Hatsan SpeedFire Vortex multi-shot breakbarrel air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Hatsan Speedfire
Hatsan SpeedFire Vortex breakbarrel repeater.

This report covers:

  • I like the design
  • Velocity and power
  • Easy to load
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Discussion
  • H&N Baracudas
  • Feeding
  • Summary

Today we learn about the velocity of the new Hatsan SpeedFire Vortex multi-shot rifle. As you remember from Part 1, this is a repeating breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle. The one I’m testing is a .22, but there is also a .177 available.

I like the design

For starters, I like the design of the SpeedFire’s magazine. It doesn’t sit out naked, nor does it stop you from closing the barrel after it is empty. I’m referring to many bolt-action PCP repeaters that cannot close their bolts on an empty magazine. That does prevent you from dry-firing but also forces you to remove the magazine after it is empty. I prefer to be in control of the airgun at all times.

Velocity and power

Today is the day we test velocity and the SpeedFire gives us something to test. The SpeedFire manual lists the muzzle energy of the .22 at 20 foot-pounds and the Pyramyd Air description shows it as 21 foot-pounds. Today we find out which is right. Let’s get started.

Easy to load

My first comment is the SpeedFire rotary magazine is very easy to remove and load. To remove it from the rifle, just press a button on the left side and it pops up. Then loading is a breeze. From one to 10 pellets (12 in .177) go in easily as you rotate the magazine between your thumb and fingers. There is no turning the cover or loading the first pellet upside-down. I like that. It makes shooting single shots a breeze.

Air Arms Falcons

The first pellet I tested was the Air Arms Falcon. Okay — I have zero experience with repeating breakbarrels, so I’m just going to tell you what happened. I don’t know why it happened — it just did!

In the first string the first 4 shots were slower than expected. This .22 SpeedFire is supposed to be at least a 20 foot-pound rifle, but the first shots with the 13.43-grain Falcon dome were all in the high 600s. If 671 f.p.s. is the speed at which the weight of the pellet in grains equals the energy it produces in foot-pounds, the first 4 shots were around 13+ foot-pounds! Then shots 5 through 10 sped up to over 700 f.p.s. where I expected them to be.

I will show you the first three magazines-worth of shots with Falcons and then we’ll talk.

Shot…….Vel1……..Vel2………Vel3
1…………680……..DNR………692
2…………661……..694………..698
3…………679……..691………..723
4…………666……..701………..695
5…………723……..721………..722
6…………DNR……722………..737
7…………DNR……722………..739
8…………748……..717………..739
9…………749……..746………..741
10………..731……..739………..703

DNR=did not register

Weird, huh? I thought two things. Either the magazine is somehow involved or the SpeedFire just doesn’t like Falcon pellets. I won’t give you an average yet. I switched to the second magazine and shot a 4th string of Falcons.

Shot…….Vel
1………..705
2………..719
3………..695
4………..713
5………..753
6………..764
7………..731
8………..745
9………..766
10………766

Discussion

The second magazine exhibited some of the same slowness characteristics on the first several shots, but not to the same extent. I think this might be a magazine break-in issue.

If I take 720 as the average velocity the Falcon pellet generates 15.46 foot-pounds at the muzzle. However, look at the second magazine. The average for it was 736 f.p.s. See the higher velocities at the end of the string? If we take 750 as the average the energy increases to 16.78 foot pounds. All of this is just conjecture at this point, but I think it’s representative of where the rifle is going.

H&N Baracudas

Let’s look at a heavier pellet — the H&N Baracuda. I had an old but sealed tin of Beeman Kodiaks (same pellet as the Baracuda) that weigh 21 grains even, as all Baracudas did in the past, so I shot them instead.

Shot…….Vel
1………..505
2………..464
3………..478
4………..451
5………..457
6………..531
7………..451
8………..446
9………..536
10………505

Okay, there is something wrong with this particular SpeedFire. The average speed for these 21-grain pellets was 482 f.p.s., which is a muzzle energy of 10.84 foot-pounds. The velocity went from a low of 446 to a high of 536. That’s a difference of 90 f.p.s. I’m ending today’s test at this point and sending the rifle back to Hatsan.

Feeding

I won’t comment on the trigger or the cocking effort today, but I will report that the pellets fed just fine. There was never a bobble. I think the SpeedFire’s loading mechanism works well. I just got one that has a powerplant problem.

A reader asked if the front sight was a problem when cocking the rifle and today I found out that it isn’t. Your hand naturally grabs the barrel behind the sight, so it cocks with the same effort whether the sight is up or down.

Summary

I have already contacted Hatsan and this rifle is going back, along with a sample of Falcon and Kodiak/Baracuda pellets for them to test in it. When I get the replacement I will resume the test with velocity testing.

68 thoughts on “Hatsan SpeedFire Vortex multi-shot breakbarrel air rifle: Part 2



      • Another part of the sport growing is .25 caliber. It seems if a maker is not offering a .25 they are loosing potential market. Pellet selection is behind the curve.
        Gerald


        • Gerald
          True about the .25 caliber pellet selection.

          But the good thing is that there are a few good choices available already.

          I only think about one in particular that is my choice. That’s the JSB 33.95’s. They work is the best I can say.

          But just for the heck of it I would like to see a .25 caliber wadcutter pellet. That would be a heck of a pesting pellet at closer distances. I keep asking for it. Maybe one day.


          • Gunfun1,
            I have tried both and my one .25 prefers the JSB 25.49 over the 33.95’s.
            There are a couple of wadcutterish pellets available in .25 you could try. B.B. is testing with the Predator polymags and you can see they cut a nice hole in paper. Also I have a PCP in .22 that shoots accurate with the H&N Crow Magnum. The sound of impact they give when pesting is well, satisfying.
            Gerald


            • Gerald
              Yep the 25 grainer JSB’s are good too. See what I mean though. At least we are lucky that there is accurate .25 caliber pellets available already.

              Oh and yep I have tryed the crow magnums as well as other .25 caliber pellets. I still want a flat nose wadcutter shaped pellet.

              And no I don’t want the pointed polymag wadcutters.

              I want a true .25 caliber wadcutter pellet like these .22 caliber wadcutters.
              https://www.pyramydair.com/s/p/RWS_Hobby_22_Cal_11_9_Grains_Wadcutter_200ct/789

              I want that flat nose thump. Kind of like flat nose 9mm or .45 powder round. I want the thump with my .25 Condor SS. I just keep having in my mind how hard it would hit. I want to see if you know what I mean.



                • Chris
                  That’s a good idea. But all I want to do is buy a tin of .25 wadcutters and shoot right from the tin. Just like I do with my other air guns.

                  No nip or tuck or sort or push through a gage. Just pick it right out of the tin and shoot. If I can’t do that I look for another pellet that will work for what I want to do.

                  As you know. I like to mod. But not pellets. They need to work as how I buy them.


  1. It is good to see that WE aren’t the only ones that get the occasional lemon air gun.

    Or the first one the guy assembled on monday morning, or the last one he assembled on friday at 4:55pm, ( i really don’t know the working hours in Turkey.)

    I still think the guy who does the assembly (if it is all done start to finish by 1 person per gun) should have to sign his name to the ticket. So if there are constant quality issues from 1 worker, it is time for a coaching opportunity, or more training.

    If its an assembly line, every person should have to sign the sheet for their station, and then the final QC person should have to sign the ticket and put in the box.

    Make people accountable, if you have to put YOUR NAME on it, MOST people will strive to do the best they can.

    Just my thoughts…..



      • R.R.,

        I always subscribed to the idea that it was [email protected]$$ to jump/eject out of a perfectly good aircraft!
        Even though that is my belief; I always did a through preflight of my chute and/or ejection seat!
        I never found a signoff tag like that ; )
        I certainly know exactly what I would have done it I did!
        Rigger(s) would have been publicly invited to do a practice jump with said chute!

        shootski


        • Shootski,

          My friend who relayed that to me was in the 173rd Airborne in Viet Nam. His father was a flight engineer in the Air Force and told him you do not jump out of a perfectly working airplane.


    • 45Bravo,

      I ran this report for exactly that reason. Hatsan knows how to make good airguns and I have no doubt there is something strange happening here. I wanted you guys to know that sometimes stuff like this will happen.

      Hatsan is rushing the rifle back to them to find out, too. I hope they will share it with me and I will pass it along to you. I sent them the pellets I used, so they can do their own testing.

      B.B.


  2. B.B.,

    In your 1st sentence, you say spring piston. The PA site says gas piston. You did say gas in part 1.

    On the bright side, your schedule has just freed up a bit.

    Does Hatsan have a US based facility? Either way,.. it will be interesting to see what they find and to what extent they divulge what was found. That transparency,.. and excellent customer service will score them a point in my book. Or maybe PA is the authorized service dealer and that is as far as this goes?

    Good Day to you and to all,……… Chris


  3. BB
    I think they should have redesigned the entire rifle to incorporate the mag better. Something that looks like a Walther WA 2000 or a semi bullpup where everything else sits up high.
    If they can get 700 FPS from a break barrel pistol a break barrel bullpup rifle ought to make even more power and still be reasonable to cock.
    Are there even any bullpup break barrel rifles made? Seems like there could be room to move the grip forward a little ?


  4. You don’t quite have “zero” experience with repeating breakbarrels, do you? Mendoza RM-2000 with an inline mag and a shuttle plate?

    The delicacy of the lead pellet really makes a repeater difficult… use a shuttle like the Mendoza and the pellets get damaged if their length isn’t quite right. Use a revolving or inline clip they get damaged if the clocking isn’t almost perfect. Some time ago I had an IZH-61 which had a clocking problem, and the accuracy was terrible.

    And there are now 2 sealing surfaces which can leak: the front and rear of the clip. Given the very limited amount of air put out by a springer, this can really suck the energy down.

    The most successful repeating springer I’ve experienced is the old RWS-300. It was a finely crafted underlever that used a rotary clip and, when working right, was superbly accurate. It had an inline probe which gently moved the pellet from the clip to the breech before firing, and a sliding plunger which sealed the clip at both ends.

    And it was extremely finicky: If you operated it correctly, it was completely trouble-free. But it was very easy to get the sequence of operation out of order, and when you did – well, in a few seconds you would break parts left and right and cause hundreds of dollars worth of damage.

    When I had the IZH-61 I tried something. I timed how long it took to load and shoot through a couple of mags, and then timed how long it took to fire the same number of shots through a normal breakbarrel. Overall, when I took loading time into account, it was a wash.


    • VFB,

      Gamo and others have been playing with multi-shot break barrels for quite some time. It is really not that new of an idea. Modern technology and materials have made advances in the field more easily obtainable. From a hunting perspective I can see where a quick follow up shot would be desirable for some.

      For most of my youth I hunted with a bolt action single shot rifle. This taught me you make every shot count. When I graduated to a rifle with a magazine, if I missed I was not given a round to replace it. If I brought back five groundhogs, I was given five rounds. If I brought back four groundhogs, I was given four rounds.

      Just because you can, does not mean you should. My thoughts. Just saying.


      • I don’t think it’s a matter of materials or technology. I suspect it’s the nature of the beast.

        A springer relies on a small volume of air that is compressed to a very high pressure very quickly. This burst of high-pressure air gives a pellet a hard initial “kick” to get it going… but since the volume is low the kick doesn’t last long. As soon as the pellet starts moving volume opens up behind it, and the pressure starts to drop rather quickly.

        Rifling makes it tough for the pellet to enter the barrel. Ideally it holds the pellet in place until the pressure peaks where it should before the pellet starts moving. However – if the pellet starts moving too quickly, BEFORE the pressure peaks, there is now more volume opening up behind the pellet which will prevent the pressure from building as high as it could. As a result: velocity and energy are lost.

        This, I think, is the problem with rotary-clip springers. Because the pellet hole has a smooth bore there is less resistance to the pellet moving, and it starts moving more quickly. Immediately this opens up more volume behind the pellet, resulting in less peak pressure and lower velocity.

        CO2 and PCP guns do not have this problem simply because the gas in storage is already compressed as high as it is going to go. And even if there is a little leakage at the clip, letting in a bit more gas will easily make up for it.

        It’s the general principle as trying to drive a nail with a rubber mallet as opposed to a steel hammer. If you are driving a nail by hitting it sharply (like a springer), the soft mallet makes it a lot harder. If you are driving the nail by pushing it (like a gas gun), it does not really matter.


        • VFB,

          The new line of multi-shot sproingers are not pushing air through the magazine. When cocked, a probe inserts the pellet into the breech. the magazine is not left in line with the bore.

          As for PCPs, most often the bolt passes through the magazine and inserts the pellet in the bore past the transfer port. There are a few exceptions to this, but not many. More often those magazines are metal, lock into position when inserted into the action and are rotated and keyed by the action similar to a revolver cylinder.

          There are quite a few CO2 guns that use the magazine as the chamber, most notably the replicas. They tend to be horribly inefficient with leakage in front of and behind the magazine.


          • Sheesh… I guess I oughta assume a little less than I do…

            In Part 1 I missed the part about the pellet being pushed through the bore and into the breech… But I do not see how the mag itself is moved out of the way. It looks like the air still has to move through it.


            • VFB,

              I understand. Being in engineering, I give more thought to how something is accomplished than some. I am always thinking how it is done and how it can be improved. I do try to not overthink it, but sometimes I get carried away.

              Some time back the magazine was part of the “line” but with higher pressures and intrinsic losses it was realized these losses needed to be removed. In recent times it has been learned how to do such. There are also different ways this can be accomplished, so you see differing solutions. Which is the better solution will eventually be known to all and that design will rise to the top.

              Sit down, shut up and hang on!

              I am just kidding about the shut up part. Expression of ideas can lead to solutions that have been overlooked by those who think they know what is going on.



      • B.B.,
        What about the Gamo Swarm you tested (repeating break barrel)? Isn’t it similar to the Hatsan as for as repeating? Not trying to dig anything up, just confused.
        I’m let down on the power plant on this one. I hope it’s just a 1 off. You’d think every airgun would be test fired before getting out. I still have hope though.

        Doc


        • Doc,

          You are right that the Gamo Swarm is just as reliable a repeater. I do like the way the magazine works on the SpeedFire, though.

          I sent the rifle to Hatsan today and if they can they’ll fix it and return it to me. If not I’ll get another one to test.

          B.B.



    • BB,

      LOL! Gunfun1 and I were just discussing starlings. I am most fortunate that I live where such birds do not care to congregate. What is really strange is that less than one mile from my house I can see hordes of starlings.





            • BB,

              I may have. I have eaten so many different brands of peanuts around here, what little mind I have left cannot keep track of them.

              As I am certain you are aware, Virginia is the “peanut capitol of the world”.



              • RR
                My dad planted peanut plants around the house. Not out in the garden on the farm.

                If I remember right he dryed them in the sun on a tray then baked them in the hulls. It was a long time ago so might not be remembering 100% correct.

                But I know I ate them and they was good. 🙂
                He use to do sunflower and pumpkin seeds in the oven too. Good stuff. Haven’t had any homemade stuff like that for some years now. Although my wife does do pumpkin seeds at Holloween sometimes.


                • GF1,

                  I get pumpkin seeds in the fall when Kathy makes fresh pumpkin pies.

                  The starlings are multiplying. They are an invasive species with no natural enemies here. That is except for us airgunners.


                  • RR
                    Yep us air gunners.

                    And they are sure a annoyingly noisy bunch when they are around.

                    Little do they know that I don’t even have to look out the window to see if they are in the feild. There noise lets me know every time.


                    • GF1,

                      I was looking at a gang of about one hundred when I was outside at break. I was wondering if anyone would get upset if I brought my air rifle out after work.


                  • RR
                    At the other machine shop I worked at the owner let us shoot at breaks or before or after work. There was just a handful of us that shot.

                    The shop was located in a little I guess you can call it industrial park. There was only 3 shops and it was carved out of some woods and a feild and a creek. So really nobody around to say anything.

                    But all you can do is ask. And the main thing is ask if you can bring the gun to show them how it shoots if they are sceptical.

                    That’s how I have got to do pest elimination at some of the farmers properties throughout time. They either tell you sure or no. I say go for it.


            • B.B.,

              As a now part time Commonwealth resident I have Hubs shipped to wherever we hang our hats.

              It is simply Hubs.
              The family name is actually Hubbard.
              Do you order directly from them?

              https://www.hubspeanuts.com

              They offer free shipping last I saw; with discounts for large orders and to charities (501 c-3.)

              Their website explains why Virginia peanuts are SO GOOD compared to other offerings and the other varieties of peanuts grown in other states.

              shootski

              PS:. Ooops, just saw you know that already!


    • BB
      Thanks for the picture post.

      They are just rediculous out of control anymore it seems to me. Never seen that many hanging out like I do now days.

      And like I mentioned on the other days blog. They are lined up for easy a half mile on the wires. You should see when they are out in the fields going crazy. Just solid black birds for easy 150 yards square.

      Something really should be done about it to control them. But you know how those things tend to go.


    • BB
      Looks like a shooting gallery, birds in a row. Had a similar situation here in SoCal only it was Turkey Vultures. Big birds !
      Evidently it was some sort of migration event or a new behavior brought on by the drought. They are back to occasional circling surveillance flights now.

      BB, that Ancestry event that led to the finding of my long lost half brother has turned into an avalanche of discovery. So much so that I had to turn the situation over to my oldest daughter who patriciates in social media. She jumped in with both feet. Everyone is ecstatic about it. Children of long lost cousins, in-laws, divorced relatives, and long separated family members are jumping in all over the place.

      Something good has come out of the computer age … other than this blog of course !

      Looking into a family reunion this summer in Florida. A lot of New Yorkers have turned up living there.
      Bob M



  5. B.B.,
    There is a lot of polymer molded over the barrel assembly. I wonder if the barrel pivot bolt is glued in place like Gamo does with their Whisper series, so users can’t adjust out side-to-side barrel wiggle when it happens. That is a situation that makes me want to stay away from sproingers whose steel parts are covered over with polymer.

    Regarding the low and inconsistent velocity this Hatsan produces, do you think the piston could be running dry?
    Thanks,
    Will



      • BB
        Is this a air ram or a nitro piston?

        The couple of gas spring guns I had from Hatsan we’re actually air rams. And you could let air out to control cocking pressure or power depending on how you look at it. But if remember right they didn’t have a fitting to fill it back up with air. There was a plug in the ram if I remember right. So a person could I guess come up with a way to pressurize it if they dug deep enough to do up a fitting.

        Do you know if it’s a nitro piston or a air ram?


        • GF1,

          I’m not sure. By Nitro Piston I think you don’t really mean that because that is a Crosman branded product. You probably mean a nitrogen-filled gas piston — right? Any gas spring can be filled with nitrogen and they usually are because it is dry.

          I doubt there is a fitting for filling. Airgun companies learned decades ago to not do that because shooters were beating their guns apart.

          B.B.


          • BB
            Yes I mean nitrogen filled. Just call it nitro piston.

            And the Hatsan guns I had did have a plug you could take out or loosen to let air out. And yes I believe it was air. Not nitrogen.

            Bulldawg got one of the guns and RNDA got the other. One was a break barrel and one was a underlever.

            Remember when you reported on the Vortek tunable gas or I guess air ram. The Hatsan’s I just mentioned was pretty similar to that.

            Maybe a call to Hatsan is in store again. Maybe that’s what they are doing but don’t give the option to have the fill fitting in place. I’m thinking that the Hatsan and Vortek system are pretty similar.

            Come to think about it. Didn’t you send that Vortek air ram back because it was acting similar to this gun. Or maybe it was leaking down. Can’t remember exactly right now. I’m thinking you probably remember better than me though. Do you?


            • GF1, et al,

              FYI, I purchased a new can of .177 Winchester round nose pellets at TSC recently and they are different than the old ones. The average weight of the older (Chinese) ones used to be 9.92 grains. Part # 300211-000 The average weight of the new ones (Spanish) is 7.63 grains. Part # 400046-000.

              The manufacturing quality appears to be much better. I haven’t tried shooting any yet. I liked the older ones due to the heavier weight.

              Bugbuster


              • Bugbuster
                And I can’t say on the weight. I never had the old ones and haven’t weighed the ones I have now. Mine are the new part number you gave.

                My whole reason for them is they are cheap in price and they are domed pellets.

                I’m shooting them out of my Bullmaster semi-auto. And I’m shooting them like there’s no tomorrow.

                But I wanted to make sure I had reliable feed with the round nose for my fast action shooting with the Bullmaster. So that’s the main reason behind me getting them. And they are pretty accurate actually out of the Bullmaster. And of course not as accurate as the JSB 10.34’s but sufficient for how I use them.

                The JSB’s would make me go broke if I shot them like I do the Winchester’s.

                And isn’t that where Daisy pellets are made? Could the Winchester’s be made by Daisy?


            • GF1,

              Yes, I did send the Vortek back and have heard nothing from them. My policy is, if you don’t talk to me, I can’t trust you to talk to your customers. So I dropped that project.

              I had forgotten about that one, though. It was adjustable, just as you said.

              B.B.


              • BB
                Now you know I’m more curious as to what this Hatsan has in it as the power plant

                I think we will know. It might take a bit of time. But we will.

                I think there’s more to learn about the build of this Hatsan. Not that I will get one. But it’s another interesting air gun to learn some facts about.


  6. My two cents – looking at your velocity results, I think there is a problem with the magazines not indexing properly for the first three pellets or so. The magazine, after feeding the pellet into the barrel, or as it’s lined up, is probably slightly blocking the air passage if I understand the mechanics of this rifle correctly. I think Vince has it right in noting the timing is off or there’s a leak at one or both of the magazine faces but since it’s mainly the first 3 or 4 pellets that are going slower than expected, I opt for the indexing problem. It will be interesting to hear the cause if Hatsan elects to tell you.

    Fred formerly of the Democratik Peoples Repubikl of NJ now Happily in GA


  7. B.B.,

    As a now part time Commonwealth resident I have Hubs shipped to wherever we hang our hats.

    It is simply Hubs.
    The family name is actually Hubbard.
    Do you order directly from them?

    https://www.hubspeanuts.com

    They offer free shipping last I saw; with discounts for large orders and to charities (501 c-3.)

    STRANGE!!!! Partial Doublepost on an EDIT!


  8. B.B.
    speaking of multi shoot break barrels, have you heard any more on the Gamo Swarm Fusion? I saw buzz everywhere during and right after the shot show, but nothing since.

    Doc



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