Hatsan Nova Tact Compact
“As a practical handle for a hunting gun, this Hatsan offering scores highly”
Back in May, I tested the Hatsan Nova pre-charged pneumatic rifle, and despite its ‘tactical’ presentation being just about everything I don’t prefer in a sporting airgun, at least style-wise, its performance forced me to sit up, take notice, and admire what it can do. There was one feature of that Nova Tactical that definitely didn’t grow on me, and that I said I’d change, which was its 28-inch shrouded barrel arrangement. In fact, in my follow-up test, I made a statement. ‘I’m calling Hatsan, and its UK agent Edgar Brothers, to introduce a factory carbine version of this remarkable rifle.’
THE NEW NOVA
One glance at this month’s test subject tells us that the Hatsan/Edgar Brothers axis has done just that, and five seconds’ thought will work out that the introduction of a Nova carbine has absolutely nothing to do with my gobbing-off about the need for it. How and why the Nova Compact came to be among us is of little importance. What matters is that it’s here and, from my perspective, that I have sufficient recall of the full-size version to make a meaningful comparison. This makes me more excited than a man of my years has any right to be, but I’m taking that as a bonus. Let’s get to it, then.
THE SAME – ONLY DIFFERENT
First, its barrel set-up and open sights aside, this rifle is exactly the same Hatsan AT-44 10, sidelever, 10-shot, bottle-fed, ambidextrous combination of blued steel and synthetic compound I tested around 10 months ago. Rather than that being a problem, I consider the opportunity for direct comparison I mentioned previously to be my chance to see if what I wished for does what I expected of it. Truth to tell, I’m writing this after having had my first fondle of the Compact, and the jury’s not out on this one, because I already know the verdict.
THE HATSAN NOVA COMPACT
For those readers without a copy of the May 2017 issue in front of them, I’ll skip through the Hatsan Nova Compact’s impressive features line-up. Beginning at the back, that synthetic, skeletonised stock slides in and out at the plunge of a button to adjust the rifle’s pull-length. This is a major feature because it can perfectly accommodate shooters of almost any build, and having the pull-length working for you, rather than against, establishes the foundation you need for efficient handling.
Next, the Nova’s cheek piece is adjustable for height and position, courtesy of another push-button and a couple of coin-friendly screws. This sorts the alignment between the shooter’s eye and the ocular lens of the scope, or in this case the rifle’s open sights, should anyone prefer to go old-school.
As ever, I’d have preferred to see an adjustable butt pad, but at the sub-£600 required to own this rifle, its features list is comprehensive to say the least. Of course, it’s far easier to offer this level of accommodation in a design built around synthetic mouldings, rather than oiled walnut, or timber of any kind come to that, but this being a totally practical tactical, we’re always going to see function over style.
That applies to the Hatsan’s drop-down grip, with its finger-guiding scallops and that hint of a palm rest. I recall from my last tests with this rifle how I came to appreciate its stock geometry and features more as my time with it went on. As a practical handle for a hunting gun, this Hatsan offering scores highly.
Directly above the Nova’s grip sits the auto-resettable safety catch and forward of that the rifle’s simple sidelever, which cocks and loads the action, and indexes the standard Hatsan removable rotary, 10-shot pellet magazine. This mag’ is secured by a sliding pin and cast from alloy, making it all but indestructible in addition to being chunky enough to make poking pellets into it the easiest of tasks. Two magazines are provided with the Compact, and provided you always make sure each pellet is fully seated, you’ll have no glitches.
Sidelever action - 10-shot mag’.
Magazine storage is totally secure.
If ever a rifle was improved by chopping off its barrel, it’s this one.