Hatsan Vectis .25-caliber lever action PCP repeater: Part 2
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Flash Vectis
- Fill probe port plug
- What is the air stripper made of?
- Second string
- Discharge sound
- Third string
- JSB Exact King Heavy
- Predator Polymag
- How smooth is the lever?
- The trigger
Well, the discussion in Part 1 ended on the topic of UFOs. Let’s see where we go today with our exploration of the velocity of the .25-caliber Hatsan Vectis lever action PCP. I will begin by addressing two comments that were pertinent. The first was from reader Willyaimright, who said he had to return his first Vectis to Pyramyd Air because he couldn’t get it to accept a fill.
Knowing that some precharged guns have to be cocked before the initial fill (i.e. when there is no air inside the reservoir), I read the manual before proceeding. It’s an unmanly act, I know, but sometimes you just gotta cheat.
The Vectis comes with a manual that doesn’t identify the Vectis on its cover. It’s the manual for the Flash, Flash QE and the Flashpup. But the Vectis is a Flash and shares the same basic action as the other guns. They will probably get it into the manual, or maybe they already have. I received my test rifle directly from Hatsan and it’s an early one. The box it came in identifies it as a Flash Vectis on the end flap, but when I asked Hatsan USA, they told me to just call it the Vectis. So the manual covers the rifle, even though it doesn’t appear to.
The instructions say to fill the rifle when it is UNCOCKED. However — read the next sentence which tells you that if the reservoir is completely empty the rifle does need to be cocked. I suspected that, because many PCPs have striker springs that are so powerful they hold the valve slightly open when the striker is down (rifle is uncocked). If there is enough air pressure inside the reservoir the valve will remain closed against the striker spring pressure, but if the reservoir is empty the striker will push the valve stem forward enough to open the exhaust valve and you will never be able to fill the airgun until you cock it.
Is that what happened to Willyaimright? I don’t know, but reader Bob M was quick to make the same comment to him. This is a very common thing. It’s not a problem unless you don’t know about it and proceed to try to fill an empty gun, which we have all done.
The second thing you need to know about filling a Vectis is Hatsan sends a proprietary fill probe with 1/8 BSPP threads on the other end. I was fortunate to have an Air Venturi 1/8″ BSPP adaptor that threaded on and changed the other end of the Hatsan probe to the common male Foster fitting.
Fill probe port plug
To keep dirt and dust from entering the fill port, there is a plastic plug in the port hole. When the fill probe is pushed into the hole, the plug is pushed out the other side. Remember to reinstall it after each fill to both keep track of the plug and keep the fill port clean.
What is the air stripper made of?
Reader Drucocu asked what the air stripper was made of. I said in Part one that the outside of the Vectis is entirely synthetic for weight reduction. The air stripper is on the outside, so it is synthetic, too.
I’ll start the test with Benjamin domes. And I shot this all through the 10-shot rotary magazine, so we know that works. The average for the first 10 pellets was 764 f.p.s. The high was 777 and the low was 753 f.p.s. So the spread from low to high was 24 f.p.s.
At the average velocity this 27.8-grain pellet generated 36.04 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Hatsan advertises the rifle at 40 foot-pounds in .25 caliber and we will probably see that with a heavier pellet.
The velocity drop was almost linear in this first string. Let me show you.
The reservoir pressure at the start was 200 bar/2900 psi. At the end it read 155 bar/2248 psi. Because of this I decided to shoot a second string of Benjamin domes, to see where that took me. This will help us establish the shot count.
The second string of Benjamin domes averaged 742 f.p.s. The high was 757 and the low was 720 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 37 f.p.s. At the average velocity of the second string, the same pellet produced 33.99 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Once again the velocity drop was linear. I think the rifle is still on the power curve where it needs to be, so there are at least 20 good shots on a fill, when this pellet is used.
String two began with 155 bar/2248 psi in the reservoir. At the end of the string the reservoir gauge read 125 bar/1813 psi, which is still in the green portion of the gauge. A third string will be tried.
The Vectis is a loud 3 on the sound scale. Maybe it’s a 3.6. With all that power it has to make some noise, plus it is a .25 caliber, so the hole through the barrel is large. A .177 would be much quieter.
On the third string the Benjamin dome averaged 698 f.p.s. The low was 678 and the high was 726 f.p.s. At the average velocity the pellet generated 30.08 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That means that across the three magazines of 30 total shots the average power loss between strings was 6 foot-pounds. At the same time the average velocity loss was 66 f.p.s.
I think if I were hunting I would stop shooting after two magazines and refill the gun. But if I were just out plinking I would use the additional magazine.
JSB Exact King Heavy
Next I loaded 10 JSB Exact King Heavy pellets. These should tell us how powerful the Vectis .25 really is because heavier pellets usually produce the mosty energy in pneumatics. The Vectis magazine requires the first pellet to be loaded skirt-first and this one didn’t quite want to go until I rolled it on a table a little. That took a few thousandths off the edge of the skirt and then the pellet loaded fine. As long as these pellets are, they fit in the magazine fine.
I refilled the rifle to 200 bar/ 2900 psi. The average for 10 shots with these 33.95-grain pellets was 697 f.p.s. Remember that at the “magic” velocity of 671 f.p.s. the weight of the pellet in grains is equal to the energy it develops in foot pounds. So we are very close. The velocity variation across the string went from a low of 691 to a high of 711 f.p.s. — a spread of 20 f.p.s.
At the average speed this pellet developed 36.63 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. The lighter 27.8-grain Benjamin dome developed 36.04 foot-pounds on its first string. That tells me the Vectis in .25 is maxed out. A .22 caliber might be more effective, if a little less powerful. Let’s look at another pellet.
The Predator Polymag in .25 caliber is a wonderful hunting pellet, so you know it’s going to be chosen for the Vectis. It’s only 26 grains, so it’s also going to be fast. How fast? An average of 799 f.p.s. for 10 shots. The spread went from a low of 781 to a high of 808 f.p.s. That’s a range of 27 f.p.s.
At the average velocity the Polymag generated 36.87 foot-pounds of energy. That is remarkable — a light pellet generating more energy than a heavy one in a PCP. It shows the Vectis valve likes lighter pellets best.
How smooth is the lever?
Many readers were interested in how smooth the lever is, and I have to say it is very smooth. It’s lighter to work than a Korean PCP lever and the short vertical throw also makes it easier to operate. Plus, as the testing progressed, I swear the lever was smoothing out. After several hundred more shots it will probably become very slick. I did feel every shot through the lever that wanted to pulse open just a bit.
The Vectis has a 2-stage Quattro adjustable trigger. As it came from the box stage 1 was 1 lb. 11oz. and the trigger broke at 3 lbs. 10 oz. The first stage pull weight, second stage pull weight and the length of the first stage are all adjustable. All the screws seemed very tight at the start, but once they began to turn they became easier.
I adjusted the first stage to 1 lb. 6 oz. and stage two to 2 lbs. 11 oz, so about a one pound reduction.
I am pleased with the performance of the .25-caliber Hatsan Vectis in this velocity test. You get a decent number of shots on a fill and the power is about where it should be.
It will be fun to shoot the rifle for accuracy. Given Hatsan’s reputation for making accurate airguns, I have a lot of hope for this one.