It seems that more and more airgun companies are jumping on the air spring bandwagon, and with good reason. When manufactured and executed properly, air springs provide a smoother cocking and shooting cycle and can also translate into better durability and accuracy due to less hold sensitivity. One of the more recent companies to throw their hat in the ring is Hatsan USA with their Vortex line of gas spring products. In this two-part series will look at their entry-level vortex airgun, the striker 1000x in .25 caliber.
Before we jump right in, let me take a quick moment to compare the differences between a metal spring and an air spring. First of all people may say that an air spring is not really a spring because it doesnt have metal coils. The fact is that a spring by definition is any mechanical device that stores energy. Therefore, a gas ram, gas strut, nitro piston, gas piston, air spring, whatever you may want to call it is technically a spring. It operates the mechanism the same way a traditional coiled metal spring would. The only difference is that you are compressing air (in the case of the Vortex air spring) versus metal coils.
This technology promises many benefits to the shooter. Some companies have done better than others delivering on these benefits. Currently the jury is still out but Im sure as more companies incorporate this technology into their product line that the implementation will become more refined and eventually surpass standard metal springs.
Aesthetics & Mechanics
The 1000x comes in an ambidextrous wood stock with checkering on the grip and forearm. Its a pretty basic design and it works great. Most of the rifle is made from steel with very little plastic parts. In general, Hatsan builds very sturdy airguns, and the Striker 1000X Vortex is no exception.
It ships with front and rear fiber optic sights with the rear sight being fully adjustable for windage and elevation. If you prefer a scope, the 1000x ships with Hatsans standard 3-9×32 optima scope and a set of standard rings.
Inside the receiver is where all the magic happens. The Vortex system is different from other mainstream gas springs in that it uses standard compressed air vs a sealed inert gas like nitrogen. While Ive not tried, there is word that these may be rebuildable and tunable allowing the end-user of the gun to adjust the velocity. Of course any modifications in this manner will immediately void the manufacturers warranty. So, Ill leave all that for the hard core tinkerers to figure out. One things for certain, the Vortex rams provide a marked improvement over the stock spring.
Unlike their higher end models that come stock with the Quattro trigger, the Striker series comes with a standard metal trigger. While the trigger claims to be adjustable, it only adjusts the length of the 2nd stage which comes set at the shortest pull from the factory. It has a smooth but very long pull that breaks at around 5 pounds. There is an automatic safety that engages when you cock the rifle.
TheStriker 1000X Vortex operates identically to its metal spring cousin. It is a single cock, single shot airgun that operates as described below:
First cock the gun by pulling down on the barrel until it locks into place. This will cock the gun and engage the automatic safety. Make sure to secure the barrel at all times while cocking and loading the rifle.
Next load the pellet into the breach and go ahead and close the barrel.
To fire, aim the gun at your desired target, release the safety, and gently squeeze the trigger.
All spring guns, whether air spring or traditional metal spring, have a measure of hold sensitivity. The hope is that air spring guns reduce that hold sensitivity making the airgun easier to shoot. I found the Vortex equipped striker 1000x to be slightly less hold sensitive than the traditional spring counterpart. It still required the use of proper technique and a lot of concentration with regards to trigger control to see consistent accuracy.
Achieving acceptable close range hunting accuracy with the striker 1000x in .25 caliber is pretty easy. Anything within say 15 yards is pretty much going to be obliterated. I noticed during longer shooting sessions that my shots would start to wonder. What I found is that the stock screws have a tendency of loosening up. Definitely keep an eye on that when youre shooting for long sessions. In fact, its always a good idea to check your stock screws once in a while to make sure they are tight. Loose stock screws can be one of the biggest causes of in accuracy when it comes to break barrel and other spring powered airguns. If you find your stock screws to come loose, its easily fixable with a little blue Loctite.
Well that wraps up part 1 on aesthetics, mechanics, and basic function. In part 2 well talk about noise considerations, pellet velocity performance, and accuracy.