A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…. Mike Morton has some interplanetary fun with the fibre-optic-fitted Hatsan Galatian IV
Maker: Hatsan, Turkey
Test gun supplier: Edgar Brothers
Model: Galatian IV
Type: Pre-charged pneumatic
Calibre: .177 (on test), .22 and .25
Loading: Multi-shot magazine
(16 shots in .177, 14 shots in .22 and 13 shots in .25)
Overall length: 107cm
Barrel length: 58cm
Stock: Synthetic sporter with adjustable butt pad and adjustable Monte Carlo cheekpiece
Sights: Telescopic or fibre-optic open (included)
Length of pull: 36.5cm
Trigger: Two-stage, adjustable
Trigger Weight:Tr4lb 10oz
Safety: Manual, resettable
Power: 10.2 ft-lb
Hatsan has been manufacturing shotguns for more than 40 years, and the influence this type of firearm has had on the Turkish gun-maker is apparent in the Galatian IV – a multi-shot PCP that looks more like a combat shotgun than an airgun!
If its radical looks aren’t enough to draw you in, you might be swayed by the fact that this latest edition of the sidelever-operated Galatian comes supplied with a set of fibre-optic open sights. When it’s time to get a bit more serious, the rear element can quickly be removed to allow the fitting of a more conventional telescopic sight. Open sights are no longer as common on springers as they once were, and to find them on a pre-charged pneumatic is a real rarity outside of rifles geared towards dedicated target disciplines.
The Galatian is supplied in a hard case and comes with two magazines, a sling, the aforementioned fibre-optic sights, a fill probe with a gas seal, a trigger lock, some Allen keys and spare O-rings, making for a very comprehensive package. A target card with an excellent five-shot group is also included, although there’s nothing to indicate at which range the rifle was shot or which pellet was used to produce the test card.
The rifle’s metalwork sports a workmanlike matt-black finish on the barrel, a gloss-black finish on the action and a satin finish on the air cylinder. This is partially encased in an ambidextrous black synthetic stock that is very rigid, and is well-
equipped with a height-adjustable butt pad and cheekpiece, two sling swivels and a triple Weaver rail.
While the butt pad must be adjusted with an Allen key, the height of the cheekpiece can be tweaked with a regular coin. This is a handy feature, as I found myself needing to adjust the height of the cheekpiece when switching from open sights to a scope and back again. The locking screws are recessed into the right-hand side of the stock, offering a comfortable cheekweld for left-handed shooters. The magazine must be loaded from the right, and the sidelever can only be operated from the same side, but the safety catch can be deployed from either right or left, meaning that left-handers should have no problem shooting the Galatian IV.
The angle of the grip on the sporter stock is very shallow, which some shooters will like because it locks the angle of their wrist and forearm, although I prefer to sacrifice this in favour of the comfort of a steeper pistol grip. The rifle looks as if the length of pull is longer than usual, but the metal trigger blade has been set well back inside the trigger guard, reducing the reach. The stock features some moulded chequering on the grip and forend which at first appears to be quite shallow, but is nonetheless aggressive, ensuring good grip.
Two sling swivels have been set into the stock, onto which you can mount either your existing sling or the Hatsan-branded one that’s included in the box. Just in front of the front swivel is a triple Weaver rail, which can be used to mount a laser, torch and bipod. While the rifle can be shot offhand, it’s 107cm long and weighs a fairly hefty 4.15kg unscoped. Taller shooters may be happy to shoot the Galatian IV offhand, but I personally preferred shooting the .177 test rifle off my bags, sticks and bipod.
I don’t have a dedicated bipod with a Weaver fitting like an Adras or Atlas, so I instead used a sling swivel stud adapter to fit a standard Harris bipod. With a scope on board and a pod up front, the Galatian IV would make a great static ambush rifle, where its weight would translate into additional stability for the shooter.
The rifle has a fill pressure of 200 bar, and filling is easy, thanks to a twist-to-open dust cover that rotates smoothly. The filling probe comes with a gas seal. Although these don’t cost much, they are indispensable, so it’s great to see one included with the probe. There’s nothing worse than rigging up an airline only to hear the hiss of escaping air and having no gas seal on hand to stop it.
The Galatian IV is available in .177, .22 and .25 calibres, and the magazine capacity is a generous 16, 14 and 13 shots respectively. In order to make room for this many shots, the hi-cap mag sticks out a fair way on the right-hand side of the action, but thankfully it doesn’t stick up any higher than comparable magazines, where it might otherwise interfere with scope placement. Two magazines are supplied, and the spare can be kept ready for action in a friction-fit recess in the bottom of the butt.
The sidelever must be drawn fully back to cock the action before the magazine can be inserted. When the gun is cocked, a red tab pops out at the rear of the action. This indicates the rifle has been cocked, and operates independently of the safety catch, which is a welcome safety addition: it’s always good to know whether a gun has been cocked, regardless of whether it’s been loaded as well.
The safety catch itself can be deployed whether or not the rifle has been cocked, and just blocks the movement of the trigger blade. The sidelever, meanwhile, is spring-loaded; a gentle pull on the biathlon handle results in the lever flicking most of the way backwards under its own steam, making for quick cocking and indexing of the magazine, ready for the next shot.
Out of the box, the trigger had very little first-stage travel, and what there was didn’t feel terribly smooth, but the second-stage let-off – which is by far the more important factor – was acceptably crisp. According to my Lyman electronic trigger pull weight gauge, the trigger broke at 4lb 10oz, although in practice it felt much lighter than this. The muzzle energy on the review rifle was 10.2 ft-lb with JSB Exact pellets, with a deviation over 10 shots of 20 feet per second.
The rifle is quite loud in use, but the muzzle has been cut with a standard 1/2in UNF thread to accept a moderator, so I fitted my old, but reliable Parker Hale suppressor, which added considerably to the length, but kept the rifle quiet enough for hunting.
I decided to test the rifle with the open sights first. The rear sight can be adjusted with a regular screwdriver for windage and elevation, and the red fibre-optic of the foresight can be tilted using a built-in wheel to match the angle set by the elevation of the green fibre-optics on the rear sight. Once all this had been set, it was game on, and it was great fun to go back to my airgun-shooting roots using open sights. The fibre-optic elements worked really well, transferring plenty of natural light, even in overcast conditions, and giving the impression that they were actually illuminated.
Once the open sights had been fine-tuned, the Galatian IV was happily smacking a lifesize rabbit’s head spinner out to 20 yards, with zero misses. I tried extending the range, but a larger target would be needed at 25 yards and beyond because the entire spinner was obscured by the sights.
It was now time to test the Galatian IV’s mettle with a telescopic sight. I encountered a few initial problems here, running out of elevation with two different scopes and two different sets of mounts. I’m not keen on shimming mounts, and therefore fitted a set of Sportsmatch adjustable mounts along with a Hawke Airmax 6-24×50, which restored the necessary range of adjustment required to properly zero the rifle at my chosen distance of 30 yards.
The next problem to be overcome was that of pellet selection. The JSB Exacts that had proven so reliable on the rabbit spinner at 20 yards were grouping poorly at 30 yards, so it was time to test a few different types from several different manufacturers. The barrel on this particular Galatian was a textbook example of how dedicated pellet testing pays dividends, with some types continuing to fare badly, while the best pellet I tested, the Rangemaster Li, gave me the five-shot sub-five pence piece groups I’d been looking for. This was a great reminder of how vitally important it is to find a perfect match of rifle barrel and ammunition if possible.
Having identified the right pellet, it was time to refit the open sights for some more plinking, this time at a more challenging pigeon’s head spinner. Even if you’re a serious target shooter or hunter, there’s still something incredibly satisfying about hitting reactive targets on the plinking range, especially with a rifle topped by open sights. Usually, that’s achieved by a break-barrel; this time it was with a PCP.
Who would want one of these rifles? If you’re after a ‘normal’ rifle, then the Galatian probably isn’t for you. It’s heavier than normal, it’s longer than normal, especially if you fit a moderator, and it looks anything but normal. But in an increasingly homogenous society, it’s refreshing to see products like this Hatsan buck the trend.
If you want something beyond the norm, like the idea of shooting with open sights or just love rifles with a tactical look, you may well find the Galatian to be out of this world.
Look & Feel: 8
Build Quality: 7
“The Galatian IV lets you toggle between the old-school fun of open sights and the accuracy of a scoped rifle – provided you invest enough time to find the right ammo. It’s a weighty beast, so if you’re a slightly built shooter, you’d benefit from grabbing a bipod and shooting it prone”