- By Graham Allen
- 4 Comments
- Last updated: 28/02/2017
Weihrauch built their reputation by producing high quality spring piston airguns and back in the 1970s and 80s they really gave the UK gun companies a run for their money with the HW35, HW80 and HW77. Their up to date designs and high-end production techniques were far superior to our home-grown efforts, especially with their ‘Rekord’ trigger unit but English companies hit back with pre charged pneumatics (PCPs). The UK’s PCPs were all conquering and much sought after, both here and abroad.
Weihrauch kept on producing what they knew best i.e. quality springers and were obviously very successful, so they were therefore rather late to the PCP party, but when they eventually launched the HW 100, they were back in the game in a big way. The Germans had obviously been developing their PCP for quite some time, as they got it right first time. The HW 100 was a huge success from day one and has been a very popular model ever since. As with all things however, raw materials and production costs go up and as a consequence prices in the shop end up creeping up too. The recommended price of an HW 100 is now around £839, still very good value for what it is but maybe a bit much for a lot of people. Their HW 101 is obviously more affordable at around £630 but it’s a single shot model, not a multishot. The Weihrauch management clearly aren’t daft and they were obviously aware of the lower priced models offered by other companies and that there was a sector of the market that they might be missing out on. The new fruit of their labours is the HW 110 (on test) and what a lovely little rifle it is!
I’m aware that Pete Wadeson has already tested the HW110 in a past issue, but Editor Pete Moore wanted my take on the rifle, as often other aspects of a design can come to light. The HW 100 has a beautifully machined and anodised action but it’s obviously an expensive component to produce and finish. So Weihrauch took the unprecedented step of moulding it from polymer. A lot of modern military and civilian firearms have components made from high strength polymers, as they can do the job of aluminium alloys at a fraction of the weight. They’re also easier and cheaper to produce (once the expensive moulds have been designed and made of course!) and can form quite intricate shapes in one go, without a lot of extra machining.
Suffice to say the 110’s polymer action does everything that the HW100s does; securely holds the barrel, air reservoir, magazine, trigger etc. at a fraction of the cost. If you’re thinking that the end result might look a bit cheap and nasty, it doesn’t!
A real benefit of the design is the integral Picatinny rail on the top of the action block. If you’re worried about the long-term durability you don’t have to be, as it’s a solid base with no issues on scope creep and security or even damage to the rail by metal rings! I’m sure Weihrauch have done their research and they’re not going to put something into production that’s not up to the job! This rifle has been in development for a couple of years and the company didn’t want to rush it out, it’s certainly been a wise decision.
The 110’s rotary magazine is very similar in design to that of its stablemate, in that it’s a black anodised alloy wheel, with holes machined in it to accept the pellets; a rubber O-ring around the outside of the mag holds each pellet in place. The mag can only be inserted one way and pellets are loaded into the more ‘open’ side. Notches around the outside are utilised by the action to rotate it clockwise each time the side-lever (also polymer) is activated and feed is faultless! An in-built device stops the user double loading the rifle too, even if the action is cycled again, it simply won’t allow the mag to rotate and for another pellet to enter the breech, which is a very handy feature!
To insert a loaded magazine, the sidelever is pulled back and the mag catch on the right of the action is lifted and the wheel inserted from the right. To remove an empty mag, the process is reversed. I did find it a little fiddly to begin with but once I’d done it a few times I couldn’t see why I’d had a problem! The best way is to use the right thumb to raise the release catch, and whilst holding it up, press the mag out a fraction with the left thumb; this then allows you to pull the wheel out from the right. Don’t push too hard by the way, as it might end up on the floor!
The mags come with a small notch cut into the outside and it’s possible to utilise this as a last round indicator. When the mag has been inserted, it’s possible to turn it back until the notch is showing (as long as the sidelever is still back of course), when you’re shooting, if it reappears again, you will know that you’re nearly out of ammo.
Just in front of the mag housing is the ambidextrous safety catch, which is handy. Useful is the fact that it won’t operate unless the action is cocked, so also acts as a cocked action indicator. The rifle can be ordered as a left-hander by the way, so it should keep the ‘lefties’ happy…
The high quality, Weihrauch-made barrel is held securely within the breechblock and a ‘belt and braces’ collar supports it half way along the reservoir. I’m sure it could have been fully floating but a support such as this ensures the tube is protected from knocks when out in the field. Weihrauch also include a silencer as standard, which is another great selling point, a set of QD sling studs would have been good though! The filler probe is actually the best I’ve seen, as it’s tapered, not blunt like all the others I’ve used; a simple idea but proves that Weihrauch think about these things. The air reservoir has a quick fill port at the front and dust and grit are kept at bay by a plastic plug that mimics the filler probe. The only problem here is that it’s possible to lose it as it’s not physically attached. A pressure gauge is mounted on the end of the cylinder, which you either like or don’t! Weihrauch are renowned for their triggers and the unit fitted to the 110 is fantastic! The 2-stage let of is very light but predictable and safe.
On a personal note there are far too many different sorts of quick fill probe that all do the same job and I’ve now got quite a few different types in my charging kit box. If only there was an ‘industry standard’ design, it would certainly make life easier for we shooters with various makes of PCP and certainly we gun testers. But I very much doubt if manufacturers would want to change their design for another?
The ergonomic, ambidextrous stock may look like it’s synthetic but it’s beech with a non-slip rubberised coating; it’s good looking, grippy and non reflective, so ideal for a hunting rifle. The grip is hand filling, the forend flat bottomed and the cheekpiece the perfect height for the majority of scopes that will find there way onto this Germanic beauty.
I mounted a Hawke Vantage 2-7 X 32 in low Weaver style rings and the optic was a perfect match for the HW 110. I always test any air rifle I’m reviewing over a chronograph and a 200 bar fill proved to be enough for 120 perfect shots! Shot to shot consistency was very good indeed, so the regulator and other internals are obviously to Weihrauch’s usual standard. Accuracy was also spot on, especially with the new Czech-made Weihrauch FT Exacts and a quick zero session proved once again that the company’s barrels are still as good as ever. A lone squirrel crossed my path at the farm and he went down instantly to a 34 yard shot from the seated position- I’m sure this lovely little rifle will prove itself many more times up at the farm.
So that’s my take on the HW110 and I’m sure I will be even more impressed as I carry on hunting and shooting with it.