Some time ago, the good folks at Airguns of Arizona told me that they had “gone to UPS school.” They rang up the experts at UPS and asked them, point-blank, “How should we package airguns so they get there safely?” The UPS packing geeks said: “Put the airgun box inside another box and surround it with packing peanuts.”
And that’s what the Airguns of Arizona crew does. Every time a box arrives at El Rancho Elliott from AoA, I know that inside is an airgun (or two or three), each in its own box and surrounded by Styrofoam peanuts. So whenever I receive a shipment from AoA, I have to decant the peanuts into a plastic garbage bag and the slide the individual gun boxes out of the outer box into freedom where I can have my way with them.
It’s a system that works. In the years have I have been writing this weekly blog, only once has a gun been broken in shipment. That’s way less than a third of one percent failure rate. So you can imagine my dismay when I found that one end of the inner box that housed the Hatsan Dominator 200s Carbine had blown out. Bits of plastic packing inserts, polymer parts, and some cloth were trying to sneak their way out of the small end of the package.
It was not a good first impression – a bit like your daughter’s first date showing up with his shirt half untucked, mis-matched socks, and still trying to tie his tie while he rings the doorbell. As I looked inside the Hatsan box, which says “Serious. Solid. Impact.” and sorted out the various pieces, which included a bipod, a scope arrestor block, buttpad spacer inserts, a couple of allen wrenches, a sling and the rifle itself, I remember thinking to myself “I hope this goes well.”
But, in fact, it did go well, and the overall impression that I came away with after testing this gun is that the Hatsan Dominator 200S Carbine is a solid bargain in the world of air rifles, particularly when you consider that it costs just a hair less than $310.
But let’s start at the beginning: the Hatsan Dominator 200S Carbine is a single-shot underlever spring-piston air rifle that stretches just over 43 inches from end to end and weighs 9.7 lbs without at scope. At the aft end of the 200S is a soft rubber butt pad. There are a couple of screws buried deep in the butt pad. Undo them and you can add up to three 5mm spacers (included with the gun) to increase the length of pull as needed.
The butt pad is attached to a matte-black-finished ambidextrous polymer stock. On the right side of the stock are two large screws that allow the height of the comb to be adjusted with a screwdriver or coin. Underneath the buttstock is a metal swivel to which a sling (also included) can be attached. On either side of the pistol grip and the forestock, you’ll find soft rubber inlays for better grip.
Forward of the pistol grip, a black plastic trigger guard encloses a black adjustable metal trigger. Moving forward, underneath the forestock is a long slot that provides clearance for the cocking mechanism. On the left side of the forestock, there is another sling swivel. Protruding from the front of the forestock is the cocking lever which has a knurled metal cocking handle. Above that is the barrel. The muzzle is equipped with a screw-off cap that can be removed for fitting a sound moderator (where legal).
Moving toward the rear along the barrel, you’ll find the receiver, finished in black with a silver-colored breech block. Aft of the breech on the right side of the receiver is a lever for releasing the anti-beartrap mechanism after cocking the Hatsan Dominator 200S Carbine. On top of the receiver is an ingenuous dovetail system that will accommodate both conventional 11-13mm scope rings as well as Picatinny scope rings. At the extreme aft end of the receiver is a push-pull resettable plastic safety lever.
That’s it! Next time, we’ll take a look at how the Hatsan Dominator 200S Carbine performs.
Til then, aim true and shoot straight.
- Jock Elliott