by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Hatsan SpeedFire Vortex breakbarrel repeater.
This report covers:
- 10-shot magazine
- The test
- Hatsan Vortex Supreme
- Rest on bag
- Off hand under the cocking slot
- Sig Wraith Pb
- JSB Hades
- H&N Baracuda Match 5.53mm heads
- Ten Baracuda Match
Here is a report that has been languishing since the end of March. The report on the Hatsan Speedfire Vortex multi-shot rifle got out of sync because I returned it to Hatsan after the velocity test. It turned out the rifle was functioning fine, but we discovered it doesn’t like pellets with thin skirts.
On Monday I received a comment from new reader, ￼Polank, who had bought one of these rifles and asked where the accuracy test was. Fortunately I still had the rifle on hand, so I shuffled the schedule to run this first accuracy test today. I had to read the back reports again to learn how the rifle behaves.
This breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle has a spring-loaded 10-shot magazine. So it’s a repeater. The magazine functions perfectly and there were no failures to feed in any part of the test. The magazine is also one of the easiest spring-loaded circular magazines to load.
I have never fired a Speedfire Vortex at a target before, so today I’m getting acquainted with the mechanism. I shot using the open sights and I shot from a rest at 10 meters. I shot 5-shot groups until I found the best pellet of the ones tested, and with that one I fired a 10-shot group.
Hatsan Vortex Supreme
The first pellet I tested was the Hatsan Vortex Supreme dome. Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry them, but they look very much like and weigh the same as H&N Field and Target Trophy pellets. This would be the ideal pellet to use to familiarize myself with the rifle.
Sight-in took 5 pellets and then I shot the first group. I shot using the artillery hold because the Speedfire moves around a lot when it fires. I wanted to cancel that, so the artillery hold was the correct way to go. That may sound counter-intuitive, since with the artillery hold you want the rifle to move as much as it wants, but it also move in the same way every time, and so the muzzle is always in the same place when the pellet exits the barrel.
I held the open palm of my off hand back by the triggerguard for this group. Five pellets went into a group that measures 0.593-inches between the two holes farthest apart. It’s a good group for a repeating springer. Then again, I really don’t have a lot of experience with repeating springers because, until recently, they weren’t that reliable.
The first group after sight-in was 5 shots of Vortex pellets that went into 0.593-inches at 10 meters. Not too bad!
Rest on bag
Now that I knew the Vortex pellets were accurate I wanted to try a couple other things with them. The first was to rest the rifle directly on the sandbag. Some spring guns can shoot well that way, though not many and none that recoil as much as the Speedfire.
This time the group opened up and 5 Vortex pellets went into 0.86-inches at 10 meters. The point of impact changed a little, too.
Resting the rifle on the bag is not the answer. At 10 meters the Speedfire put 5 Vortex pellets into 0.86-inches.
Off hand under the cocking slot
The last variation I tried with the Vortex pellet was to rest the rifle on the palm of my off hand that was under the cocking slot. The point of impact changed and the rifle put 5 pellets into 0.66-inches at 10 meters.
When I rested the rifle on the palm of my off hand under the cocking slot, this happened. Five shots in 0.66-inches at 10 meters.
Based on what I have seen so far I think I will use the artillery hold with my off hand back by the triggerguard for the remainder of the test. It may not be the best, but so far it has been.
Sig Wraith Pb
I tried 5 Sig Wraith Pb pellets next. This is a domed lead pellet (hence the Pb) that I have tested with the ASP20. Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry the pellet that’s made with lead, but they do have the ballistic alloy version.
These pellets hit the target above the bullseye and 5 went into 0.972-inches at 10 meters. This is not the pellet for the Speedfire.
The Speedfire put 5 Sig Wraith Pb pellets into 0.972-inches at 10 meters. The impact point was much higher.
The Speedfire put 5 Sig Wraith Pb pellets into 0.972-inches at 10 meters. The impact point was much higher.
Next up was the new JSB Hades pellet. They have a thin skirt so I didn’t have much hope for them, and I was right. Five went into 0.782-inches at 10 meters. Given how good the Vortex pellets are I probably wouldn’t use these Hades pellets again.
Five Hades pellets made a 0.782-inch group at 10 meters.
H&N Baracuda Match 5.53mm heads
I tried The H&N Baracuda Match pellet because it has a thicker skirt. I thought it might do well, so I shot five at a target. They landed in a group that measures 0.541-inches between centers. That’s the best of this test by a small margin.
Five H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 5.53mm heads went into 0.541-inches at 10 meters. This is the best group of five shot today.
Ten Baracuda Match
Since Baracuda Match pellets made the best 5-shot group I decided to shoot 10 of them, also. Ten went into 0.715-inches, in a very round group. I know it’s large for 10 meters, but it still impresses me.
Ten Baracuda Match pellets made this 0.715-inch group at 10 meters. Look how nice and round it is.
I have to thank new reader Polank for reminding me about this report series. And I have to tell you this Speedfire rifle is fun to shoot. Yes the magazine sticks up in the air, but it works smoothly and the targets speak for themselves.
Though it has a gas piston (powered by a gas spring), the cocking effort is just 28 lbs. It’s easy to break open and a one-hand cocker.
I will scope it next and move back to 25 yards for the next and final test. If you are wanting a repeating spring-piston air rifle you could do a lot worse than a Speedfire Vortex.
32 thoughts on “Hatsan SpeedFire Vortex multi-shot breakbarrel air rifle: Part 4”
This post was scheduled properly, but the time was changed back to the time I scheduled it, not the date I entered into the scheduling field. Anyway, it’s fixed now.
How did you decide where to place your hand in the first place? Was it by random chance you chose in front of the trigger guard first?
I usually start testing a rifle with my off hand in that location. Over time I have discovered it to be one of the best places to hold it.
The hand under the cocking slot helps me stop the wobbling of the gun, so if I can hold it there it’s better, but back by the triggerguard works best most of the time.
BB with my CZ 634 I have found that how much pressure I put on my shoulder with the recoil pad decides the size of my groups. I tried every hold and stumbled on adjusting pressure on my shoulder.it will only shoot tight groups with moderate to heavy shoulder hold. I now get tiny groups at 30 yds. did you ever try that?
No, I never did.
My Gamo Swarm in .22 Cal. shoots best with moderate back pressure on the shoulder. This is with pellets it likes. One of them is the Predator Polymag .22 Cal, 16.0 Grains.
yes my CZ is the same. I tried every hold none worked except that one. actually I think it is good if the rifle reacts to shoulder pressure being in the field it is almost impossible to use most of the holds commonly used and the shoulder hold if your rifle likes it to me is easy to replicate
I have one gas springer, Stoeger ATAC, that prefers your snug shoulder hold. I forcefully pull the stock forend against my shoulder and get consistent 3/4″ ten shot groups at 25 yards. Rifle is rested on bag. No othet hold is consistent with it and I’ve tried everything I can imagine.
Some other springers do okay with it but not the best.
That is very surprising. Why? I think that most of us will vary that pressure,.. even though we may not want to. You must,.. by your experience,.. have full confidence that your shoulder pressure is consistent from gun to gun and power plant to power plant.
Maybe some fodder for a blog? Try a PCP rifle of your choice and see what the effects are. Tight hold VS a less tight hold. Your results may only show what is best for (that) rifle,… but at least it will show the difference in what shoulder pressure has. Lesson? Do not assume that what you are doing is the best.
The easiest test would be to have a rifle rested front and rear. The weight of the rifle alone will allow a (varied) amount of shoulder pressure without influencing anything/hold up front.
While on the topic of “pressure” being applied,… off hand contact and pressure points,.. and the use of bi-pods,………….. take the slack up with a forwards push or a pull back? Oh too,… cheek rest pressure.
That might give you a “bit” to work with,……… 😉 Just sayin’.
I don’t know that it would be of interest to most folks.
Glad you brought it up. Same here with shoulder pressure with different guns.
Yep works on some and not on others.
(It has been awhile),… but I played with shoulder pressure as well. It did make a difference and best as I recall,…. lighter was generally better. That was with the .25 M-rod. It is hard, depending on the rest,.. to affect only shoulder pressure. Most times,… it also means that there is some pressure being added up front too. At least it is another tool in the tool chest of tricks.
would it matter that much on a PCP? I never tried different holds on a PCP
Yes,… I think it all matters. More importantly,…. I think it needs to consistent from shot to shot. Like B.B. said,… you want that muzzle to be in the same position/spot every time when that pellet leaves the barrel. Try a loose hold one time and a very tight hold the next. Not only will the accuracy be better or worse,…. so will the POI be different.
I’m with Chris.
Yep it matters on pcp’s, pumpers and Co2 guns too.
Thanks for that explanation. That should help me as I seek better accuracy from my rifle.
PS: Happy Birthday to an absent friend.
Thank you very much for the test, am very exited for this review, looking forward for the next test. 🙂
My scope was moving around after a few shots, after zeroing, and a few shots it went back and was out off for a few inches. I went and but some high profile UTG scope rings and the problem went away, now will hold zero a lot better.
My first Speed Frire had issues too, the magazine got stuck in my 30-ish shot and the pellets were stuck in the breech, send an email to PA and they swap it because it was under my 30 days. New one is performing good and like 700 shots so far.
For whatever reason, when not shooting off of a bag, I place the gun on the back of my hand not the palm. Should this make any difference?
No difference. In some situations it may even be better. I do it when a gun is particularly sensitive.
Darn them spring guns anyway.
See what a pcp or pump gun does when it shoots. Pretty nice actually.
Now, now! Revenge. IS a dish best served COLD!
Revenge or the truth. 😉
They all have their own characteristics.
But which do you think is easier to make good groups with?
I haven’t shot any big bores yet. And I’m talking .30 caliber and up air guns. But I’m thinking even a big bore pcp is probably easier to control than some spring or nitro piston guns I have shot.
I myself know I can shoot a pretty powerful .030 caliber pcp where I’m at. And I drool on the .45 caliber Texan. Especially the new long barrel silenced one that was recently released. It’s 600 fpe now if I remember right. I mean really I want one. But even though I have lots of room to shoot it’s just not a practical gun for me. Heck I would take a .50 caliber pcp in a heart beat. But just don’t really need that right now.
So tell me what do you prefer. Springers or nitro piston guns or pump guns or pcp’s?
“So tell me what do you prefer. Springers or nitro piston guns or pump guns or pcp’s?”
PCPs. They are arguably the oldest airguns as well as the trunk/leader and spring piston, gas ram, single/multipumps pumps were all lateral limbs on the Airgun family tree. There must be a reason they came back.
You may remember my posting that I switched to 10 Meter PCPs (Hämerlli AR-50 in the very early 1990s from a single stroke, over lever, Hämerlli AR-450. My hunting as an adult had been limited firearms until I found a switch barrel multishot bottle rifle that covered .177 up to .357 caliber. A Discovery and a Marauder when they first came out but all my other PCPs have been DAQs from .25, .308, .458 to .58 caliber. The .575 DAQ pistol is one hole accurate out to 50 and the Short Rifle with a 20″ barrel shoots one hole groups 350 grain Mrhollowpoint slugs out to at least 75. I’m certain I will eventually get it out to 100; even if that takes getting Dennis to make me a .575cal 24″ barrel.
Going over to the “Dark side” is often bandied about by folks that don’t get that only really accurate airguns are INTERESTING. It seems to take a great deal of money (lucky build excluded) to make an interesting Spring Piston but look at all the PricePointPCPs (PPP) that are Whiscombe accurate: https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2007/03/whiscombe-rifles-and-barrel-harmonics-part-4long-range-testing-in-177/
See B.B.s post proving that even more can be spent to make even a Whiscombe more accurate
Wow! this post should stir the hornet’s nest!
Remember this is ONLY my informed opinion.
All I can say is that after shooting two breakbarrel springers for four years, I bought a PCP last year to get the consistent accuracy I needed. I have not shot the springers much at all since buying the PCP and I would never go back to one for accurate pesting. Yes, springers are a challenge to shoot accurately. But after while you get tired of the challenge and want something INTERESTING 😉
Why should it stir a hornet’s nest? I pretty well see it like you said.
Pcp’s are probably the easiest to shoot. Then for the most part multi-pumpers and Co2 guns.
Don’t get me wrong I have owned some very accurate springers that were easy to shoot. But I have to say for me anyway it’s pcp’s for me. And not to confuse I like the other powerplants too.
When I read that the cocking effort of the Speedfire Vortex is only 28 pounds I thought, “Wow,” because it seems to have the same powerplant as the powerhouse Hatsan 135 QE. The Pyramyd Air page lists cockiong effort for the 135 QE to be 50 pounds, which one can imagine is accurate given its power. What’s the deal? I looked at the barrel lengths of the two air rifles. DING! The 135 QE has a 10.6 inch barrel while the Speedfire has a 14.5 inch barrel.
Give me a long enough lever, and I can move the world.
I can assure you the Speedfire does not have the 135 powerplant. I would be able to tell if it did. This rifle is much smoother and easier to cock.
Hmmm. Of course I believe you, but the specs for both the .22 Speedfire and the .22 135 QE say 1000 fps. So the cocking effort mystery is no longer a mystery, but the power spec is now a mystery? :^)
We kind of disproved the velocity claim in Parts 2 and 3.
When can I expect the final part of the SpeedFire?
Soon. I am working on getting many of the backlogged reports completed.
For those who wish the magazine had numbers, I took a really fine permanent marker and wrote numbers on top of the magazine to mark the number of how many shots I have left.