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- Last updated: 26/04/2019
The HW110 in its standard form is by all accounts, a very tidy rifle, although I have to admit, that before this time, I hadn’t properly tested one. I was, however, well aware of the concept, and the thinking behind the design, as I was lucky enough to be invited to visit the Weihrauch factory in Germany, back in 2017, along with a selection of other airgun journalists. It was a totally absorbing trip, meeting Hans Weihrauch and his team, and seeing for ourselves, the level of commitment and design work that goes into their products.
Production of the HW110 was of course covered and witnessed, and with the action built around a one-piece receiver constructed from ballistic polymer instead of traditional metals. It’s a massive departure for Weihrauch, and a seemingly risky strategy- given their standing and perception, as an ultra-traditional manufacturer.
Times are rapidly changing though (look at 3D Printing!), and modern space age materials are creeping into areas where simple metal constructs have always held sway; so, the HW110 project suddenly looks rather prescient. The factory visit to Germany coincided with Weihrauch’s release of their first PCP pistol, the HW44, and this radical design builds upon much the same polymer breech block base. As Hans Weihrauch explained to us, ballistic polymers are widely used in the firearms world, and these modern production methods represent the future for the company.
As it turns out, project HW110 has been extremely well received, as customers loyal to the brand, realise the new approach doesn’t represent a threat to all they hold dear! On test here is the very latest incarnation in the form of the HW110K - a super compact version, that offers shooters a serious alternative specification; and given that Weihrauch don’t come out with new models particularly frequently, it’s an exciting moment for anyone enthusiastic about airguns.
Up close, this new Karbine model, (denoted by the ‘K’) really does look compact, with its short cylinder and correspondingly tiny forend. Weihrauch’s own silencer comes as standard, and with a host of other features aimed at the serious shooter, this model gets a good start in life. A two-stage trigger, 10-shot magazine system (two supplied), side-lever cocking, manual safety catch, and Picatinny scope rail, all make the spec sheet.
The ambidextrous sporter stock grabs the attention, and what looks like the black polymer is actually rubber coated wood, which feels very nice to the touch. Laser-cut chequering features on the forend and pistol grip, and a solid rubber pad caps off the butt nicely. Weihrauch manufacture and fit their own barrels, and this model gets a fairly short 12.5” tube, (compared to 16” on the standard model) running through a plastic support ring. I didn’t encounter any problem on test, but for peace of mind, if this was my rifle, I would probably remove the ring, just so I could see full clearance around the barrel. Allowing for the perfectly normal expansion of the cylinder, throughout the charge, is the accepted wisdom these days, and unsurprisingly, I lose sleep about such matters, no seriously!
Finish-wise, the barrel gets proper chemical bluing, whilst the cylinder, as per the HW100 series, gets a different matt black coating. As for the silver mag release catch and safety on the original model, these are now supplied in black, apparently as a response to customer feedback.
If you had to criticise Weihrauch’s HW100 PCP, it would be a fair observation to point out the fact that the receiver is a two-piece construction, and a potential source of weakness, in theory at least! The HW110 sees the new polymer block a one-piece design, with the magazine housing enclosed within. Extra rigidity is therefore afforded, and with that Picatinny rail running the entire length, in one continuous strip, mounting a scope is a reassuring process, once you have the correct type of mounts that is. I can’t help thinking that the trend for Picatinny/Weaver rails on airguns is overkill, but there’s no doubting the advantage of positive relocation if it has been temporarily removed.
With glassware all bolted down, the final piece of preparation is to charge the main air cylinder. Weihrauch employ the same probe-style of charging as their HW100, and it’s quick and efficient. Just pull out the small nylon plug in the inlet valve at the front of the cylinder, then fully insert the airline, complete with charging probe supplied, and fill to 200bar.
At this juncture, it’s worth pointing out that Weihrauch design these models with removable air cylinders - all importantly, designed to be charged in situ on the gun, yet removable for testing further down the line. An unofficial testing regime of inspecting the gun’s cylinder after 10 years, has been adopted by the company, and this is what they recommend to their customers. But it would seem good practise for the industry to adopt it too, given the age of some rifles in use.
Filling the 10-shot magazine just needs a pellet to be pushed into each chamber nice and flush; then to get the mag on board, pull the side-lever all the way back, and insert it into its slot within the action, from the right side, whilst pulling up the mag retaining catch. This can prove a little fiddly if I’m honest, with the mag occasionally needing a jostle to the side before the lever can be closed. Once the mag is in place though, cocking and cycling is a slick and trouble free operation.
In the aim, this pint sized sporter feels amazingly versatile, but whilst I appreciate the ‘Karbine’ remit, I would still prefer a few extra inches on the forend. This would make no difference to overall length but would just accommodate the larger framed among us when at full stretch. As it stands, that front Picatinny mount is a great feature, allowing lamping kit, lasers or even weights to be attached. Weihrauch’s silencer, fitted as standard, is well respected, being a highly effective design, the tiny report just added to the civilised experience overall. Clever things those hair curlers! Add in the fact that the multi-shot magazine system cannot be made to double load pellets, and the plus points of this premium product begin to seriously stack up!
As for the two-stage trigger, despite the blade itself being plastic, it feels spot-on, and trips with a crisp and subtle release, a contributory factor for sure, in performance overall. The silky cycling of the side-lever is a massive confidence boost, and I had no blockages or misfires whatsoever on test, which speaks volumes for the integrity of the design.
As with the HW100 series, Weihrauch specify the action as self-regulating, and specify a guide of 60-shots in .177 and around 75 in .22. My test model was specified in the smaller calibre, and from a 200bar fill pressure, I managed 78-shots over the chronograph, all within 19 fps, using JSB made Air Arms Diabolo Field pellets straight from the tin, which is pretty impressive consistency.
I decided to initially test the HW110K in the prone position for main grouping, then see how it shaped up from kneeling and standing. Superb ragged holes, around 9mm across at 40 yards from a rest was a great start, proving the barrel. But when I adopted the kneeling stance over my 25yard range and drilled groups easily within a 5p piece, the inherent accuracy of this pellet launching machine could be fully appreciated. OK; standing was always going to be tough, especially given my penchant for plenty of front weight, yet groups around 1.25” weren’t a disgrace.
That silky, predictable trigger, and astonishingly muted muzzle report (especially given the short barrel) all add to the immensely satisfying experience and given how those down-range groups were so easy to come by, I was genuinely sorry to see this one go!
Let’s face it; Weihrauch rarely disappoint, but this latest addition really is a superb airgun; cleverly designed, and brilliantly executed. How that tasty stock finish will survive snags and nicks in the field is my only real concern, for you simply can’t fault the performance on offer.
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