The Hatsan Piledriver .457 PCP Air Rifle is putting out over 700 fpe, and over 800 fps in .50!
About 2 months ago I had a call from Hatsan USA asking if I’d like to try out their new big bore airgun. As we talked it came out that this gun could generate over 700 fpe and had been set up to shoot a 525 grain slug. Of course I wanted to use it, and as it happened I was just getting ready to leave for a multi-day hunt in Texas.
The rifle was expedited and I arrived the morning of my departure, my only concern was they only had a small number of bullets to ship with it, and I was pressed for time to order more. As it turned out more arrived, unfortunately they made it to me just before I left to return home….. this limited my range time, and then I needed to return the gun. Hope to have another go with it soon!
At any rate, I took my deer and javalina while hunting down in Texas at the Huckaby Ranch, home of Lone Star Trails Outfitters. Trent (the owner) has become a good friend over the last few years, and has a great property loaded with game. He has high fence, but all my hunting was in outside of this and it has some great deer, javalina, and feral goat populations! I’ll be setting up a javalina hunt there in March 2020. so keep an eye out if you’re interested in a great airgunning adventure!
A word about power in big bore airguns…..I know it’s interesting to talk about whats the most powerful gun, but keep in mind the highest power level doesn’t make a gun the best option for hunting. For years, I’ve been willing to lop inches off the barrels of my hunting rigs to make them more compact for better handling in the field. There are few things that I’d shoot with an 800 fpe gun that I would not shoot with a 500 fpe gun. Sure, I’d have to close my range a bit more, but in my mind that is the essence of airgun hunting.
Of course, in most cases more power doesn’t hurt. But accuracy, ergonomics, shot count, reliability, weight and LOA, almost always matter more to me. And sometime sound reduction is more important than everything but accuracy…. accuracy, and the ability to shoot the gun accurately is a consistent requirement.
In the end, the Hatsan Pile Driver might be the most powerful airgun available… until the next one comes along. But here is what will not change, the gun is very ergonomic and settles into the shoulder naturally from any position. It is accurate out of the box, and the balance between power output and air consumption/shot count is well thought out. And it is enough gun to take any big game in NA and most in Africa. That will not change.
Many guns can be made vastly more powerful with modifications or by using after-market components, but the broader market demographic wants to take a gun out of the box, sight it in, and go hunting without having work on it.
There are also many boutique builders that make some really great guns, but these tend to be much more expensive. If you can afford the price tag, these guns are a great way to go, or they are something to aspire to as you go deeper into the sport.
So at over 700 fpe in .457 and over 800 fpe in .50 the Piledriver is the most powerful production air rifle… and this is before they get out into the hands of hot-rodders. But don’t be swayed only by this, take a look at what else this gun offers, it’s impressive apart from power and ticks all the boxes. If you are getting a big bore for deer or hogs, I’d put this one on the short list.