By: Pete Wadeson
The Hatsan 85XTH is a, very modern, striking looking springer but is it a winner? Pete Wadeson sets out to find out…
Edgar Brothers have long been associated with the import of the Hatsan brand, a Turkish gun manufacturer with an even longer history in producing shotguns and the production of spring powered air rifles. They caused a bit of a surprise when aided by ‘EB’ they brought us the first Hatsan PCP but now it seems the company are making equally bold steps in the production of spring powered air rifles. I say this as there aren’t many more modern and striking looking springers around at the moment than the Hatsan 85XTH. No prizes for guessing ‘TH’ denoting thumbhole but as for the ‘X’ I’d say after testing this powerhouse ultra modern looking springer that letter could denote ‘X-Factor.’
The matt black synthetic stock features a very well designed and high right hand roll over cheekpiece, a generous thumbhole and a solid substantial long forend with a rounded underside and fluting running along the top edges for your fingers to grip. Although there is no chequering or stippling, the thumbhole combined with the fluting offers the shooter a solid hold and good control of the rifle. Now move to the rear and the surprise here is a very well designed butt section. At first you can be fooled by the eye catching cosmetics of the unique design of the grey ventilated rubber butt pad as it curves into a contoured hard spacer before meeting the stock itself.
With the rifle come three black ABS spacers that can be used to extend the reach to pull by removing the butt pad (which is secured to the stock by two recessed screws) then simply placing the amount you require in the now exposed back end and replacing the butt pad.
On the side of the compression cylinder the company have etched ‘SaS’ which denotes Shock Absorber System. This refers moreover to the very clever design of the quite ‘flexible’ butt pad itself.
As it comes from the box reach to pull is 13 ½”, but this can be extended by ¼” a time when each extra spacer is added, so you can tailor the rifle to suit your build or preference. As a matter of interest Hatsan use a similar design on virtually all their shotguns.
I soon had a Walther 3 - 9 X 44 Night Pro in high mounts clamped in the deep cut dovetails, and set so that the rear scope mount was abutted right back to the removable scope mount arrestor ‘strap.’
The cocking stroke is smooth but does require a progressive amount of ‘heft’ as you reach the lock back point, whereupon the rifle engages the sears and the automatic safety. On inspection the reason for this is the quirky shaped one-piece non articulated cocking linkage and being so long means a lot of the underside of the forend is cut away. Some will like the fact that the rifle has an anti-beartrap but you should always keep a hold on the barrel while loading as a fail-safe.
That big meaty 7 ¾” long multi-baffle silencer does a great job doubling as a cocking aid. With the barrel locked back you clearly see the big wedge shape détente lock, and overall build quality is much higher than on earlier models of Hatsan air rifles. After thumbing a pellet directly into the breech and swinging the barrel back up it was good to feel and hear a solid reassuring ‘clunk’ that everything is definitely locked and loaded.
Besides the stock, the obvious dominating feature of this rifle is that big and brutal looking silencer. I expected this to be bonded onto the barrel but to my surprise the company have sensibly screw cut the muzzle of the short 10 ¾” barrel with a standard ½” UNF thread so if you choose you can remove it and fit a silencer of choice. However, hat’s off to Hatsan as the unit not only reduces the muzzle report effectively, but its look also perfectly complements the overall look of the gun.
The well curved and ridged trigger blade of the 2-stage adjustable trigger unit may well be ABS - and sits in a plastic trigger guard as well - but it doesn’t feel flimsy in the slightest and doesn’t let the rifle down. Operation was good, tripping the sears cleanly and crisply. On discussion with ‘EB’ they informed me the unit is named the ‘Quattro Trigger’ and is an upgraded unit now fitted to most full power Hatsan’s.
The automatic safety is a familiar one that we’ve seen on other break barrels, that being once you cock the rifle the catch extends out from the rear of the action. Pushing in obviously takes the safety off and a red dot can be seen on the side indicating it’s in ‘Fire’ mode. Also it can be reset at any time by simply pulling it back, so in a sense this is an automatic, resettable safety.
On the very first shot as I began to set a 25-yd zero I think this is the first time a production springer has surprised me so much. There was no internal spring noise only the ‘thock’ of the piston reaching the end of the cylinder and the report was reduced to what can only be described as a quiet dull thud. In fact, so quite was discharge on firing I’d say the piston arriving at the end of its travel over powered it. Superb! With an un-scoped weight of 7.2lbs and that clever ‘SaS’ system helping quell what little recoil there is anyway, I made some impressive groups at my set zero of 25-yds, best being a ¾” hole using Crosman Accupells.
I never thought I’d say this but Hatsan have knocked my socks off with this rifle. It’s practical, handles very nicely, has the looks, is accurate and comes with a very efficient silencer. In my opinion the 85XTH is proof positive that Hatsan are now coming into line with other European companies whose springers are more popular in the UK market - and nobody can dismiss the bargain price.
|Type||Spring/piston powered break-barrel|
|Stock||Synthetic thumbhole sporter|
|Sights||No open sights but grooved for scope mounting|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates