We live in a great time for airgun enthusiasts. Regulatory oversight in the U.S. is relatively minimal and manufacturers are constantly working on “the next big thing” in attempting to capture the elusive interest of the consuming public. This is true for Pre-Charged Pneumatic airguns as well and up to now PCPs generally have been single shot or magazine fed bolt actions. I’d like to introduce you to a new semi-auto: the Barrage, a Turkish made 12-shot repeater in .22 caliber or 14-shot in .177, from Hatsan USA.
The Barrage has a non-removable 500CC under-barrel reservoir that can be pressurized to 3000 psi and drive a 19+ grain lead pellet at more than 900 fps out of its 19.7 inch precision rifled steel barrel. That equates to approximately 30-plus foot pounds of energy; plenty for taking small game and eradicating pests as long as that is legal where you live. Be certain to be familiar with all local laws and game regulations! At $1300 retail, it would be a shame if authorities show up to confiscate your air rifle because of an infraction.
Having the large reservoir provides the shooter/hunter plenty of full power shots without having to carry a supply of air when going out for a fun afternoon. A small pressure gauge reading in bar units is built into the curved foregrip of the forearm and is deeply inset. It is well protected, but a little difficult for old eyes to use. The reservoir is filled by a male probe inserted into the fill hole on the right side of the receiver. Some HPA (High Pressure Air) that drives the pellet is bled off near the muzzle to cycle the action, similar to a gas impingement firearm. The bolt handle reciprocates upon firing and the bolt is held back after the last round by a block in the magazine. The fully shrouded barrel utilizes Hatsan’s “Quiet Energy” technology to reduce the sound signature from a sharp crack to a popping noise. Keep in mind the HPA coming out as the pellet exits is still going to make some noise so hearing protection is a good idea and eye protection is a must as with any projectile launcher.
The Barrage is a fun air rifle that doubles as a serious hunting/training tool. At over 40 inches in length and 10.1 pounds, it is a bit of a beast, but balances in the hands well. The Barrage incorporates modern styling in a black, advanced polymer ambidextrous thumbhole stock. The ambidextrous stock has adjustability features such as an extendable buttpad for length of pull and can also be set for elevation and fit angle for the optimal shouldering of the air rifle. Another is the adjustable comb to provide the best alignment of your eye with you chosen optic. Hatsan even incorporated storage insets for 2 of the 3 included magazines. There is a bullpup version – The Bullmaster – with dimensions closer to the AR platform (30.9 inches) and utilizing the same length barrel, which could be useful as a training tool and allow practice with pellets costing pennies versus .223 ammo. A removable front sight and rear sight that mounts to the picatinny-style rail are included; both with Truglo fiber optics. The picatinny-style rail is milled into the black anodized aluminum receiver and accepts both 11mm and 22mm bases. The forearm sports a 3 inch picatinny bottom rail for mounting a bi-pod, light or other accessory and also incorporates the front sling swivel. I mounted a compact Sun Optics CQB Tactical Precision Prismatic sight with illuminated reticle for my testing. If you choose to mount a traditional rifle scope, additional clearance is needed for the rotary magazine. The trigger guard is amply sized and the smooth-faced metal trigger is comfortable. The trigger is not adjustable and smoothly broke at an average of 6 pounds 15 ounces with about ¼ inch travel before engagement. The safety lever sits in front of the trigger and is pushed away from the trigger when ready to fire. I found it a bit short and its shape was not conducive to easy manipulation. My 2 cents: I’d like to see Hatsan revamp this manual safety.
The Barrage comes in a hard plastic foam lined case and Hatsan USA warranties it for 1 year. More details on how the Barrage did at the range in the next installment. In the interim, you can reach out to the knowledgeable folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com for more info or to get your hands on one of these powerhouses.