Hatsan 135 QE Vortex .30-caliber pellet rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

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

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • JSB Exact 44.75 grain
  • JSB Exact 50.15-grain
  • Predator Polymag
  • Next
  • JSB domes at 25 yards
  • Predator Polymags
  • Polymags with the tips removed
  • Popeye?
  • What’s next?
  • Summary

Time for me to bend the bow of Ulysses and see what it can do. Today I have a slightly different accuracy test for you.

The test

I tested the rifle at both 10 meters and 25 yards. I shot 5-shot groups today because this rifle is just too hard for me to cock. A tired BB is a sloppy BB. All shooting was off a sandbag rest in the normal fashion and I used the artillery hold, both because I knew the rifle would be twitchy, something several readers confirmed.

Sight-in

Sight-in took five shots. As it came from the package the rifle was shooting high and right. The open sights have scales to tell you where they are and I found the windage scale most helpful, getting on target.

JSB Exact 44.75 grain

First to be tested for no special reason was the JSB Exact 44.75-grain dome. I checked through the spotting scope to see that the first pellet landed in the black and then didn’t look again. I held the rifle very loose, concentrating on not pulling it into my shoulder. A twitchy rifle needs to be allowed to twitch all it wants to, because it will probably do so the same way every time.

The group looks quite large, but you must remember that these are .30 caliber pellets. Thirty caliber can be anything from 0.30-inches to 0.312-inches. It depends on the country that controls the round. I needed to know the exact size to calculate the groups, so I measured this first pellet. It came out at 0.308, so that is what I will subtract from all the group sizes to find the center-to-center dimensions.

Hatsan 135 pellet size
As you can see, these JSB pellets measure 0.308-inches — at least this one does.

This first group measures 0.439-inches between centers. It looks larger but that’s just due to the size of the pellets. This is not bad for a 10-meter group shot with open sights! This pellet bears watching.

Hatsan 135 JSB 44-grain group-10M
Five JSB 44.75-grain Exact domes made this 0.439-inch group at 10 meters.

JSB Exact 50.15-grain

Next I tried the JSB Exact dome that weighs 50.15 grains. It probably looks similar to the last pellet, but it landed lower on the target and also made a larger group. I did not adjust the sights from the last group. Five of these pellets went into 0.754-inches at 10 meters.

Hatsan 135 JSB 50-grain-group-10M
Five JSB 50.15-grain Exact domes made this 0.754-inch group at 10 meters. It landed a little lower on the target at 10 meters.

Predator Polymag

The last pellet I tried was the Predator Polymag. They weigh 44.75 grains, the same as the first JSB dome, which means JSB, who makes Polymags, probably uses the same lead preform for both pellets. The Polymag is a hollowpoint with a red polymer tip in the hollow. I have found this pellet in other calibers to deliver superior accuracy, so today we will see what it can do in .30 caliber.

Once again I did not change the sights from the first group. Polymags landed a little lower than the first JSBs and a little higher than the second ones. They also went a little to the right. Five of them made a group that measures 0.536-inches between centers. That’s almost as good as the first pellet and quite a bit better than the second one. I tell you that for a reason.

Hatsan 135 Polymag group-10M
This group of 5 Predator Polymags is slightly larger than the first group of JSBs. It’s 0.536-inches between centers.

Next

Okay, with 10 meters out of the way and with the rifle sighted in, we can back up to 25 yards. I will only shoot the two best pellets at this distance, but one reader asked me to try something special, as well.

JSB domes at 25 yards

I did not adjust the sights for this session. The first group was shot with the 44.75-grain JSB Exact domes. They made a group that measures 0.973-inches between centers, but 4 of the pellets are in 0.33-inches. That’s smaller than the first group at 10 meters! Of course it’s just 4 of the 5 shots, but it hints at a level of accuracy I hadn’t expected to see from this rifle.

Hatsan 135 JSB 44-grain group 25Yd
At 25 yards five JSB 44.75-grain domes went into 0.973-inches c-t-c. Four are in 0.33-inches.

Predator Polymags

Next up were the Predator Polymags that did almost as well at 10 meters as the JSBs. At 25 yards the 135 put 5 of them in 1.231-inches between centers. Once again, 4 pellets were even tighter, at 0.572-inches. Notice these pellets landed lower on the target, and also to the right, which is the same thing they did at 10 meters. What I’m saying is this big Hatsan rifle is proving to be very consistent.

Hatsan 135 Polymag-group-25Yd
Five Predator Polymags went into 1.231-inches at 25 yards. Four are in 0.572-inches.

 

Polymags with the tips removed

Reader Kevin asked me this after Part 2 was published.

“Speaking of limited pellet choices for your accuracy testing portion of this series, please consider removing the plastic tip from the predator pellets and testing them as a 4th pellet when you move beyond 10 meters. Two reasons for this:

1-Many of the plastic tips in predator pellets become offset and at distance this affects accuracy.

2-I’d like you to have at least one arm that looks like Popeye’s”

Well, Kevin, I tried doing that to several of the Polymag pellets and I could not get a tip to come off or even to move. I noticed that I was starting to damage (bend) the pellets I was working on, so I gave up. You may have seen batches of Polymags whose tips were loose, but these .30-caliber pellets aren’t like that. I looked at every pellet in the tin (that’s only 100) and none of the tips had fallen off.

Popeye?

As for Popeye’s arm, I started this series off more like Olive Oyl. But today I shot the rifle many times and cocking was getting smoother. Maybe it’s because I eats me spinach! Kidding aside, the test 135 is getting smoother to cock. Not easier, just smoother.

What’s next?

I went to 25 yards today because you guys are starting to pester me to test this rifle at 50 yards. Before I do that I need to get a scope mounted and zeroed. I will test the scoped gun at 25 yards before moving out to 50. So that’s next.

Summary

I was surprised by the performance of the rifle today. That said, the high cost of .30 caliber pellets forces me to say that I think .25 caliber is the better way to go. Until now I have not thought of .25 caliber as a plinking caliber, but comparing nickel pellets to 10- to 12-cent pellets, it certainly is! If you want to take full advantage of this big breakbarrel, go with the largest caliber you can comfortably afford to feed.

42 thoughts on “Hatsan 135 QE Vortex .30-caliber pellet rifle: Part 3

  1. I am truly surprised at the level of accuracy and consistency this rifle is giving.

    I would have thought 25 yards would have been a pattern, not a group.

    It shows Hatsan is truly holding their engineers and quality control to a very exacting standard.

    I can’t wait for the 50 yard test.

    I sent a link to this to my brother, he is not an airgun guy, but has recently expressed an interest in the larger bore air guns, that are not precharged.


  2. BB,
    I am happy to see your rifle is performing like my 130s. I have been waiting on tenterhooks for this review. I’m looking forward to 50yd results. I took mine on vacation last week and put a couple tins of the H&N 46.3 and it is smoother than ever. I’m getting better with it, or it is settled down.


  3. I don’t have the slightest idea what the proper calculations are to compare iron sighted 5 shot groups to scope sighted 10 shot groups, so I have no idea about this gun’s accuracy.


  4. B.B.,

    A 57 pound cocking effort per shot definitely doesn’t entice this as an all day plinker. More weight might have helped dampen the vibration but then this would be too heavy for most to lug around. I am thankful that it is accurate enough to warrant further testing. Most other rifles being sold just end up as gimmicks.

    Siraniko


  5. BB
    Sounds promising to me. Might just be the thing to push me over to the big bore darkside. 🙂

    And now after you saying about the Polymags. I might just have to get a couple tins and try them in my .25 Condor SS.


  6. B.B.,

    Very nice. Thank you for the hard work. Like some, I was very surprised with the accuracy. Looking forwards to the 50 yard. Maybe a drooper mount?

    Also, maybe dissect one of the poly mags.? I did that with the metal mags. (plus there was 2 tips loose in the can of .22’s) and found a conical front, with a round, straight shaft in the rear.

    On the pellet measure photo, I was a bit surprised to see the caliper contact (both) the head and the skirt, as skirts are often larger than the heads. While good enough to gauge a group center to center, not the way to measure head size for those that might not be aware.

    Good Day to one and all,…. Chris




      • B.B.,

        I would put one on your Pyramid Air wish list (for testing). I have found the hold over requirement at different magnifications to be spot on. (As in,… I do (not) have to adjust hold overs at different magnifications).

        Chris



          • B.B.,

            No rush. I will do my part to “plug” them as the situation may arise. I would like to take the .25 M-rod out at the same time as the Red Wolf and pair the UTG 6-24×56 against the Athlon at 24 mag. and do a (side by side) comparison on clarity. As you know, my 30-100 is through a mature woods,… so ideal lighting at target is lacking. Side by side,…. looking through one,.. and then the other,… several times,…. should provide a good comparison.

            I will say now that I (think) I like the reticle lighting better on the UTG. Also, I like the reticle better on the Athlon. Both scopes benefit from the eye cup to reduce the outside light from the eye.

            I will say too,…. I think that an eye shade/cup is (very) much over-looked. The difference in clarity is (HUGE) and I never see it discussed. A topic????,…. if you should happen to agree. ?

            Chris



  7. Hatsan has come out with an interesting product in their 135 – a real thumper without the concern about the power source – no pumps or tanks needed :-).

    B.B.
    To ease the testing you might want to ask around for someone to do the cocking for you. There must be some strong, young guys who would be willing to help. That would leave you fresh for the actual shooting.

    Hank


  8. B.B.

    Nice report! Any thoughts on the open sights? Usually you comment, complain, about the fiber glow sticks, not this time. Maybe you should shoot the gun again at 25 meters with a scope attached. Usually Hatsan’s come with the most terrible scope ever as part of a bundled package, not this time?
    Thanks,

    Yogi


  9. B.B.,

    This air rifle has definitely turned out to be a serious one, not a gimmick in the least.

    After reading Parts 1 and 2 a second time, I had a hair-brained idea that I decided was too silly to share here, but now I’ve decided to do so. I dug out my most powerful air rifle, a Gamo SOCOM Extreme in .177 caliber. I neglected to measure it, but it is one mighty long long gun, and the cocking effort is no doubt over 50 pounds.

    I’m six feet tall, and while by locking my elbow and using my upper body weight to cock the second half of the stroke, the first third to first half is such that I have significantly less leverage. I stood on an eleven inch step stool (too high by roughly four – five inches to be fully effective for me, but perhaps just right for someone shorter) and cocked the SOCOM Extreme using a locked arm and almost entirely upper body weight. It was easy! Granted, I have far too much upper body weight for my own good, but I might just be onto something here.

    As I do not shoot ultra-magnum air guns of any kind, this technique is not one I will often use, and it is not at all practical for most hunting contexts, but I thought I would pass it on.

    Michael



  10. B.B.,

    Potential Predator Polymag Panacea

    The one flyer in your 5 shot group using polymags at 25 yards does not surprise me. I blame the tips.

    Thank you for your attempt to remove the polymer tips and shoot the predators “naked”.

    The plastic tip on the predators have a “lip” at the bottom of the skirt to help secure it to the lead portion of the pellet. The way I remove them for shooting in an FX Boss .30 caliber is to grasp the top of the pellet with your fingers to avoid damaging the pellet, then use a pair of dykes to squish the polymer tip as close to where it joins the lead head of the pellet. Once squished, rotate the dykes upwards in a motion that is like removing a bottle cap from a soda.

    https://www.grainger.com/product/STANLEY-Diagonal-Cutting-Pliers-2MU27?cm_sp=Product_Details-_-Products_Based_on_Your_Search-_-IDPPLARECS&cm_vc=IDPPLARECS

    Thanks again for the attempt.



      • B.B.,

        Kind of you to give it another attempt.

        Predator Polymags have never been the most accurate pellet in any caliber in any of my guns BUT they are such a devastating hunting pellet that they warrant extensive testing especially in guns like the .30 caliber Hatsan 135 that isn’t designed to be a plinker. If they prove accurate enough for an individuals hunting needs they’re definitely the pellet to take into the field.


  11. Those are good results BB, better than what I expected – looking forward to the next report. It could turn out in a reliability test for the scope and mounts too.

    As a sideline, these results also increases my interest level in the .25 caliber version. Not that I need it, but . . .
    Best, Henry.






      • B.B.

        Not a long barrel that’s for sure.I have not been able to go to the little range yet.The weather is not corporating at all and only going to get worse I’m roughly 150 miles away from the coast so should be fine lots of rain is expected and not sure about wind.

        Hopefully this file is small enough to upload. Just photo of my 135 Vortex qe .25

        Great job B.B.


        • Mag-Man,

          Good job posting the picture. I believe the max file size here is one megabyte. Remember, this has nothing to do with the physical size of the picture. The file size just has to be compressed smaller. Even after compressing, the picture appears the same when viewed online with no loss of resolution.



  12. B.B.

    Not a long barrel that’s for sure.I have not been able to go to the little range yet.The weather is not corporating at all and only going to get worse I’m roughly 150 miles away from the coast so should be fine lots of rain is expected and not sure about wind.

    Hopefully this file is small enough to upload. Just photo of my 135 Vortex qe .25

    Great job B.B.


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