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Definitive Guide to Hatsan Hercules Bully

The Turkish powerhouse, Hatsan, has built a PCP that comes in .177, .22, .25, .30, .35. and .45 caliber and puts out power levels ranging from 50 foot pounds in .177 to 290 foot pounds in .45! It is accurate, gives you a lot of shots per fill, and the high capacity clips will let you shoot virtually any pellet and most slugs. If this gets you excited, read on! We take a close look at the Hatsan Hercules Bully pcp air rifle.
Detailed Review
Starting at the front of the gun you will notice Hatsan's Quiet Energy (QE) technology consisting of a shroud that is ported towards the rear to increase accuracy by drawing air turbulence away from the muzzle. It also encloses a number of sound dampening baffles, which Hatsan claims reduce the report by 50%, and we believe it. Hatsan's Quiet Energy technology usually results in some of the quietest guns on the market, but the Bully is so powerful that these remain fairly loud airguns and we don't recommend them for backyard plinking. Our .22 Bully registered a high of 100.5 db, and the .30 registered 107.2 db. Powering the Hatsan Hercules Bully is a non-removable 500cc carbon fiber bottle that fills to a pressure of 250 bar. You aren't going to want to fill this with a hand pump! The bottle may be empty when you get the gun and if so the first time you fill it you will need to cock the gun to take pressure off of the valve or it may let all the air out.
The bottle can be degassed by turning the screw immediately behind the pressure gauge counterclockwise. The shroud that covers the bottle has a molded-in Weaver rail on the bottom for a bipod or other accessories. It is also fitted with an integrated sling swivel with a matching swivel on the butt stock. Attach the included Hatsan sling and the Bully's ten pounds become a lot more manageable for a day's hunting afield! The Bully's reservoir is filled via Hatsan's standard fill probe that is inserted into the port just behind the bottle. It is threaded for 1/8 BSPP, and if you have more than one PCP you will want to pick up an Air Venturi Quick Disconnect Adapter to make it easy to put the probe on and off the hose. Periodically apply a little bit of 100% silicone grease (not anything petroleum based!) on the probe's o-rings to keep them in good condition. The fill port is protected by a cover that retracts when the gun is cocked. On one of the guns we looked at the port cover did not retract far enough when the gun was cocked and the cocking lever had to be held back to insert the probe. This is a minor inconvenience, and not the norm, but it is something to keep an eye out for so you don't nick the o-rings. The lack of a foster fitting is one of the few complaints that we have with the Bully, but as far as fill probes systems go this is a good one.
The manometer or fill gauge is located below the fill port and indicates low levels in yellow, optimal fill pressure from 100 to 250 bar in green, and over pressure in red. We found these to be accurate, and they make the gauge easy to instantly read.
The aluminum dual 11mm dovetail/Weaver accessory rail will accept most scope mounts and at 21" long it gives you all the real estate you could ask for. The length also makes it perfect for mounting open sights or peep sights, and in fact Hatsan recognized this (or planned it) and bundles a set of detachable flip-up micro-adjustable fiber optic peep sights with the gun. We love peep sights so we were very happy to see this. Both the fiberoptic-topped post in the front and the ghost ring in the back are too large for precision shooting but we were still able to get inch and a half to two inch groups at thirty-five yards, but those groups shrunk down when we mounted Crosman's precision diopter sights. Peep sights are great for quick target acquisition and are just fun to use, and they are a great fit for the Bully's long rail.
The all weather synthetic stock means that you can shoot the Hatsan Bully in any conditions, and the texturing on the forestock and grip enable you to hold it securely even when wet. The Bully comes with Hatsan's "Easy Adjust" check comb equipped with an integrated elevation adjustment button that makes getting the perfect cheek weld easy. We imagine, though, that most shooters will find the cheek riser high enough at its factory setting.
At the aft end of the Bully is a non-adjustable rubber butt pad that will mitigate what little recoil the gun has and will also ensure a secure fit in your shoulder and keep the gun from slipping when it is leaned up in a corner.
The Hercules Bully features a side lever cocking mechanism that is very reliable and easy to use. It compresses a very stout hammer spring and requires more than usual force to pull back, but it shouldn't be difficult for any but the youngest shooters. And the Bully's "Anti-double pellet feed" mechanism prevents you from loading more than one pellet into the barrel as long as you have drawn the cocking lever back fully, to begin with. The Bully is fed by high capacity clips that are indexed by the cocking lever and held in place with a retaining pin. The good folks at Hatsan aren't cheapskates and they include three rotary clips with the Bully. The butt stock has clips to discreetly store the two spares while the third one is in use. Something that many shooters will appreciate is the depth of the clips - this allows them to accept even the longest pellets such as Predator Polymags and even JSB Beasts, which have a disclaimer on our website warning customers that they won't fit into rotary clips! In .35 H&N Grizzlies shoot well as do a number of cast and swaged slugs. The .45 clips will take up to 240gr flat nosed slugs.
The capacities of the clips are as follows:
  • 17-shot clip in .177 (4.5mm)
  • 14-shot clip in .22 (5.5mm)
  • 13-shot clip in .25 (6.35mm)
  • 10-shot clip in .30 (7.62mm)
  • 9-shot clip in .35 (9mm)
  • 7-shot clip in .45 (11.43mm)
Hatsan airguns have typically come with automatic safeties in the past, but they are listening to their customers and the Bully comes with a manual safety that is located in front of the trigger inside the trigger guard. It is easily flicked on or off and is nice and quiet so it won't scare off any skittish critters. The Hatsan Bully is equipped with a fully-adjustable two-stage trigger. Out of the box, the trigger on the .30 that we tested was breaking at 8 lbs and the one on the .22 was about 6 lbs! Don't be frightened away though - after just a little bit of adjusting both triggers were breaking very crisply and predictably at under three pounds.
To adjust the trigger, first remove the Bully from the stock. To do this, first, remove the cheek riser by pressing the elevation adjustment button and pulling the comb all the way out. Then remove the button. There are two small springs that put pressure on it so be careful not to lose them. Now use a 5mm Allen wrench to remove the bolt in front of the gauge and the one behind the spare clip storage. With the stock removed, you will see two trigger screws. To reduce trigger weight, rotate the front screw clockwise, and, of course, vice versa. To reduce travel, turn the second screw clockwise. Note that over adjustment may make the trigger unsafe or inoperable, so go slow. We always recommend the mallet test to check trigger adjustments: after the trigger has been adjusted, cock the gun and whack the butt of the gun firmly from different angles with a rubber mallet. If the trigger releases you have adjusted it too far! When replacing the stock take care to lift it over the fill port cover - it will tend to catch at two points.
While Hatsan does not advertise this in the manual or elsewhere, you can adjust the power on your Hercules Bully. We found that by lowering the power on both the .22 and .30 we still had plenty of power and the shot string was both longer and flatter. The .22 Bully, for example, went from a shot string of 29 shots with an extreme spread of 60 fps to a shot string of 50 shots with an extreme spread of 54 fps. And the velocity was still in the 900 fps range with JSB Monster 25.39 gr pellets! If you have the Bully in .35 or .45 the benefits might not be as noticeable, but for the smaller calibers, they can be remarkable. To adjust the power first remove the stock as described above. You will see three openings on the butt end. The lowest of the three has a hammer spring retaining bolt that can be adjusted with a large flat-head screwdriver. However, you need to remove the set screw on the left side of the action that locks this bolt in place before you perform any adjustments. To lower the power, turn the bolt counterclockwise, and to raise it do the reverse. You may want to count your turns so you can return the Bully to factory settings in the future. For best results, you will want a chronograph, but you can still achieve what you want by shooting groups, it will just take longer. For reference, we ended up turning the adjuster on the .30 about 6 full turns out, and on the .22 around 13 full turns, but your mileage may vary depending on what ammunition you are shooting and so forth. Replace the set screw, then the stock, and you are ready to go.
Note that if you crank up the power or use very heavy ammunition you run the risk of blowing out the o-ring that seals the breach. (Don't ask us how we know!) However, Hatsan includes spare o-rings with the Bully you so will be able to fix this problem should it arise.
How Accurate & Powerful is the Hatsan Bully?
If there is one thing we expect from Hatsan it is power, and the Bully does not disappoint. In fact, it outdoes many of their previous airguns in this department, which is really saying something! They advertise that the Bully will get up to 75 foot-pounds of energy in .22 caliber, which is an absolutely ridiculous amount of energy when you consider that most .22 PCPs are in the 20-30fpe range. However, in our testing we beat the advertised numbers with over 77fpe! This was with the JSB 33.956gr Beasts, but that much pressure behind that heavy of a pellet was too much for the breech o-ring and we had to replace it after a few shots. Out of the box, with a 250 bar fill, the .22 Bully started out pushing the 33.956gr JSB Beasts at 1012 feet per second. After 14 shots the velocity had dropped to 849 fpe, but that number isn't accurate because of the damaged breech seal. After we replaced the seal we reduced the hammer spring preload as described above and got the following numbers with JSB 25.39 Monsters: 50 Shots with a High - 950fps; Low - 898fps; Average - 928.26fps; Extreme Spread: 52fps; Standard Deviation - 11.38fps; and Average Power - 48.27 fpe. The .30 Bully started out shooting the JSB Heavy 50.15s at 1029fps producing 117.9 fpe and after 21 shots the velocity dropped to 818fps. After a quick hammer spring adjustment, the Bully was shooting the .30 JSB Heavies with a High of 847fps; Low - 797fps; Average - 825.82fps; Extreme Spread - 50fps; Standard Deviation of 13.73fps; and an Average Energy of 75.93fpe. With that tune you get a lot of shots over a nice flat shot string and you sacrifice some power, but this gives you an idea of the range of power that these guns are capable of adjusting for.
If you want to shoot slugs instead of pellets, the Bully has the power to spare and the deep clips will accept a wide variety of projectiles. Hatsan PCPs are also known for their accuracy and the Hatsan Hercules Bully didn't disappoint us here either. In our testing, the most accurate .22 pellet was the JSB 25.39gr Redesigned Monsters and they seemed to shoot the best in the low 900s fps range. At 35 yards, 14 shots went into a group that measured just over 0.33 inches center to center! Imagine what a five shot group would look like! At 100 yards, 14 shots went into about an inch and half, but 9 of those were in a group that measured about 0.80" CTC. And that group was shot before I adjusted the trigger, which at that point was breaking at almost 7 lbs! You can imagine what a five shot group with a 2-3 pound trigger would look like.
On our 35 yard range the .30 Bully consistently shot ten JSB 44.75s into holes measuring a half inch or less center to center and at 100 yards it put 9/10 into an inch and a half with an outlier opening it up to 2 inches. Unfortunately, that group was shot at the very end of the fill and the pellets were starting to string vertically, otherwise we are positive it would have been considerably smaller.
Not only is the Hercules Bully extremely powerful, it is also very accurate!
What Accessories Should I Get for the Hatsan Bully?
In the box you will get a Hatsan sling, a variety of spare o-rings, and Hatsan's proprietary fill probe. If you have multiple PCPs you will want to order an Air Venturi Quick Disconnect Adapter to enable you to easily remove the probe from the hose. For most PCPs a hand pump is a very viable option, but we do not recommend it for the Bully. It fills to a very high pressure and it uses a lot of air to achieve the power that it does so won't enjoy the Bully very much if you are pumping it up by hand! We recommend you pick up a large carbon fiber tank, either the 74 cubic foot tank, or, if you can afford it, the 98 cubic foot tank. The Hercules Bully makes a great hunting gun in any caliber and deserves a good scope such as the Hawke Airmax 30 4-16x50 which gives you very good glass, a useful reticle with plenty of holdover and windage points, and side focus parallax adjustment with a large wheel. A more affordable option is the Hawke Vantage 4-12x50. As we mentioned above, the Bully ships with a set of peep sights, but if you want even more accuracy, the Crosman Precision Diopter Sights work great on the Bully's long accessory rail. The integrated pic rail on the forestock is just asking for a good bipod and we recommend the UTG Heavy Duty Recon 360 as a quality and affordable option.
If you are looking for a compact and powerful hunting gun, or want a gun with enough power to ring gongs at long range the Hatsan Hercules Bully may be just what you are looking for. You can adjust the power down to get a ton of shots or crank it up for more knock-down power than almost any other gun on the block. It is accurate with very heavy pellets so you will have a nice flat trajectory over relatively long distances and the 500 cc carbon fiber bottle gets you a lot of shots per fill. Its only real drawback is it's a bit loud, but otherwise what more could you want in an airgun? Once you've sent some lead down range let us know what you think about your Hercules Bully in a review or in the comments below.