0

Hatsan SpeedFire Vortex multi-shot breakbarrel air rifle: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Hatsan Speedfire
Hatsan SpeedFire Vortex breakbarrel repeater.

This report covers:

  • Scoping
  • Sight-in
  • First group of Baracuda Match
  • Different holds
  • Second target
  • Hatsan Vortex pellets
  • It’s accurate
  • Two other airguns
  • Summary

Today I test the Hatsan Speedfire Vortex repeater scoped at 25 yards. In the last part we learned that H&N Baracuda Match with 5.53mm heads were the best pellet for this rifle, so they are the ones I will test with today.

Scoping

The first job was to scope the rifle. It comes with a Picatinney rail on the spring tube so scoping should be fast and easy. The first scope I selected was the Bug Buster 3-12X32 with UTG 80mm Sidewheel add-on that I recently used in the test of the Daisy Buck BB gun. The scope was still mounted in its UTG rings that come with it, so all I had to do was remove them from the BB gun and install them on the SpeedFire. Unfortunately, the scope base is too far forward on the spring tube for the Bug Buster to work, and the scope tubes are so short that there is almost no lateral adjustment. This can happen with a Bug Buster, so I switched to a larger scope — the Aeon 8-32X50 AO that was already mounted in offset P.O.I. rings from UTG. Despite its high magnification this is still not a large scope and and it doesn’t overpower the SpeedFire.

Sight-in

Sight-in was easy and quick because the scope was almost perfectly aligned. Once I was satisfied I backed up to 25 yards and began shooting groups. I shot and shot and shot — 80 shots in all, trying to discover the best hold for the SpeedFire. This workout taught me two important things —

First: The Hatsan SpeedFire is very accurate.
Second: The SpeedFire is extremely sensitive to how it’s held.

First group of Baracuda Match

The first group is representative of what happened throughout the test. Nine shots are in a decent 0.778-inches at 25 yards and one lone shot opens the group to 1.931-inches

Hatsan Speedfire group 1
This is a common thing with the Speedfire. Nine shots at in 0.778-inches at 25 yards and one other shot opens the group to 1.931-inches.

Different holds

I tried every variation of artillery hold I could think of. With many of them I got a distribution that was really two groups. Either one of them would be a group to be proud of, which is why I tell you that the SpeedFire is accurate. But together the groups don’t compliment one another. This can happen with a rifle that is hold-sensitive.

I also tried holding the rifle in a firm “deer hunter” hold, but that threw pellets all over the place. The artillery hold or something very much like it is how the rifle wants to be held.

Let me show you a very promising group that ended up disappointing me. It came right after the group shown above. I had adjusted the scope top the left and shot the following.

Hatsan Speedfire group 2
The first round hit high and right. Then the scope reticle moved to where it was adjusted and shots 2 through 9 are in the middle. I was prepared to give a lecture on scope stiction after adjusting, and would have if the next 9 shots had all been together.

That 8-shot group measures 0.542-inches between centers and I believe is representative of what the Speedfire can really do at 25 yards with the right pellet. But on the final shot the right front of the firearm touched the long sandbag, resulting in the shot going wide to the left. That shot opened the group up to 2.343-inches — hardly worth touting! But the thing is, I know what caused the shots to go awry! The first was from scope stiction after adjustment and the second was from the forearm touching the sandbag.

Hatsan Speedfire double group
The SpeedFire tended to group in two different places, telling me that the hold wasn’t quite right.

Now let me show you the entire first target. I shot 60 shots at this target and tried more than a dozen different holds and nothing seemed to work. But during all of that I became convinced that if this was my only air rifle and I shot it hundreds of more times I would eventually discover exactly how it wants to be held. After that I would be a force to be reckoned with!

Hatsan Speedfire first target
The entire first target, including sight-in rounds. I tried everything to get the SpeedFire to group.

Second target

I replaced the first target with a second one and fired a final group of Baracuda Match. What I managed to do was confirm that resting the rifle on the off hand back by the triggerguard is the best shooting position I have discovered thus far.

Hatsan Vortex pellets

Then I shot a group of Hatsan Vortex pellets, thinking they might just do better. Well, they didn’t. Ten pellets went into an open group that measures 1.645-inches between centers. Given what the Baracuda Match pellets can do, that isn’t very tight.

Hatsan Speedfire Vortex target
Ten Hatsan Vortex pellets made this 1.645-inch group at 25 yards.

At this point I was getting tired. I didn’t think I could shoot accurately any longer. In all I put 80 rounds downrange. The SpeedFire was easy to cock and its magazine was easy to load. It was a delight to shoot a breakbarrel springer so fast (just break the barrel, return it to the closed position and shoot.

It’s accurate

Despite my failure to shoot a decent 10-shot group at 25 yards I still believe that the SpeedFire is an accurate air rifle. You have to remember that this is a repeater and you may have to give up some accuracy to get the reliable feeding. Some of my groups are about the size other air rifles give — especially in this price category.

If I had more time with the rifle I’m sure I would discover how to make it perform on every shot. I don’t have the time but you do, so I am recommending this rifle to those who want a repeating springer. That includes reader Polank who asked for the test and my brother-in-law Bob, who has been privately messaging me about the gun.

Other repeating springers

There are other airguns to compare the SpeedFire to — the Umarex Synergis underlever that isn’t out yet and the Gamo Swarm Fusion 10X gen 2 and the Benjamin Mag-Fire breakbarrels that are both now out. I guess my work is cut out for me.

Summary

I think the SpeedFire is a good rifle, but it will take some learning and getting used to. It’s not a natural shooter like some other spring guns. I guess if you want a repeater that’s something you will have to tolerate. This is my final look at this rifle.

33 thoughts on “Hatsan SpeedFire Vortex multi-shot breakbarrel air rifle: Part 5”

  1. Good morning everyone
    B.B. I wonder if you could give us a brief test of a Gamo magnum repeater as a comparison.
    Just to see if repeater, powerful and accurate can exist as terms altogether in a springer.
    Bill

  2. My Gamo CFX was very hold sensitive. I too had two small groups and discovered that where I gently placed my trigger hand thumb would determine which group the pellet would go to. I could switch back and forth to groups by moving my thumb.

    If I did everything right, she would make ten shot groups at 25 yards that could literally hide under a dime. At the time she was my only airgun. I spent a lot of time learning that air rifle. It paid off.

    • I installed a self-adhesive rubber bumper foot on the back of the wrist of many of my springers. It’s right on the centerline, providing a consistent place for the thumb of my shooting hand. I have dubbed it the ‘Accuracy Button’. The domed/hemispherical ones feel and work best, but small ones of any shape will do the job. See the attached picture.
      To help it stick on some stocks, I may file a small flat and degrease the surface with a cleaner.
      The shot is executed with a gentle pinch from thumb and forefinger, with the other fingers curled back, not gripping or touching the wrist.
      This combination of device and technique has helped me shoot my twitchy springers more accurately.

        • Hi Bob,
          It’s an RWS 350 magnum. It’s heavily sprung and jumps violently during the shot cycle, even more so than my Beeman R1. The more they jump, the harder it is to be accurate.

          • Hi Feinwerk,

            Okay, now I understand. The 350 has a longer stroke and a higher power to weight ratio than the 52, which accounts for the jumpiness.

            I have a Baikal MP513M that has the same problem. At 16 foot pounds it’s not as powerful as a 350, but weighs only as much as my HW30s because of its aluminium receiver. It’s very twitchy and I reckon a perfect candidate for your rubber bumper idea.

  3. B.B.

    Wondering if the repeating mechanism is the source of the problem. Would you try a couple of strings hand-feeding pellets to see if the groups are more consistent please?

    Hank

  4. Looking forward to a best autoloading breakbarrel review!
    The designers cleaned up the lines on the Benjamin allot.
    I think its a new segment and the jurys still out on whats best,
    a spring loaded magazine type system, or the metal ring style,
    which I have seen only on PCP and Co2 guns. While cleaning the burrs on the
    Diana Bandit magazine, I dicovered the housing is metal, not plastic as I expected.
    Once it was shimmed in its slot, works perfect. Groups just as well as single loading,
    but, not out of the box it didnt. For shooting outdoors in colder whether, it might be a nice improvement
    to have a nice autoloading system.
    R

  5. B.B.
    I have a thought that might also explain the odd shots. I have an Air King and use the Baracuda Match pellets, what I have discovered is that my gun like a tight fitting pellet. If the fit is loose the shot will go high and right by about 3/4″. This will vary by how loose the fit is. If the fit is to tight the shot will move low and left about 1/8″. I use both the pellet gage and an old conical sizer to get consistent shot placement. So the odd shot placement might come from this.
    thanks
    Gordon

  6. Hey, I see that the Umarex Syposium (or whatever it is called) ships in 2 weeks according to the PA web site. I’m hoping you get one and have a chance to review it soon. Not a break-barrel but an underlever repeater at a great price. A unique airgun for sure.

  7. cheaper spring guns take the joy out of shooting for me. like trying to please an rotten entitled spoiled woman. any little misstep sets them off lol. a German springer at moderate velocities much easier to shoot

  8. B.B.,

    High quality PCPs that use magazines seem less susceptible to “bad cylinder” issues than do repeating springers, although in your myriad accuracy tests with them they did often prove to be ever-so-slightly less accurate than comparable single shot PCPs. Perhaps the combination of hold sensitivity and cylinder variations are what make these repeating springers less accurate than shooters would much prefer.

    I suppose one could purchase a large number of cylinders and sort through them for the one or two most accurate “keepers” and return the rest, kind of a variation on what coaches did with shot tubes for the old Daisy Model 99.

    I am a plinker and paper-puncher only, but if I were a hunter and/or vermin shooter, I think I would find myself looking at repeating PCPs or better yet, super accurate one-shot-does-the-job springers to be the right tool for the job.

    Michael

  9. B.B.,

    Some Errata First:
    Scope: UTG 80mm Sidwheel add-on…” Is that Sid on the SIDE?
    In caption under first target: “This is a common these with the Speedfire.” Replace THESE; don’t have a clue with what.
    Different Holds:
    “I got a distribution that was really two groups.”
    Don’t you have an alternate theory on what causes a rifle to Two Group!

    shootski

  10. B.B.,
    Your groups resemble the groups I was getting with my Diana rws34p before I sent it to you for review. I never did find the correct hold to achieve consistent groups with that rifle. After I bought the Urban PCP I was not able to go back to the challenges of a breakbarrel springer. The Urban’s accuracy and consistency have spoiled me for shooting springers again. With the difficulty you are having with this Hatsan, we wouldn’t stand much of a chance I guessing.
    Geo

  11. B.B.

    Thank you very much for the review on this rifle, as of now am waiting on my HN Barracuda Match 5.53 and JBS Diabolo Jumbo Heavy to start testing with these pellets. As I have being shooting with it iI have notice that is very sensitive on the handling, but wasn’t sure if it was because of the pellet, sometime i get a nice group and then it goes with a few flyers. Now am going to test and then put some pictures on my review of the riffle. See you at the next round table!! 🙂

  12. The ultra high scope is a real issue when shooting close range at different distances. Given the accuracy exhibited, I’d gladly take any of the numerous options of solid single shot break barrels in that price range instead of this gun…it’s in the price range of a Diana 250!

Leave a Comment