I’ve been shooting the Hatsan Hydra for a few months now, and have used the .22 and .25 caliber barrels on a couple hunts, and gotten in some range time with the .177. But when rabbit season opens in a couple weeks, I want to do some hunting with the arrow barrel, using some small game tips.
So I started off by simply swapping the barrel, which took a matter of a minute or two. The next step took me a little longer, maybe 5 minutes, I needed to adjust the hammer spring preload. This entails removing the action from the stock, removing a set screw with a 2mm hex tool, then inserting a 4mm hex tool into a port at the rear of the rifle and bottoming it out. This will increase the arrow velocity from about 150 fps to approximately 250 fps.
With this tweaking of the rifle done, I drove to a spot behind a local industrial complex and set up my target in a back lot. I used a standard archery target, unlike the dual crossbow targets I had to use when sighting in the dedicated Hatsan arrow gun, the very powerful Harpoon (more on this before deer season starts!). I set the target at 30 yards using field tips.
My first shot was to the left, so I adjusted the windage and sent another arrow down range. It was moving in the right direction but not quite there yet, another adjustment and another arrow showed me I had it about right. I sent several more arrows down range to confirm zero, then went to my box of hunting arrow heads. The tip I pulled out to test was a small game blunt tip designed to impart maximum impact to target, rather than focusing on penetration and cutting, as do hunting broadheads.
I shot several offhand groups using this setup, and found that I could keep the shots in the kill zone of a rabbit out to 35 yards, though my groups started opening up further than this. Not sure if this is my limitation of the guns, but will do some more controlled testing to see, but I suspect I am the limiting factor!
At any rate, I found the rifle very easy to shoot, especially after the 400+ fps monsters I’ve been shooting. It was nice not to damage every other arrow I shot as it sped through a series of backstops, or searching for lost arrows that cleared my crossbow targets and kept on going. On the downside, I don’t know if this will be the optimal rig on bigger deer sized game, though think it will be about perfect for javalina. I’ll start small and work my way up, making the decision based on field experience.
I do think it’s a great option for this multi-caliber/barrel rifle, which has to this point impressed with its performance as a hunting pellet rifle!