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Weihrauch HW45 & HW75

Mark Camoccio compares two similar looking but very different Weihrauch air pistols; the spring powered HW45 and the pneumatic HW75.

Weihrauch have made quite a name for themselves in the world of airguns. Synonymous with sturdy, crisply executed, and superbly finished products, this famous German company is a classic example of the old adage that ‘you get what you pay for’.

This reputation for classy design and enduring build quality is ably illustrated by Weihrauch’s HW45 and HW75 air pistols, offering an intriguing choice to any enthusiast. Whilst the former is a full-power (6ft/lbs UK legal limit) spring-piston model, the HW75 offers a slightly more target orientated format, and a neatly designed single stroke pneumatic layout.

Both pistols have many similarities yet that inherent difference in the method of power delivery sets them clearly apart, each with their unique appeal.
First impressions with both are of a slightly military overtone; hardly surprising given that they very loosely follow the profile of the classic American made government Colt45 pistol. From the serrated pattern on the sides, to the sizeable hammer at the rear, it’s obvious that the detailing has been well observed.
I’m no particular fan of replica guns or military style airguns for that matter. With replicas, I just fail to see the attraction in a gun that can’t be fired and earn it’s keep, so to speak. With regards, to military style airguns, I just feel they create the wrong impression, and unnecessarily attract negative attention along the way.
With these two pistols here ,however, Weihrauch have won me over. The build quality is everything we have come to expect, whilst the design of both is so slick and well finished, that the end results are just undeniably appealing.


Externally, both pistols share identical metal frames, with those wonderfully chunky, slab-sided chassis setting them apart from an obvious firearm, and incorporating an integral trigger in the casting.
Many features are shared so well look at those first.
The manual safety catch fitted falls neatly to the thumb on the left hand side. When the pistol is ready to fire( i.e the small tab bar is in the forward position), a red dot shows, although as always, it’s never good practise to rely on any safety mechanism – being far better to fire the gun off and prove the action is empty. On this basis, I would hope this feature is largely redundant; anyhow, it’s not automatic so has to be consciously applied.
The cocking action of both is near identical, and very similar to the time honoured ‘up and over’ stirrup design used by Webley.
On the 45, the rear hammer is pulled back, releasing the top barrel carriage. This is hinged at the muzzle end, and can then be gripped with a reverse hold and pulled back to cock the action. A pellet is then chambered into the barrel and then the carriage is then returned and snapped down into place. The pistol is now ready to fire.
With this model, a conventional mainspring is powering the piston, yet the clever design incorporates two stages if required.
If the barrel assembly is pulled back to just 90 degrees, then the pistol can be shot at half power (around 2.5ft/lbs). If the barrel assembly is pulled all the way back (through an arc of around 135 degrees), then full power of up to 5.9 ftlbs is achievable.
It must be said that the half power option is by far the best, resulting in a much milder mannered action , with less kick and in turn, unsurprisingly greater accuracy; yet the power option is there (for more informal plinking sessions for example) – and a wonderfully clever feature it is too; making the 45 a versatile product.
One obvious point of interest here is that with regards to the HW45, when set on half power, the trigger too is significantly improved - allowing for lighter pulls into the bargain, although I’m well aware that the added kick and lively feel of the full power setting is part of the attraction for some. Each to his own as they say.


By contrast, the HW75 with it’s more dedicated target appearance, takes an intriguingly different approach to launching the lead; incorporating what has to be my favourite configuration of any airgun system – a single stroke pneumatic power plant.
The firing cycle here differs slightly from the 45, and is as follows: -Firstly the small button to the right of the rear hammer is pressed, and the same barrel carriage can then be lifted up. The barrel is pulled up and back in an identical fashion to the 45, yet in one deliberate sweeping motion. Towards the end of the outwards stroke, a small hiss can be heard as air is sucked in via the inlet hole, visible on the top of the piston compression tube. The return stroke requires somewhat more effort, as this actually compresses the quantity of air taken onboard.
The entire process is more about technique than real effort, and a confident movement makes the stroke a lot easier. One word of caution here when closing the action – apply pressure directly to the top of the barrel carriage, keeping any parts of the hand out of harms way, as the final part of the stroke sees the carriage snap down into place, with the potential to catch anything in it’s path. A conscious, methodical approach is all that’s required – and the rewards for your toil can then be appreciated. Finally, the hammer is pulled back to cock the action.
Both pistols share the same trigger blade – a good thing , since it is nicely shaped with a broad serrated front face, and subtle curve. Internally a sear or two is shared, but then the difference in the mechanisms comes into play.  A two stage action is incorporated into the design, with an extremely crisp, positive let –off (a Weihrauch forte after all) achievable on both. If anything, the HW75 gives a slightly lighter final pull weight; probably a result of the trigger having far less load to hold back in the design, although there’s not much in it.


I should point at this stage that my father has had one of the HW45 pistols in his armoury for some while now, and it’s given a great deal of enjoyment along the way, as we’ve fought it out in informal’ home championships’. Neither of us are crack shots with a pistol, yet the 45’s easy manner and inherently accurate action , coupled with a damn good trigger unit, make even us look proficient!


I just had a sneaky feeling all along that I was going to be impressed when I finally encountered the 75, and that mouth-watering pneumatic mechanism; and although it’s taken a while to catch up with it, I haven’t been disappointed.
The Wooden checquered grips on the 45 are both smart and nicely made; yet the target grips on the 75 (including full palm shelf) raise it up a level. A pronounced swell supports the thumb too, yet still the grip remains ambidextrous.
The single-stroke pneumatic principle is abasically the holy grail ,as far as I’m concerned, with regards to airgun design. The principle sounds simple: a totally independent, self-contained mechanism that compresses air as it’s taken in on each shot, resulting in a totally recoilless action.
Theory is often simple, yet the format has given designers many headaches over the years; with the fundamental problem being the difficulty in generating full power in a .177 calibre rifle layout. Even in .22, the effort required to charge the gun has normally been prohibitive, with the result that most designs have simply quietly disappeared.
Where air pistols are concerned, let’s face it, power is hardly vital, with accuracy and pure enjoyment being the pre-requisite.
Here, the HW75 comes into it’s own. It may only generate around 2.5ft/lbs if you’re lucky, yet I couldn’t care less. Indeed, performance figures are largely irrelevant in this instance.
What matters is how these pistols perform in their natural environment i.e over a 10yd or 20yd range – and I have to report that they impressed.
All groups were finally shot using the post and notch open sights, and Air Arms field pellets (since Weihrauch’s new Fand T pellets proved a little tight in the barrel.
The HW45, as stated, is an old friend, and in my hands, from a two-handed stance (on the half-power setting) is capable of grouping five shots within .75inch at 10yds, and a group of 1.25inch at 20yds – all delivered with aplomb, just a mild kick at the wrist, and aided by that great trigger.
A point of interest here is that the higher-power setting alters the zero by around 10inches at 20yds – so zeros/settings must be decided upon.
The 75, over the same distance was a revelation, and certainly lived up to my expectations. At 20yds, a five-shot group of just less that .75inch grabbed my attention; whilst the 10yd target, was as far as I’m concerned, stunning – forming a group3/8 inch ctc..
Both these fine pistols have extended dovetail rails so the fitting of a scope or sight, to maximize performance further, is an option.


With the HW45 and HW75, Weihrauch have two supreme examples worthy of the mark.
The sheer user friendly nature of their design just puts a smile on the face, enabling pretty impressive accuracy when you do your bit. Whilst obviously lacking the sophistication of full-blown Olympic standard target models, both these pistols manage to hold there own in the middle ground, offering plenty of features to extract a very creditable performance from the actions in the right hands.
Apparently a new variation of the HW45 may be launched later in the year, offering laminated grips and a snazzy finish , but no further details as yet.
As for these two gems, they may not be cheap, but class never is.
Spring or single stroke pneumatic – the choice is yours!

Technical Specifications
Model HW45 | HW75
Manufacturer Weihrauch
Country of origin Germany
Importer Hull Cartridge Company
Type spring/piston pistol | single stroke pneumatic
Calibre .177 and .22 | .177 only
Availability Dealer network
Overall length 11inch | 11inch
Barrel length 6.75 inch | 6.75inch
Weight 2.5lbs | 2.5lbs
Trigger 2 stage adjustable | 2 stage adj
Power 2.5 – 5.9ftlbs (variable) | 2.5ft/lbs
Price £232 | £278
Options Silver finish (STL) £257

All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates

Gun Mart Shooters Forum - Get Involved in the Discussion!
User Comments
  • Hi!
    I have both the HW45 and 75. Both are indeed wonderful air pistols. Yes, it is true, you get what you pay for and money spent to own either of these air pistols is money well spent.
    Good luck!
    Joe

    Comment by: Joe Morris     Posted on: 28 Sep 2009 at 03:14 PM

  • Why has noone reviewed the Sheridan EB177 or EB22? Its a superb 6ft/lb CO2 powered pistol, superbly accurate and great fun to shoot. If you have never used one then you are missing out!

    Comment by: Pat     Posted on: 26 Dec 2009 at 09:51 AM

  • We have reviewed both the EB177 and EB22 in GunMart magazine, but that was quite some time ago. At present we have lots of newer guns to get on to the website, but no doubt we will get back to the Sheridans in due time.

    Comment by: Pat Farey     Posted on: 26 Dec 2009 at 11:55 AM

  • hello there im intresting to buy and pey whith maestro card this item hw 45 .177 cal. 2 stage power please tell me how it cost and how many dey or week they do com inb grecce dimitris lolis from grecce 26 yerd old thank you

    Comment by: dimitris lolis     Posted on: 12 Feb 2010 at 02:16 PM

  • The GunMart website does not supply guns, we only review them to help with the customers choice.

    The HW45 and HW75 are available throughout Europe, try contacting the maker - Wiehrauch - online, to find your nearest stockist.

    Comment by: pat farey     Posted on: 14 Feb 2010 at 11:49 AM

  • how loud is the HW45 compared to a C02 AIR PISTOLs.
    i am going to buy a new one i cant wait

    Comment by: MATT     Posted on: 07 Jul 2010 at 02:57 PM

  • The muzzle blast from most manual powered airguns - even the HW45 - is fairly insignificant, as are most CO2 pistols, but they are different to each other. By far the best way of comparing them is to go to a local airgun club and listen for yourself. On the other hand, get the shop owner (when you buy your HW45) to let you fire it a couple of times to judge the muzzle report. You ought to do this anyway - no matter what airgun you are buying - as a gun that one of your friends really likes or something that a reviewer in a magazine raves about, may not suit you. Always try before you buy.

    For what it's worth, I have had many air pistols and CO2 pistols, and the only ones that I've regretted selling are my HW45 (I'm actually buying another one), a custom BSA Scorpion and a Umarex 6" S&W revolver clone, and none of those was particularly loud (although the Scorpion had a moderator fitted).

    Comment by: Pat Farey     Posted on: 07 Jul 2010 at 08:42 PM

  • Is this pistol powerful enough for close range pest control, and are there any other makes or models you would recommend? thanks will

    Comment by: william bicknell     Posted on: 25 Aug 2010 at 11:52 PM

  • The pneumatic HW75 pistol is extremely accurate but not powerful enough to be suitable for pest control.

    However, theoretically the spring/piston HW45 pistol is accurate enough and powerful enough (at approx 5ft/lbs muzzle energy) for close range pest control, but I must stress that it depends entirely on three factors: The size of the quarry, the range of the target and your own skill with a pistol.

    As always, the distance that you can comfortably and consistently put a pellet into a 1” circle is your own ‘maximum hunting range’.

    Personally, wherever possible, I would always use a rifle, not a pistol, for close range pest control.

    Comment by: Pat Farey     Posted on: 26 Aug 2010 at 11:21 AM

  • Please can you advise re: (indoor) Target pistol shooting .

    I Recently purchased a Crosman .22 2240 & it's 'LOUD' - way too loud by my standards.

    It would be easy to go down the road (& get caught up ) with customizing e.g. silencer , silencer adaptor , better trigger ,metal breech and the list goes on. . . and on . . .

    So as i understand it a pneumatic air pistol would be much much quieter as opposed to a spring mechanism affair . Enter the WH 75 . Would this be the case ?

    I am only a few weeks into my new interest ( after a gap of some thirty years or so ) and I am beginning to find a firm direction towards target (style ) pistols e.g. : Gamo Compact , FAS 604 etc . So i can imagine this could draw me into deep water & unfortunately I am not a great swimmer .

    The CO2 pistol by Crosman does have an appealing loading system which can be switched to operate without changing hands i.e. replacing with a left hand breech & bolt.
    So to give this up for what seems to me to be a left arm exercise machine & a fiddly .77 pellet loading process such as the WH75 just doesn't convince me to take the plunge .

    Clearly therefore my lack of experience & knowledge in the world of Air Pistol shooting brings me to your door .

    Thank You ,
    DG .

    Comment by: Des Gorman     Posted on: 08 Jun 2012 at 08:02 PM

  • Both the HW45 and HW75 are fantastic air pistols and I'm sure you'll really enjoy either one. I've used both and can't really put one above the other as far as ease of use is concerned. I didn't find either of them difficult to cock or fiddly to load.

    The HW75 obviously has a more target oriented grip which I liked, but then again the Colt 1911 styling of the HW45 really does it for me too!

    I think your best bet would be to go to a decent gunshop with a good selection of pistols and hopefully you'd be able to try some. Sorry to be a vague, but there really are quite a lot of pistols that you might like.

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 10 Jun 2012 at 02:54 PM

  • I have had a HW45 for many years and it has given me many hours of fun. Clay shooting is my passion now and yet I still find myself struck with the sudden urge to have a plink with the old , trusty 45.

    Thinking of getting an air pistol? get the HW45.......you will not regret it !!

    Comment by: danoi99     Posted on: 28 May 2013 at 07:32 PM

  • since july 2013 I am HW 45 black star happy owner! it's certainly not the best of air spring, I have too the famous Baikal izzy..IZH46M this one like target ...but soot with HW45 is not comparable Try it you will not regret!

    Comment by: pascal     Posted on: 29 Sep 2013 at 03:46 PM

  • Hi just purchased a HW45 and im finding my eyes are not as good as they once were :-( and i am strugling with the open sights. Could anybody recomend a reasonabley priced red dot sight that will fit rail on the HW45.
    Thanks in advance

    Comment by: martin     Posted on: 03 Jun 2014 at 07:06 PM

  • Hawke make a nice little red dot sight, the HK3205 and it's bargain at £39.95. Go to www.deben.com

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 03 Jun 2014 at 11:14 PM

  • Unfortunately the Deben Hawke sight will not fit this weapon as it is a 9 - 11mm fitting. The HW45 is a 13mm rail.

    Comment by: Lanzecki     Posted on: 08 Jul 2014 at 11:03 PM

  • I have both HW 45 in 4,5mm HW 75 in 4,5mm and a gun manufactured by Weihrauch in 1980 HW 45 ESP in 22 long rifle based on the HW45 spring gun.....

    Comment by: Pascal     Posted on: 09 Jul 2014 at 06:27 AM

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Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
Weihrauch HW45 & HW75
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