You can’t deny it, Bullpups seem to be the fashion at the moment, what with the Wildcat from FX and the Kral Arms Puncher Breaker to name but a few and I must admit I’m a big fan! Yes, even being a lefty southpaw! So when I set eyes on the Gladius from Turkish gun maker Hatsan, I decided that I needed to have a play with this one!
Black & Tac
The Gladius certainly looks more tactical than the FX Wildcat for instance and when you hold it, it even has a bit of an SA80 feel about it, although there are no green bits on this thing! Seems like black is, well, the new black I guess. So let’s jump in and look at this multi shot PCP bullpup in more detail then.
The first thing that impressed me was the hard case that the rifle comes in, it’s tough and protects the rifle well and has a nice foam cut out to securely hold the contents in place and is even pre-cut for when you have a scope attached. Good start Hatsan! In the box you will also find all the bits and pieces that you will need to charge the rifle- except the diver’s bottle that is! Now let’s have a look at the shooty thing!
When you first pick up the Gladius, you will certainly notice the size and weight (10.2lbs) quite a beast and remember that you will have to add even more with an optic; time to get in the gym me thinks! To be fair though, it’s surprisingly well balanced considering its weight. The total length, butt to muzzle, is a compact 34.4” and that includes a generous 19.4” barrel. From the back end, the rubber pad is a little on the hard side but sits in the shoulder well and is adjustable for rise and fall via an Allen screw.
The cheek piece/comb sits on top of the action and is adjustable for height and is made from tough plastic/polymer. The main part of the Bullpup stock is fully synthetic and has a slightly rubberised feel to it. Between the thumbhole and the rear of the butt hook are three magazine storage ‘pods’, which are great and are somewhat needed considering that the rifle is supplied with FOUR mags! A nice feature but I found that the ‘pod’ nearest the thumbhole was a bit fiddly to get mag out of due to its location (must be my sausage fingers!). However, they are securely retained when pushed in place, as my ‘shake’ test confirmed! Moving on to the thumbhole itself, well, bags of room here and it flows nicely into the pistol grip, which is also a good size and has stippled panels on either side to aid grip.
The forend is chunky, again with stippled panels like the pistol grip on either side and then at the end are three Picatinny rails at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock; so easy enough to fit on a bipod and other accessories. This is something that the FX Wildcat could have done with, so well done Hatsan! A nice add on to the Gladius are the sling swivels that come as standard, plus a sling too! The trigger is a two- stage Quattro model and straight out of the box I have to say it was horrible!
The first time I fired this rifle I had to keep checking to see if I had the safety catch on, as it was pulling on my scale at over 5 lbs and with lots of creep. It was really bad and even had a springy noise to it too! But, fortunately it is adjustable, thank god, and I did manage to sort it out! The blade itself is metal and the polymer safety catch is a blade-type that’s located directly in front to the inside of the guard. It’s an automatic type and annoyingly re-sets to SAFE every time you cock the gun. To be honest this is a pain, I’m not saying safeties are a bad thing but, and in my honest opinion, this rifle would have been better suited with a manual system, so making it faster for follow up shots! All of this is protected by the polymer trigger guard that flows with the rest of the stock.
The action is anodized and all of the guts of the Gladius are pretty much the same as Hatsan’s AT44 multi-shot PCP. It also uses the same magazines as that rifle too and they are very simple to load and seem very reliable; looking at them, there is not much that can really go wrong! Pellets are held in place with a rubber ‘O’ ring that is wrapped around the outside of the magazine body. The .22 and .177 versions will hold 10-pellets, whereas the .25 holds one less round at nine. So you are pretty much sorted as far as firepower goes, especially if you going out on a hunting trip what with the three spares in the stock. With the detachable 255cc air cylinder, you will be good for 90-shots in .22 and around 60 in .177.
Readying the rifle is an easy task, pull the cocking lever all the way back, open the spring loaded magazine retaining bolt, at the front/right of the magazine well and drop in the mag. Then release the bolt, which will lock the mag in place and close the cocking lever. You are then good to go once you have taken off the auto safety. Every time you cock the rifle, the magazine will index on the backwards pull on the lever, it is quite a smooth loading cycle too. The cocking lever feels pretty good to use but I found that with the rifle that I had on test, it seemed very loose! Even to the point where if you were to hold the rifle on its side, it would ‘fall’ open about an inch or so. Plus my trusty ‘shake’ test made it flap around from side to side! Hopefully though, this was just isolated to this example.
There’s also an FAC-rated version of the Gladius, which has a power adjustment dial on it with six different power settings, so you can easily set it to ‘plinking’ level ‘one’ or crank it up to ‘dinosaur’ level ‘six’! At this, the highest setting, you will only have around 35-shots per fill running at 970 FPS. Turn the power down to level one and you will have around 90-shots in .22. Shots per fill in .177 will be a few less.
A nice feature on the Gladius is its anti-knock system to prevent air wastage when rifle is knocked or heaven forbid, dropped! It also has an ‘anti-double pellet feed’ mechanism that will prevent more than one pellet loading into barrel, however I somehow still managed to double feed it!
Accuracy was not bad at all; with the rifled and choked barrel I was easily getting sub 1” groups at 30 yards with .22 RWS Superdomes, which were flying through my chrono at just under 600 FPS. The barrel is fully shrouded which gives it a pleasingly heavy profile. But it’s not just cosmetic, as it’s also internally suppressed, so no need to go and splash out on a new moderator that will also add to the length and weight of the rifle. While we are at the muzzle end, you will see the pressure gauge, which is nice and clear but not really my favourite location to have one. I would prefer it on the side or underside of the stock, sorry; it’s just a pet hate of mine having to look at the muzzle end of a rifle to see how much juice is left in it!
The Gladius has plenty of room to throw on an optic, with its nice long aluminium Picatinny rail. Riding on top of this test rifle was a Nikko Sterling 3-12 X 56 Diamond scope, which really was well suited it.
There’s no doubt this is one cool looking gun in my opinion and I think it’s definitely a good all rounder for plinking and hunting. A little heavy maybe for the hunters out there, but with the 4 x mags that you get included you certainly do have some firepower at your disposal!
Safe shooting RACK
CONTACT: Edgar Brothers Ltd on, 01625 613177