I’m still in a giant holding pattern as I wait for the weather to cooperate here in Lake Havasu. I want to get the AT 44 QE and the Synthetic Marauder out to the range for some head to head tests, but with 30+ MPH winds that’s just not practical. So, in the meantime I’ll take a look at some of the products that have been stacking up around the shop.
Aesthetics and basic features
The Hatsan Mod 85 Sniper is one of my favorite Hatsan Variants. The only thing that would make this better, in my opinion, would be if it were to be offered in a Turkish walnut stock. I’ve sent along that suggestion to Hatsan more than once. I’m hoping they’ll surprise me one day.
Anyway, here’s what the Mod 85 Sniper Vortex has to offer. The rifle comes in a black synthetic stock that has a minimal raised cheek piece which would favor right handed shooters. For all intensive purposes, I’d call it an ambidextrous stock. The lightweight stock helps keep the rifle’s weight down to a manageable 7.2 pounds. You’ll find the standard front and rear fiber optic sights. These have fairly large filaments, so they are great for general plinking, but not really suitable for pinpoint open sight accuracy.
Hatsan bundles there 3-9×32 Optima scope and a set of rings to get you started. The scope is not too bad, but the rings are frankly terrible. Make sure that you pick up a set of Hawke match 11mm high rings with your order. They hold great and work well on this airgun. Here’s a little tip on the scope and one of the reasons that I say it’s not a bad scope. While there’s no exterior AO adjustment on the scope, you can remove the front locking ring and manually set the parallax to a more usable range, say 25 yards, which makes the scope far more usable. Please note, that making any change like this will VOID the warranty on the scope. If you’re not willing to consider it disposable, than DON’T adjust the parallax of the scope.
Power plant, trigger, and other special features
This version of the Mod 85 Sniper is powered by Hatsan’s Vortex Type I air piston. This is a very cool powerplant in that it is rebuildable and tuneable, so long you have the right equipment to do so. Don’t buy the 85 Vortex thinking you are going to simply dial things up or down, it’s a major process that requires a full set of airgun smithing tools, PCP fill equipment, and maybe even a torch. But, if you are so equipped, the Vortex air piston may be something of interest to you for sure. At its default factory settings, the Vortex air spring claims to produce the same energy and velocity as the traditional spring, something I’ll be testing in part 2 of this series. I has a very sharp “snap” type recoil as compared to the more “push” type recoil that a spring creates. Personally, I prefer a tuned spring gun over a gas ram type, but that’s just me.
You’ll find the standard Quattro Trigger on the Mod 85 Sniper Vortex. This trigger has 3 adjustments that have given people fits since they hit the US market. You can adjust the tension along with the position of the first and second stage. To help, I’ve written the article “Understanding the Quattro Trigger Adjustments” here at Airgun Depot’s Airgun University. When adjusted properly, the trigger is a great sporting trigger that generally breaks between 3 and 4 pounds.
Standard on almost all the Hatsan Vortex and Spring powered airguns is the SAS system. This system changed the way the forearm of the stock is secured to the receiver. Most airgun stocks are screwed directly into the bottom of the compression chamber. This conducts a lot of vibration and shock back down the stock to the shooter. The SAS system connects differently. The sock bolt goes all the way through a sleeve bushing that’s designed to dampen some of those harsh vibrations.
Hatsan’s slogan is “Serious Solid Impact.” Their guns are designed for power and meant to be used in hunting applications. I’m very glad that they provided sling mounting points so that the rifle can be easily carried and used in the field.
Lastly, at the front the 85 Sniper Vortex you’ll find an integrated suppressor. In reality, all spring and ram actuated airguns are going to have a level of mechanical noise that can’t be helped. The suppressor helps keeps down the shot noise that would normally be heard down range. Up close, the rifle registers 103 DB indoors. That’s more to do with the mechanical noise than shot noise. I’ll get updated reading when I take it out to the range for field tests.
On to part 2
That concludes Part 1 of the Hatsan 85 Sniper Vortex. Next we’ll take a look at some basic performance and accuracy here in the shop. If all goes well, I’ll wrap up part 3 with some field tests down at the local range.