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This review is very close to my heart, as the HW35 was the first air rifle I ever bought with all my birthday, Christmas and odd job money. I have stayed true to that brand over the 40 intervening years and still enjoy a classic hunting trip with the iconic HW35! Now, Weihrauch have re-vamped this model from the standard version that has stayed in production from the start and now the HW35E (Export) version is available again.

The Export version was the priciest HW35 of the range, with the standard being the entry level option, with the deluxe oddly enough being in the middle! The Export, along with the Feinwerkbau Sport, Original 45, BSF 55 and BSA Airsporter were the top guns of their day, but the Teutonic flair for uncompromising build quality meant, to me, the HW35 was always the best.

This version is true to the original, except for the re-vamped internals to run a synthetic piston seal and longer life coil spring. Also, the barrel length has shrunk to 18.5-inches instead of the original 22”and is pleasingly better for it!

Oh, that stock!

No doubt about it, that stock is outstanding. Not only for its look, hold and handling qualities, but the real walnut timber quality of yesterday still shines through. I love synthetics on my hunting rifles but truly there is nothing like a good piece of wood; it’s probably a getting old thing! There are a few subtle differences from the original that HW35 aficionados will notice, such as slightly longer and less defined cheek piece and shorter wood at the forend around the locking catch. But the quality of walnut is still true to the original.

This model, from CH Weston’s, had a lovely dark colour with an even grain pattern and that open-grained, semi oiled finish that felt and smelt right. The longer, deep finger groove forend is unchanged and although never the best looker, is classic to this rifle and works a treat. The pistol grip on the Export loses the rounded end and has twin chequered panels with a black plastic and white spacer tip.

Best of all is the cheekpiece that the standard model is lacking and the Luxus has a Bavarian/ Bayern type. Now you have the classic, dropped cheek piece that is slightly longer than the original with a little less definition but still very nice! You also have the original sling swivel attachment, which I must admit would prefer to be a swivel stud for universal fitment, but the brown recoil pad with white spacer is still good looking and grippy.

Trigger and safety

The Rekord trigger has become a bench-mark amongst trigger mechanisms and certainly has withstood the test of time, as little has changed since its introduction. I took full advantage of its unique adjustability for both first and second stage pulls and honed the settings to my own preference, not too light for field use/hunting, yet light enough to aid in producing tight groups. The aluminium trigger blade is generous in proportions with curved lines and first and second stage pulls are very smooth and last stage sear release is one of the best! After-market brass triggers make a nice visual upgrade and Rowan Engineering supply brass, aluminium or black triggers of flat, curved or set back, as well as brass or aluminium trigger guards to spruce up the looks and feel.

The safety catch too is activated on cocking and a small button on the left rear of the receiver pops out to indicate activation or safety ‘ON’. This actually locks the trigger mechanism, so that no nasty accidents happen and is disengaged when the button is pushed in fully. Without an anti bear trap, the rifle can be de-cocked at this stage, by carefully allowing the barrel to go to the closed position after releasing the trigger; do not let that barrel fly back unaided, otherwise a bent barrel and split wood will be your reward.

Barrel and locking action

Overall finish is still top notch German engineering, with a good deep bluing but the name and calibre stampings on the receiver are not as precise as older models. Also, while we are at it, the Hull Cartridge name and serial number are obvious on the side of the barrel and looks unsightly, as does the awful safety warning on the rear cylinder section, sorry but it’s true. Let’s face it, litigation busting information on modern firearms is a real pain, visually!

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Build quality is hefty and that’s good, as it ensures durability as well as dampening recoil for better accuracy. Internals have the modern advantage too, with synthetic piston crowns to aid in consistent and smooth power delivery. The spring too has far less twang on firing than when I first owned my 35, and is designed to last longer, yet still provide full power – that could not be said for the older guns!

The receiver walls are nice and thick and possess twin dovetails running well over half the length of the top section, 11mm, whereas older HW35Es were 13mm.

Forward of the main body is the breech jaw area, which is where the HW35 differs from many of its contemporaries in that the solid barrel to receiver lock up is ensured via a locking latch system, rather than the more usual detent spring arrangement.

This has two advantages, in that the initial opening sequence of the rifle is very easy to achieve with no hard, stiff sprung ball catch to disengage. Simply thumb forward the catch located on the left side of the receiver to its utmost and the barrel will gently open without protest. Grip the barrel and continue the swing until the trigger sear engages with an audible click, as does the safety catch that automatic switches to SAFE at this stage, which is comforting.

Tight as a…

Locate a pellet in the rifling and swing the barrel back to the closed position, where the barrel latch will ride down the left side of the breech and securely reposition itself back in the locked position with the barrel and breech securely locked.

This system works well, with the advantage of its solid lock up that ensures consistent accuracy and no air escapes from the breech seal if it’s in good order!

The barrel is 18.5-inches long and has lost that typical pronounced HW35 Droop, but still has a little angle to it. The new Export still sports really good open sights, with interchangeable tunnel foresight elements and fully adjustable rear sight with a more enclosed body these days. You a have a rotating rear element for choice of U, V or squared aiming choices to match the foresight.


The HW35 is a real success story and adheres to the old adage of- if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I still want to see a thumb hole stock version again, that would be lovely. Performance-wise, you can see the results for yourself. After the initial and essential running in process for any springer, the rifle soon settled down to smooth, non-dieseling performance, with minimal spring twang and very consistent and quite poky performance.

Best velocity and energy figures went to the new lead free H&N FTT Green pellets that, at only 9.4-grains, light for a .22 cal, flew at 741fps for a generous 11.46ft/lbs and really good 0.55-inches, 5-shot groups at 25-yards. That’s with a classic Nikko Stirling German post reticle scope too! This performance was almost mirrored with the lead Premiers that at 14.4-grains shot 597fps for 11.40ft.lbs energy and smaller groups at 0.50-inches. Best accuracy went to the Field Target Trophies at 0.45-inches, which is really impressive and that was consistently, not a one-off! Velocity was 588fps with 11.21ft/lbs, which gives you a really good performing hunting pellet.

Overall, the new HW35E does not only look the part but also out performs its predecessors, I wonder if Weihrauch would re-introduce the HW55? Many thanks to C&H Weston Gunsmiths for supplying the test rifle.

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  • Model: Weihrauch HW35E
  • Action: Break Barrel
  • Power plant: Spring Piston
  • Sights: Yes, cylinder grooved for scope mounting
  • Stock: Walnut sporter
  • Length: 43.5-inches
  • Barrel: 18.5-inches
  • Trigger: 2-Stage Rekord, adjustable
  • Safety: Automatic
  • Calibre: .177 or .22 (.22 on test)
  • Price: £295
  • Contact: Hull Cartridge Company. www.hullcartridge.co.uk C&H Weston Gunsmiths. www.airgunexpress.co.uk