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Hatsan Nova Compact

Hatsan Nova Compact

At 43.5” long, this Hatsan Nova Compact isn’t exactly, compact. But consider that Hatsan produces a serious FAC version that can generate 1220 fps and requires the car boot to be left open for transportation, and you get the general idea. ‘Compact - compared to’ is what we’re talking about here.

If you like your PCPs bulky, boldly styled and crammed full of features, then read on.

Evolution

Hatsan, as an airgun manufacturer, has really moved forward over the last decade or so, and this Nova Compact model shows a distinct lineage from their early AT44 PCP. The same side-lever and rotary cast magazine system are here, including two magazines, along with the magazine retaining catch. But this model also gets a 2-stage adjustable Quattro trigger (with a gold plated trigger blade), safety catch, sling swivels, accessory rail, full length shrouded barrel, screwcut muzzle, dual-use scope rail, Turkish Walnut sporter stock, adjustable butt pad and of course, that whopping 500cc buddy bottle.

Procedures

Take the time to adjust that butt pad at the rear via the central Allen bolt, and eye scope alignment can be tweaked for a more refined aim. Positioning the scope is also easy, and here, that ingenious twin scope rail offers the choice of an inner 11mm dovetail rail or Picatinny/Weaver mounting from the outer rail.

Charging the bottle is via a probe adaptor (supplied) and this inserts into the inlet valve at the front of the cylinder, with the bottle in situ. Fill slowly to 250bar, bleed the line and remove. Keeping tabs on residual pressure is easy, courtesy of the well-placed manometer on the underside of the stock. No valve protection was supplied with my test gun, which is surprising given that the cost of a nylon plug must be pence, and can make such a difference in keeping crud from the internals.

OK, we have air. We just need to sort the 10-shot rotary magazine. First, pull forwards the magazine retaining catch and slide it so it locks in its groove. With the side-lever pulled back and the action/hammer cocked, the mag can be pulled clear. Push a pellet nose-first into each chamber and slot the mag back into the action. Then, release the retaining catch, which should fly backwards conveniently under spring pressure, and lock it down. If the mag doesn’t settle, just move it slightly and everything will click into place and lock. Close the side-lever and the shooting can start.

Fit and feel

Two observations here. Firstly, the side-lever is a bit stiff and requires a fair tug. Secondly, cocking the action sets the automatic safety catch, so the catch needs to be nudged forwards to disengage before each shot can be taken. This rather gets in the way of speed shooting, but hey - just a detail. The Nova is also rather noisy, despite that full-length barrel shroud. However, if you need to mute the report, then unscrew the end cap at the muzzle and there’s a male thread to take any standard 1/2” UNF style silencer.

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As for handling, at 9.7lbs in weight, this is a fairly heavy airgun, strictly for adults. I love the look of the stock, although the cheekpiece could be higher for a more cosseting feel. The laser-cut chequering looks and feels very precise, plus the grip is nicely thinned out. That extended strip of forend under the buddy bottle is also most welcome, providing a more civilized support than cold steel on a freezing day. The Picatinny rail and sling swivel are further welcome features, although they are sat right where your leading hand may want to be. That said, if they do prove an irritation, both can be unscrewed in seconds, so best to see them as an asset.

Chrono stats

Obviously, given that super large 500cc onboard buddy bottle, shot count is always likely to be significant, and who realistically can be disappointed with around 400 shots in .22 calibre and 300 in .177? The fill pressure is high at 250bar, but I suspect if you don’t need such firepower shot wise, charging to a lower pressure will make sense. As always with such a setup, just do your own homework and then you’ll know that you’ll get a decent return with a particular pellet.

On test and for the record, I monitored the first 100 shots over the chrono using the go-to Air Arms Diabolo Field pellets in .22 calibre, and with a total spread of just 15 fps, we are in regulator territory consistency wise, despite this model actually being specified as unregulated. Highly useful performance figures then, in theory at least, bearing in mind that consistent velocity is one ingredient that should promote accuracy.

Double loader?

As for cycling the magazine, everything worked faultlessly on the range, but I did have the occasional low figures when shooting fast whilst chronograph testing. Pull the side-lever back in a half-hearted way and you will cycle the magazine but not cock the hammer. Pushing the lever forward will still chamber the pellet but the gun will fail to fire. Cocking again, properly, will cycle the mag and load a second pellet on top of the first, resulting in low velocity. This is a fault with many PCPs on the market, but I have to take issue with the Hatsan brochure, which clearly states it is impossible to double load this model! Once I adopted a deliberate approach, the magazine system didn’t miss a beat.

Down range

After an extended couple of sessions with the Nova Compact, I’m pleased to report that, as well as those excellent chrono figures, all-important down range accuracy came in bang on the money too, so this gun doesn’t just talk a good game, it can actually deliver! Opt for the .22 calibre version, as per my test sample, and with that huge shot count you can just concentrate on shooting rather than when the next air refill is due, and the inclusion of the Quattro trigger enhances performance here. The gold plated trigger is a classy touch, but it’s the crisp and light shot release that really impresses.

Be aware though, the magazines can be particularly fussy where ammo is concerned. Stick to recognised quality domeheaded designs and you’ll be off to a good start. JSB pellets and their derivatives are often formed from softer lead with a lower antimony content. This means they invariably mate with the rifling and seal more easily than inherently harder pellets. As usual, there is an element of luck in what pellets suit a particular gun’s barrel, but it can be a false economy to use cheap ammo. More fussy designs (triple driving bands and pointed etc) can even foul the magazine.

Using the Air Arms Diabolos, groups of around 1/2” (centreto- centre) were fairly easy to come by over 40 yards, if I did my bit, which is very acceptable whichever way you look at it.

Big is beautiful

OK, it’s a compact Jim, but not as we know it. Weigh up the features and performance on offer, however, plus factor in the modest asking price, and it’s difficult to take issue with this big bold airgun. Maybe a little unsophisticated, but Hatsan’s usual recipe of a feature-laden action and value for money come together well here, in a highly effective PCP format.

Definitely a handful, but if the heft and dimensions don’t put you off, then this Nova Compact, in striking Turkish Walnut, is unlikely to disappoint, as a generalpurpose workhorse or hunting tool.

  • Hatsan Nova Compact - image {image:count}

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  • Hatsan Nova Compact - image {image:count}

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  • Hatsan Nova Compact - image {image:count}

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  • Hatsan Nova Compact - image {image:count}

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  • Hatsan Nova Compact - image {image:count}

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  • Hatsan Nova Compact - image {image:count}

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  • Hatsan Nova Compact - image {image:count}

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  • Hatsan Nova Compact - image {image:count}

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  • Hatsan Nova Compact - image {image:count}

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gun
features

  • Name: Hatsan Nova Compact (Walnut)
  • Type: Multi-shot PCP
  • Calibres: .22 on test, .177 available
  • Magazine: 10-shot Rotary in .22 & .177
  • Weight: 9.7lbs
  • Length: 43.5”
  • Barrel: 23”
  • Stock: Turkish Walnut sporter
  • Trigger: 2-Stage Adjustable Quattro Unit
  • Fill Pressure: 250bar
  • Shot Count: 400 approx in .22/ 300 in .177
  • Energy: 11.6 ft/lbs ave on test
  • Price: £470 (guide price)
  • Contact: Sportsman Gun Centre - www.sportsmanguncentre.co.uk

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