Editor's Note: Associate Editor Jon Draper recently put the Hatsan BT Big Bore Carnivore to use on an iguana hunt in Puerto Rico. Catch up on that story here.
I’ve always loved air rifles. Perhaps it’s due to my fondness for squirrel hunting. That said, the rifle I used on my Puerto Rican iguana adventure is a far cry from the 10-pump lead-lobber I tormented the neighborhood rodents with back in the ’90s.
The Hatsan BT Big Bore Carnivore is a bolt-action, pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) rifle. That means you can forget the single-shot break-barrel or pump in favor of a seven-shot magazine and pre-filled air tanks. Though a bit heavy at right around 10 pounds with a full tank and optic, it balances and steadies surprisingly well, and the seven-shot cylinder is ideal in a target-rich environment. The Carnivore can send its .30-caliber, 44-grain payload at a lizard-thumping 860 fps with enough air in the tank for about 20 shots before losing velocity. For the stateside small-gamer, that’s plenty of power in a single tank to get through an average hunt. Refilling a spent tank can be done quickly with the aid of a pre-filled scuba tank and adaptor kit or, using a bit more manpower, a PCP hand pump.
Inside 50 yards the Big Bore Carnivore, like all Hatsan air rifles I have tested, is a tack driver. I witnessed a head shot on a bright orange beast that stuck out like a sore thumb in the canopy across the river about 70 yards distant.
While the BT Big Bore Carnivore is a PCP rifle built for .30- and .35-caliber pellets, much more than most air-rifle hunters will need, Hatsan carries a wide variety of PCP, break-action-gas-piston and break-action-spring-powered .177 options. The company also offers an impressive array, including bullpup designs, in my favorite small-game calibers, the .22 and .25. Each has its merits, depending on the task at hand.