by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Hatsan Speedfire
Hatsan SpeedFire Vortex breakbarrel repeater.

This report covers:

  • Hatsan response
  • Good data
  • Velocity Baracuda Hunter Extreme
  • String two
  • String three
  • Discussion
  • Vortex Supreme
  • Air Arms Field
  • Newboy Junior
  • Firing cycle
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we resume our look at the .22-caliber Hatsan Speedfire Vortex multi-shot rifle. In Part 2 I got some velocities that seemed far too low, so I assumed the rifle was damaged in some way. I returned it to Hatsan and asked them to look at it and, if possible, please repair it so I could resume the test with the same rifle.

Daniel Settle of Hatsan got back with me and here is what he said.

Hatsan response

Tom,

We took some time to test out your sample SpeedFire this afternoon.  This was tested “as-is” out of the box – original gun, original magazines.  We did experience a larger extreme spread with one magazine (41) versus the other (23) with our Vortex Supreme pellets.  The “bad” magazine had some damage around the pellet exit opening on the muzzle side of the body.  I expect this might be interfering with and damaging the pellet skirts as they are pushed through.

I took a close look at the pellets you provided.  The skirts of the Falcons were mostly distorted or dented.  Out of 20 that I poured out into my hand, I found only 4 that still looked good.  The Kodiaks all looked pretty good, though.  I suspect that the extremely thin skirts on the Falcons are being damaged when pushed through the magazine, causing even more inconsistencies with sealing and power output.  I recommend a pellet with a more sturdy skirt for use in this gun.  Anything from H&N except the Sniper series should have a tough enough skirt to work well with the SpeedFire.  The JSB 15.89 and 18.13 should also be good ones, but I didn’t have any here to test.

I am not sure why we saw such significant differences with the Kodiak and Baracuda performance compared to how the Kodiaks performed for you.  We did not see the low velocities that you indicate in your blog page, even with the Kodiak pellets you sent along with the rifle.  Our velocities with the Falcon, however, were on par with yours – somewhat negating my thoughts of your chronograph being off.

With the “good” magazine, We tested a handful of pellet types from our inventory as well as the pellets you sent.  Each was fired for 10-shots.

Vortex Supreme (14.66gr)
High – 769
Low – 746
Avg – 761.9
High PWR – 19.3 FPE
Avg PWR – 18.9 FPE

Baracuda Hunter Extreme (18.52gr)
High – 667
Low – 647
Avg – 658.5
High PWR – 18.3 FPE
Avg PWR – 17.8 FPE

Baracuda (21.14gr)
High – 629
Low – 608
Avg – 622.4
High PWR – 18.6 FPE
Avg PWR – 18.2 FPE

Vortex Express (13.12gr)
High – 808
Low – 792
Avg – 801.5
High PWR – 19.0 FPE
Avg PWR – 18.7 FPE

Beeman Kodiak (21.14gr)
High – 628
Low – 613
Avg – 620.9
High PWR – 18.5 FPE
Avg PWR – 18.1 FPE

Air Arms Falcon (13.43gr)
High – 746
Low – 650
Avg – 706
High PWR – 16.6 FPE
Avg PWR – 14.9 FPE

Shot data from “bad” magazine and our Vortex Supreme pellets.
High – 768
Low – 727
Avg – 751.2
High PWR – 19.2 FPE
Avg PWR – 18.4 FPE

What would you like for us to do at this point, Tom?  Do you want this gun back (with a new magazine to replace the bad one)? Would you like for me to send any of the pellets that I tested?

Good data

Okay, that was very thorough and I now know that pellets with thin skirts are to be avoided. That may hold for all repeating spring rifles, so I will remain cautious when I test other guns.

I asked them to return the exact rifle I had been testing, so we will resume where we left off in Part 2. They included two magazines that should be good. I will test velocity again, with different pellets. Hatsan sent me a tin of Baracuda Hunter Extremes they say work well in the SpeedFire and a tin of their own Vortex Supreme domes that Pyramyd Air doesn’t currently stock. I’ll test both of them, plus two other pellets of my choice, based on what they told me. Let’s get started!

Velocity Baracuda Hunter Extreme

First to be tested was the H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme. Here is string one.

Shot…..Vel.
1………671
2………654
3………647
4………657
5………657
6………669
7………675
8………684
9………671
10.…….676

The average velocity is 666 f.p.s., and at that speed the 18.52 grain pellet generates 18.25 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The spread is 37 f.p.s., from 647 to 684 f.p.s.

This string is not tight, so I shot a second one that I will lay next to the first. Then you can see shot-to-shot what is happening.

String two

String1              String 2
Shot…..Vel.    Shot……..Vel
1………671    1………..663
2………654    2………..655
3………647    3………..656
4………657    4………..660
5………657    5………..683
6………669    6………..674
7………675    7………..664
8………684    8………..675
9………671    9………..677
10.…….676.  10……….673

The average for string 2 was 668 f.p.s. The spread was 28 f.p.s. — from 655 to 683 f.p.s. At the average velocity the pellet generates 18.35 foot-pounds for this string.

I wondered if the rifle mechanism was warming up as I shot. Or, are some chambers in the magazine different in some way, resulting in lower or higher velocity? Close correlation between the two strings would show that, but I’m not seeing it. I do see a slight tendency for the rifle to shoot faster as the shots add up, so perhaps is is warming up a little.

I will try one more thing. They sent me two magazines, so I’ll use the other one with the same pellet. I’ll post it next to strings one and two for comparison.

String three

String1               String 2          String 3 new mag
Shot…..Vel.    Shot……..Vel     Shot………Vel
1………671     1………..663      1…………659
2………654     2………..655      2…………660
3………647     3………..656      3…………669
4………657     4………..660      4…………656
5………657     5………..683      5…………668
6………669     6………..674      6…………678
7………675     7………..664      7…………676
8………684     8………..675      8…………684
9………671     9………..677      9…………681
10.…….676.   10……….673    10…………676

The average for string 3 with the second magazine was 671 f.p.s. the spread was 28 f.p.s. At the average velocity the muzzle energy this time was 18.52 foot-pounds. The output of this magazine is very close to the first mag, though it is a trifle faster.

Discussion

There is more variation in velocity with the SpeedFire than we might see in a single shot rifle that’s running well. It’s large but not excessive.

My results paralleled those of Hatsan who tested this same rifle and pellet. That gives us confidence in them (and that our two chronographs are in agreement).

I don’t think the individual chambers in the mag influence velocity. But the gun does seem to warm up as it goes. And I have to note that is so much faster to fire 10 shots with a repeating breakbarrel rifle because I don’t have to load each pellet. I used the second magazine for the remainder of the test.

Let’s now look at Hatsan’s Vortex Supreme pellet.

Vortex Supreme

The Vortex Supreme is made in Germany and weighs the same 14.66-grains as the H&N Field Target Trophy. It’s a domed pellet. How did it do?

The average for the Vortex Supreme was 766 f.p.s. The spread was 50 f.p.s., from 729 to 779 f.p.s., but the 729 number was an anomaly. The next-slowest pellet went 754 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Vortex Extreme produced 19.11 foot-pounds at the muzzle. That’s close to the 19.3 foot-pounds that Hatsan reported as the highest they saw. And, I am reporting energy based on the average. My highest energy with this pellet was 19.76 foot-pounds.

Air Arms Field

Next up was the Air Arms Field pellet — a 16-grain dome. I chose it because JSB makes it for Air Arms and it is close to the JSB Exact Jumbo. They averaged 666 f.p.s., but the spread was huge — 105 f.p.s. After shooting the string I examined the skirt of a pellet and found they were thin. I thought the 16-grain weight was a guarantee of a thicker skirt, but apparently not. At the average velocity these pellets generated 15.76 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. I don’t think these are right for the SpeedFire.

Newboy Junior

The final pellet I tried was the Skenco NewBoy Junior. This dome weighs 20.3 grains and this may be the first time I have tried it in a test. Ten shots averaged 636 f.p.s. with a spread of 22 f.p.s. That makes this pellet the most consistent in my test of the SpeedFire.

At the average velocity this pellet generated 18.24 foot-pounds at the muzzle. That’s in line with the better pellets for this rifle.

Firing cycle

The rifle doesn’t vibrate much when it shoots, but there is noticeable forward recoil. That made testing the trigger pull a challenge. The discharge sound is on the loud side — perhaps a 3.7 on the Pyramyd Air 5-point scale.

Cocking effort

The test rifle cocked with 28 lbs. of effort. I noted that the cocking stroke was very even and smooth.

Trigger pull

The trigger broke with 3 lbs. 12 oz. pressure. I adjusted it by the manual and found that the screw that lightens the pull was adjusted as light as it would go. I tried it a second time and it fired at the same pull weight.

Summary

I have learned something in this test. Give repeating spring rifles a chance to perform, because they may be picky about the pellets they prefer. And thicker skirts are probably better.

The Hatsan SpeedFIre is performing exactly as it should, now that BB has been educated. I will begin the accuracy test next and will start with the open sights that come on the gun. That may help me find the best pellets for the scoped test.