Hatsan Vectis .25-caliber lever action PCP repeater: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Hatsan Vectis
Hatsan Vectis lever action PCP repeater.

This report covers:

  • Scary!
  • Open sights?
  • Powerful rifle!
  • However…
  • Read Part 2
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Benjamin domes
  • Predator Polymag
  • JSB Exact King Heavy
  • Baracuda Hunter Extreme
  • JSB Exact King
  • Discussion
  • How’s the lever?
  • Summary

Today we start testing the accuracy of the new .25-caliber Hatsan Vectis lever action PCP.

Scary!

I love my job, and why not? I get to test and handle so many different kinds of airguns all the time and then tell all my friends about them. What’s not to like. Well, sometimes there are things I’m not sure of. Like today.

Open sights?

The Vectis came to me with folding open sights. I would call them iron sights but both are made of plastic, so that seems wrong. I guess non-optical sights would be more correct but I’ll just call them open.

Now the Vectis is a PCP, and because it’s made by Hatsan there’s a very good chance that it’s an accurate PCP. Who in their right mind puts non-optical sights on an accurate PCP these days? Oh, I know there are a few, and we’ll hear from them. These are the guys who live off the grid, butcher their own cattle and drive cars powered by the fumes of a coal fire. No, wait — that was what the Germans did in WWII. Well, they butcher their own cattle.

Sure, we will get lectured by them, but if you wake one of them up suddenly the first thing he wants to know is how many clicks he should use to adjust for 75 yards. I’m just sayin’.

Powerful rifle!

The Vectis is powerful. We learned that in the velocity test. Do I really want to shoot a gun inside my house that is so powerful that, if it missed the pellet trap, it could easily go through the sheetrock in the wall behind? I even removed both sights from the rifle and was prepared to mount a proper scope.

However…

Then I thought — Hatsan bent over backwards to send me this rifle quickly, just so I could test it for you right after the SHOT Show. They also spent the time and effort to create these sights — I should at least test them. After all — isn’t that what I do?

So I put them back on and, with some trepidation, set up the 10-meter range. Ain’t no way I’m shooting something this powerful inside my house at a greater distance without testing it first.

Read Part 2

Thank goodness for Part 2, the velocity test! I am testing so many different airguns rifles now that I can’t remember from one day to the next which is which and how they all work.

I saw that the Vectis is filled to 200 bar/2,900 psi. I also saw that in my velocity test the first 10 shots were pretty close to each other but the second 10 opened up a bit. I know some of you want me to test filling the rifle beyond 200 bar, and I may do that (no promise), but today I wanted to start testing the rifle for accuracy which, after all, is what matters most.

The test

I decided to shoot 5-shot groups today. That allowed me to test more pellets, plus the Vectis is loud indoors and I wanted to keep the test to a smaller number of shots. I shot off a sandbag rest with the rifle rested directly on the bag. And I shot at 10 meters from the target.

Sight-in

Okay — here is the problem. The Vectis has a large rear peep sight and a large bead up front. Yes both are fiberoptic, but if you light the target brightly, the fiberoptics go black. HOWEVER — the front bead is huge! How big is is? It more than covers the bull on a 10-meter pistol target at 10 meters, and that’s wider than 2-1/4-inches! I would estimate the Vectis’ front bead covers about 2-1/2-inches at 10 meters. There is no way to aim with any precision with a sight like that.

So, I uncharacteristically covered the entire bull with the front bead during sighting! This is the first time in my life I have done such a thing. But I figured this is the sight that came with the rifle, it must work.

I had loaded the 10-shot circular magazine with Benjamin domes, so they are what I sighted-in with and also they were the first 5-shot group for record. I shot the first shot from 12 feet and when it hit inside the bull I knew it would be on at 10 meters. So I backed up to the bench and fired 4 more shots, adjusting the peep sight down and to the right. Shots 4 and 5 hit inside the red part of the bull, so I changed targets and fired the remaining 5 for record.

Benjamin domes

Five Benjamin domed pellets landed in a group that measures 0.801-inches between centers. It looks larger, but remember, these pellets are a quarter-inch wide. Looking at this first group there isn’t much to shout about, but my eye spotted something. See the three pellets at the top in the red? They are 0.237-inches apart! That encourages me! I will say more about it after you have seen all five groups.

Hatsan Vectis Benjamin group
The Vectis put 5 Benjamin domes into 0.801-inches, with 3 in just 0.237-inches at 10 meters.

The group is not as centered as it could be, but I didn’t know where the other pellets would hit, so I left the sights alone. At least we are in the bull!

Predator Polymag

Next up was the Predator Polymag hunting pellet. Polymags are often very accurate in the smaller calibers, so I wondered what these would do in the Vectis. Five went into 0.806-inches with 4 in 0.457-inches at 10 meters. There’s that smaller group again!

Hatsan Vectis Polymag group
The Vectis put 5 Predator Polymag pellets into 0.806-inches, with 4 in just 0.457-inches at 10 meters.

I’m just going to run through the rest of the targets now. Remember — I am filling the rifle to 200 bar after every 10 shots.

JSB Exact King Heavy

Next I tried 5 JSB Exact King Heavy pellets. Five pellets went into 0.77-inches at 10 meters. It’s the smallest of the three groups shot to this point, but it looks more open to me. I’m not as encouraged as before.

Hatsan Vectis King Heavy group
The Vectis put 5 JSB Exact King Heavys into 0.77-inches at 10 meters.

Baracuda Hunter Extreme

Next I tried the H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme pellet. I have little or no experience with this one and certainly not in .25. Or at least I don’t remember it, if I do. Five of these hunting pellets went into 0.981-inches at 10 meters. There are three pellets in a smaller group above and two below. I will continue testing this pellet, but I don’t get a good feeling about this pellet for the Vectis.

Hatsan Bar Hunter Extreme group
The Vectis put 5 H&N Baracuda Hunter Extremes into 0.981-inches at 10 meters.

JSB Exact King

The last pellet I tried was the JSB Exact King, and it shows what I am about to discuss the best of all the groups. Five Kings went into 1.063-inches at 10 meters. That is the largest group of this test, yet I think the King might be the most accurate pellet of all. It’s certainly among the most accurate. You see, 4 of them went into 0.431-inches, and I think they represent what this pellet can do.

Hatsan Vectis King group
The Vectis put 5 JSB Exact Kings into 1.063-inches at 10 meters. Four are in 0.431-inches. Is this the best pellet for this rifle?

Discussion

I think the groups in today’s test are 95 percent the result of shooting with the open sights. Sighting with that big dot up front is about as precise as trying to type while wearing boxing gloves! I think we will see a marked improvement when I scope the Vectis. I will shoot from 25 yards next time. I think the Vectis is a winner, but today’s test results let it down.

How’s the lever?

As things turned out, I mistakenly loaded 5 JSB King Heavys that I did not need into the circular magazine, so, instead of trying to remove them, I went up to the pellet trap and shot them as fast as I could. The butt remained on my shoulder and this rifle is quick and fun to shoot fast. I thought you would like to know that.

Summary

I don’t know about you but I’m convinced the Vectis .25 is a winner. The magazine is smooth and never misses a beat. Despite the groups seen today I think the rifle is accurate.

“But BB, you only shot 10 shots before you filled the gun! That’s not good enough!” I know that. So, here is my plan. In the next test I will shoot a tight group of 10 at 25 yards (I hope) and after photographing and even measuring that group, I will shoot 10 more into the same bull. That way we’ll see what that second magazine does.

45 thoughts on “Hatsan Vectis .25-caliber lever action PCP repeater: Part 3


  1. BB
    Don’t like how big the open sight is.

    And I think once you scope it in this case we will see a more accurate gun.

    And I was hoping you would say the gun fires fast and reliable with the lever action. I like that.


    • Gunfun1,

      I have always been a sucker for lever actions, especially carbines. For years I drooled over Shin Sung / Career pcps for that reason, even though there was no practical reason for me to own one.

      Michael


    • B.B.: you wrote:
      “Sight-in

      Okay — here is the problem. The Vectis has a large rear peep sight and a large bead up front. Yes both are fiberoptic, but if you light the target brightly, the fiberoptics go black. HOWEVER — the front bead is huge! How big is is? It more than covers the bull on a 10-meter pistol target at 10 meters, and that’s wider than 2-1/4-inches! I would estimate the Vectis’ front bead covers about 2-1/2-inches at 10 meters. There is no way to aim with any precision with a sight like that.

      So, I uncharacteristically covered the entire bull with the front bead during sighting! This is the first time in my life I have done such a thing. But I figured this is the sight that came with the rifle, it must work.”
      ———-

      My Dad taught me how to use a bead front sight over 60 years ago. It doesn’t matter how big the bead is; IF, You place your point of impact the same as your point of aim at the TOP of the dot. Not all of our shooting is on concentric circle ring targets. The 2 1/2″ size dot will cover up how many spent .22 caliber cases at 10 meters? (a challenging target for a pellet rifle). That’s why you need to place the point of aim and point of impact on the TOP of the dot, so you can see your target. Covering your target with the dot is silly; because, you can’t tell where the small target is behind the dot. This works for ANYTHING with a bead front sight, i.e., Rimfire rifle, Compound bow, open sight pellet rifle, lever action 30-30, or anything else.

      Example: My Crosman Legacy 1000 is just as accurate with the open sights as with the Big AO mil-dot reticle super-duper power scope.


  2. B.B.,

    Looking forwards to the 25 yard. Those darn fliers! Hopefully, it just needs scoped and they will go away. Nice that the lever works well while shouldered and standing. I will bet that there is some Cowboy action shooters that will find that feature completely irresistible.

    Good Day to you and to all,…. Chris


  3. BB,

    I had a feeling those sights would not be up to the task. They would likely work great if you were defending the homestead from a large pack of feral soda cans, but they were clearly not intended for competition shooting. Now a decent set can be had for not to terribly much and the lever would make this great for quick follow up shots.

    With a little work I think this can be set up as a good hunter. This may even be a good candidate for a low power scope with a reflex mounted above it for quick, close in shots.


  4. BB
    You have the same Baracuda red print under the JSB Kings pic. Big difference in the pellet shapes. The JSB Kings are about 50% head and the Baracudas a little over 1/3. The JSB King Heavies a bit less than 1/3 and the Benjamin Domes have an even smaller head. The Polymags are an entirely different animal.

    Each was obviously designed for a specific reason. I wonder if it was to perform better with a specific weight, reach a desired accuracy level, or it’s impact on a specific target like the wadcutter is. For example is a “Hunter” designed to penetrate, hit harder, expand, or be more accurate?
    Why would you even consider a hunter for accurate target shooting? Why not one made specifically for accuracy?
    Now I can understand why BB tests all these variations because the rifle may be used by customers for different reasons and at different times the reason may change.

    I guess the point I’m trying to get at is the pellet that performs best in each rifle for an accuracy test may not be designed to perform best for the reason you are shooting the rifle. The one perfect pellet that you have found to be accurate in your rifle may not perform best at the receiving end, the intended target.
    Now that we have all these “Boutique” pellets being made it’s another point to consider.

    Bob M
    .


    • Bob,

      I fixed the caption. Thanks.

      You are right about the pellets. Many people want me to test target airguns with domed pellets, but to me that defeats their purpose. Still, I do it sometimes because I understand that not everybody uses an airgun the same way, like you said.

      B.B.


      • BB
        I think to get the best of both worlds one should compare all the pellets designed for a specific purpose and see which performs the best in the rifle. For both intended impact results and accuracy.

        But… it could also be that some pellets are just good at doing everything right, in general, but would have to compromise on somethings a little and that is good enough for most people. And if that happens to be the perfect one for your rifle. Have at it. Especially if it can perform better than the specialized pellets on some occasions. It’s all getting very complicated these days.
        Bob M


        • Bob M,
          I agree with trying all the pellets on hand when sorting out an air gun. I have gotten a tin of the Barracuda hunter extreme because the H&N Crow magnum worked very well and they looked similar. Having tried them now, the Hunter extreme has not been as accurate as other pellets for me.
          I am currently working out the best pellet I have for the Diana bandit. I rather hope it is the wad cutters but we will see. There is not much trigger time between snow storms these days.


        • Bob M,

          My Daisy 853s both shoot the Ruger hollow point the best even though I have tested it with many premium and super premium wadcutters. They make one ragged hole that is barely the diameter of the pellet CTC at 10 yards. You just won’t know if you don’t try.

          Half


          • Half
            That is really nice to know.
            BB ought to do a blog on pellets in general. I know he has highlighted some in the past, and regularly uses reputable pellets to test airgun accuracy.
            It’s nice to know that there may still be help, or options if you wish, if your new airgun does not perform well with some of the better known widely used flawless pellets.

            It sure would be nice if we could get a package of 500 or more pellets that contains say 10 of each make of pellets for testing but I figure that would be something for someone with a lot of time on their hands to sort and package them out and not likely to happen.


            • Bob,

              Interesting thoughts. What about seasoning the barrel from pellet to pellet? 10 (of 1 type) will not do much for that. 500? That would be for pellets from (all) makers/models? as it would take all makers together to put together a 10×50 pack. Then, if you have sorted at all,… you already know to (not) trust what is on the tin.

              As I have said recently,… I am interested to know (what drives) the intent to make a new pellet. Is it just for sales?, or is there some scientific stuff going on behind the scenes?

              Chris


              • Chris
                Like BB said it’s probably a trade secret why each pellet was designed as it is and we will never know.
                Looks like we will forever be stuck with trying every pellet made to get the absolute best one for your airguns accuracy. And there probably are a few that will be THE perfect one and now cost will be the determining factor.
                It makes for a costly challenge to find the perfect pellet. Not so hard to find yet with bb’s.
                Bob M


      • I have an M-135 Hatsan in .25. I have learned that the Turks make the .25 oversized and only H&N Baracudas made after 05/2016 are of improved head diameter. What really works is the JSB Exact King Heavy Mark II. The head diameter on the Exact King Heavies is well oversized and cause the rifle to be accurate. My experience is that the .25 in Hatsan needs fat headed pellets or they pray and spray.


    • Hi Bob,

      I approach performance a bit differently… I buy an accurate rifle in the caliber and power level for a particular application, find the most accurate domed pellet for that rifle and stick with it.

      If the caliber/energy is suitable ( generally: .177 light pesting; .22 squirrels & rabbits; .25 groundhogs and raccoons with some overlap between calibers) I have found that a plain domed pellet to be more than adequate to get the job done if delivered to a vital area within its effective energy range. Think that any embellishments to the basic pellet just adds more unnecessary complexity and cost.

      Just my 2 cents.

      Cheers,
      Hank


      • Vana2
        Yes it seems accuracy Is the first priority and a quality general purpose dome pellet is acceptable for a lot of people. Kind of what I said at the end.
        There might be a better specialized pellet out there but trying to find it may not be worth the trouble or offer more of a benefit for the cost. At least we have a lot to choose from if we want to experiment.



  5. “They [Hatsan] also spent the time and effort to create these sights”

    B.B.,
    Here’s something about some airgun manufacturers I just don’t get:
    why spend the time and the money and then NOT test the prototype before going into production?
    Back when I was a young engineer, I designed many prototypes;
    then I tested the heck out of them, and made sure they worked as intended before production started.
    One would hope that someone at Hatsan would have done a test exactly like you did,
    and then said something like,
    “Hey…this front sight is way too fat for its intended use.
    Let’s lose the fiber optic, cut the width to a little less than half,
    make it a ramp, black it out, but run a white up the center…
    exactly like the Ashley Outdoor Express Sights…uh…no need to mention them in the ad, of course.
    Then we’ll have a cool set of peep sights that’ll be useful for anyone who wants to hunt without scoping it,
    or who wants to use them as backup sights if their scope breaks in the field.”

    [Shakespearian aside to Hatsan: “Come on guys, I know you know how to make good guns,
    but you need to wring out your prototypes exactly the way a buyer would use them.
    And before you ask, yes, I have been at the game for 38 years;
    good engineering practice is not that difficult to implement, and pays off in the long run. =>]

    B.B, as usual, another great report, shot under trying conditions;
    it’ll be interesting to see what kind of accuracy you can wring out of this bad boy with a scope.
    take care & God bless,
    dave


    • Dave,

      Maybe these sights were designed to rapidly kill feral soda cans as I pointed out. As you are blasting away, these would nice for target acquisition on another can as you were levering in the next round.

      I am just trying to cut Hatsan a little slack there. If I was to buy this, the first thing I would do is remove these sights and put on a set of decent AR flip ups. Then I would mount a smallish scope and maybe even put a reflex on top of that.


      • “I am just trying to cut Hatsan a little slack there.”

        RR, I didn’t mean to come across as trying to be hard on them;
        I was trying to be humorous, while trying to relate some constructive criticism
        (plus, as Rk, pointed out below; they did assign a guy to wring this thing out…and B.B. is “the guy.” =>)
        *shrugs*
        It was early in the morning; if I was writing the comment now, I might have just suggested that they
        look into following the procedures of a company called Excalibur Crossbow
        (http://www.excaliburcrossbow.com/) When my wife wanted a crossbow, I bought it from here
        because I spoke to a young woman who works there and she said all the employees there hunt,
        and they all use their own products; hence, they are doing continuous product improvement…cool.

        ” If I was to buy this, the first thing I would do is remove these sights and put on a set of decent AR flip ups. Then I would mount a smallish scope and maybe even put a reflex on top of that.”

        I’m with you 100% on that, RR. *big thumbs up* =>


    • By sending one of these to B.B.that is just what Hatsan is doing. If B.B. has to send it back after he is done, just how rough can he get with his testing? I’ll bet not as rough as you got with your prototypes.


      • “By sending one of these to B.B.that is just what Hatsan is doing”

        Rk, you’ve got a good point there; so B.B. himself is the ‘someone’ saying,
        “Hey…this front sight is way too fat for its intended use.”
        Hahaha…cool! =>


  6. B. B.
    I would not recommend it for this round of tests as this is a loaner but most fiber optics are made so the fiber can be replaced if damaged. With that in mind, the fiber in the front sight could be removed to give a precise point of aim at close range. Just a random thought.
    Gerald


  7. B.B.
    Just received the replacement Vectus this week. The filling works perfectly on this one. I have only shot Hobbys so far and the velocity is in the upper 900 fps range. Mine is .22 cal. I really like the lever action, it is smooth and the short stroke is great. With the open sights, I am getting about 1/2 inch groups at 20 ft. I will be putting a scope or reflex sight on it and probably get some off set rails for open sights. I’m sure the accuracy will be better with the scope. Might even set it up with a long eye relief scope for a scout rifle sort of rig. Thanks for a great blog.


  8. Well, this rifle looks like it could kill a Sherman tank, speaking of WWII, and the Germans certainly did plenty of that. Does the faux muzzle brake thread off ? I put a 6″ W.A.R. LDC on my .25 Mrod. Bloop..Smack, ahh. Thinking of trying a new production Crosman barrel, but why mess up a good thing? Anyway, I’ve bought in to the Barracuda LT concept, when can we try some? I am shooting AirArms heavys in .177/10.6 grns out of the [email protected], just under 14ft/lbs, so a more frangible, lighter design with great aerodynamics would be nice!
    Thankyou, Rob


  9. Mr. Gaylord:
    It’s really clear that even though you shot the Hatsan Vectis at 10 meters, it’s not a 10 meter target rifle. It’s clearly a hunting rifle and it’s identified as such on the Pyramyd Air site. But what I don’t fully understand is what size or type of game is it designed to ethically take. In a future blog post, either in the Hatsan Vectis series or in a stand alone posting, could you please address the hunting aspects of air rifles for those of us who are not air rifle hunters?
    In the past you’ve written about the relationship between caliber, pellet weight, feet per second, and foot pounds of energy. You’ve repeatedly posted the cite for the velocity and foot pound calculator.
    I realize, intuitively, that it’s not ethical to hunt deer with a light .177 pellet. But is there a range or set of guidelines between caliber, pellet weight, feet per second, and foot pounds of energy and what type of game can or should ethically be taken with air rifles?
    Respectfully,
    William Schooley


    • William,

      You have asked a very good question. When a rifle puts out 30-40 foot pounds I think of it as capable of taking squirrels to woodchucks and everything in-between. What it is, more than a suitable rifle for those species, is it extends the range at which they can be humanely taken.

      Is it worth a blog? I don’t know. I’ll think about it.

      B.B.


    • William,

      Knowing the anatomy, the “vital” areas, the angle of the target to the shooter, are you good enough to hit those vital areas at what range you are shooting at? Many things. I think that Vana2 has a good approach. He shoots at 3/4″ ? at whatever yardage. If he can do that, than that rifle is good enough for humane pesting. Then,…. factor in the fpe and factor in the game your shooting at. 3/4″ is the limit of range for any gun, any caliber, any distance, any game.

      Sure, you can aim at “center mass” on a squirrel,… and you may kill it,… or you may not,… and will then require you to do a close, follow up shot. Will it go slow,… or instantly on the first shot?

      Over kill on power, knowing your gun and “your” effective range with whatever it is you are shooting,.. I think are the basics. If I can hold 3/4″ at 10 yards,… then that is “my” ethical range. If it is 50 yards,… then that is “my” ethical range.

      Anyways,…. just some more thoughts on the matter,………… Chris


    • William,

      Also, do you want a pass through shot or something that expands the shot wave internally,… like you would see with ballistic gel? A well placed, non-pass through shot I do believe is preferred. A poorly placed, pass-through shot will delay matters. A well placed pass-through shot might be a toss up.

      I think that the other thing to consider is that everything will (not) always go right., despite your most well adhered to principals,….. at which point you will be faced with finishing off the intended target as quickly as possible and possibly in a close up manner.

      Just some (more) thoughts,….. Chris


  10. B.B.,

    I just don’t get it with the sights. If this gun was priced for sale at big box stores with lots of newbie customers, I could see they may look cool and sell. This gun being a little too expensive and a pcp does not fit that customer.

    I had a Marksman 2004 pistol that I liked. I gave it to one of my sons and bought a Beeman P17 to replace it. The sights on the 2004 were good target sights the sights on the P17 were fiberoptic. The front sight was rounded making it hard to get a good alignment of the sights and target. I spent quite a bit of time converting the front sight to a ramped square blade and then plugged the holes in the rear notch where the fiberoptic came through.

    It will be interesting to see if there are any changes to these sights on the next round.

    Changing the front site to accept inserts would take care of a lot of issues and would be a selling point for me. I like the lever action.

    Don



  11. BB
    The ball detent on the bottom of the lever. What is it there for? This is why I ask. It obviously will need to be overcome with each stroke of the lever. Is it there to keep the lever from being sloppy in the stowed position or help keep it in place when the rife is fired and like you said it tends to pulse.

    I could see the two ears being there to help stabilize the stowed lever and avoid side movement. Is the detent there to actually hold the lever in place or is the lever being forcibly held in place like the aspen pump lever somehow forced over center and under tension in the stowed position on it’s own.

    Do you think removing the detent ball would let the lever fall out of position, being lose or floppy or is it a non issue because it only has negligible resistance?



  12. Tom:
    I read your 3 part review of the Vectis and made a critical comment after reading just part 1. In it, I asked about why you usually don’t shoot using open sights. I stand corrected – to a point – after reading the next two parts, but still believe that because this gun isn’t a target rifle, and isn’t supposed to be one, scoping it to prove its accuracy isn’t being fair to its purpose. Finding the most accurate ammunition to use is always a most important consideration, but after that, and knowing the power that a Vectis produces, we know that it is a hunting gun, and using it with open sights as the manufacturer equipped it, should be foremost of consideration.
    I say these things as being the owner of at least 145 different BB and pellet rifles of nearly every caliber, description, propellant system, and manufacture. I am indeed lucky to be able to say that. I own quality and I own junk. I own target rifles, plinkers, and hunting guns. I believe that when reviewing any gun, it’s primary intended purpose should be considered prior to the review as that should direct the path that the review should take?
    For example: A target gun should be extremely accurate from a bench rest; a hunting gun should be effectively accurate from a standing, offhand position; and a plinker should be fun! Reviews could use the same standards for all guns for say noise levels, pellet accuracy, and power; long range target accuracy for target guns; offhand accuracy using paper targets, reactive targets, or steel ground targets for small game shots; Reactive targets, spinners, water bottles, and other fun targets for fun guns? All within the effective ranges of the guns being reviewed, of course.
    Just some thoughts on the subject of reviews!
    ~ deerflyguy


Leave a Reply