Bruce Potts recommends that you should bank on quality when buying a break barrel rifle, and here he tests one of the best – the Weihrauch HW95K
Longevity, desirability and quality are things that most people look for in a new purchase of any item these days, all too often cheap copies can seem good value but rarely are. With an airgun it is important to pay for a certain level of quality which is especially true with a break barrel spring gun. The spring/piston system and barrel cocking design feature of any break barrel air rifle need to be robust and well designed if the rifle is to deliver any degree of accuracy and consistency.
Weihrauch is one make that stands firmly on the side of sturdy yet refined design, and you always know what you are getting with this maker; quality at a fair price.
The older HW35 and HW80 designs are big chunky rifles which I like but there is certainly a need for a slimmer and lighter weight version, yet keeping the same design features and power levels. The HW95 and now the 95K (K for carbine) gives a hunter a full 12ft.lbs rifle in a trimmer package.
In keeping with the hunter pedigree the stock reflects a sporter type profile with nice rounded edges and comfortable shape. The rounded off forend has no chequering but cups in the hand nicely, whereas the pistol grip is chequered and raked to give a comfortable length of pull of 14.25 inches. There are no sling swivels which is a shame but a solid rubber recoil pad with black spacer is so much better than some of those plastic jobs. In the shoulder the raised cheek piece is present to both sides of the butt section of the stock making the HW95 virtually ambidextrous and is high enough and thus angled so that scopes of medium height can be viewed correctly.
The overall finish is matt ‘walnut’ stained lacquer which is certainly practical and makes the best of the underlying beech stock. Tough and useable without the risk of worrying about scratching a lovely piece of walnut, so you can crawl through the undergrowth after rabbits and keep your mind on the job at hand.
Sensibly the HW95 is offered as a carbine version which is much better suited to hunting, and allows a moderator to be fitted without undue increase to the overall length of the hunting outfit. The HW95 has a 12 inch barrel with a slender girth which is threaded at the muzzle with a ½ inch UNF pitch which suits most moderator types, although it must be said that the supplied Weihrauch version is one of the best on the market. Measuring 7.75inches long with a diameter of an inch the simplistic internal design gives maximum noise reduction for the lightest 4.5ozs! There is also the advantage that the mod doubles as a helpful cocking aid; the shorter the barrel, the heavier the cocking effort, so the extra leverage given by the moderator is welcome.
A muzzle brake option is also available that shortens the length by about 3.25 inches but the moderator has to be the better bet for hunting.
The crux of any break barrel design is keeping the barrel to chamber alignment for consistent power transfer and accuracy. The HW95 has a good solid tension adjustment jaws with sliding shims to keep the barrel secure with the lock up being managed by a strong hinged latch system.
The receiver is a stout yet slimmed down version of the HW80 design. The cocking stroke is smooth and rattle free, with this best being conducted with a tap on the barrel to open up the action and then one smooth stroke that cocks the piston and sets the trigger.
The last point of the cocking stroke sets the trigger, and the safety catch ‘button’ automatically protrudes from the rear left side of the chamber. I like this as you have to make a conscious effort to disengage the safety before a shot can be fired. You can also decock the rifle (if you were not to shoot a round), by re-cocking the barrel and holding it firmly while pulling the trigger, then letting the barrel return under controlled spring pressure (never letting go of the barrel).
The trigger pull is two stage and gives a good degree of feel. The first stage allows an initial on target alignment before the final stage releases the piston. The factory set pull is a tad heavier than expected but the Rekord trigger unit is synonymous with a good degree of adjustment, so you can set the trigger release up as you like it.
Overall finish is typically Weihrauch, which means it’s good; blueing is both deep and even textured, being perfect for a hunting arm. There are no open sights, but the receiver is well grooved for scope mounting with dual 6.5 inch length dovetails.
I fitted a really rather good BSA Sweet 17 scope that I had been reviewing on an .17HMR rifle, but it suited the proportions of the Weihrauch very well. This cost effective scope actually proved very successful, with good quality optics and the benefit of an external elevation trajectory adjustment turret - very handy on a hunting arm.
Note: All readings are averages of five shots with each pellet brand. Pellet weights are in grains, Velocity is measured in feet per second (fps), Energy is measured in foot pounds (ft/lbs) and Accuracy results are measured in inches (for a five shot group fired at 30 yards)
Pellet Weight Velocity (fps) Energy (ft/lbs) Accuracy
RWS Superpoints 14.40 586 10.98 1.0
H&N Field Target Trophy 15.56 571 11.27 0.65
Lazapell 14.50 585 11.02 0.75
Crosman Premiers 14.26 598 11.33 0.55
Bisley Superfields 15.0 560 10.45 0.95
H&N Baracuda 20.54 460 9.65 1.25
Bisley Magnum 21.40 449 9.58 0.5
RWS Hobby 12.10 647 11.25 0.75
Air Arms Field 16.25 571 11.77 0.5
As with all break barrel piston springed air rifles they have their preferences and dislikes and being a light slim sporter rifle you have to manage the movement of the rifle on firing to maximise the accuracy potential from the HW95K.
The ultra smooth cocking cycle and unbelievably quiet moderator makes this Weihrauch feel and sound underpowered, but as can be seen from the performance table, the trim HW95 is a mighty performer, being able to shoot a variety of pellet designs and weights. All the pellets tested were within the legal limit, so no nasty surprises, and as expected the highest velocity went to the light Hobby pellets with enough accuracy too. However by testing all these pellets you can make a more refined choice of the best pellet for you. I prefer accuracy over sheer power, although as a hunting arm muzzle energy is certainly part of the equation.
Premiers offered a blend of five shot 0.55 inch groups at 30 yards with a good 598fps velocity and 11.33 ft/lbs energy. The Air Arms Fields shot slightly slower but with more energy, due to being heavier pellets, and the accuracy was just that bit better. Best consistency shot to shot went to the Bisley Magnums with only 8fps variation over five shots, which is superb for a springer, but power and velocity were too low for realistic rabbit ranges (these pellets are best used in pre-charged pneumatic rifles).
I like the simplicity of the break barrel design, no need to worry about filling up with air or following a power curve on an unregulated pre-charged pneumatic. The springer offers hassle free shooting if you are prepared to put in the effort to eke every last bit of accuracy of the system. Designed for hunter use, the 95K will cope with any shooting situation. Accuracy is more than good enough for most people and the power levels despite its slender size are right up there with its bigger brothers. The moderator is a definite bonus and a worthy addition whether you hunt or not, and the price is realistic and offers good value in real terms, as Weihrauchs seemingly last forever and shoot well straight from the box.
|Calibre||.22 on test (.177 available)|
|Overall Length||45 inches with moderator|
|Length of Pull||14.25 inch|
|Barrel Length||12.25 inch|
|Trigger||Adjustable Two stage|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates