Mike Morton reckons shooters who like the AR platform will find a lot to love in the shape of the tactically styled Hatsan Factor multi-shot PCP.
Black rifles like the Hatsan Factor that are inspired by the AR-15 are definite Marmite guns, but for those shooters who appreciate the benefits this style of airgun has to offer, there’s a tactical treasure trove waiting to be unearthed.
Civilian AR-15-style rifles tend to model themselves on the current US Army variant, the M4 Carbine, and the Factor has followed suit by homing in on one very important attribute of that gun – a telescoping butt stock.
This means you can adjust length of pull to suit, with gun fit being one of the most important aspects of successful shooting. So while its militaristic styling won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, the Factor’s practicality makes it far easier to swallow. It’s available in .177 (4.5mm) calibre, as on the test rifle, as well as .22 (5.5mm) and .25 (6.35mm).
Two high-capacity magazines are supplied, along with a single-shot loader, Foster coupling, adjustment tool and spare O-rings. The gun is sidelever-activated, and the cocking handle can be reversed for ambidextrous operation.
Two versions of the gun are available, these being the standard Factor, as seen here, and the Factor RC, which has a regulator. The standard Factor is offered in two colour options, Black and Flat Dark Earth, while the RC is in Black only. FAC formats are also available. Power can be adjusted on the RC via a combination of external hammer preload adjuster and transfer port, but these controls are understandably absent on the standard unregulated version.
The standard Factor comes with a 500cc detachable aluminium buddy bottle, while the RC is kitted out with a carbon-fibre version. The package is rounded out with the inclusion of a hard case and a detachable foregrip with integral bipod.
Key specs – Hatsan Factor
UK distributor: Edgar Brothers (edgarbrothers.com)
Price: £495 standard Factor (tested), £695 Factor RC
Type: Multi-shot PCP
Calibre: .177 (tested), .22 and .25
Colour options: Black and Flat Dark Earth
Magazine: Two drum magazines
Capacity: 24 shots in .177, 21 shots in .22 and 19 shots in .25
Overall length: 1,025mm (40.3”) to 1,090mm (42.9”)
Barrel: Shrouded, with ½” UNF thread to fit moderator
Barrel length: 585mm (23”)
Weight: 3.6kg (7.9lb)
Stock: AR-15-style butt stock
Scope rail: Hybrid dovetail/Picatinny
Length of pull: 320mm (12.6”) to 390mm (15.4”)
Trigger: Two-stage, adjustable
Trigger-pull: 4lb 8oz
Safety: Manual, resettable
Muzzle energy: 11.6 ft-lb
Shot count: 105 in .177, 100 in .22 and 90 in .25
Additional features: Hard case, single-shot loader and foregrip/bipod
Function And Form
The ambidextrous tactical telescoping stock offers around 70mm of adjustment for length of pull, and the butt stock can be extended or contracted by depressing the spring-loaded button and sliding the unit over the buffer tube. The soft rubber butt pad isn’t height-adjustable, but it is super-grippy in the shoulder.
Another feature is a height-adjustable cheekpiece, and this can be repositioned by slackening off a thumbwheel on the right-hand side of the butt stock. Its location can’t be reversed, but I practised shooting left-handed and found the wheel did not interfere with my head position.
No AR-style rifle would be complete without a drop-down pistol grip, and the one on the Factor is clad in soft rubber. It’s slender, and having small hands I found it comfortable, although it might be a bit too small for shooters with larger hands. If that’s the case, it can probably be swapped for an aftermarket grip.
The shrouded barrel is quiet for most shooting applications, including indoors, but as the shroud is threaded 1/2” UNF, I kept a moderator screwed on for most of my testing.
Attaching a scope is pretty easy as the Factor has a hybrid rail that will take your choice of either dovetail or Picatinny mounts. The rail is interrupted by the magazine, but still offers plenty of clamping surface to position your scope for optimum eye relief. The test rifle came with an Edgar Brothers 5-20×50 scope already fitted, so I used this.
Ammo and air
Filling the rifle up to its maximum pressure of 250 bar is straightforward enough, thanks to the Foster quick disconnect male fitting that sits in the belly of the rifle and the female quick disconnect coupling that’s included in the package.
A small section of Picatinny rail sits just in front of the Foster fitting. A sturdy rubber plate is used to cover the rail if it’s not in use, making it far more comfortable for your leading hand when taking offhand shots.
If you do intend to use the rail, you can attach the supplied foregrip. Due to the geometry of the rifle and the large buddy bottle, the foregrip isn’t in the optimal position for a true AR-15-style hold, being too far back.
However, the foregrip excels as a makeshift hamster when taking offhand standing or kneeling shots. It also has another small Picatinny rail on the side for attaching the usual torch or laser.
And the foregrip has another trick up its sleeve – it doubles up as a bipod. With the foregrip orientated so the attachment screw is on the right, the shooter is presented with a thumb-operated button which will eject a pair of bipod legs. The footprint is quite small and there’s no ability to pan or tilt the bipod, but it’s helpful nonetheless.
However, a dedicated bipod with a Picatinny fitting would be a much better choice for anyone planning extended shooting sessions.
The extendable butt is great, but does suffer from the AR curse – butt wobble. Even high-end ARs such as those from Tippmann Arms have a little excess play, but it’s a bit more pronounced here. Nevertheless, when the stock is in your shoulder and under load it feels secure.
With the scope on board, the point of balance is a little further forward than I’d have liked due to the long barrel and buddy bottle, being roughly in line with the neck of the bottle. But with the rifle shouldered and under control, either in the hand or off a bipod, it’s not too noticeable.
The match-style trigger blade can be adjusted for height and angle by slackening off the retaining screw with a 1.5mm hex key. Blade height and angle can really affect the way a rifle feels, and it’s worth taking the time to adjust it to your liking.
The Quattro Trigger unit itself can also be adjusted for trigger travel and pull weight. Using my Lyman digital gauge, trigger-pull was a relatively heavy 4lb 8oz, but it actually felt more responsive than this. First-stage travel came to a definite stop, after which the second stage broke reasonably cleanly and consistently.
The safety, which can be applied whether or not the rifle has been cocked, is a simple rocker catch that’s located just above the trigger guard. It needs to be nudged forwards for Fire and back for Safe, where it blocks trigger blade travel.
While it felt a little gritty in operation, it was near-silent. Magazines with a massive ammo capacity are all the rage currently, and the Factor doesn’t disappoint, offering 24 shots in .177 calibre, 21 shots in .22 and 19 in .25 calibre.
To load the magazine, the clear faceplate must be swung anti-clockwise. I found it easiest to orientate the magazine so the faceplate swings into the 12 o’clock position. It’s also worth noting that the faceplate has a bevel with a small O-ring set into it.
This appears to just help hold the magazine in place, along with the help of a drop-down loading gate. The next stage is to tension the inner rotor before the first pellet is inserted. There’s a nut on the rear of the magazine and the Hatsan manual says a winding tool should be used to turn this, but no such tool was supplied with the test rifle.
Instead, with the rotor facing me, I just turned it anti-clockwise with my fingers until it reached the stop point. With the rotor under tension the first pellet can be inserted nose-first. That pellet takes up all spring tension and you can now fill the remaining chambers at your leisure.
If you want to shoot fewer than the full mag’s worth, fill the chambers anti-clockwise from the top with as many as you need, then close the faceplate. The magazine is versatile in this respect and works well.
Ready For The Range
The sidelever is spring-assisted, meaning it will naturally fly back part of the way during the cocking phase, but you’ll need to use a little more force than normal to complete the cocking cycle.
This rifle isn’t particularly genteel, and responds well to a firm and deliberate movement to cock the gun, cycle the magazine and chamber the next round. Luckily help is at hand in the shape of the biathlon handle.
This is different, because instead of just dropping down from the tip of the sidelever, there’s something to grab hold of above it too, and I found myself straddling the handle with both my forefinger and middle finger. As with many other magazine systems, it is possible to double-load if you’re not careful, but that’s all down to user error.
Hatsan supplies two magazines, and these can be slotted together so the spare is immediately to hand when the first becomes empty. I didn’t make use of this feature, but it’s nice to have the option of daisy-chaining them together and doubling the rifle’s already huge shot capacity.
The test rifle wasn’t brand new, and as always my first order of business was to give the barrel a thorough clean. Having zeroed the rifle and carried out some initial accuracy testing with Rangemaster Sovereign pellets I shot a 10-shot string over the chronograph, and the results were impressive, with a variation of seven feet per second over the string from a muzzle energy of 11.6 foot pounds.
Consistent velocity figures such as these indicate that the rifle should be capable of decent accuracy, but I did struggle to find the perfect pellet for this particular Factor. However, fellow Airgun Shooter writer Rich Saunders was sent a different Factor to test, a .22 model in Flat Dark Earth, and his accuracy results were more promising than mine.
So as long as you’re able to find the right pellet, the Factor will let you shoot to the max, and the ergonomics of this rifle will certainly help you exploit gun fit, making the unregulated Factor a good contender for airgun shooters who are looking for plenty of thrills rather than frills.