by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- A couple things
- High Power
- Baracuda Match 4.50mm
- JSB Exact Heavy
- Low power
- Medium power setting 4
- What to make of this?
- Trigger pull
We’re back with the Hatsan Gladius .177 long today for the velocity test. Hatsan advertises that this rifle gives up to 90 shots per fill. You may get that many, but not on full power. This is a hunting rifle and you want hunting rifle accuracy. For me that means keeping all your shots inside an inch which is the size of the kill zone on the smaller game the Gladius is designed to take. Now, when you throw distance into the equation things get confused very fast, so my way to simplify things is to say that 50 yards is the distance at which I would like to see one-inch groups.
Plinking, though, doesn’t require such accuracy and I’m sure that is what Hatsan has in mind when they say 90 shots per fill. You also need to know that the manual doesn’t mention the power adjustment, but it’s there on the rifle and I’ll test it for you today.
I learned a lot from today’s test. For starters I learned that the Gladius is silenced very well. Given the enormous power of the rifle, I found it easy and not at all disturbing to shoot in my office on full power without hearing protection. It’s not silent by any means, but for the power it is very well-mannered. My cat, Punky, slept in the office the entire time I tested the rifle without complaint. It’s about the same level of sound as a powerful spring-piston rifle.
On the lowest power setting the noise is so low that the rifle could be used in tight suburban yards. You Gladius owners have to learn what works best for you.
A couple things
I told you in Part 1 that the safety sets automatically, even though the owner’s manual says it is manual. It comes on each time the rifle is cocked. You can also set it manually if you like. It is a manual safety that’s also automatic.
Next, there is no mention in the owner’s manual of the power adjustment knob. It’s on the rifle, though, and I will test it for you. Let’s look at it now. On the right side of the receiver is the power wheel with 6 settings. A button on the opposite side of the receiver must be pressed in to unlock the power wheel.
Okay, let’s see what this rifle can do. I will begin on power setting 6, which is as high as the rifle goes.
Baracuda Match 4.50mm
The first 10 H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 4.50mm heads averaged 1138 f.p.s. At a weight of 10.6 grains, this pellet generated an average 30.49 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Hatsan only claims 27 foot-pounds, so they are very conservative! The spread went from 1150 f.p.s. to 1126 f.p.s. — a spread of 24 f.p.s.
The velocity started falling off on the third shot in the string and continued downward steadily. I will shoot a group at 50 yards with this pellet, just to see how it does. There probably aren’t two magazines’ worth of shots at this power setting.
JSB Exact Heavy
For fun I shot a second magazine of 10 JSB Exact Heavy pellets. They averaged 1096 f.p.s. but the velocity was still falling steadily, so that’s not what the first magazine would have done. At that velocity this pellet produced 27.84 foot-pounds of energy — still higher than the Hatsan claim!
The spread went from 1117 f.p.s. on the first shot to 1071 f.p.s. on the last shot — a spread of 46 f.p.s. As the pressure drops the velocity gets less stable.
After these two magazines (20 shots) I fired one more Baracuda Match and got 1074 f.p.s. Clearly the rifle is low on air, though there was about 2500 psi in the gun when I filled the tank. Time to adjust the power
I set the power to 1 — as low as it will go. Using the same Baracuda Match pellets, the first 10 shots averaged 562 f.p.s. The high was 569 and the low was 551 f.p.s., for an 18 f.p.s. spread. The power with this pellet averaged 7.44 foot-pounds.
I then fired 40 blank shots to use up some air. Then I reloaded the magazine for shots 51 through 60. The average was 466 f.p.s. — nearly 100 f.p.s. slower than shots 1-10. So your plinking has to be at close range to get this many shots! Are there 90 shots per fill? Maybe. A lot depends on what you are doing.
Medium power setting 4
I thought by using a medium power setting that I would get more than one magazine at the same velocity. No dice! The velocity still dropped steadily, just as it had on high power. I do like the velocity range better though.
First 10 shots with the same Baracuda Match averaged 956 f.p.s., which is good for 21.52 foot-pounds. The high (first shot) was 974 and the low (last shot) was 936. The spread was 38 f.p.s. I then shot 10 blanks and then 10 more shots for record. These averaged 869 f.p.s. — 87 f.p.s. slower than the first 10. The high (second shot) was 893 and the low (shot number 7) was 852. The spread was 41 f.p.s. and the average energy was 17.78 foot-pounds.
What to make of this?
I’m not going to concern myself with the Gladius’ power band and constantly falling power. If it will group at 50 yards, I don’t care how broad the velocity spread is. And if it can’t — it doesn’t really matter, does it?
The trigger is adjustable, of course. It came set to two stages with stage two breaking reasonably crisp at 4 lbs. 3.5 oz. I think I will leave it where it is for now.
The trigger failed to fire numerous times at the end of today’s session. I had to re-cock the gun numerous times to reset the trigger ever time it failed. That may just be an adjustment issue. I hope that’s all it is.
I think I will start shooting the Gladius at 25 yards indoors, to get the feel of the gun. That will give me time to adjust the stock and trigger as well as find the best pellet. In the long run it should save me some time and give me one additional report on this airgun.
The low noise of the Gladius was a surprise. So was the power adjustablity. The rifle is heavy, but pretty ergonomic, which offsets the weight a bit.
The trigger was the worst feature so far. Let’s hope it returns to normal in the next test.