Charles Smith Jones sings the praises of the Hatsan Escort Pump's reliability and effectiveness but risks the wrath of his ancestors who had more traditional tastes
Every time I pick up a pump-action shotgun I still feel a slight vibration as my ancestors turn in their graves. Traditionalists, they would all have been horrified to see any descendant shooting with such a gun.
The gunrooms and safes I grew up around tended to contain selections of side-by-sides and little else. True, the over-and-under has gained respectability in the most formal of shooting fields in the time since I was a boy, and even the semi-automatic has become acceptable in certain disciplines, but a pump?
The fact is that it is a love-it-or-loathe-it gun if ever there was one, but they are solid, reliable working tools and can be tremendous fun to shoot. Over the past 20 years Turkish gunmaker Hatsan has worked with Edgar Brothers, a UK importer, to establish its brand within the British market.
Hatsan’s semi-automatic Escort, which we featured last April, is now established here as an affordable classic, but it also offers a pump-action alternative in several configurations – the Hatsan Escort Pump. While nowhere as popular as the semi-auto, it has similar attributes as a no-nonsense and affordable workhorse.
The more conventional model, marketed here as the Fieldhunter, has fairly standard lines for a gun of its type, while the more tactical MP version has a pistol grip and is marketed by Hatsan for “security and law enforcement” although, in the more basic configurations it is practical enough for field use. Optional extras range from door busters to flash suppressors — perhaps less of a requirement in the sporting market.
- The action is strongly reminiscent of the venerable Remington 870, a tried and tested design with its own reputation for dependability and no shortage of admirers.
- The receiver of both semi-auto and pump Escorts is made of aircraft-grade alloy, with a strength to match, while the barrel is chrome lined, finished in matt black or a stainless “Marine” version and fitted with a ventilated rib.
- All guns are supplied as multichokes, which may be interior tubes or extended, depending on the model.
- And most should be proofed for steel shot, although it pays to check earlier versions.
- A manual cross-button safety catch is just forward of the trigger. Dovetail grooves above the receiver allow for the fitting of a red dot sight or other accessories, if desired.
Spare parts available
The gun itself is extremely simple to strip and reassemble and spare parts are readily available in the unlikely event that they are needed. The stock and fore-end are almost inevitably synthetic in plain black or a camouflage finish, pleasingly proportioned with moulded checking for comfortable use. Hatsan has also started to produce a model in Turkish walnut.
A nice touch is the simple system of spacers that allow the length of the butt to be altered to fit the user, as well as shims, which can further change the slope of the stock. The Escort pump comes with the options of a 2+1 magazine, enabling it to be held on a Shotgun Certificate, or a 4+1, requiring an FAC. An optional magazine extension tube increases capacity to 7+1.
It may not be to everyone’s taste, but this basic but effective pump-action has a lot to offer. It has a simple mechanism, which, not being reliant on blowback to cycle the action, can be far more tolerant of a wider variety of cartridge loads, while being potentially more reliable with less to go wrong. The action also copes with accumulations of debris far better than a more sensitive semi-auto, which demands more careful and regular attention.
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Not a gun for a formal day but …
The Hatsan Escort Pump is not a gun to turn up with for a formal day but for pottering the hedgerows, waiting for a fox or cradled on the front of a quad bike when checking pheasant feeders, it comes into its own as a rugged and reliable working tool. For pigeons, vermin or a fun clay session it also has a certain appeal, but do check the proof marking before using steel shot. Put simply, for the price you can’t go wrong.
Tech Specs for the Hatsan Escort Pump
- Configuration: Single barrel
- Action: Pump
- Choke: Multichoke
- Chamber: 3in
- Barrel length: 24in to 30in
- Ejector/non-ejector: Ejector
- Safety catch: Manual, cross button
- Weight (12 bore): 6lb 12oz
- Available in calibres: 12 or 20-bore
- Cost new: RRP £376 (Fieldhunter,
synthetic stock/standard barrel)
- Cost used: From around £250
A no-nonsense and affordable workhorse