by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- First group of Baracuda Match
- Different holds
- Second target
- Hatsan Vortex pellets
- It’s accurate
- Two other airguns
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.