber) and shot count. With a PCP the length of the barrel determines the power to a large extent. Now, you may argue that a powerful air rifle like the Gladius should be tested in the larger calibers that can generate the maximum energy, but others want to see the fastest velocity with the flattest trajectory. Whichever way I go, some will be dissatisfied. And, no, I’m not planning to test this rifle in the other calibers. I’ll let the published numbers speak for themselves. The last big Hatsan PCP I tested was a BT65 QE rifle in .25 caliber. A test of a .177 Hatsan PCP was past due.
The long rifle is 38 inches overall, so it is compact. But that makes the weight even more apparent. The barrel length is 23-inches, which is good for lots of power. In the short version, which is more of a true bullpup, the overall length is 34.4 inches and the barrel is 19.4-inches. Both versions have shrouded barrels that should be very quiet. They rate the velocity for the .177 at 1170 f.p.s., and we know from experience that Hatsan tests all their guns with realistic pellets. That tells me I will be testing this one with the heaviest pellets I can find, which is perfectly suited to a hunting rifle.
Synthetic and metal
The rifle is all black with a tactical look. The parts are mostly aluminum and steel and the rest are rubberized synthetics. The metal parts have a matte surface that won’t reflect light. The butt pad is rubberized for a good grip on the shoulder. The aluminum magazines are unfinished with a matte surface.
The Gladius is a repeater, using round clips (Hatsan calls them magazines, and I will use that term from this point on) that stick up proud of the receiver. On most rifles this would present a problem with mounting a scope, but because the Gladius is a bullpup design, there is a fixed scope base forward of the receiver that negates any interference. The rifle comes with 4 mags, so you have everything you need from the start.
Three mags are stored in the slots in the bottom of the stock and the fourth is installed in the receiver. To remove it and insert a loaded mag, first cock the sidelever and leave the lever
all the way back. Then push the magazine release bolt forward and up, to lock it in place. The empty mag is slipped out and a loaded one goes in its place. The mags are designed to fit just one way. The rifle is also designed to not allow double-feeding of a pellet. I will test that feature for you.
In .177 and .22 calibers each mag holds 10 pellets. In .25 caliber the number is 9. Because of its shape, the mag will limit the length of pellet that may be used, so that is something I will check carefully when I shoot the gun.
The rifle is filled to 200 bar, which is 2900 psi. That makes it very convenient for U.S. shooters whose air supplies are mainly limited to 3000 psi. The promotional data says you can expect up to 85 shots on a fill, but that sounds quite optimistic to me. That will be something I will check carefully — both with velocity testing and groups at 50 yards.
The trigger is a Quattro that I have found quite nice on Hatsan PCPs in the past. It is 2-stage and the first stage adjusts for length. You can also change the weight in both the first stage pull and the sear release separately.
The manual says the safety is manual, but that’s not correct. Every time the rifle is cocked the safety comes on. It’s just something to get used to.
The cheekpiece raises up on a post to align your eye with the scope. The butt pad also moves up and down to help with scope alignment. It also moves out to adjust for a longer length of pull. I will set up the rifle to suit myself before accuracy testing, and I’ll report on that in part 3.
There are three Picitinny rails on the forearm. The one on the bottom is for a bipod and the two on either side are for anything else you want — like flashlights, rangfinders, lasers, video cameras, etc. The sling swivels are permanently mounted to the stock and are out of the way. They are for 3/4-inch slings, though, which are smaller than normal. But Hatsan includes a fabric sling with the gun, so you’re in business.
The rifle is filled at the front of the reservoir with Hatsan proprietary fill probe. There is a manometer (pressure gauge_ on the front of the reservoir to tell you how much air remains onboard.
Impressions so far
The Gladius is for hunting — I think that is obvious. Don’t think of it as a substitute for a Benjamin Marauder, because it isn’t. It’s more expensive and also more powerful. I think the Marauder probably has the better trigger and, as for the accuracy, that remains to be seen.
As powerful as it is, I think the Gladius has a good chance of becomming a hunter’s primary rifle. The accuracy test will tell.