Pete Wadeson tests the first PCP from Hatsan, the AT44-10 a 10-shot capacity multi-shot with more than a few familiar features…
Turkish gun manufacturers Hatsan have a long history in producing shotguns and spring powered air rifles. A large selection of these are imported into the UK by Edgar Brothers, so no surprises that they’ve taken it upon themselves to bring in Hatsan’s first precharged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle.
On first inspection you can’t fail to notice quite a few familiar features now seen on established air rifles which I’ll detail as we come to them. However, largely due to the stock design it does have a character of its own and during testing I certainly warmed to the overall format.
ABS What Else?
Hatsan has chosen to go with the synthetic trend now quite literally taking over on many air rifles. I’ve no qualms with that, as a lot of thought has obviously gone into the stock design and personally I was pleased to see both a thumbhole and adjustable sliding rubber butt pad flanking the angular fully ambidextrous medium height cheekpiece.
Chequering is impregnated into the moulding at the grip but fluting is used along the top edge of the forend, which is very comfortable to hold due to the generously rounded profile and thickset rear section. There does seem to be a lot of air reservoir on this rifle but you’d be wrong in thinking this translates into the rifle having a large shot capacity. Charging is via a quick fill push in probe via an inlet at the front of the reservoir and a 190-bar fill gives approximately 50 full power shots, with approximately 40 in .177 calibre.
I didn’t realise it at the time but this was only the start of me discovering some ‘strange’ traits and features of the rifle. One not so strange was the air gauge positioned at the very front of the air reservoir. Incidentally, the air reservoir is removable should you want to take a spare, and if going on a longish lamping session or feral pigeon cull you just might be glad you have one ready to replace the original.
The action is very familiar in layout reminding me of a cross between the HW100 due to the side-lever cocking whilst the 10-shot removable steel magazine just screamed Webley Raider 10. I make no apologies for making these comparisons especially as the ‘lever’ cocking action and magazine system work so well together. It was while loading up I started to realise that the rifle’s action had some very familiar features, although it also has some creditable ones of its own. The first is the magazine’s ball ended brass retaining pin. To remove the magazine you first need to pull back the side-lever, then push forward the magazine retaining pin. As I’m so used to these types of systems forcibly ejecting magazines out - to be lost or get covered in dirt as they hit the deck - imagine my surprise when I pushed forward the spring tensioned retainer to discover it locks forward to allow the magazine to be lifted out of the right hand side of the raised action block. There is a slight ‘ejection’ but such are the high tolerances of engineering I found if you tilted the rifle slightly to the left the magazine would stay in its housing. This made me look more closely at the visible mechanical parts of the rifle and I was impressed at the standard of workmanship that had obviously gone into making them.
Once the steel magazine is removed, you place a pellet into each of the 10 chambers and then replace it back into its housing, pulling back the retaining pin then pushing forward the side-lever. The rifle’s now cocked and loaded (the trigger safety will have automatically engaged on pulling back the side-lever). This trigger safety is familiar looking, as it’s the spit of the pop out style seen on the Webley Blackhawk, right down to the ribbing on the top and when pushed in to disengage a red dot is visible through a hole in the air reservoir end cap. It can also be re-set manually if you don’t take a shot by simply pulling it back. The 2-stage adjustable trigger unit is quite classy looking due to the nicely curved and gold anodised blade. The trigger has a few interesting features and is better designed than you might first suppose, so it’s not all looks but precise as well. The trigger can be externally adjusted for both first and second stage length of pull, but to adjust the ‘release’ pressure adjustment the action needs to be removed from the stock.
The action block is quite wide and lengthy, so Hatsan have made full use of this and machined not one but two sets of full-length scope rails. Apparently one dovetail is to accommodate standard airgun mounts while the other accepts 22mm mounts – must be a Turkish thing! So no problems mounting this rifle with a lengthy scope or getting spot on eye-relief, and thanks to that sliding adjustable butt pad a precise head position is guaranteed for optimum gun control.
I opted to fit an AGS 3-12 X 44 Mini SWAT on the rear section of the generous scope rail and as the muzzle is threaded ½” UNF I spun a Logun CCFC carbon fibre silencer upfront which sent the rifle to 44.5” in overall length. At this stage balance and handling all seemed to be working nicely, the stock now tailored to my preference, and I was ready to set zero.
Though the 19.5” barrel is free floating and has a support band towards the front of the stock the first few brands of quality ammo I used just wouldn’t group. Initially, in my opinion I presumed the AT44-10 overly pellet fussy. However, I discovered a strange trait while trying to set zero. I’d fire through a magazine, then using the same ammo fire another ten shot string and the group would be different – either tighter or very bad. When I found pellets that did group such as Air Arms Field and Daystate FT, I noticed my best groups at my set 25-yd zero being sub-one-inch where due to me seating the pellets into the magazine in a specific way. I’ve heard of a barrel being pellet fussy but never a magazine being ‘loading’ fussy. Seems you need to seat them as flush as possible to the rear but obviously not protruding at the front or back. Also this magazine preferred longer pellets. With a silencer upfront muzzle report is very low, accuracy is acceptable once you sort the loading and ammo but the handling and design of the stock and attention to detail of the metalwork and action are in my opinion what make this rifle a Turkish Delight!
|Type||Lever-action, Multi-Shot PCP|
|Magazine||10 shot rotary|
|Calibre||.22 on test .177 available|
|Stock||Synthetic thumbhole sporter|
|Sights||Not fitted, but action grooved for scope mounting|
|Price||£450 including two magazines|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates