The new Hatsan Escort XtremeMax is a real workhorse gun offering great value for money, reports Jason Harris
The Hatsan Escort semi-auto is continually evolving. Hatsan was one of the first semi-auto shotguns to arrive in this country from Turkey. In essence, the Escort is a workmanlike gun that offers very good value as a knockabout or roughshooting gun.
This newest version, the Hatsan Escort XtremeMax, has changes to the stock and fore-end, though mechanically it is not much different from the standard Magnum model in its latest incarnation. Hatsan has been fine-tuning the gas piston and bolt system to be as flexible and trouble-free as possible and it features the SmartMax piston system, which allows cartridges from 24g up to 66g (2.375oz) in its 31⁄2in chamber. However, I would suggest that before using lighter loads, it may first need a bit of running in with some heavier loads to loosen things up a bit.
The Magnum version, called the Xtreme, takes up to 3in Magnum shells and can accommodate loads from 24gr to 57gr (2oz). This gun features the Smart Valve piston system.
In either gun though, 70mm 28gr cartridges should be fine. You may even find some shorter length cases will work okay, but occasionally they will throw up feeding issues. The guns are designed to feed 70mm cases or longer. Though I would say that with any gas auto, it is best to keep the piston system well oiled to keep things moving as smoothly as possible.
To oil the Hatsan Escort XtremeMax or not to oil
With any make of semi-auto, views vary as to whether they should be oiled. My view is yes, and the best type of oil is motor oil. As the name “gas auto” suggests, the hot gases that follow the cartridge are syphoned off through ports or holes in the barrel loop. These gases hit the piston and push it back, so taking the action bar and whole bolt assembly backwards and working the gun.
These gases are very hot and it’s not uncommon with any auto to see flames coming out of the gun depending on cartridge and light conditions.
As well as being hot, the gases carry powder residue that will build up on the piston and magazine tube area under the fore-end.
This can build up to a point where it will gradually slow the gun and may even seize it up completely. To prevent this, good cleaning habits are important and motor oil will stand the heat better than conventional gun oil.
There’s lots of heat and pressure in an engine so engine oil will stand this heat and pressure without burning off too quickly and so keeping the gun functioning better for longer.
Yes, the oil will become black and dirty, but it will also make the gun easier to clean as the dirt won’t be as stuck to the parts. The gun can then be re- oiled for its next outing.
Hatsan Escort XtremeMax Specifications:
Apart from chamber length, both the Hatsan Escort XtremeMax 31⁄2in and the Xtreme 3in share the same features:
- The barrel lengths available are 24in, 26in, 28in and 30in and carry special steel shot proof. Bores are chrome lined for maximum corrosion resistance.
- There are five choke tubes made from stainless steel and extended so they can be removed easily by hand.
- The 7mm top rib is ventilated and slightly raised. It is also matted to minimise glare and reflection. The foresight is hi-vis.
- The action frame is made from aircraft-grade aluminium and has a speed-load system, so the bolt is closed by pushing the floor plate upwards. There is a magazine cut-off button so that the cartridges in the magazine tube may be isolated and the cartridge in the chamber unloaded leaving the bolt back. The safe button is just behind the trigger.
- These test guns have synthetic stocks and fore-ends. Slightly raised grey rubber pads are inset into the pistol grip and fore-end, improving grip and feel. If you prefer the look and tradition of wood, then there is also a version for you.
- The recoil pad has been re-designed so that is flat on the back of the butt end. It is possible to get spacers and pads of varying thicknesses to fit the gun for length if needed. There are also a series of shims that fit at the front of the stock and can be changed to adjust cast and bend of the stock.
- Length of pull as standard is 365mm or approx. 14 3/8in. Drops at heel and comb are 63.5mm and 41mm respectively.
- With a 28in barrel, the 3in version weighs in at 7lb and the 31⁄2in at 71⁄2lb.
Jason’s verdict on the Hatsan Escort XtremeMax:
Escorts make great workhorse guns. It isn’t true to say there are no frills, because these guns have all the features you’d find on a more expensive gun. So if you want a good working gun that you don’t have to worry about if it gets the odd knock or scratch, then these guns may be for you.
Price: The Hatsan Escort XtremeMax RRP is £612, while you can pick an XtremeMax in the region of £680.
More details: From the importer – Edgar Brothers Shooting Sports, Heather Close, Lyme Green Business Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 0LR. Tel 01625 613177 or visit the Edgar Brothers website.