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Weihrauch HW99S - Highly Appealing

Weihrauch HW99S - Highly Appealing

Weihrauch is synonymous with high-quality airgun production, and their line-up of springers is well respected, not only for superior build quality and finish but also for serious performance. Those in the know appreciate this fact, but the trouble is that any manufacturer that stands still and fails to evolve their product range will suffer in a demanding market that’s eager for new, different, and exciting products.

Revision programme
Physics largely dictates the layout of our break-barrel airguns, since the heavy piston and mainspring have to be concealed somewhere, so when Weihrauch set about a revisions programme, to freshen up the look of their spring-powered hardware, it was always going to be a largely cosmetic affair.
On test here is the latest version of the HW99S, and at bang on 7 lbs in weight, it’s the lightest adult break-barrel that Weihrauch produces. First impressions are of a smart traditional sporter, and the finish and precision engineering are obvious from the outset. Classic Weihrauch detail comes with the chunky adjustable cross-bolt at the breech. Plus, of course, the highly distinctive Rekord trigger unit, with its large adjuster screw sitting just behind the blade.

Detail
Previous ‘99s have been super bland and bereft of any chequering or other detail, but this latest upgrade now sees extensive panels that are laser applied to both the pistol grip and forend. But hold on chaps - a mixture of chequering and stippling in each? This is radical stuff indeed. Actually, it’s all pin-perfect, as you would expect from any laser process, and looks rather good. It feels pretty good too, adding proper grip, and with the panels being slightly recessed along the forend, coupled with that thinned-out, tapered tip, there’s no doubt handling has been improved immeasurably over what went before. The final tweak of the stock profile comes with that indent and flat along the edge of the butt, but I reckon Weihrauch has missed a trick here.

Low line
The cheekpiece is bland, with little definition, and a bit low when using a scope. In Weihrauch’s defence, they actually state in their catalogue that the cheek is deliberately kept low to favour the use of the open ‘iron’ sights that come fitted as standard. That’s all very well, but the trouble is that so many bargains exist on the market for great value beginner’s scopes, meaning many enthusiasts won’t be able to resist the lure of one. Also, the performance on offer from this airgun easily warrants such a move.
However, if you do fancy a play with those open sights, you won’t be disappointed, even though the hooded foresight is actually a casting, despite appearing to have an adjustable element. The rear sight is an all-metal affair and sports two finger wheels for windage and elevation, and with nice clear markers on the elevation, it’s easy to adjust and works well in use.

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The Weihrauch experience
I have to be honest, despite all my bleatings about trying open sights first, I locked a scope into position just as soon as I hit the range, and when you do this, try not to look at those ridiculous instructions that still adorn the cylinder. With this latest HW99S, they’re even picked out in gold, for heaven’s sake! OK, I’ve calmed down, it doesn’t matter, breathe, and relax.
Time to get hands-on and see what this latest ‘99 can do. Weihrauch manufactures their own barrels, and that gives them a big advantage in terms of being able to guarantee quality control in-house, so to speak. At 15.5”, the HW99’s barrel is relatively short, and with no silencer up front, the amount of cocking effort is significant. In fact, where my test rifle was concerned, the final part of the stroke was the hardest. Complete the stroke in one quick downward motion, and momentum is on your side, but juniors would definitely struggle here.
On test, the stroke itself was super-smooth, with no spring ‘graunch’, and that classic Weihrauch crunch as the stroke completes, locking the piston back, setting the trigger and automatic safety, is here. A reassuring sound it is too, for those who appreciate what this German brand is all about.

Hidden subtlety
Look to the underside of the forend, and alongside that smart, recessed stock bolt, it’s noticeable how short the cut-out is, to allow for the cocking stroke. This is achieved by the use of the articulated linkage within, and a shorter slot means greater rigidity and strength within the stock. It’s all very slick and reassuring. Nudge a pellet home into the open breech, keep it nice and flush, then lock up the barrel, and we’re in business. Fire a few shots, and if the trigger needs adjustment, the Rekord design does allow the less experienced shooter a half-decent chance at lightening the pull weight, just by using that large bolt behind the trigger blade. Take care, and if adjustment results in the first stage going floppy and losing its ability to return under spring pressure, you’ve probably over-egged it. If in any doubt, seek guidance from an experienced individual who understands the system.

Performance figures
On test, the ‘99 shot well with a variety of ammunition, which is a testament to the barrel among other things. My test example was a bit ‘twangy’, with some spring resonance and subsequent noise to contend with, but the recoil was mild. Weihrauch airguns are the tuner’s favourite for good reason, and the ‘99 will respond brilliantly to correct lubrication and a tune-up, so that noise and resonance can be tamed, I’m sure.
While shooting on the range, 3/8” groups over 30 yards were fairly easy to achieve if I did my part, and shooting with a slight rest, I just got the impression this is an inherently accurate gun if properly guided, which is always a satisfying moment. Not all airguns are equal in the big scheme of things, and it’s the built-in features and fine pedigree that enhance our experience when it matters. This HW99S demonstrated great consistency, with a total spread of just 7 fps over a 10-shot string, which is superb, and partly explains the decent results downrange.
In the aim, the slimmed-down forend works well, and whilst those stock tweaks are largely cosmetic, they certainly look the part and really add to the overall enjoyment that comes from owning this classy airgun. The HW99S is a fairly simple no-nonsense design, yet it’s Weihrauch’s execution that elevates it above so many seemingly like-for-like rivals. If I must find fault, it’s the bland/vague cheekpiece, and I do wish Weihrauch would build more character into the woodwork of the entire range, to be honest. That said, it really is hard to fault the build quality and finish on offer here, and in an age of airgun superguns commanding eye-watering money, it’s difficult not to double-take at the ‘99’s RRP.

Verdict
This great little sporter is now better than ever. Indeed, the level of performance is such that this model has the potential for dedicated springer classes in both Field Target shooting and the HFT derivative. This means it also gets the thumbs up for serious hunting duties, and its lack of heft makes it suitable for a whole day of shooting out in the field. In short, conventional but highly appealing, and currently sub £300, making it great value for money.

Thanks to Range & Country Shooting Supplies in Sleaford, Lincs. for the kind loan of this rifle.

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gun
features

  • Name: : Weihrauch HW99S
  • Type: : Springer
  • Calibre: : 177 tested, .22 available
  • Barrel Length: : 15.5”
  • Overall Length::  40.5”
  • Weight: : 7lbs
  • Energy::  11.1 ft/lbs
  • Price::  £320 (guide)
  • Contact: : Hull Cartridge Company - www.weihrauch.co.uk
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