Hatsan Pump Action Shotgun
When is a Remy 870 not a Remy 870; when it’s a Hatsan Escort? Pete Moore ponders this riddle
Though semi-automatic shotguns are the norm these days for many general shooters the pump-action alternative is perhaps the better man in terms of reliability and a no-nonsense build. I started my life with pumps with a Winchester 1300 then moved on to what I consider the best design available the Remington 870. However, I also appreciate the smooth shooting and handling of a self-loader and use a Browning Maxus for much of my work. But, I still have the 870 and relish it for its sheer bomb-proof reliability and the fact it’s not ammo fussy at all.
Hatsan of Turkey has made quite a name for themselves in semi-auto shotguns in the UK with their various models of Escort offering a cost-effective gun. On test is their Fieldhunter pump-action, which in many ways is a copy of the Remy 870, though shows a few nice touches of its own. As the name implies this is a knock-about field gun, so it’s good for anything including foxes with heavy loads, pigeons etc and clays too.
The build shows a flat black finish on the 28” multi-choke barrel and aluminium alloy receiver, along with polymer furniture. This is just a tad different as the well shaped forend is positioned nearer the action so leaving more magazine tube exposed, grip is enhanced by scalloped sections and ribbing. The butt is standard with an ambi grip with cast-in chequering and offers a nice head position. Looking like it came off the Browning Cynergy O/U shotgun is the deep, ventilated recoil pad that really soaks up the kick. Hatsan includes three spacers so you can adjust length of pull (LOP), which I found a little short from the box. What is missing however are sling swivels, which is always a bonus on a working repeater.
The action is most like the 870 with a pre-packaged trigger mech housing (TMH) that is retained by twin cross pins. At the rear is a standard cross bolt safety and front left of the trigger guard is a large bolt-release catch, which allows you to unlock the action to unload etc. The shell lifter is slotted, which - in the unlikely event of a live round springing back from the mag tube – will allow you to push it back, thus easily solving the problem.
The top of the receiver is slotted to reduce reflection and shows an integral 11mm dovetail, which will allow you to fit either a sight such as a red dot or low power scope for slug use etc. The Field hunter came from the box as a Section 2 Shotgun as the magazine tube has been crimped at factory to reduce the capacity to 2 + 1. Hatsan also offers a Sect 1 (firearm) unlimited capacity and I would imagine most commercial magazine extension tubes will fit.
The barrels is maintained in the usual way with a ring on the underside sliding over the mag tube and being retained by a screw-off end cap with anti-rotation detente. Locking is by a single, rising lug like the 870 that engages with a pocket in the roof of the chamber extension. All familiar stuff that combines to make a tough and reliable gun!
The barrel is 28” and chrome-lined with a ventilated rib. Sighting consists of a single, brass pin up front. The calibre is 12-bore with a 3” chamber, but I could see no mention or marking of proofed for steel shot, so I assume it’s not! Pleasingly the Fieldhunter comes with a set of five, screw-in extended multi-chokes, with knurled ends so you can just insert them in with your fingers. Restrictions are – Cylinder, ¼, Full, ¾ and Modified. Also included are spacers to alter drop and cast a little and a spare, transparent magazine follower. As an overall package very impressive and for that matter comprehensive for what is a budget-type gun.
In use it’s hard to fault the Field Hunter, OK it’s no competition machine and far from fancy but as a hunter I prefer the no-nonsense approach and the fact it’s built to take the occasional knock. Which on a more expensive gun would probably have the owner crying their eyes out!
The action is firm but smooth enough in operation and it handled a cross section of shells easily as you might expect. Moving up to 3” Magnums it became a tad lively, but at 6 lbs it’s not heavy, though the recoil pad did make a useful contribution. One aspect I found hard to get used to was the rearward bias of the forend. Most pumps go right up to the end cap in this area and I found myself making my operating hand grip too far back. Guess it’s all those years with an 870!
On that point stripping is a doddle as there’s no shell stops to press. Just open the action, unscrew the magazine end cap and pull the barrel forward out of the action. Then pull the pump forward and it comes out with the bolt sitting on the action rods, which are then lifted off. On the way back reverse the movement and then when the bolt stops press the bolt release to get it fully retracted so you can fit the barrel.
|FOR||A tough working pumper|
|AGAINST||No sling swivels|
|VERDICT||Well priced and with a practical selection of accessories|
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