By: Pete Wadeson
Pete Wadeson once again revisits the Weihrauch HW99S and despite the latest silenced springers the company have launched still feels the need to champion its cause...
Most new Weihrauch break-barrels are now available screw cut and equipped with the acclaimed Weihrauch silencer - those being the HW95S, HW90S and HW80S (‘S’ denoting silenced). Yet I still seem to be drawn back to the unsilenced HW99S (to confuse the matter the ‘S’ in this case stands for sporter). So despite the lack of silencer and the rather ‘bland’ cosmetics of the HW99S, I still find it appealing and well worth a look, especially if you are after a springer in the light to middleweight category.
The HW99S has often been referred to as the lightweight powerhouse, a sort of lighter version of the HW80K. Personally I always thought that to be only a partially pertinent statement, as it suggested that the only redeeming feature of the rifle was the fact that at 6.7lb un-scoped it was lighter in weight than the HW80K.
Trim and proper
Granted it’s certainly trimmer in the stock department - no Monte Carlo cheek-piece here, just a simple yet solid stock design. I can’t deny it’s definitely a plain looking rifle but the design is such that it balances and handles well.
The low rather shallow cheek-piece has a slight hog bag design as it meets the narrow rubber butt pad. The forend proportionately complements the length of the rifle and is slim yet quite deep with a nicely rounded underside. No chequering or stippling to aid grip but once you start to handle and shoot the rifle you soon realise fancy frills aren’t needed on a workmanlike air rifle such as this. The shallow hardly perceptible cheek-piece is obviously designed for open sight work, but if you fit a sensible sized general specification optic in low to medium mounts the design is more than adequate for shooting the rifle scoped up.
Keeping the optics in place are the now standard regulation Weihrauch issue, three arrestor holes within ample deeply cut scope grooves on the HW99s slimmed down and shortened 30mm compression cylinder, making the rifle shorter than certain others in the Weihrauch range. Obviously this is also due to the rifle having a shorter barrel. This results in the HW99S taking quite a bit of heft to cock as the barrel doesn’t give much leverage as a longer one, and to achieve full power the internal spring I would think is stronger - more on both these traits later.
Any old irons
It’s nice to see that the HW99S comes equipped with a solid and traditional set of ‘irons’. Open sights on a Weihrauch are always welcome, as they add so much to a rifle in terms of value for money and versatility. I’m sure we can all appreciate how good it feels to simply take a new rifle out of the box, twirl a few thumbwheels and start shooting. Yep, I’ll always be a fan (where practical and beneficial) of using open sights. Talking of which, the hooded foresight post is quite chunky in width but still lines up nicely in the reversible square/V notch rearsight, without obscuring the target sight picture at sensible ranges. The rearsight unit itself has micro-adjustable thumbwheels for windage and elevation. Shooting with the irons set at 12 – 15yds can become quite addictive. In this guise un-scoped it makes for a superb fast handling ratter or feral pigeon pest control tool.
To fully appreciate the rifle’s accuracy capabilities it deserves to be scoped up, and most hunters will do this from the off. I’m not criticising that, but as I said before, you can have a lot of fun with this rifle open sighted. However, if you want to make full use of its performance then obviously a scope it is. I opted to fit a Nikko Stirling Mountmaster 3 – 9 X 40AO, a general specification scope well suited to the rifle.
The test rifle was in .177 calibre. Regular readers will know this is a calibre I prefer for most of my hunting. Shooting open sighted did immediately display the HW99S has a rather snappy recoil, but taking the bull by the horns, I set the scope’s zero for 30-yds. As one who grew up shooting springers there’s no doubt in my mind shooting a recoiling springer does give you a better grasp (no pun intended) of gun handling. Get used to the punchy yet manageable recoil and sub one inch groups are achievable at the zero mentioned.
Possibly due to the shorter barrel the rifle does have a distinctive ‘blat’ on firing. Not a report that concerns me personally on a rifle such as this, but don’t consider this an up-market plinker as I think the neighbours would soon tire of a lengthy session hearing this rifle sending pellets down the garden.
Accuracy is surely aided due to the fact that Weihrauch don’t scrimp in the all important trigger department. The ace up their sleeves being that the HW99S is fitted with the industry standard Rekord 2-stage trigger unit with automatic safety. This is arguably still one of the finest trigger unit fitted to any spring powered sporting air rifle.
On reflection it does seem I’ve been more critical this time around testing, what to me is a very familiar air rifle. In some ways I can even understand why other similar air rifles have appealed to the public over it in more recent times. However, what can’t and shouldn’t be forgotten is the Weihrauch HW99S is a very well built, rugged, reliable no-nonsense carbine size springer. It’s accurate and capable of virtually all jobs that the average airgun hunter would expect from it.
|Type||Single-Shot, Break-barrel, Spring & Piston|
|Stock||Beech wood sporter|
|Sights||Yes, and cylinder grooved for scope mounting|
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