Hatsan Escort Magnum
Bruce Potts looks at the Escort Magnum from Hatsan and finds a very useful ‘real world’ hunting shotgun…
Edgar Brothers have done a good job of marketing the Hatsan range of shotguns and the Escort Magnum is your everyday semi-automatic model, as at home breaking informal clays as it is out around the woods after pigeons or ducks. The three-inch chambers allow a good range of cartridges and the barrels, proofed to shoot steel shot, allows a more diverse range of shot. Being synthetic stocked, it makes for a cheaper, do anything shotgun and the camo wrapped Mossy Oak Break Up pattern makes it more practical too.
The whole action is made from aircraft-grade aluminium for both strength and lightness of use, it is black anodised and in this case also camo-wrapped. There is a set of 11mm dovetails cut into the receiver top for a scope or red dot sight and follows the typical semi auto configuration for removal of the trigger assembly and swept back rear end. The bolt handle is nonserrated and slim and pulls the blackened bolt carrier rearward until it locks – you can then pop a round into the chamber. To release the bolt, press the magazine carrier’s inset lever and it slams shut, taking the case with it. The bolt has a single extractor claw to the bolt’s right side and the case is ejected by a small dimple in the inner sidewall of the receiver that catches the cases rim and pings it out.
There is a magazine cut-off catch, also on the lower right front of the action. This can be any shiny bits that might spook wary game. This camo wrap is Mossy Oak Break Up and works in most terrains for good concealment.
This is where you really see if the on-paper statistics match the actual performance. I wanted this Escort for geese, so the non-steel, tighter choke use was a disappointment, so ½ choke only. I also only tested a few loads of steel and lead on the pattern boards.
In the hand the Escort does feel solid and comes up nicely, if not a little looking down on to the bead and rib though. I had no problems with the operation of the Hatsan with light and heavy loads for loading and ejection. However, I did have an annoying intermittent non-firing as I pulled the trigger. The hammer fell but not enough to strike the primer, it was only on the first shot but it made me lose out on several overhead geese, as I fumbled to re-cock and load. It was very cold and icy but still a pain. On the pattern boards it occasionally failed to fire but subsequent 2 and 3 shots were fine. Anyhow, patterning was fine but there was a very biased left patterning to the spread.
The Eley Grand Prix HV loads have a 32-gram payload of No 6 shot with a fibre wad. Shot at 30-yards and with the ½ choke fitted it achieved a total pellet hit rate of 253 pellets; but 179 of these were on the left side of the board and 74 on the right. Inner circle count was good at 100 pellets, but again totally biased left. This was the barrel or choke not the cartridge as the other loads were the same.
Next up were the Eley Lightning Steel load I wanted for geese. It shoots a 36-gram load on No 3 shot and plastic wad and three-inch chambering. At 30-yards and ½ choke total pellet count was 162 pellets and 66 of which were in the inner circle, which is fine but again, 118 were left and 44 were right.
Finally, The Lyvadale Express 30-gram No 5 shot 65mm case load had a total pellet count of 185 pellets of which 71 were in the inner circle. You guessed it, 138 of the total were in the left sectors and on 47 in the right sectors.
The Hatsan is what it is. It’s a cheap entry-level semi-auto, designed to get you shooting and take some field abuse when out hunting. Despite the few miss fires and biased left shot pattern, I was happy with the performance but I can see people trading up in time.
|Name||Hatsan Escort Magnum|
|Barrel||28-inches, 3-inch magnum|
|Calibre||12g, 20 g also available|
|Finish||Mossy Oak Break Up|
|Importer||Edgar Brothers Ltd 01625 613 177 www.edgarbrothers.com|
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