Hatsan Escort Practical Pump Shotgun
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- Last updated: 16/12/2016
The sport of Practical Shotgun Shooting run under the auspices of the UKPSA is gaining ground and rightfully so, given how exciting the sport actually is.
Whilst the clubs that cater for the sport at times seem difficult to find, once you’ve located one you’re more than likely to find a great bunch of friendly folk all ready, willing and able to welcome you into their ranks. Whilst in the first instance someone will probably lend you a suitable 12-bore to have a go and work your way through the various safety courses, eventually you’ll have to apply for your own Section 1 shotgun, no finer example being Hatsan’s Escort Practical Pump.
Part of Hatsan’s extensive range of Escort shotguns and imported into the UK by Edgar Brothers over in Cheshire, for the princely sum of just £570 I’ll stake my reputation on the fact you won’t get anything any better. A gun that with a shorter barrel has military applications and forms part of the range the public can’t own, besides the 8-shot as tested by the time you read this the 10-shot will also be available for not much more.
Ostensibly what your getting with the Escort Practical Pump is the standard 12-bore with a few minor but important modifications. Open up the box and the gun that greets you is based around the standard alloy receiver that forms the bulk of the Escort range and comes complete with a full set of flush-fit choke tubes and stock shims.
Matte black anodised in finish, the receiver features the usual cross-bolt safety and broad, easy to find slide release located at either end of the trigger guard whilst the usual single-claw bolt sits within, free floating on the slide runners. Where the Practical Pump differs is that the 24” long, 3” chambered barrel is fitted with a vented shroud that hinges just above the magazine cap and replaces the rib. Flaring to accommodate the chokes, the muzzle also houses a large red hi-visibility front sight that from the shooter’s perspective aligns with the fully adjustable rear ‘ghost-ring’ sight, this removable unit located on the receiver’s integrated accessory rail.
Beneath the barrels sits an extended mag tube which in turn runs into the deeply sculpted action slide, the sculpted indentations allowing the shooter a firm grip with a variety of hand positions. Should you so wish to fit something along the lines of a tactical torch, the slide also features its own integrated accessory rail. Move rearwards and immediately behind the trigger guard sits the soft, slightly sticky rubber over mould hand filling pistol grip, the shape and deep indents keeping the shooter’s hand firmly in place. With the trigger blade an easy index finger stretch, a squared pommel and finger rest means your hand finds the exact same location each and every time, an important factor when moving, loading and shooting all at the same time.
All that remains is what at the outset looks like a stock designed for a far smaller shotgun. But look closer and the overall shape that includes a neat flat comb is there to promote fast handling and precise target acquisition along with fast mounting and an ability to allow the head to move freely even when against the stock.
Different in comparison to the familiar stock the other features are the soft, thick rubber recoil pad and a recess on the right hand side that allows the shooter to stow a couple of extra rounds.
Against the Clock
By virtue of this Escort’s purpose and format, certain of the usual shotgun physical attributes don’t actually apply. Weight wise the gun unloaded tips the scales at 7lbs 6oz, eight 28g cartridges adding 8oz to the overall weight. Also bear in mind that when fully stoked up the gun exhibits a slight weight forward attitude that comes back to the shooter as the contents of the magazine is discharged. None of this weight shift is by very much but still worth mentioning whilst two rounds kept in the stock actually help shift the balance when the gun is fully loaded, a few grams here and there enough to have a marked effect on any shotgun’s physical attitude.
In respect of length the Escort is an exact 44¼” with a barrel length of 24” along with a 14 3/8” length of pull to the 7lbs breaking trigger.
Where the difference comes is that the drops at comb and heel are irrelevant by virtue of the fact to see through either the open sights as supplied or align with a red-dot or similar, it’s the side of the shooter’s jaw that presses against the stock’s comb. But courtesy of the deep, soft recoil pad, the gun’s overall dimensions and angles, the deep moulded action slide and overall handling, the gun is extremely comfortable to shoot.
Likewise, once you’ve become accustomed to mounting the Escort so the sights are perfectly aligned with you eye, the speed of operation will guarantee results. With little if any practice I was able to fully load the gun in 13½ seconds, a time that could no doubt be improved upon. Why time this? Because shooting against the clock is one of the Practical shotgunning disciplines and requires the shooter to start with the gun empty, the amount of time taken to load up is part of the overall time taken and resultant score.
All Day Long
Shot over an improvised layout on the Huntroyde Estate consisting of strategically positioned clays and cardboard silhouettes, straight out of the box the Escort was on the money, only targets requiring a follow up shot down to my own haste in many ways encouraged by the slickness of the slide and action. Choke wise I stuck with ½ whilst the ammo was divided between 28g Eley VIP Sporting and Edgar’s latest shells the hard hitting 28g NSI-UNO Prima, the Escort shooting equally well with both makes. The gun handles well, swings easily and acquires its targets with ease, topping up the magazine tube even with the gun held to the shoulder was no particular problem.
Given the politically correct nature of nearly everything, I conclude that saying the Escort PP is a truly enjoyable gun to shoot with, the entertainment factor way off the scale but the gun was exactly that. Granted, I’m a major fan of pump-action shotguns and personally I like Hatsan’s Escorts, the combination of how much the gun costs and the way it performs is a constant reminder of how and why these guns have become as popular as they are.
If further proof were needed as to how much I enjoyed shooting this 12-bore, even after my testing and evaluation had come to an end, I shot my makeshift layout a couple more times just for the sheer enjoyment of handling and shooting the gun. You’ll need a slot on your Section 1 licence to own the Escort Practical Pump since as an 8-shot the gun’s a firearm not a shotgun. However, at £570 you really can’t go wrong with the Escort Practical Pump. Go on, you know you want one! GM
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