Hatsan model 25 Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Hatsan model 25 Supercharger breakbarrel air pistolBig and powerful — Hatsan’s new model 25 breakbarrel spring-piston air pistol is different. And, it turns out it’s quite accurate, as well!

Wonderful news for those who have been following the reports of the Hatsan model 25 Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol. It turns out to be accurate, which is why I reserve my final observations until I test a gun on the range.

This big pistol had a lot of strikes against it up to this point. It’s very hard to cock, the trigger-pull is too long and creepy, the gun failed to achieve its rated velocity and the breech is tight. Today, you’ll see how it did on the range, and I think most of my concerns are going by the wayside. This kind of turnaround doesn’t happen that often, as readers of this blog know only too well. We often get a sense of how well or poorly a gun is going to do in the early stages of testing. And this one looked like it was headed downhill. But after you see the results on paper, I think you’ll have to agree with me that the Hatsan Supercharger is an airgun to consider.

Sighting in
Let’s get right to it. I elected to shoot at 10 meters because I had no idea what was in store for me, and I didn’t want to shoot the furniture (again). There were only three customer reviews of this pistol when I was ready to test, and two of them had no useful information. Only one person commented on accuracy, and he said he could get 2-inch groups shooting offhand at 25 yards. Since he didn’t mention how many shots were in those groups, I didn’t give his report a lot of credibility, other than to hope that this test would turn out well.

I used a two-hand hold, with my forearms resting on a sandbag and both hands extended in front of the bag. So the hold was very steady. With a powerful pistol like this, the recoil is pretty violent. It can factor into where the pellet goes, so your hold has to be very consistent. If it is, you’ll group as tight as the gun can — not unlike an M1911A1 Colt pistol that also bounces a lot when it fires. The secret, if there is one, is to always “bounce” the shot in the same way.

Holding the gun this way gained me two big advantages. First, the fiberoptic sights went black, giving me a precision dark sight picture instead of a vague glowing array of dots. And second, the heavy, creepy trigger didn’t matter as much. The hold was so secure that I was able to wait out the very long pull — except for a couple times that I’ll note.

JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome
I began with the JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome for no particular reason. The first pellet landed several inches above and to the right of the center of the 10-meter pistol bull, so I put 12 clicks of down elevation and left the windage alone. The next shot hit the upper right edge of the bull, so I shot two more to see whether the gun could group or not. When I saw that it could, I decided to complete the 10-shot group. Seven additional shots completed this first group, and I didn’t bother looking until I went downrange to change the target. When I did, two things jumped out at me. First, nine of the 10 shots were in a tight cluster that told me this pistol wants to shoot. And second, I noticed that the amount the group had dropped from the first shot was about what I expected the 12 clicks to do. Perhaps, these sights are very precise and can be trusted? That’s what I thought at this point.

Hatsan Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol target 1
This is the first target. Nine of the 10 JSB Exact domed pellets went into a tight group, and I can’t explain the lower one. The 9 shots measure 0.663 inches between centers, while the entire group measures 1.411 inches. This looks encouraging!

Seeing how far 12 clicks had dropped the group the first time, I dialed in 6 more clicks of down and 3 clicks of left, hoping to center the next group. I shot the same pellet as before and didn’t bother looking through the spotting scope for the entire 10 rounds. My fourth shot was a called flier that I saw land high in the white. When I went down to pull the target I was treated to a very tight group with 3 shots that had strayed. The called flier was the farthest away from the group and 2 lower shots were just from me not holding as well as I should have. This group, coupled with the first one, told me this pistol can shoot.

Hatsan Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol target 2
Another encouraging group. This one is larger than the first but not by much. The 9 that are together measure 0.978 inches between centers, while shot 10 opens it to 1.872 inches.

Second pellet
Now that I’ve established a baseline for the gun, I tried the lighter JSB Exact Jumbo RS pellet. Unlike the first pellet, I could see that this one was scattering all around the bull, even without looking through the spotting scope. And, sure enough, when I went t0o examine the target, the group was much larger. So, there’s a clear difference between these two pellets — even though they’re both domes and both made by JSB.

Hatsan Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol target 3
They’re all in the bull, but not as good a group as the 15.9-grain domes. This is 10 JSB Exact RS pellets, and they measure 1.607 inches between centers.

After seeing this target, I wondered if this open group was just due to the difference in the pellets or was I wearing out from cocking this pistol so many times? After all, it does take 58 lbs. to cock it, and that, coupled with the general strain of concentration from shooting, can tire you out. One way to find out if it was the pellet or me was to shoot another group with the 15.9-grain Exact dome that had already done so well.

Hatsan Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol target 4
This last group of 15.9-grain domes shows that I’m getting tired, but also that this pellet does group better than the RS. The 2 highest shots in the white were both called fliers. The low right shot was not called.

And this final group does demonstrate that I am getting tired, but also that the 15.9-grain Exact pellet is better in this pistol than the Exact RS. It’s so nice to have a decisive result like this because it doesn’t leave any doubt. The group measures 1.435 inches, with 9 shots in 1.015 inches.

Final evaluation
If you want a powerful spring-piston air pistol, the Hatsan Supercharger is one I can recommend. In .22 caliber, it delivers over 7 foot-pounds of muzzle energy with an accurate pellet, which puts it right up there in the same power class as the Beeman P1 and the RWS Diana LP8. Don’t think that it’s anywhere near as refined as those two pistols; but in terms of power and accuracy, it does deliver.

When I started this report, I said that if this pistol could deliver on accuracy it would be a best buy. Even though it doesn’t make its advertised power, it’s still a powerhouse…and, indeed, it is a best buy at the price. However, if you get it, you’re going to have to do your part to get the performance it offers.

Hatsan model 25 Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Hatsan model 25 Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol
Big and powerful — Hatsan’s new model 25 breakbarrel spring-piston air pistol is different.

Let’s take a look at the velocity and power of the new Hatsan model 25 Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol. I’m testing the .22-caliber version that I selected because of the advertised power. Hatsan has not disappointed me with their power claims in the past, so I’m expecting great things from this pistol. In fact, you’ll recall that I said I wished they would turn this pistol into a carbine at the same power. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Should you use heavy pellets?
I have read a lot about why I shouldn’t use heavy pellets in a spring gun. There seem to be several schools of thought on the subject. One of them says heavy pellets do not damage a spring gun in any way. That is my position as well, and it’s based on my never having seen evidence of damage done to a gun by using heavy pellets.

Another position is that heavy pellets may damage the mainspring of a gun, but they take a long time to do it. And those who believe this say they don’t mind changing mainsprings periodically.

And the final position seems to be that heavy pellets will damage the spring of a spring-piston airgun without question. These folks believe that spring-piston guns should use lightweight and medium-weight pellets but never heavyweight pellets.

I tell you this because I plan to test this air pistol with Beeman Kodiak pellets that weigh 21.1 grains in .22 caliber. I’m doing it because I’ve found Kodiaks are often very accurate at this power level. I’m not trying to bait the people who think heavy pellets are bad for springers; so if you believe that they are, don’t do what I am doing.

Note from Edith: In the 1990s, Tom and I heard that some RWS air rifles broke their mainsprings into 3 pieces at 2,000 shots or so. The spring would break off about 1″ from each end. We contacted Frank Turner, the president of RWS USA in Closter, New Jersey (not the same RWS USA company that now imports Diana airguns). Frank said the springs broke because shooters used pellets that were too light and didn’t have enough resistance. He advised Tom on how heavy the pellet had to be. Tom conducted a test using only the heavyweight pellets recommended by Frank. Things looked good for a while, but then the cocking effort of the gun became very light…a sign the spring had broken. He disassembled the gun, and the spring had broken into 3 pieces, as predicted. The gun we tested was an RWS 48, and I believe only one caliber of the 48 had this problem. The No. 1 comment we heard from RWS 48 owners was that the gun was broken in between 1,000 and 2,000 rounds because of the lighter cocking effort. The gun was, in fact, broken…not broken in. Since we no longer hear about this from RWS 48 owners, we assume that the problem has been fixed by the current importer.

I have selected three pellets that I believe will have a good chance for accuracy in this pistol. I plan to initially shoot at 10 meters; and if the gun gives me good confidence in its accuracy, I may back up to 25 yards. But I don’t want a gun that sprays its shots all over the place since I’m shooting inside the house. Now, let’s look at the velocity.

RWS Hobby
The RWS Hobby pellet loaded very hard, telling me that the breech on this pistol is quite small. At 11.9 grains, the Hobby is among the very lightest of the lead pellets available, so I use it to test the velocity claims. In the test pistol, Hobbys averaged 525 f.p.s., or 75 f.p.s. slower than the claim. That’s too much to overlook, so I have to say this claim is ambitious. The range was from 517 to 536 f.p.s., so the spread was 22 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produced 7.28 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That’s respectable for an air pistol and places the model 25 Supercharger among the top spring-piston air pistols for power.

JSB Exact Jumbo RS
The next pellet tested was the JSB Exact Jumbo RS, which in .22 caliber weigh 13.43 grains. They averaged 492 f.p.s. with a spread from 481 to 499 f.p.s. That’s 18 f.p.s. between the bottom and top speeds. At the average velocity, this pellet produced 7.22 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. And these also fit the breech very tight!

Crosman Premier and Beeman Kodiak
I’d planned to test both the Crosman Premier and Beeman Kodiak pellets, but neither of them would fit into the breech! I could have made one or both of them fit with some kind of tool; but since I would never do that in the field, I left them both out of the test. So I didn’t get to test the heavyweight pellets I’d planned on testing.

JSB Exact 15.9-grain pellet
The JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome pellet was substituted for the Beeman Kodiak. It fit the breech the best of the three pellets tested, but it was still tight. This pellet averaged 449 f.p.s across 10 pellets fired, with a spread from 439 to 456 f.p.s. So, 17 f.p.s. between the slowest and fastest shot. The average velocity produced 7.06 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Cocking effort
I said in Part 1 that this pistol is hard to cock. Well, in this test I discovered that it has the distinction of being the hardest-cocking air pistol I’ve ever tested! And that’s not a good thing. It takes 58 lbs. of force to cock the gun, and at one point in the stroke the effort bumps up to 60 pounds for an instant. Most adult men will find that very difficult to do, and I have no hope for most women and children. As long as you know that before you buy the gun, then there will no surprises.

Trigger pull
The trigger on the test pistol releases at 5 lbs., 1.5 oz. The pull is smooth, though you can feel the trigger blade moving as the effort increases.

This is an adjustable trigger, so I followed the instructions in the owner’s manual. I found the adjustments to be very minimal. The first stage (this is really a two-stage trigger, but was adjusted as a single-stage from the box) is extremely short, despite the adjustment screw being all the way out. And the trigger-pull got no lighter than 4 lbs., 8 oz.

I discovered that there really is no distinct second stage. You just feel the trigger blade moving, and then the gun fires. It’s not that bad when you’re shooting it for score; but when you try to feel a second stage, it feels very mushy and indistinct.

Observations thus far
The model 25 Supercharger is made for a very specific owner who wants all the performance he can get from a spring pistol, regardless of the consequences. I sure hope it’s accurate!

Hatsan model 25 Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Hatsan model 25 Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol
Big and powerful — Hatsan’s new model 25 Supercharger breakbarrel spring-piston air pistol is different.

Before I begin, I want to remind you that there will be at least one more Christmas gift recommendation list coming this week. I read all the comments you made and see that several readers have the same thoughts as I about what stuff would make good gifts.

Today, we’ll begin our look at Hatsan’s model 25 Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol. The pistol I’m testing is serial number 0812 29728 and is in .22 caliber. This pistol also comes in .177 caliber.

Priced right!
My first observation must be that this pistol is certainly priced right! At $130, it’s priced below all the competition — of which there is very little. Given the advertised power — if this pistol can deliver decent accuracy — it will be a best buy!

But you know me. Money means nothing if the gun doesn’t deliver. That’s what this evaluation is all about, isn’t it? So, I’ll put it through its paces to see what kind of pistol you can get at this price.

The gun
The breakbarrel pistol is rated to produce 600 f.p.s. in the .22 caliber I’m testing and 700 f.p.s. in .177. That puts it at the top of the spring gun list for power. It has a conventional coiled steel mainspring and a screw-on barrel extension that serves as a cocking aid. Believe me — you’re going to need it because this pistol is a real bear to cock! I’ll tell you how hard it is in Part 2.

Hatsan model 25  Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol broken open
The pistol is broken open to cock its powerful spring.

The gun is for right-handed shooters, only. The rubberized grips have a raised thumbrest on the left panel, which makes it perfect for righties, but uncomfortable for southpaws.

The pistol has fiberoptic sights, front and rear, and this is one time that I’m glad for them. The sight radius is so long, and I don’t expect the accuracy of the pistol is going to be that of a target gun, so it’s good to have sights that allow you to just point and shoot. I will note that the red tube in front doesn’t gather the light too well, so it will be darker than I would like it to be.

The sights are fully adjustable, and I do mean FULLY. The rear sight adjusts in both directions with crisp detents. The elevation wheel has bold numbers, while the windage adjustment relies on a lined scale to let you know where you are. But it doesn’t end there! The front sight also adjusts for elevation with a wheel of its own! And that, too, has very crisp detents. The owner’s manual shows a 6 o’clock sight picture that’s impossible to achieve with these sights. So, sighting-in the gun and shooting for accuracy should be interesting.

Hatsan model 25  Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol rear sight
The rear sight is fully adjustable. Note the short 11mm dovetails in front of the sight.

Hatsan model 25  Supercharger breakbarrel air pistol front sight
The front sight adjusts up and down with a wheel in the sight base. This photo also shows the shorter muzzle cap instead of the cocking device.

A very short set of parallel 11mm grooves atop the spring cylinder permit the installation of a dot sight. You can mount a scope by selecting an offset mount, such as the one from Leapers.

The pistol has the Quattro trigger, which adjusts for both pull weight and length of travel. The image in the owner’s manual is a generic one, and the screws that are shown are actually in a different place on this pistol — but you get the idea quick enough.

Big pistol!
The model 25 is big and heavy. It weighs nearly 4 lbs., which is quite heavy for a handgun. Think about shooting this one with both hands, because you’ll probably have to.

With the grip in your hand, the spring cylinder is over an inch above, which should lead to some interesting recoil. While I don’t normally like to make comparisons between guns, I must say this one does remind me a lot of the Browning 800 Express pistol I tested for you a few years back. The model 25 even has the same recoil-reduction system the Browning has — where the spring cylinder slides on rails built into the lower receiver. But the Quattro trigger and adjustable front sight is found only on the model 25.

Overall evaluation
This is a big, black spring pistol. There are a lot of synthetics on the outside of the gun, but it all looks tough enough to do the job. It certainly isn’t much different than other synthetic guns these days.

I’ve fired the pistol a couple times so far and noted that it’s hard to cock and the trigger seems pretty good. The breech is very tight, which I think bodes well for accuracy.

The firing behavior is quick and jolting. There’s a definite forward jump when the gun fires.

The pistol is very tight. I can tell it’s going to loosen up a bit after a break-in, but that’s the way it should be.

Discharge noise is low for a spring gun of this power. It’s not quiet, but I think it could certainly be used in a backyard without scaring the neighbors.

Hatsan — forgive me, but…
I just have to say this! When I look at this pistol I cannot help but wonder what a nice carbine it might make. If it were put into a stock with about a 14-inch pull and if the barrel was lengthened with a cocking aid extension to about 16 inches, this might be a wonderful little plinking gun. It has all the power you would ever want in a plinker; and if it was a carbine, I don’t think it would be too difficult to cock for most adults. The rear sight could be moved forward to give the proper eye relief, and I think they would have something pretty special.