Weihrauch HW77K Under-lever Action Rifle
Pete Wadeson finally gets his chance to test the legendary Weihrauch HW77K, one of the most popular under-lever action rifles on the market…
Some air rifles have been with us for such a long time, and used to such good effect by both hunter and target shooter, that they become for want of a better term, ‘legendary.’ However, as time passes some of those air rifles begin to fall out of favour with the shooting public due to, dare I say it, more ‘fashionable’ ones and certainly more technologically advanced designs being launched as airgun manufacture progresses.
I say this due to the fact that the HW77 or its carbine (K) derivative at one time was for many shooters the rifle to aspire to. Hard to imagine then that throughout the time I’ve been ‘into’ shooting airguns at one time or another, though I’ve probably owned or tested virtually all models on the Weihrauch springer roster, never until now have I had the chance to try a brand new HW77K. It was this thought that had me request a rifle for review from official importers Hull Cartridge Co. So after a quick call ‘hey presto’ one has winged its way down to me for test.
In hindsight I think possibly the reason I’ve never owned a HW77K is due to the fact I’ve always had an HW80K in my armory.
I’ve also previously presumed the HW77K to be the under-lever version of the HW80. However, during this test a lot of attractive and practical features have shown themselves, indicating there’s a whole lot more to this rifle than I first expected. Talking of expectations, I went into this test knowing at one time this was the rifle to beat in the FT springer discipline. One of the reasons for this was the fact it lent itself perfectly to being tuned by the then ‘custom airgun house’ that was Venom Arms. So with a list of wins, placings and devotees in tow I can now discover for myself if this rifle deserves its almost ‘iconic’ cult status.
Over the years the stock has slightly changed and like many Weihrauch’s in its own way is attractive yet very practical. The mid-brown stain beech stock has a medium height cheekpiece and a relatively lengthy chunky forend with a well rounded underside.
Chequering is only applied as a generous panel either side of the pistol grip, which ends in a ribbed black plastic end cap with white line spacer. The full brown rubber butt pad is similarly cosmetically separated from the wood by a white line spacer.
The HW77 and ‘K’ carbine version both boast a pair of solid and bold open ‘iron’ sights. These consist of a large raised foresight post to line up in a notch in the removable adjustable rearsight. Windage and elevation are altered by two serrated edge thumbwheels and the height of the cheekpiece gives a happy medium between using the open sights or for scope use. Incidentally, to fit a set of optics you need to remove the rearsight which is actually clamped onto the forward section of dovetails. A recessed cross head screw holds the rearsight base in place, so no hardship to unscrew and slide it off.
This then allows you full access to the decent run of deep cut dovetails with three arrestor stud holes should you wish to use a scope mounts arrestor pin to prevent scope creep.
The under-lever is retained solidly under the barrel in the retainer until you press in the very end of the under-lever which releases it so you can cock the rifle. The lever doesn’t ‘drop’ into your hold during this operation as it’s still held by a rubber ‘O’ ring that prevents it rattling around in the housing. Now this is definitely an adult size air rifle as even the relatively short cocking stroke takes quite a bit of heft. As the under-lever is drawn back to the cocked position the sliding breech retracts back into the action to reveal a roomy loading bay. As the lever fully cocks and locks back the familiar automatic safety button positioned at the rear left of the air cylinder pops out of the action to indicate the rifle is now fully cocked and on safe. Despite this, as always, keep your hand on the under-lever as you thumb a pellet directly into the now exposed breech, swing the under-lever back to the closed position where it will once again be held very securely under the 14.5” quality tube in the sturdy under-lever retaining housing. It should be noted this part of the rifle is very solid, as it not only holds the under-lever but also sleeves over the fixed barrel and is the base for the raised foresight.
A man-sized gun
Talking of sights; after removing the rearsight I scoped up with one of the new versions of the adjustable objective illuminated reticle Walther 4 – 12 X 50 CI. A very nice scope which set in high mounts and dialed in for a 30-yd zero, proved a nice pairing for the .177 calibre test rifle. I’ve not found Weirauch springers to be overly pellet fussy so used Bisley Magnum to produce sub ½” size groups at the set zero.
On firing and handling the HW77K showed itself again to be a man size rifle, the un-scoped weight of 8.8lbs helps quell the expected but manageable recoil. Hardly surprising there are now dedicated Weihrauch push on silencers available as the rifle report is as you’d expect of a full power springer. Another feature that shines is the fully adjustable 2-stage Rekord trigger unit with auto-safety. Any Weihrauch this unit is fitted to it more than does it justice, as undoubtedly even the trigger mechanism has become ‘the stuff of legends.’
Though I really like the HW77K, as there’s no doubting the capability of this rifle, personally I’d opt for certain other models in the Weihrauch stable, definitely the lighter models such as the HW99S or HW95S. Having said that, the HW77K is a very well built, accurate and easy to use air rifle. For traditionalists who like their under-lever action sporters to be solid, reliable and substantial then, I can’t see its popularity waning in the near future.
|Type||Under-lever, Spring & Piston Single-Shot|
|Stock||Beech wood sporter|
|Sights||Adjustable open sights and grooved for scope mounting|
|Calibre||.177 on test .20 .22 and .25 available|
|Optional Extra||Dedicated Weihrauch push on silencer £68|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates