by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- The test
- Scope performance
- H&N Baracuda with 5.50mm head
- Scope adjustment
- Group two
- Group three
- Group four
- Group five
Today I take the Hatsan Bullmaster out to the 50-yard range. I might have said in the past that I would attach a bipod for this test, but instead I rested the rifle on a sandbag.
It is important to remember that the BullMaster is a semiautomatic. However, it is also a repeating pellet rifle. It doesn’t handle the pellets the way cartridges are handled in semiautomatic firearms, so that’s one accuracy-killer that can be discounted. It feeds from a circular magazine. The bolt that pushes the pellet into the breech is operated by air instead of manually by a bolt. Therefore we can expect airgun repeater-level accuracy.
I filled the rifle at the start of the test and shot 30 shots before refilling. The first group was fired with the UTG 3-12X32 AO Bug Buster scope set exactly as it was for the 25-yard test. Remember that I am also evaluating this scope, along with the BullMaster.
I will address the scope first. Some of you expressed concern that a 3-12 power scope needs a larger objective lens than the 32 mm it presently has. You predicted the image would be dark. I shot immediately after dawn under an overcast sky, so the available light was quite low. I have to say the image was a little dim. I could see the crosshairs against the black bullseyes, but I have had 12-power scopes with brighter images.
Here is my assessment. For shooting deer with a centerfire rifle out to 125 yards or woodchucks with an air rifle out to 50 yards, this scope is fine for all legal hunting times. But for shooting groups at 100 yards, this is not the scope to get, unless the need for the small size and light weight outweigh your ability to see fine details.
H&N Baracuda with 5.50mm head
Hatsan sent me a tin of H&N Baracuda pellets with 5.50mm heads with this rifle. At 25 yards they turned out to be the most accurate pellets of the ones they sent. So, I started the 50-yard test with them.
The first group landed low and to the left of the bull. Ten pellets went into 1.222-inches, from center to center.
I adjusted the scope after this group. Judging that the group was one inch low and one inch to the left, I needed to move it in the opposite direction by that much. The scope adjustment knobs move the strike of the round 1/3 minute of angle. That’s roughly three clicks to move the round one inch at 100 yards. So, at 50 yards it’s twice as many clicks. However, as I started adjusting I was distracted because I couldn’t hear the clicks. With my electronic earmuffs turned on I can hear sounds much better than with the unaided ear, but these clicks are silent. They can be felt, though, so I concentrated on the feel, which is very slight. It takes a safecracker’s touch.
While doing that I forgot I was shooting at 50 yards and adjusted the reticle three clicks up and three clicks to the right. It should have been six clicks for both, of course.
The second group landed higher and more to the right, so the adjustments worked. I obviously didn’t adjust the elevation far enough, but the windage was now good.
This time 10 Baracuda pellets went into a horizontal group measuring 1.68-inches between centers at 50 yards. There were no called pulls in any group shot on this day, and the sandbag rest was as solid as I could hope for.
I adjusted the scope up two more clicks after this group, and I left the windage alone.
Group three is obviously higher, but it also moved more to the right. My scope may not be mounted level with the gun or the movement could be inside the scope itself — it’s impossible to tell from what I have done so far. This time 10 Baracuda pellets went into 1.583-inches at 50 yards.
The first group was the best with the Baracuda pellet. I shot all three groups on a single fill, so you have now seen the performance across much of its useful fill. There are more shots on this fill, but I wanted to change pellets, so I refilled the rifle at this time. Since I didn’t know where the next pellet might land, I left the scope where it was.
I shot this group with JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets that weigh 18.13 grains. I hadn’t used these until the last test at 25 yards, because Hatsan didn’t send them with the rifle. They performed very well at 25 yards — giving the smallest group. The Baracudas grouped larger at 25 yards, but only because of a one-shot flier. Nine of them were in a very small group. So, this 50-yard test is a way of sorting out exactly what’s what.
Ten JSB Exact Jumbo Heavys went into a nice round group that measures 1.049-inches between centers. I think this may be the pellet for the BullMaster.
I was excited, so I reloaded and tried another 10 JSBs. This time 9 of them went into 0.861-inches at 50 yards. Unfortunately, one pellet opened the group to 1.377-inches and it wasn’t a pull. Still, I think these JSB pellets are right for this rifle.
In this 5-part series we have taken a long and detailed look at the Hatsan BullMaser. We learned that it is a true semiautomatic, but the bullpup trigger does have a long second stage pull. The rifle is heavy, but it gets lots of shots on a fill and is quite accurate.
We also learned that the new UTG Bug Buster 3-12 scope is worth consideration. It looks like it was made for a gun like the BullMaster.
My thanks to Hatsan USA for affording us this chance to see this rifle, to Leapers for providing the scope and to BKL for providing the cantalever scope base that cleared the BullMaster’s high magazine.