It started with a brief chat on the Hatsan booth at the SHOT Show last January. That’s where I first saw the New Hydra rifle, and was impressed with its most unique feature, a fast change barrel/receiver assembly that allowed caliber to be swapped without a need to re-zero the scope!
I had a couple days to spare and decided to head back out to South Dakota to go airgun hunting with the new Hatsan Hydra .25 caliber. This rifle is based on the proven Flash platform, which I’ve has first hand experience with on my iguana hunts in Puerto Rico as well as some general small game hunting over the few years.
One of the things that sets this rifle apart is the incorporation of Hatsans Versi-Cal multi caliber barrel system, which allows the shooter to select either .177, .22, .25, or an arrow barrel. But te thing that is unique is that it is the entire receiver and barrel unit that is swapped, so that the scope mounted on the gun is left mounted to the receiver when the assembly is removed or replaced. The gun is packaged so the airgunner can opt only for the calibers they want. For instance, as a multi species hunter I might opt for the .25 caliber model as my preferred small game set up, and get the arrow barrel so that I could hunt pigs or javalina with the same rig. Easier on the pocket and less gear to deal with.
The cool thing about this set up compared to many guns with a multiple barrel option is that since the receiver comes off with the barrel, the scope is left mounted. This negates the need to re-zero when swapping out barrels, which is much more usable when in the field.
In this video, I start off with a quick target session to make sure the gun is ready for those 65-yard shots with the .25 caliber barrel. And it was! I quickly shot the .177 just to see if swapping out barrels was practical, then tested the .25 after remounting it to see for myself if it held zero. And it did! This was not a formal target session, I just wanted to make sure I could keep my shots in the kill zone of a prairie dog at longer range. I was able to consistently keep 10 shots on the head of a PD target out to 70 yards.
My friend Brett’s lodge, Bad River Bucks and Birds was closed for renovation and he was away. But I know the place well enough that I was fine on my own, though I had to camp rather than use the lodge. Actually, there are some little motels in town about 15-20 miles away, but I like camping while the weather is warm. I brought my tent and set it up in a back area of the ranch. It was comfortable, but I experienced a horrendous storm in the middle of the night and almost went airborne, but in the end made it through ok.