Weihrauch HW100 Sporter PCP Rifle
The Weihrauch HW100 Sporter has become immensely popular with hunters – now Mark Camoccio gives his opinion from an HFT viewpoint
When I tested the HW100KT a couple of years ago, I was mightily impressed, as the rifle shined in just about every department. However, as an unashamedly competitive animal, I always keep one eye on a rifle’s potential for Hunter Field Target (HFT), or FT, and carbine length actions just don’t do it for me.
Personal taste should never be underestimated, and whilst the carbine ‘KT’ model would represent the perfect choice for many, (especially hunters who require a lighter, more manageable rifle), I always prefer full length rigs, which ideally have more weight towards the muzzle., as well as obviously an increased shot capacity.
Each to his own as they say, but with HFT shooting my main pursuit these days, I was
keen to evaluate the full-length HW100 action. Add to this the lure of Weihrauch’s stylish Sporter stock option, and it was obvious I had to arrange delivery.
A bit on the side
The HW100 in its many forms is basically a high quality sporting PCP, featuring a rotary magazine and side-lever action. Presentation is a great way to impress any new customers, and just opening the manufacturer’s protective carton reveals a well thought out package. Weihrauch see fit to pack these rifles with their air cylinders separate from the main action, so some basic assembly is required at the start. This is hardly IKEA though, and the simple matter of carefully passing the air cylinder through the bracket at the fore-end, then screwing it securely into its thread at the breech block, isn’t overly demanding. Weihrauch fashion their HW100 air cylinders from stainless steel, which adds slightly more weight; but as previously stated, any increase in front weight has my vote.
Hidden elsewhere in the packaging, is a very neatly presented carton, containing a brass filling adaptor, a brass bleed valve, the quick fill adaptor probe, and two rotary magazines. The manufacturers have clearly covered all bases, and with comprehensive instructions enclosed, any newcomer to the sport should be set upon the right path.
With regards to those enclosed accessories - the brass filling adaptor allows for the main cylinder to be removed and charged from a bottle, whilst the bleed valve allows for the cylinder to be removed, and then emptied of air via the screw accessed pressure valve.
In reality, these items should never see light of day, since normal procedure will be to leave the air cylinder well alone, (in situ on the rifle), and just use the ultra slick quick- fill probe, which just needs to be pushed into the air inlet at the muzzle. I suppose further down the line, a periodic inspection of the cylinder internals would be a good safety measure, and at least this design allows for that.
Once 200bar has been reached, the probe is simply pulled out, and the small nylon plug supplied is pushed into place, to protect the valving - a nice touch, sadly missing with many designs on the market.
That sporting look
First impressions of the woodwork is of a superior quality piece of finely figured walnut, treated to a very smart, matt finish, which would be receptive to further oiling. The configuration of the Sporter stock is very pleasing to the eye, with extensive laser-cut chequering adorning the extended fore-end and pistol grip area. Whilst Weihrauch used to be the kings of hand-cut chequering, modern production methods have inevitably taken a hold. Who can blame them though, when the finished item is still so satisfying to the touch?
Distinctive styling includes a deliberately angular cheek-piece, and a neatly accommodating fore-end; yet, whilst the hand grip is comfortable, I reckon it could do with being just slightly thinner… and I do have fairly large hands. Finish is exemplary though, with a white spacer and Rosewood grip cap, and a subtle butt pad adding the finishing touch.
Multi or single
When Weihrauch introduced the HW100, they set out from the start to provide a magazine fed action, and it took them a while to cater for anyone with single shot ambitions. Now however, a single-shot adaptor is available, which can be clicked into place. The single chamber just flicks out to the side to be reloaded, and gives the rifle greater appeal to a wider audience - all available as an optional extra. Indeed this option would make sense if HFT shooting is your intention, bringing added safety to any competition routine.
The side-lever cocking action on these rifles is becoming ever popular around the airgun scene, but few designs can match Weihrauch for the exquisitely precise operation achieved. A single finger can pull back the lever, against the merest of resistance, which culminates in a delightful metallic ring as the precision parts go about their business. This is music to the ears of us enthusiasts who, whilst appreciating fine engineering, I agree, really must get out more!
At this stage, the magazine needs to be primed. As previously mentioned, all HW100’s come supplied with two rotary magazines, which are in themselves finely produced items. What sets the Weihrauch magazine design apart from many, however, is the sheer robustness and engineering integrity of the design. Firstly, the 14 shot mags consist of a single metal casting with chambers; no plastic lids-indeed no plastic! To access the magazine when in the action, the magazine retaining clip is pushed backwards via the side button on the rifles action. This withdraws the internal ‘teeth’ which hold the mag in place. The mag can now be pulled from its recess. Pellets are then fed into the chambers in turn, just nudging against a retentive ‘o’ ring. Once loading is complete, push the magazine into its slot, push the side button forwards, then the cocking lever can be returned. As usual, it all sounds fiddly, but in practise, it’s child’s play. Now 14 shots can be taken at your leisure before the dirty business of handling lead needs to be considered - which is pretty significant.
The down side, with this style of magazine, of course, is that there is no protective lid or casing on the mag itself, so if the extra magazine is stored in a pocket, for example, dirt and grit can become more of an issue. Respect for the set-up however, with some type of small clean storage container, should eradicate the problem. Additional irritation comes with the fact that it is both possible to load the mag from the wrong side, then load it into the action the wrong way round! The side clip and lever will not return, but by this stage, a time-consuming emptying process needs to be undertaken. I have to admit that I did this once at the beginning of this test, and whilst no major problem, surely it can be made more… er… idiot proof? (Editor’s note: I guess that last statement depends on the idiot) Of course familiarization is the answer, and there is a difference in the sides of the casting, but I learnt the hard way.
Shooting the HW100S
Weihrauch fit a support bracket which holds the cylinder and barrel, within ‘o’ rings. However, for those obsessed with totally free floating barrels, the bracket can be simply unscrewed, and gently pulled from the action, once the stock is removed; and a cleaner line is achieved in the process.
That screw-on silencer looks good too and comes as part of the package. Weihrauch’s design became the industry benchmark once it was introduced, and whilst some rivals may now be as effective (even better), this model still works superbly, whilst adding front weight to the muzzle. Internal baffles, which look remarkably like hair curlers, certainly tame the muzzle crack to a minimum, all helping to add a civilized air to the proceedings.
Balance of this model is really rather good, with kneeling and standing discipline shots feeling good in the aim. Superior build quality comes at a price though, and at around 8.5lbs, it’s a beefy rifle and maybe too weighty for some. Something to bear in mind with any purchase in any case.
Quality triggers are par for the course with this German manufacturer, and the HW100 comes with a nice crisp set-up. Whilst I would still prefer lighter settings, this unit is a good one, and I appreciate my near trigger obsession is shared by few.
Expect 80-100 shots in .177 and my chrono showed a highly acceptable spread of 19fps over the first 80 before the spread slowly increased. This is an unregulated model remember, utilizing a ‘self regulating’ valve, so the figures are doubly impressive.
Accuracy was, as expected from this high class brand - excellent. Whilst my usual Daystate pellets still grouped well, RWS Superfield just edged them out on this occasion, returning 1/4inch groups at 30yds, and 1/2inch at 45yds, proving that trials are always worth undertaking.
In short, this is one of the best sporting pneumatics on the market, and as such, simply has to be high on any short list; be it for hunting or the demanding sport of Hunter Field Target.
|Type||Multi or single shot PCP|
|Stock||Sporter style walnut|
|Sights||No open sights, cylinder grooved for scope fitting|
|Shot Count||80-100 approx|
|Energy||11.4ft/lbs (780fps) using RWS Superfield 4.51 pellets|
|Velocity spread||19fps (775-794fps) monitored over 80 shots|
|Calibre||.177 on test (.22 available)|
Single-shot pellet carrier £35approx
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates