Tag Archives: PCP

Hatsan Gladius Long in .22 – First Take Out of the Box

I’ve been using a RWS Diana 34P for pest control for two years and wanted to get something without the recoil / spring bounce, had plenty of power, was quiet and also had a quick follow up shot.  To explain two points – a spring pistol air rifle has a rather bizarre recoil caused first by the spring triggering forward and then the pellet being pushed out the barrel.  This requires a particular way of holding the rifle to be accurate wherein it can actually move.  This is known as an artillery hold.  The other issue has to do with the follow up shot.  Now I got pretty good at taking a shot, whipping the 34P around while breaking the barrel open and using a pellet pen to insert the next round.  However, that all takes time and you lose sight of whatever critter you are trying to get – in my case it comes down to tree squirrels, ground squirrels and rabbits.

So, a pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) seemed to make a lot of sense to me and the first hurdle was to figure out how to charge it in a rural area.  After a bunch of reading, I decided to buy a Hill Mk4 hand pump so that part was covered (click here for my review of it).  The next question became, which PCP rifle to get.  On the low priced, quiet, effective and very popular side was the Benjamin Marauder.  The only reason I did not buy it was that I wanted something smaller.  I considered the pistol version of the Marauder but wanted a longer barrel to improve energy and accuracy.  I must admit that I may get one or the other of those some day in the future.

What really caught my eye was the large selection of bullpup air rifles.  I’ve always liked bullpups because they are relatively compact and balance well.  There are a ton of very well rated bullpups including models from Vulcan, Kaliber, Taipan and FX.  I also ran across two offerings from Hatsan – the BullBoss and the Gladius.  They are very similar except the Gladius has an adjustable cheek rest, recoil pad for length of pull and vertical placement, power adjustment and the magazine carrier in the stock.  The plus for the BullBoss is that it is 1.1 pounds lighter as a result.  I opted for the Gladius due to the adjustability.

The Gladius comes in three calibers and two lengths.  Long ago I switched from .177 to .22 for pest control and knew I wanted a .22.  They have a .25 model but given that I already have a ton of different pellets to test from JSB, Crosman, and so forth, I didn’t want to add yet another caliber.  I learned this long ago with firearms – each new caliber brings with it a lot of testing and learning just about what works and what does not.  It’s not as simple as just buying one tin of pellets and you are good to go – you need to be able to test and see what is best for accuracy and even for a given application.  Also, I went with the Long model – it has a barrel that is about 3″ longer and that gets you approximately an additional 100 Feet Per Second (FPS) and 7 more Foot Pounds of Energy (FPE).

I went ahead and bought the Gladius due to the adjustable stock and power settings.  I’m glad I did because I really like to get the stock just right so that when I bring the rifle to bear the scope is just where I want it to be to get a full sight picture and have a consistent cheek weld.  What is also nice about the Gladius is that it comes with a fitted hard case and four magazines total.

So the rifle showed up and I immediately mounted the Hawke 4-12×50 Mil Dot AO scope and took a couple of pictures.  I’ll do another blog post about the scope and rings later but you get the idea.

 

As a side note, guys reported that when you receive it, you can’t tell which side of the case is the top.  You know what?  They are right.  It was pure luck that I opened mine top up.  I took a silver sharpie and wrote a small stylized “T” on the top so I could find it going forward.

Now another thing I like about the Gladius is that the pressure cylinder can be swapped while under pressure.  I had seriously debated how to quickly charge the rifle if I needed to.  Actual PCP tanks are expensive and the spare cylinders are only $159.  Interesting enough, if you look at the case above, it has a cut out for a spare cylinder under the rifle.  Right now, I’m debating whether to use that for a tanks or a Lead Dust Collector (LDC) which is airgun speak for a moderator, which would be in addition to the stock suppressor that is integral with the shroud.  Out of the box, the Hatsan comes with the “probe” you will need to pump air into the cylinder.  It screwed right onto my Hill Mk4 pump so there were no additional adapter fees.  Here is the cylinder with Hill pump:

This is the end that screws into the rifle.  The supports are nicely done and guide it into position without any trickery needed.

This is the fill port.  The cylinder’s gauge is on the end and graduated in bars.  The cylinder and rifle are rated for up to 200 bar, which is 2900.75 PSI.

In the following photo you can see the power selector, thje empty breach where the brass rod is and the magazine locking lever just forward of that.  Note, to turn the power knob, you need to push the release button on the other side to push the knob out away from a set screw that prevents it from accidentally turning.

I find the safety really easy to use.  You simply slide the blade forward with your trigger finger and you are ready to go.  I appreciate things you can do by feel without having to fumble around and look.  The Gladius has the Hatsan Quattro trigger and you can adjust it.  I’m just using it as is right now.  There is a long pull but you can feel the resistance increase before the trigger breaks with not too bad of a pull.  I’ll play with it at some point.

Here you can see the adjustable buttpad and spare mags in their carriers.  You undo the screw with the supplied screw driver and pull it out however far you want.  I just needed to pull it out a bit.

I ran two cleaning patches down the bore to remove crud.  The first one had dirt and oil on it.  The second was much better.

I then loaded up a magazine with 10 JSB Exact Jumbo Diablo 18.13gr pellets and loaded the magazine into the rifle.  You load from the back (the first photo) and seat the pellets all the way.  I then flipped it over so you can see the front in the second photo.

Test firing was from 30 feet using my weighted MTM K-Zone stand

I got excited and shot 20-30 pellets before I realized I didn’t take any photos.  On power level 6 it was loud.  I’d heard to try 3 and 4.  I started with 4 and got it down to about 1/2″ groups.  I would shoot 4-5 pellets and then pump up the rifle and then do it again.  The below is on power setting three which is fairly quiet (not great but good enough) and it had enough power to take out a rabbit and two tree squirrels at 30-45 feet.  The following photo is at the end of sighting the rifle in.  I’d stuck new Splatterburst stickers on my target and was three bullseyes with three shots.  That was good enough for me.  In a future post, I’ll do more groups and post them.

So, this is my first take.  I like the rifle.  It’s heavy but that works for me because the weight of the rifle absorbs my tremor.  Accuracy sure seems solid.  Next up on my to-do list is to install Huma regulators on both of my air cylinders and to get an additional moderator to quiet it down a bit more.  I’ll get to the trigger some time but it is good enough for now.

Short answer – I like it.  If I had it to do over, I would have waited on the spare cylinder and the regulators and bought an additional LDC instead to quiet it down a bit more.  No big regrets for sure – I’m just very impressed with what this is doing out of the box is all.  The pump is also way easier than I expected too – kudos to Hatsan for a fine rifle and Hill on a very fine air pump.

January 27, 2018 Update:  I am very happy with this rifle.  It hits harder than any air rifle I have ever owned.  The accuracy is great and I have no problem taking care of pests.  The Hawke scope is holding zero also.  Note, the picatinny rings have worked great.  What I have come to realize is that Hatsan made a hybrid rail such that the little airgun dovetail rings will work or Picatinny rings.  The rifle really likes JSB Jumbo Exact 18.3 grain pellets, a power setting of four and the pressure between 160-190 BAR if unregulated.


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Hatsan Gladius at Air Depot  – I bought my Gladius Long model here and got the bundle with the Hawke Scope.  I didn’t get the one with the AV pump as I wanted to buy a Hill and they couldn’t change the bundle.  Also, I bought low profile UTG rings separately and I will comment on the scope set up more in another post.

http://www.airgundepot.com/search.html?keyword=Gladius&submit=&prv=&adv=&hawkb=

Hatsan Gladius at Pyramyd Air
It’s a mile long link so click here

JSB 18.13 Pellets – Amazon sells them but it is hard to beat the pricing of Pyramyd or Air Depot so check around before buying.

MTM K-Zone Rifle Rest

Splatter Burst Targets

Hill Mk4 Pump – I bought mine at Airgun Depot

Hawke Scope – I also got this at Airgun Depot.  It’s bright and seems to be solid.  Time will tell.

Low UTG Picatinny Rings – these work just fine.  I bought mine from Amazon.

Hill Pump MK4, Up to 4000 PSI (Misc.)

Hill Mk4 hand pump 3-stage pump Up to 228 bar/3-300 psi Gen 4 requires less effort than Gen 3 Field-stripped in 5 minutes for each maintenance Dry-Pac system removes 90% of harmful moisture Dry Pack quick-disconnect for easy storage Includes Dry-Pac and a 17.50″ hose ending with 1/8″ BSPP female threads Manufactured and hand-assembled in England Each unit 100% tested by Hill before packing and shipping

Features:

  • Manufacturer: Hill
  • Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty, Condition: New

List Price: $259.99 USD
New From: $259.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $246.78 USD In Stock

Hill Mk4 High-Pressure Air Pump for PCP Air Guns – Very slick and very do-able for guys wanting to get into PCP air guns

Well folks, I am taking the plunge into pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles.  These are the airguns you see (both pistols and rifles) than have a high pressure air tank to propel the pellet.  Now, I had to think long and hard about this.  I live in a rural area and there aren’t any SCUBA/dive shops in my backyard to fill an intermediary air tank to then fill the rifle.  I looked into high pressure air compressors (we’re talking 3-4,000 PSI here so this isn’t your average shop compressor) and the starting cost for the cheapest is about $1,100 and in the cost of the tank and the fittings and I was dead in the water.

Recently, I did more digging about hand air pumps.  I had heard and read a few things about what a pain they are to work with and it turns out that is either flat out wrong or you bought a bad one.  Now everyone is different.  I’m 5′ 8″ and about 22o pounds plus not in that great of shape if I am to be completely hones so I paid close attention to what folks said and how they described their physical condition.  Bottom line is that there are a ton of people out there using hand pumps.

So, I switched gears and started reading more about the various brands, the reviews they got, etc.  From what I gathered, it came down to two pumps at the front of the pack – the Air Venturi G6 or the Hill Mk4.  I then went around the forums, Amazon, Pyramyd Air and Air Depot reading comments, etc.  Frankly, the Hill Mk4 gets better reviews plus it has an air dryer.  Given how compressed air systems constantly produce water via condensation, I was sold.  I ordered my Mk4 from Air Depot.  For years, I have ordered from Pyramyd Air but Air Depot has great reviews and they had a great deal going for 10% off and free shipping when I ordered it.

Air Depot’s shipped the pump the same day via FedEx Ground and it arrived three days later.  It was partially disassembled and I’d say it took about 10 minutes to put it together.  I actually followed the directions and be sure to use wrenches on all fittings due to the air pressure.  It comes with a small tube of silicone grease and I went ahead and lubed the shaft just to make sure it was ready – they recommend monitoring that.

    

At the same time I bought the Hill, I bought a Hatsan Gladius Long bullpup in .22.  I’ll write about the Gladius more later but it came with the fill probe to screw onto the Hill’s male threaded end fitting.  I used wrenches to tighten things down really well, put the Gladius’ air cyliner in a cardboard box to cradle it so I could then pump air in.  The hose on the Hill is really short and I suspect it is because you need to pump and pressurize that hose also before the check valve in the Gladius’ air cylinder will open and let air in.

 

It does take effort as you reach 200 bar (that’s 2900 PSI).  The trick is to go slow and use your body weight to drive the handle down – not your arm muscles.  I’d bend my knees with my arms locked and down I went.  Don’t use your arms – let your weight do the work and speaking for myself, I have plenty of fat … I mean weight 🙂

Yes, it would take a real long time to fill the rifle if I let the cylinder go down to zero but the trick is to shoot a few rounds and keep the rifle in its ideal operating pressure range and refill when you get low — or shoot a few and top if off again.  For example, with my Gladius, after six shots on power setting three, it then takes 30 pumps to take it back up to 200 bar – it’s not that hard – really.  Why six shots?  Well, the pressure was still in the green just now but towards the bottom so I topped it off and counted just to write this post.

To remove the pump from the cylinder, you unscrew a bleed valve knob on the back of the pump to relieve the pressure in the line.  Do NOT try to remove the probe before the pressure is released.

The only con I have is that I wish that fill hose was a bit longer but I bet another guy would then say he wished it was shorter.  The reason I’d like it longer is so I could lean my rifle against some thing and pump.  I can’t do that today because the hose is too short.  I’ll probably build a cradle for the rifle at some point vs. unscrewing the cylinder (and it was designed for that which is really cool by the way) and filling it.

I have a Huma regulator on order for the Gladius and will try it and write more about both the rifle and the regulator down the road.  The purpose of this post is to recommend the Hill Mk4 pump and to clearly tell you that a hand pump absolutely can get you started in the world of PCP airguns.  In fact, I’m kind of embarrassed that I held off due to hearsay until now and want to clear up the misinformation – a pump can definitely get you started.  In fact, I do plan on getting a compressor some day but I am in no rush now.

January 25, 2018 Update:  The pump is still going strong.  I have topped off my Gladius  at least 30-40 times – I try to keep the pressure between 160-190 bar – every time the 10 round mag is empty or running low, I top the gun off and add pellets.  I just did a bit of preventive maintenance and applied silicone grease to the shaft of the pump and the fill probe.  I am still very happy and recommend this pump.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements. EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.   With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

Hill Pump MK4, Up to 4000 PSI (Misc.)

Hill Mk4 hand pump 3-stage pump Up to 228 bar/3-300 psi Gen 4 requires less effort than Gen 3 Field-stripped in 5 minutes for each maintenance Dry-Pac system removes 90% of harmful moisture Dry Pack quick-disconnect for easy storage Includes Dry-Pac and a 17.50″ hose ending with 1/8″ BSPP female threads Manufactured and hand-assembled in England Each unit 100% tested by Hill before packing and shipping

Features:

  • Manufacturer: Hill
  • Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty, Condition: New

List Price: $259.99 USD
New From: $259.99 USD In Stock