Hatsan Model 95 Vortex .22 Airgun Package
Those of you who have read my firearm and airgun reviews from time to time know that I am particularly passionate about rifles. I require them to look good and shoot better. This review of the Hatsan Model 95 Vortex .22 "nitro piston" airgun will address questions of the combo's aesthetics, controls, quality and accuracy.
All Dressed Up
First of all, at an OAL of 44.3 inches, this gun screams to be held. The rifle is just a bit longer than my old Gamo Shadow 1000, but it is not large enough to be unwieldy, whether one is in the field, at the bench, or in the backyard. The Model 95 Vortex wears a stock of smooth, select Turkish walnut. With its matte finish, the stock is just plain warm. It snuggles up to your cheek like a cup of hot chocolate on a frosty winter day.
The stock does not have a cheek pieces and is ambidextrous. It sports a straight hunting comb that makes one itch to see if there's a squirrel in a nearby hardwood tree. It is not oil-finished, but you can't have everything.
The rubber butt pad at its rear is so comfortable you really do not realize that it is there. Sharp checkering on the stock's wrist and forearm insure a positive grip. Yes, I know that synthetic stocks are lighter and less susceptible to moisture, but I have not owned a wood stocked air rifle in quite some time.
Robust, deeply blued steel is the second thing that catches your eye when you handle this rifle. It is built to last and it is built with pride. I could not find very many machine markings on the barrel and receiver.
The Vortex comes with a nice set of iron rear sights. This particular rifle is missing its Truglo red front insert, because I bought the gun from an individual in California and he broke the insert. That is not an issue for me, since I plan to use the bundled Optima 3-9x32mm scope, or replace it with a better optic later. Comments about the usability of the Optima scope at 20 yards will follow.
In any case, I believe that Hatsan should upgrade all of their rifles with front sight globes to protect the thin silver of red up front. Their products merit this attention.
Is it heavy? Well, yes. At approximately none pounds with the bundled scope, I would have to have a sling if I were going to carry this rifle in the woods. As I am disabled and have to do virtually all of my airgun shooting sitting down in the backyard, the carry issue is not a big deal for me. However, the rifle is extremely well-balanced. It does not feel like it weighs as much as it does when it is in battery on your shoulder. This makes it easier to hold the rifle steady while the shooter acquires the target.
The third thing that impressed me about this rifle is its safety and its location on the back of the receiver. I am old-school; my personal preference is to have an airgun safety located at the front of the trigger, per Gamo and Crosman. I have found most rear-mounted safeties to be either too easy to knock off of the SAFE position, or to automatically engage as soon as the rifle is cocked. The Hatsan 95 incorporates the latter feature, but it is very positive, making a small but audible "snick" as it is pushed forward to FIRE.
My old Hatsan 85 Sniper springer was a good rifle in its day, but I disliked its poorly designed safety catch, which requires the shooter to pull it backwards to fire and push it forward to make the rifle safe. I am aware that the best safety available is the shooter's common sense and judgment. However, common practice dictates the reverse safety operation.
Thankfully, the Hatsan 95 Vortex does not share this design flaw. The Hatsan 95's safety engages automatically when cocked and has a very positive let-off, but it is very difficult to re-engage should one decide not to shoot. At this point, the only way that the gun can be unloaded is by discharging the rifle in a safe direction.
I Love It When A Plan Comes Together
I have to come clean before beginning this part of the article. Before shipment, I asked the Vortex's original owner to set-up the rifle for me. This means (1) the bore was cleaned, (2) all stock and scope mounting screws were tightened and (3) the rifle was zeroed at 20 yards with the bundled Optima 3-9x32 scope using its favorite pellet, the Crosman Premier 14.3 grain hollow point hunting pellet.
Incidentally, this was the very same pellet that had previously given me fits in the Hatsan 85 and that probably contributed to a damaged piston seal in that rifle. Go figure! It also did not hurt that the rifle was expertly packaged before shipment, nestled contentedly in a PitBull soft gun case amid Styrofoam peanuts in its shipping box.
Before airgun purists begin to howl with rage, let me say that my cerebral palsy makes it difficult for me to complete the setup process myself. The original owner was gracious enough to accommodate my requests.
Shooting Cycle/Cocking Effort/Loudness
I do not know how many rounds were fired out of the Vortex's barrel before I received it, but I can tell you that the rifle is extremely quiet, emitting only a mild thunk as it sends its pellet at 800 fps toward the target. As far as backyard friendliness is concerned, one of my next-door neighbor's friends walked out of their house at one point and commented on my target shooting. When I asked her if she could hear the rifle's report, she responded that the noise level was not objectionable. It turned out she used to target shoot with an iron-sighted rifle at 100 yards.
About the closest I can come to describing the sound of the Vortex's shot cycle and the impact of its pellet striking my heavy-duty steel target trap is the sound that a pneumatic nail gun makes.
I did not have to exert any more cocking force with this rifle than I have to with my old Gamo Shadow .177 springer, which requires about 30 pounds of cocking force. The nitro-piston Vortex is quiet and it can remain cocked for long periods of time without stressing a mainspring. Barrel lock-up after cocking is excellent.
The adjustable Quattro trigger performs like a dream. Its adjustment was done by its first owner. To my educated trigger finger, the pull is very smooth, with no creep at all. The pull is probably no more than 3-4 pounds, which is fine for backyard plinking or small game hunting.
My shooting was done at 20 yards with the bundled Optima scope and the aforementioned Crosman pellet. I rested my arms on my walker, using its steel frame as a rest, while sitting in a wrought-iron patio chair and grasping the gun so that it would be allowed to recoil freely. By the way, the nitro piston significantly reduces felt recoil.
I am not an expert shot and I wear heavy corrective lenses. This said, I was proud of my first two shots in the diamond of the Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C target, as they were in the bullseye.
The Optima scope was dead-on for me from the get-go, so I did not touch its settings. One of the rear scope mount screws did require tightening. Also, while the scope is optically clear, its screwdriver-adjustable windage and elevation turrets are small and are difficult to adjust. I was unable to adjust the scope more than one click to the right. Nonetheless, I was still able to hit the bulls-eye just a hair to the right of dead-center. The target could be seen clearly at 20 yards, even under cloudy conditions in the late afternoon. If one were to use this rifle for small-game hunting, I would recommend replacing the scope with a better optic.
I believe that I have finally found the perfect understudy to my Mauser hunting rifles. Incidentally, this combo sells new from Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot for about $229. Both of these retailers are easy to deal with and extra service options are available with your rifle (for an additional charge) from Pyramyd Air. With the Hatsan 95 Vortex .22, you get what you pay for: workmanship and accuracy at a fair price.
Copyright 2015, 2016 by Walton P. Sellers, III and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.