by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Firing behavior
- Feel of the rifle
- Scope rail
- Made for hunting
- Safety features
Today we begin our look at the Hatsan Proxima undelever repeater. As you may recall, I was testing the Hatsan Speedfire breakbarrel repeater, and it had a problem in the velocity test. That rifle is now back at Hatsan for repairs, so I thought why not look at the other Hatsan springer that’s a repeater — the Proxima, which came out in early 2018 and was a contemporary of the Gamo Swarm Maxxim?
The Proxima is an underlever spring-piston repeater that uses a gas piston for power. It’s available in .177, .22 and .25 calibers and I am testing a .22. The circular magazine holds 14, 12 or 10 pellets, depending on the caliber. The cocking effort is listed as 45 lbs. for all three calibers, so this is a big boy air rifle.
I tried cocking the test rifle and had to use 2 hands. I will measure the cocking effort in Part 2, but right now it feels like more than 50 lbs.
The gun fires with quite a lot of noise. It’s a very high 3 on the 5-point scale — maybe a 3.8.
The recoil is significant, but the vibration is under control. That’s the Hatsan Shock Absorption System (SAS) in action.
Feel of the rifle
The rifle’s dimensions are also big — 45.4 inches overall with a weight of 9.3 lbs. That’s about a pound less than an M1 Garand, but several pounds heavier than an AR-15. The pull is 14.5-inches, but if you need more they also pack a 10mm extension plate with the rifle to fit between the rubber buttplate and stock. The stock is Turkish walnut, which has a nice figure. The figure on the test rifle stock isn’t as vivid as the one shown above, but it does have some figure.
The stock is not checkered but it doesn’t need to be. The thumbhole pistol grip is straight and has finger grooves to lock your shooting hand in position. The forearm is sculpted with grooves on either side for a conventional offhand hold — holding the off hand close to the triggerguard. The rifle balances well when held that way, with some muzzle-heaviness for stability.
The cheekpiece adjusts up and down to position your eye for the scope that most shooters will choose. Hatsan includes a tool for loosening and tightening the two screws that control this. Coins don’t work because the screws are too deep in their holes.
The rifle does come with fully adjustable open sights, and yes, they are fiberoptic. The rear sight can be removed but the front sight is integral with the muzzle cap that also houses the cocking lever. It’s not coming off.
The front sight is a post and bead with a rather large bead on top. I will shoot the rifle with open sights and this time I will sight with a snowman stack (bull resting on top of the front bead).
The scope rail is Hatsan’s typical two-level rail that accepts either 11mm scope mounts or Weaver mounts. It has what Hatsan calls a shock-absorber scope stop that I think refers to rubber in the scope rail. There are four threaded holes for 11mm scope stop pins on the top of the rail, but nothing to screw into them. If you use Weaver scope rings, their cross-blocks will serve as the scope stops.
The rotary magazine stands proud of the spring tube. It’s out in the open, unlike the Speedfire, whose mag is contained inside a mechanism. However, the designers get away with a lot less complexity because the Proxima is an underlever with a fixed barrel. There is a rod that seats the pellet from the magazine into the barrel breech, and that rod is hollow to pass the air that comes from the compression chamber.
Although the rotary mag does stand proud of the spring tube, the rear sight is not exceptionally high. I think this means the scope can be mounted lower as well. We shall see.
Made for hunting
I don’t think Hatsan left any doubt that the Proxima was made for hunting. The overall size, cocking effort and onboard magazine storage all point to spending time in the field. rather than plinking. Two sling swivels come mounted and there is a fabric sling inside the box. The rear swivel is on the bottom of the butt and the front one comes mounted as the left forearm screw. It looks like it’s a easy switch to the right side if you prefer.
The Proxima comes with three safety features. An automatic safety comes on when the rifle is cocked. It can also be set and taken off manually at any time, except when the cocking lever is open. Then it’s always on. The anti-beartrap mechanism prevents releasing the safety at that time. The safety blocks the trigger.
The Proxima also has an anti-beartrap mechanism. You might wonder why it needs one, since the underlever prevents you from endangering your fingers during loading, but that same underlever is the reason for the beartrap. If the gun were to fire with your hands in the way and if the cocking arm safety were to fail, I hate to think of what might happen!
Yes, there is a safety on the cocking arm, as well. It’s a lever on the right side of the receiver (look at the left side of the photo above) that must be pressed in for the underlever to return to the stored position. Other underlevers have similar safeties, so this is nothing unusual.
The Proxima trigger is a Quattro adjustable trigger that I will test for you. It adjusts for the first stage weight, the length of the first stage travel and the let off weight where the gun fires.
The way the trigger came from the box, stage two has a lot of travel. It’s not crisp, like I want it to be. So the adjustments are necessary.
Despite the large size of the Proxima, the power is in the midrange. In .177 Hatsan advertises 820 f.p.s.; in .22 caliber they tout 720 f.p.s. and in .25 it’s 620 f.p.s. Hatsan has always tested their guns with real-world pellets, so these numbers are probably what we will see in the test. As for why a rifle that’s so mild cocks so hard, I think it has to do with the repeating mechanism. The piston stroke has to be shorter, despite the rifle’s length, because there is a pellet probe between the compression chamber and breech. The piston doesn’t have as far to move as a result.
Hatsan’s Proxima is a different gun from their SpeedFire that we recently looked at. This should be an interesting test for all of us.