Weihrauch HW99S .22
Mark Camoccio looks at a Weihrauch springer that still has a lot to offer
Weihrauch’s foray into the world of pre-charged pneumatics (PCPs) has seen them hog the headlines of late, with a succession of upgrades, and eye-catching designs to tempt the enthusiast. Yet one glance at their product list shows why this strong German brand is still arguably better known for their extensive line-up of spring-powered fare. On test here is the diminutive HW99S, and considering it was first officially imported to the UK by Hull Cartridge, way back in 1996, I’m amazed to be confirming my first dalliance with this model!
Traditional break-barrel sporters (still as popular as ever) are Weihrauch’s forte, and the HW99S is a super compact design, that packs a punch. Part of the reason for my ‘blind spot’ where this gun is concerned, is the fact that Weihrauch’s own literature shows this model as the HW50S, branded as such for other markets. Just why this is the case, I’m not quite sure, but having wrongly assumed it was a junior model, I had subconsciously shown little interest; up to now!
UK bound ‘99S’s are only available in .177 or .22, rather than the usual host of special order specs, so popular with this manufacturer. Yet once you appreciate the blueprint here is all about simplicity, it makes sense. ‘Power to weight ratio’, has to be the main selling point, of this, over other HW’s; and on that score, we have a real beauty on our hands. A slimmed down main compression cylinder forms the centre of the action, and with a relatively short barrel, and slim woodwork to match, the end result is a highly manageable sporter, fit for purpose.
Given this model’s rather general purpose remit, the inclusion of metal iron sights makes great sense. Unusual is the fact that the front tunnel appears to have a removable collar so that you can change foresight elements. In reality, this is not the case, as it’s a dummy, one-piece casting doubtless for the look of the thing! This helps keeps cost down of course, and function-wise, the sight picture is spot on, with a traditional post and notch set up, and fully adjustable spring loaded finger wheel rear assembly.
As an aside, from what I hear, open sights are becoming increasingly popular, with shooters who wish to enjoy totally relaxed shooting, without any of the pressures and expectancy of more sophisticated set-ups. For novices and newcomers to the sport, learning the art of marksmanship, with the basics, as I never tire of saying, will stand them in good stead, right from the start.
Finely pre-polished metal surfaces and rich chemical bluing throughout, confirm this rifle’s pedigree, along with the over-sized cross bolt at the breech, to take up any slack or wear over time. Like any good manufacturer, who doesn’t plan on resting on their laurels, Weihrauch introduce subtle, on-going product revisions from time to time, and where the ‘99S is concerned, several areas have come in for a re-vamp in recent years.
Most noticeable is the stylish woodwork, now fashioned and machined by Minelli in Italy; fast becoming the stock manufacturer of choice within the industry. The slimmed down, super sleek forend is particularly impressive, with the curved tip, ultra comfortable in the palm of the leading hand. Panels on each side of the forend and pistol grip are half chequered and half stippled, and whilst unusual, this design feels great in the aim, as well as adding aesthetic appeal overall. One negative, and my only gripe, to be fair, is that annoyingly vague cheek piece. Some angular definition would be such an improvement visually, yet as a general catch-all design, I can’t deny it does the job!
Improvements and upgrades
Further upgrades are included in the cocking mechanism. An articulated linkage means the size of the cut-out in the underside of the stock, is kept to a minimum, whilst a Delrin glide keeps friction at bay. Crack the barrel down, and the relatively modest cocking effort required, instantly becomes apparent. The stroke is super smooth, ending in that characteristic crunch, synonymous with Weihrauchs as the trigger engages with the piston, and the auto safety sets itself. All very slick and reassuring, as is the finely machined breech face; now chamfered at the lip, to accept tighter ammo with less fuss.
Expected power levels are officially specified as 10.5-11 ft/lbs in the smaller calibre, with full power in .22. A rough guide of course, and for the record, my .22 version on test produced an average of 11.1 to 11.2 ft/lbs energy, using Air Arms Diabolo Field (JSB’s) and Daystate Rangemaster Li’s respectively. A total spread of only 4 to 8 fps respectively over 10-shots, shows remarkable consistency too!
On the range
Over 30 yds, both pellets grouped well, with the Daystate Rangemaster Li’s tearing ½” clusters, and the Air Arms even smaller by a whisker. Creditable performance then, and with the famed multi-adjustable, 2-stage Rekord trigger all part of the deal, fine accuracy was always likely. Lack of heft and good balance, means the HW99S will find favour on those field trips, where distance over the course of the shoot, may become an issue. At 6.7lbs this is a pokey lightweight, for sure, yet felt recoil and the shot cycle overall, are both fairly civilized and manageable.
Apparently this model is a huge seller for official UK importers/distributors Hull Cartridge, and the combination of a scaleddown lightweight design, and near full power output, is indeed a potent one. Take another look at that highly competitive asking price, weigh up Weihrauch’s build quality, and for those on a budget, after a portable, yet powerful sporter, this model demands inclusion on any short list.
|Type||Break-barrel, spring powered hunter/starter gun|
|Calibre||.177, .22 on test|
|Trigger||‘Rekord’ 2-stage adjustable|
|Velocity||(over 10-shot string) Using Air Arms Diabolo (JSB) pellets
|Contact||Hull Cartridge, 01482 342571|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates