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Education / Training Hatsan 135 QE Vortex .30-caliber pellet rifle: Part 1

Hatsan 135 QE Vortex .30-caliber pellet rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Hatsan 135 30 caliber rifle
Hatsan’s .30 caliber 135 QE Vortex is a large breakbarrel — both in size and caliber.

This report covers:

  • Not only no…
  • Calibers
  • Description
  • Stock
  • Trigger
  • Sights
  • Scope base
  • Ammunition
  • Do you own one?

This is the airgun I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s report. The Hatsan 135 QE Vortex .30-caliber pellet rifle is intriguing because the caliber is so large. This is the only big bore breakbarrel I know of. But is it practical? Is it worth the effort (stay tuned for that!)? Is this an air rifle you can do anything with besides brag? I intend finding out.

Not only no…

It was 2006. I was in Josh Ungier’s office in Pyramyd Air’s old location. Josh had been showing me different cool things, like the pump-assist Benjamin 392 they were working on and we were having a great time, just talking airguns. Then he got a cagey look in his eye, which for Josh was common because he always had something bizarre cooking. He reached behind his desk and pulled out a large breakbarrel rifle and handed it to me. “Cock it, Thomas,” he said. Josh always calls me Thomas.

Well I tried, and I couldn’t do it — at least not with one hand. I had cocked mega magnum breakbarrels before, including a Beeman Crow Magnum that took 60 lbs. of effort, and I knew from that experience that this one cocked even harder. I estimated 75 lbs. But we will never know because that rifle had a coiled steel mainspring and the rifle we are examining today has a gas spring. It’s still hard to cock, though.

I told Josh that Hatsan had stepped over the line with this one. Nobody was going to buy an air rifle that cocked this hard. Yes, that’s what I said. Well, this may come as a surprise, but I was wrong. They made the rifle and people have been buying them ever since.


This rifle is offered in calibers .177, .22, .25 and .30. I’m testing the .30, for the reasons mentioned earlier. I personally wouldn’t want the .177 in such a large air rifle. The .22 would be my lower limit, but when the rifle gets to this level of effort, I think .30 is the way to go.


The 135 QE is large. It’s 47.2 inches long and weighs 9.9 lbs., nominally The test rifle weighs 9.5 lbs. and that difference is due to the weight of the wood that always varies a little. The barrel is 17.25 inches long, which includes the QE silencer in the form of a full barrel shroud. The pull is a manly 14.5-inches.


The stock is Turkish walnut and the test rifle has some good figure in places. The finish is an even matte all over. Both sides of the forearm and pistol grip are generously checkered with fine diamonds that actually have some grip. The comb is adjustable for height and the rubber butt plate adjusts up and down, so this rifle offers a wide range of ergonomic adaptations for fit. The forearm is square-sectioned, which allows it to be thin enough for a good hold while being deep enough for great strength.

The stock is 99 percent ambidextrous — favoring neither side. The automatic safety is a button located at the center of spring tube end cap. The one tiny thing that favors the righthander is the forward sling swivel comes from the factory on the left side of the stock. It appears to me that it could be switched to the right side easily enough. The rear sling swivel is centered at the bottom rear of the butt. All in all this rifle should be equally comfortable to right- or left-handed shooters.


The trigger is Hatsan’s Quattro 2-stage adjustable match trigger. They used the word match, not me. It’s not really a match trigger — it’s a sporting trigger. The trigger is supposed to adjust for pull weight and length of first and second stage travel. You can also adjust the weight of the first stage pull. I’ve not had luck adjusting this type of trigger in past tests with other Hatsan rifles, so this time I plan to spend more time at it.

Hatsan 135 trigger
The Quattro adjustable trigger adjusts for pull weight (screw 1), length of first and second stages (screw 2) and the weight of the first stage pull (screw 3).


The sights are fiberoptic, front and rear. That may not be such a bad thing on this pellet rifle because it is definitely not for shooting targets. This is a hunting airgun, pure and simple.

The rear sight adjusts in both directions with smooth click detents. They are too quiet to hear but both can be felt when they are turned. In just hoisting the rifle a few times I believe the open sights will do it great justice.

Scope base

Hatsan has had a novel and wonderful scope base for many years. Their base accepts both 11mm airgun scope rings and Weaver rings, by virtue of its two-tiered design. On a mega magnum like the 135 I think it goes without saying that the Weaver rings will be the ones to use, because they are the most secure under recoil.

Hatsan 135 scope base
Hatsan’s two-tiered scope base accommodates both 11mm (top) and Weaver mounts. Weavers are what you want.

The Pyramyd AIR website says the 135 doesn’t recoil and vibrate like some spring-piston air rifles, and that is correct. But make no mistake — it does recoil! I will say more about that in the upcoming reports.


Ammo for this rifle is a very big deal! More specifically, pellets. It wasn’t until a few years ago that .30 caliber pellets were even made. There have been .25 caliber pellets around as long as modern pellet rifles have existed, for at least the past 110 years. But thirty caliber is a recent phenomenon. So the number of pellets is few. JSB makes 2 — one is a 44.75-grain dome and the other dome weighs 50.15 grains. I have both of them.

Predator Polymag also makes a .30 caliber hunting pellet and I have a tin of them to test. Air Venturi makes a 44-grain round ball and I have a box of them to test, as well. The only pellet I don’t have is the .30 caliber H&N Baracuda, because they have been out of stock for some time. So this rifle will get as thorough a test as  is possible to conduct.

The heavier cast bullets in .308 caliber are not for this rifle. According to the specs, it is a 30 foot-pound rifle, so when we apply the “magic” number, we see that even the lightest pellet or ball will not be going 671 f.p.s. The “magic” number is the velocity in f.p.s. at which the weight of the bullet in grains equals the muzzle energy in foot pounds. That would be a 30-grain pellet going 671 f.p.s. However, this is a Hatsan airgun, so I expect the energy to be quoted consevatively.

Do you own one?

Today I start testing something very different. I welcome the comments of anyone who own this rifle. I am in a place I have never been and I’m not quite sure of what to do. It would be nice to hear what you who have owned and used this rifle think about it.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

95 thoughts on “Hatsan 135 QE Vortex .30-caliber pellet rifle: Part 1”

  1. B.B. you will earn your pay with this one. I am envisioning the aiming point wandering in one direction from the blood thundering through your veins and in another direction from your panting from cocking this monster ten times per pellet, as your vision goes blurry from the sweat dripping down into your eyes 😉

    • I’ve owned one for about a year and I’ve used the lighter vortek /jsb pellets. I used it as a squirrel gun out to about 30 yards with a 4 Power Scope with rangefinder reticle. I found if I was holding it right I could shoot about an inch and a half at 50 yards sometimes. I’m thinking of ordering the Noe bullet mold for hollow base pellet for this. With reclaimed lead from a .22 rf indoor shooting range I would be able to shoot it for nearly free. My only concern is the pellet is in the 50 grain range. Overall I’m rather happy with it. It’s more of a novelty gun but that’s okay. That’s why I own a 50 BMG and a 500 Smith & Wesson Magnum

      • As far as the weight of the gun I don’t know why people complain. It lays out there very nice. I stay prettu fit but even when I have been out of shape I don’t find it that much of a chore to carry a 10 or 12 pound got a couple of miles. I would rather have a gun that handles well and it’s harder to carry than a light gun that does not settle down is harder to aim with. I think in some ways the event of the M4 carbine AR-15 deal has made a generation think that if it doesn’t weigh six and a half pounds it’s a club.

      • Linoww,
        “My, that’s a big one!”, referring to your 500 S&W magnum. I have personally never fired any handgun larger than a .44 Remington magnum. Are you aware that some people have even chambered the .50 BMG into a single shot handgun over the years using a Colt 1911 frame as the lower receiver? I sold my first .44 mag (Ruger Blackhawk) years ago and purchased a S&W model 657 with an 8 3/8 barrel, loved it!

        Which .50 BMG do you have? My first was one of the original Barrett M 82’s, no lightening cuts in the upper receiver and came equipped with a quick detachable ARMS mount, very heavy but pleasant to shoot. My second one was a Harris/McMillan model 87R, very accurate but literally painful to shoot due to a combination of its light weight and a very inefficient muzzlebrake.

        In my humble opinion, if you choose to attempt casting pellets for your .30 caliber spring piston/gas ram air rifle, you should use pure lead, not an alloy of lead, tin and antimony which will be present in any scrap .22 long rifle bullets. The alloy will just be too hard for the weak powerplant to expand the skirt to seal the bore properly.

        Check out Corbin swaging dies on line. Good luck in your quest!


  2. This thing would be really burdensome to carry around in the woods because of the length and weight. If it was scoped it would weight about 12 lbs! Also, not sure what the application would be for this caliber. It would be overkill for rabbits or squirrels. It would also seem that the .30 caliber pellet moving that slow would have a lot of trajectory over a short distance. I would think the .25 caliber would perform much better in this particular rifle. Who would want to cock this thing more than a few times…if they could cock it at all. And, what about hold sensitivity? This is not one I would care to own myself. Looking forward to your report on it and others comments.

  3. B.B.,

    Not that I would ever buy this, but this is very interesting. I have always admired Hatsan for tossing in innovative features on their guns. They are quick to offer adj. risers and butt pads and such things, which you will rarely find on budget rifles.

    Being “schooled” here,… I see this targeted for the newer air gunner that wants the biggest and baddest springer on the market. The adj. riser, while nice!, may be a downer as now that comb will really get to smack you up side the head, proper, with the fullest of authority.

    (Very) much looking forwards to the testing on this one. Dust off the 10# dumb bells and start doing about 100 reps. throughout the day in preparation. 😉


  4. Hi B.B.
    Was just thinking the other day that you haven’t tested a Hatsan rifle for some time & here you are with a Mammoth hunter. But looks like you will have a handful to manage here. Looking forward to this. Good luck Sir.

  5. BB,

    My Webley/Hatsan Tomahawk is about the closest to this mega magnum I have. I will say that I am quite impressed with the Quatro trigger.

    I think Jim Chapman has one of these. He has done a hunting review on it. I have seen a few other reviews about it. I am really looking forward to your thoughts on this big bore sproinger. Eat your Wheaties.

  6. B.B., A quick off-topic question. Online I’ve found an exact replacement locking screw for the Diana 3 ball bearing trigger. To your knowledge, if I remove the existing locking screw to replace it with a new one, do I risk the whole thing falling apart?


    • Michael,

      Not as far as I can tell. The Diana trigger doesn’t have “fine workings.” The Germans managed to make two steel cages and three ball bearings do the work of fine workings. That trigger is as fine as a three-bottom plow.


    • I have purchased 3 Hatsan rifles in the last month this might be off topic if it is I apologize this is my first post here.First I will tell you which three I got.125 sniper vortex qe .22 cal.95 vortex qe .22 cal.135 vortex qe .25 cal.The triggers on the 95 and the 135 have wobble are left to right movement the 125 does not. I’ve only shot the 125 the other two have never been shot. I have heard it’s quite common to have this play or wiggle in the trigger. If anybody has a rifle that came with the trigger like my 95 and 135 did what did you do just deal with it and get used to it. They’re both within the 30-day window but if it’s not going to hinder me in any way or have any issues down the road with it because of that sideways movement I can deal with that. Any help or advice would be appreciated thanks.

      • I have a photo of the 135 unfortunately the files too big, and I tried to resize it file still too large, anyways just wanted to show it to you all beautiful rifle little on the heavy side that’s okay, it’s got a serious look about it.

      • Mag-Man,

        Welcome to the blog. You will get more views of your comments or questions if you post in the current day’s blog. Most of the commenters do not see the comments made in earlier blogs. A few of us use the RSS feed and we see any new comments made in all the blogs, even the older ones. I personally don’t have any Hatsan airguns but I know several of the commenters do and would be more than willing to answer you questions regarding the side to side trigger slop. I think I have heard of that before here somewhere.

        Also, in order for a picture to post in the blog the file size must be one megabyte or less. If you have Microsoft Office you can compress the picture file size down to an acceptable size. Most photo programs also are capable of doing that as well. Hope this is helpful to you. And remember, try to make your posts in the current day’s blog. It does not matter if it is off topic and B.B. welcomes all comments which are family oriented.


          • Mag-Man,

            I have found that triggers cannot really be judged if the rifle is not actually cocked and shot. (With any springer, to protect the piston head the air gun must be shot loaded with a pellet .) A trigger that is loose and “sloppy” when the rifle is not cocked might be crisp when it is actually cocked and shot.


            • Michael excellent point I did not even think about that. I know what I will be doing today cleaning the bore of both rifles. I guess at my age mid-fifties what I shot when I was a teenager is totally different than what I’m working with today. Will have to load them up either this afternoon or first thing in the morning and head to the old family farm about a 30-minute drive each way. My dad’s probably got close to about 70 to 80 chickens on the property and between the snakes in the possums his chickens are disappearing. I only have 4 rifles the three Hatsan and a Benjamin XL 1100. I’m through purchasing for a while.I did buy my brother the Gamo Magnum about a year ago he loves it,sorry for not getting back to you sooner just been real busy.Thanks for the advice Michael. MAG-MAN

  7. B.B.,

    I have noticed that lately you have made a point to report the “ambidextrousness” (or lack thereof) of new air guns. You did so in detail above for this air rifle. I thank you for that. That information makes a big difference for left-handed shooters like me.

    This is not an air rifle for me, but I am fascinated by it just the same. I think if I owned one, I would remove the moderator and have a custom, thick steel sleeve fit tightly over the barrel that extended beyond it six or seven inches, a la the recent TX200s. This would lesson the report’s volume a bit and also provide more leverage when it is cocked. Of course, it would make it even heavier and longer, but it seems to me a wide padded sling and UTG monopod is mandatory for this air rifle in the field regardless.


      • Yogi,

        I was thinking of making it cock with less effort. An extra seven inches might reduce the cocking effort by as much as seven or eight pounds. To paraphrase Archimedes, give me a long enough lever, and I will move the world.


            • Michael,

              According to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arm_span

              you should be 6’11”. If this is close to reality, yes a 6 inch cocking lever would work for you, but a 12 inch one would work even better for you. For most of us average size guys, 19 inch barrels are just not too long…
              What length of pull do you have?

              LBJ rides a bike that most of us could not even mount.

              • Yogi,

                I am six feet tall, even. I have, however, an inseam of 28 inches. My doctor told me I have the torso and arms of a man who is about 6’8″ or 6’9″. My father was built the exact same way.


                • Michael,

                  You have the right first name and you should have been a sprint swimmer with your body type.! M. Phelps is 6’4″ and has a wingspan of ONLY 79″. You could have gone for the gold!

                  I’m 6’2″ first thing in the morning and have a 74″ wingspan but my inseam is 36″ which helps with Long Distance Swimming & Cross Country Skiing!


                  • Shootski,

                    I never swam competitively, although perhaps I should have given it a try. They say Phelps also has very short legs for a guy who is 6’4″ and that that is an advantage for kicking and flip-turns.

                    Cross country skiing,, eh? You should look into Biathlon competitions. :^)


            • Michael,

              Me?,… 6′ 3″ (and shrinking),… I think? 😉 70″. And I thought I had long arms. 🙂

              Most all of my guns are 15 1/4″ to 15 3/4″ pull.


              • Chris,

                Larry Holmes is 6’3″ and from fingertip to fingertip is 82″. That is one of the reasons his jab was so dominant. It was also quick and powerful . . . .


  8. B.B.,

    I just noticed the forearm sling swivel doubles as a stock screw head. If it is quite sturdy, that is a nice detail. If this beast tends to loosen its stock screws as it is shot repeatedly, that would make things a bit more convenient. If it is not sturdy, well, that is something that over time might fail.

    Hatsan is indeed innovative. Plus, I like their effort to provide honest velocity estimates for their air guns. I hope that catches on with other brands.


    • Michael,

      They are more innovative than you think. The stock screw is drilled and tapped to receive the swivel screw through it. I myself would be concerned about how substantial this screw is. Likely I would carry the rifle in the European style with the muzzle down so as to put less stress on this screw.

  9. B.B.

    As I am sure you know, the Quattro trigger performs best-well lightest at least-when it is pulled with a 30 degree or so upsweep motion.

    PS I have the 95 Vortex.

    • Yogi

      I too have the 95 Vortex. The trigger pull weight is quite reasonable and beats all I am aware of in its price range. I have said this before but accuracy is good. Ten shot groups at 25 yards of .40 to .80 inch center to center are consistent with its favorite pellet and rested hold.

      This report will be fun to follow.


  10. B.B.,
    I look forward to the rest of your report as I have been fascinated by this beast for a while.
    I’ve never seen one in real life yet, but I’m intrigued because it’s the only big bore springer of which I know.
    Remember the Gamo air shotgun you reported on some time ago,
    and how it couldn’t really take enough pellets to really be viable?
    The first thing I thought of when I saw this .30 caliber was,
    “I wonder if anyone has tried a make-shift shotgun shell in it.”
    I have no need for this gun, nor any room in which to use it
    …and that makes me want it all the more…just to have. =)~
    Keep up the great work!

  11. Was just looking at the Hatsan 135 specs on the PA site.

    For 50 pounds cocking force…
    .30 – 550 fps
    .25 – 750 fps
    .22 – 1000 fps
    .177 – 1250 fps

    My own take on the 135 is that the .30 is interesting for bragging rights (if you are so inclined) but IMHO the .25 would be a better “hunter” though I would probably go for a .22 caliber for the flatter trajectory.

    Just saying, I like the .22 for all around use because the pellets are a lot less expensive than the larger calibers, they are more readily available and there is a wider selection to chose from. I shoot a lot so cost of ammunition is a bigger influence on making a caliber selection than the cost of the rifle… my thinking is that you only buy the rifle once 🙂

    Looking forward to the rest of the report!


    • I have a .30…the biggest issue is that it’s expensive to shoot. It’s about 10 cents a shot. For hunting it’s peanuts, who cares. The trajectory is loopy, but predictable. And the energy retained is massive. In .25 it would likely be better just because you can get pellets almost as heavy and cheap.

      • Edw,

        At .30 caliber the Hatsan must drop a heck of a lot of energy on target! Find that I can get used to a loopy trajectory easily and with typical hunting distances trajectory is usually not a big deal. Quite the beast! Like you say, cost per shot is “peanuts” when hunting.

        FYI. Local prices (Canadian; JSB) are .30 – 15 cents per shot; .25 – 6.5 cents; .22 – 3.7 cents; .177 – 2.5 cents.

        I do most of my hunting with a .25, my longer range pesting with a .22 and close in (< 20 yards) pesting with a .177. I plink with all my rifles but, for economy reasons, mostly with the .177s.

        Don't have a gas-spring rifle so I am reading these reviews with a lot of interest.


  12. B.B.
    I can tell by how quick the comments are coming that this review has a lot of interest. I am also interested to see how this big bore springer/gas ram does in your testing.

  13. I think it’s a interesting gun. It’s got to put a thump’n on something when it hits.

    If it can shoot a inch group out at 30 yards I would be happy with that.

    If it does turn out to be a good gun that would be one step farther towards me going big bore pcp. If I’m going to have to buy .30 caliber pellets next then I might as well have a couple big bores whatever power plant they may be. 🙂

  14. Maybe it will start a research on effort to energy ratio.
    It would be interesting to compare the pumps per needed to produce a 30 fpe shot with a compact pcp against one cocking stroke of the Hatsan. I mentioned compact because there is also the total weight factor. It seems that a compact pcp and a hand pump in a backpack weigh less than 12 lbs.

    • Arcadian
      I think I know where your going with this.

      Whatever the power plant is. You have to put out effort to achieve the power needed for that particular gun.

      The thing is. One will be accurate at a given distance compared to the other.

      The next thing is how are you using this .30 caliber break barrel compared to a PCP. I can’t say yet from what I hear and have seen with the gas ram underlever and break barrel springer and pcp I have had. But from what I have seen. The one will perform different than the other.

      This is the question I keep asking myself. How can this new .30 caliber Hatsan fit in with the type of shooting I might want to do?

      And I can say from what I have exsperianced with the Hatsan guns. They are well made and I do like the Turkish Walnut. And I do like the Quattro trigger on all types I have had. Heck I’m waiting for the Sortie-tact to get released right now.

      It definitely is a ground breaking gun. It’s different. I want to see more of what people have exsperianced with this gun and what BB finds. Definitely a blog to watch.

      And Arcadian. Just responding here no intensions toward your reply. And yes. Would like to see your energy to effort test.

  15. B.B.
    Super excited about this one. If it tests out well, might just have to get one. Why? Same reason lots of people do I guess…Just because. I agree with others that this gun in .25 probably would make more sense, but man, a .30!
    I figure the .30 round ball won’t do the best, but wouldn’t that be cool if it shot well. That is a cool looking round ball. At .30 cal, that ball is getting into muzzle loader range in size.
    I also agree, if there was a break barrel that might could be a shot gun, this should be it. Hatsan just needs to make a smooth bore and offer shot shells that either can be reloaded easily or produce a shot shell that is cheaper than 20 & 12 ga bird shot (Which Gamo did not do).
    Ok, enough rambling, can’t wait for this one to unfold.

  16. I’ve owned the 135 .30 for over a year now. I have upgraded the piston seal to a Vortek unit and have the gas strut set at 145 bar (Max is 150 per Hatsans service dept.) The trigger can be improved by either adding longer 1st and 2nd stage screws Or relieving the point of contact of the original screws on the trigger blade (Allowing them to provide 1-2mm additional adjustment range…the method I employed.) I will warn that if Your not experienced or confident in your abilities to adjust a 2 stage trigger,DO NOT! undertake this procedure yourself! Improper trigger adjustment can result in severe injuries or death! Learn to live with the stock trigger settings. The have been complaints about the saftey and trigger having excess lateral movement (wobbly) and this can be greatly reduced by adding a thin washer or two (Local hobby shop is a Great place to try.) to the pivot pins. Another complaint is the plastic saftey. It is Not plastic but a metal unit with a molded on plastic knob. No need to worry! I actually found the rifle to balance quite well and the firing behavior to not be nearly as bad as I expected. This sucker is a beast to cock…but it seems to ease up w/use. I added a sling to mine but had to replace the original swivels with typical Uncle Mikes (No realation) Normal size units. I simply removed the weak front swivel from the bolt and added a second stud 1 inch further back from the muzzle. Currently, its shooting at an average 562 fps w/44.75g JSB’s and is achieving @1 in. 5 shot groups at 25yds. I Did give the bore a good cleaning w/JB Bore paste,which probably didn’t hurt. As far as trajectory,that big .30 pellet isnt breaking any speed records…but with all the weight,it doesn’t shed velocity to fast Either! Its a Fun rifle and I actually enjoy shooting it…and That is what counts. I am impressed enough that I am planning on purchasing another in .25. Hope this is of help! Have fun with this one Tom!

      • Thank You and Your certainly welcome! I forgot to mention that I put a UTG 4-16X44 30 mm scope that I had lying around on it…so far,so good. And,Yes…those are some BIG pellets,especially for a springer. Not to mention kinda pricey.

      • Speaking of pellets I read in the .30 round ball reviews that they did not fit in the 135.
        It is going to be a very interesting report. Strange thing is that in Europe is sold only with the classic spring system and not gas spring. I believe it was this power plant in the gun reviewed by HAM.

    • Mike,
      If you ever get the one in .25, please let us know how it does as well. Would be neat to compare the two different cal in the same basic gun/power plant.
      Sounds like you have a nice 30 and have about got her figured out!


        • Mike,
          I think it is the same powerplant, but nobody on the forums knows, because I’m the only one with one that’s commenting. I’m planning on a jb paste job and kroil when I tear it down for a krytox job. But so far it is fun to shoot. And more manageable than my tuned 350.

  17. “My, that’s a big one”… Thirty caliber is on the brain with the latest adventures of Sergeant Pavlichenko. Her personal weapon was the Tula-Tokarev pistol which was apparently derived from the 1903 precursor to the Colt 1911. Pavlichenko is well aware of John Browning whom she refers to as the “pistol king.” She likes the Tokarev although she claims that it is “a lot for a woman’s hand” with its 7.62X25mm cartridge. That doesn’t sound too heavy to me. She seems to have a different view of calibers since she calls the P-08 Luger a powerful handgun. She was also a big fan of the Walther P-38 which she considered to be at the summit of German weaponology for the usual reasons associated with that gun.

    On the subject of the Tokarev, she has quite a bit to say about its rifle relation, the SVT-40 Tokarev rifle, one of the first semi-auto rifles in history. She had doubts about its reliability, and her first outing was disastrous. After receiving an honorary rifle with her name inscribed, she was very careful to wrap it in her poncho to keep dust out of the mechanism. But in her first combat, the rifle jammed at the first shot. When trying to clear it, she removed her helmet and received a near fatal head wound from a mortar fragment which laid her up again. Still, she continued with the rifle. Later in a forest raid, it did some serious rapid-fire damage, vindicating itself. The Soviets seemed quite familiar with semi-automatic sniping even back then. Anyway, the famous FN FAL was apparently based largely on the Tokarev SVT-40 design which would lend some credence to certain complaints about its reliability.

    Anyway, how about this for a Clint Eastwood cool moment? Upon evacuation by sea from Odessa, Sergeant Pavlichenko, attired in uniform, jackboots, greatcoat and a cap over her bandaged head retires to a corner of the ship’s deck. Opening an expensive silver cigarette case, she lights up and then looks out to sea pondering the vicissitudes of life that have brought her here. Suddenly, she hears a shout, “Comrade, don’t you know that smoking is not allowed on this part of the ship?!” She turns to respond, and the sailor catches the full effect. Instantly, he gets a lot friendlier and invites her up to examine his naval binoculars.


    • Nice story.

      The FAL is a very reliable weapon, especially in the U.K./Aus/Canada L1A1 rifle form (less so in the Aus/Can L2A1 pseudo-LMG configuration). It beat the opposition in almost every military trial of the 1950s – including the AR10, G3, SiG 510. Most countries that adopted the G3 did so because it was cheaper to buy or license-build than the FAL (which is ironic, considering H&K’s later marketing about uncompromising German quality).

      The U.K. used it for 30 years, and no one here ever complained about its reliability. It may be that it’s reputation in the US is tarnished by twenty or more years of well-worn mismatched surplus parts kits built on cheap aftermarket receivers by Century Arms or by gun plumbers in their basements.

      Trust me, the FAL worked brilliantly from its first iterations in 7.92 Kurz and .280-30” and then in 7.62mm NATO.

      The FAL and the Tokarev actions are similar, but appear to have been developed separately at around the same time by Saive at FN and Tokarev.

      They both seem to me to have drawn some design inspiration from John M Browning’s M1918 BAR action.

      • Whenever Lethbridge-Stewart commanded “Sgt. Benton! Five rounds, rapid!” the L1A1 worked great! (Seriously though, it was a fine service rifle here in Canada and only seemed to suffer from being a bit big and heavy compared to the AK/AKM and especially the AR-15 design) Funny to think now that Jon Pertwee era Dr. Who had lots of cool guns on display in many of the stories.

        I bet there’s still grudges held in the U.K. and Canada over the EM-2 – probably intensified after the U.S. adopted the 5.56 round abandoning the 308 NATO.

      • I read in one appraisal of the Lee-Enfield rifle that there was no quicker way to be invited to leave a gathering of British veterans than to suggest the venerable SMLE would not shoot straight. Heh heh. Actually, I’m a great fan of this rifle, but it sounds like the Commonwealth countries have a similar attachment to the FN FAL. I’m well aware of its sterling reputation including for reliability. And I know that Larry Vickers, a Delta Force veteran and gun expert whose views I respect, claims to like the FN FAL above all semi-auto battle rifles. Naturally, I’ve never had first-hand experience with this weapon and what I’ve heard is only hearsay. The specific reported criticisms were from the Israelis who were not satisfied with the FN FAL in some of their desert wars and developed the Galil in response. And there were some reports that the British were not entirely happy with the FN FAL in the Falklands, and I think their adoption of a new rifle dates from around this time. Whatever the truth may be it can’t entire displace the fine reputation the FAL has built up elsewhere.


        • The Israelis bought the FAL without the British modifications. The L1A1 was deliberately modified to work better than the basic FAL in sand. The Army even imported sand from the Middle East for their tests.

          The project to replace the L1A1 kicked off in 1970, and was well advanced by the time of the Falklands (1982).

          The Israelis replaced the FAL with the M16A1, then developed the Galil, then dropped the Galil keeping the M16, then developed the Tavor. The Tavor (esp the micro version) is one of the bullpups I dislike least.

          And, indeed, the SMLE does shoot straight and the No4 is better. 🙂

  18. Hi BB,
    I am also very interested in this review, although I do not have interest in a large bore guns, for now at least. What brings my comment is that I bought a couple of years ago a Hatsan 125 Vortex in .22. It is not the same as the QE .30 but there are some common elements, weight and cocking effort for example are on the same league. And so is its power. I am getting almost 28 foot-pounds with 14.5 gr. Premieres and other pellets of similar weight. Not bad for a 22 break barrel.

    Now, I have to admit that I haven’t shot it much. First because cocking it is a full upper body workout and second I thought that it was not a good shooter, producing fairly large groups. Then, I realized that the cheap scope I had installed was being demolished by the recoil. Back to open sights and artillery hold (of course) and it is doing much better. I think that it is settling down, and the cocking effort seems lower. And perhaps the fact that I am not that scared of it helps too. A couple of months ago I installed a BSA red dot sight that seems to be holding well. Time will tell. What I haven’t done yet is adjust the Quattro trigger, and it sure could use some adjustment. I will be waiting with interest to that section of your future report.
    Thanks again for all you do.

  19. B.B.,

    The H&N Barracudas have a advertised 7.58mm head size? Do you think the small head size will effect precision downrange from a reported 7.62 bore?

    I know it is a bit of apples and oranges but a comparison to a same size PCP Hatsan .308 big BORE such as the Hercules QE may be instructive for the hunters in the audience. The PCP costs more but also comes with a free pump, two 500cc cylinders that are claimed to provide 51 shoots each…think of it…no 65lb hernia inducing COCKING EFFORT for those 102 shots during your hunt!!!!! AIR fills fore smaller bottles are cheap in the USA and most of us can find them fairly close by if we put a little effort into the search; or into the free pump.

    BIG BORE PCPs are for HUNTING! .25 and below Springers/gas Rams are for hunting! This gun in my opinion is trying to fill a niche that doesn’t exist in the USA and perhaps in most other countries.

    B.B. I WILL find this an interesting series of reports. I wonder if when you are done I will eat my words?

    Have at it hunters! Convince me otherwise!


    • Shootski,

      I tend to agree with your statement, “This gun in my opinion is trying to fill a niche that doesn’t exist in the USA and perhaps in most other countries.”

      The only application I can think of that this airgun might be appropriate for would be hunting javelin down south, or in Texas. Yet the review of this rifle will be interesting.

    • Shootski,

      For the critters in my neck of the woods the .25 is plenty and a .22 would probably cover the bases well enough in most situations.

      For trajectory reasons (small targets) I prefer velocities in the 850 to 950 fps range so that and the ammunition costs would take the .30 off the list for my applications.


  20. GEO791,

    JAVALINA of the the medium sized, hooved boar lookalike? Don’t know much about them. I have seen them running in South Texas while flying Sand Blower Routes but they usually run in bands don’t they? Do they act like their big brothers the wild pigs? If so, I’d want at least one quick follow-up shot without the COCKING Effort! Even if it was a BLANK! Lol!


  21. BB

    I’ve always wondered why Hatsan makes airguns out of hollowed out axles strapped to fence posts?
    Always soooo heavy! Almost without exception!
    I think I have the mystery solved?
    Somewhere in the Hatsan factory they must have a product testing room where new innovations get tested for their functionality? In that room there is a Turk named Mustafa. He stands about 6′-5″, shoulders 3′ wide, arms like Popeye, and weighs 275#! Hatsan does whatever Mustafa says. Mustafa says deez guns aren’t heavy! Deez guns don’t cock hard. Who says to Mustafa dat deez guns should be lighter and cock easier? Mustafa says such a man is woosie!…………(complete silence)…………and so Hatsan goes on making heavy, hard to cock guns, and Mustafa keeps his job!


    • deerflyguy,

      🙂 Interesting theory. Heavy rifles do seem to be a common theme among the Hatsans. Maybe that is just their tradition. Maybe they figure that the extra weight makes the rifle more stabile while aiming,… and therefore more accurate. I could see the latter holding partly true for a powerful springer that will be trying to thrash about. I am not sure I see any need for a PCP platform though. It could be too that if the philosophy of strong built is good,…. over built is better. I do like some of their innovations and they do seem to offer more for the money in general.


  22. Michael excellent point I did not even think about that. I know what I will be doing today cleaning the bore of both rifles. I guess at my age mid-fifties what I shot when I was a teenager is totally different than what I’m working with today. Will have to load them up either this afternoon or first thing in the morning and head to the old family farm about a 30-minute drive each way. My dad’s probably got close to about 70 to 80 chickens on the property and between the snakes in the possums his chickens are disappearing. I only have 4 rifles the three Hatsan and a Benjamin XL 1100. I’m through purchasing for a while.I did buy my brother the Gamo Magnum about a year ago he loves it,sorry for not getting back to you sooner just been real busy.Thanks for the advice Michael. MAG-MAN

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