Weihrauch HW57 Gun Test
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- Last updated: 24/04/2017
There’s no disputing the fact that Weihrauch have a fine roster of spring powered air rifles of both break-barrel and under-lever operation. In relation to the latter action type, the models that seasoned airgunners will instantly recognise due to their iconic status are the HW77 and of course the HW97K. However, early in 2000 they launched another full power under-lever action sporterthe HW57. It seemed to appear without fuss or fanfare and although at the time it had its fair share of favourable coverage it never really seemed to make the ‘impact’ most of their other new models did. In hindsight, this could be due to it utilising an auto-rise breech loading mechanism, a design which was and still is not a popular feature on this type of air rifle. Also, it first came dressed in a very bland stock, however, things have moved on design-wise!
Like certain other Weihrauch springers that have relatively recently had stock upgrades, the original ‘handle’ has been replaced for one that both in design and aesthetics elevates the sporter into a totally new league.
Manufactured by Minelli, the fully ambidextrous beech woodwork now sports a semi-hog’s back design comb atop a well-defined cheekpiece, which meets a well contoured brown rubber butt pad with black line spacer.
The slim neck has a slight thumb rest, while the pistol grip curves downward at quite a shallow angle but the addition of a palmswell ensures an assured hold. The slim, shallow forend has a well-rounded underside and added grip is aided by half stippled/chequered panels with the Weihrauch logo on them in the usual places. The woodwork is treated to a dark brown stain and weather-proof matt lacquer finish that gives the rifle an attractive overall look.
The ‘57’ is wisely fitted with a set of good quality open sights. The foresight blade stands quite high atop the synthetic sight base that also retains the under-lever. The metal rear, U-notch sight is thumbwheel adjustable for elevation and windage. Cleverly it is easily removed as it clamps to the scope rail rather than being fixed onto the cylinder to aid scope mounting.
The under-lever is slim and held securely in place by a spring-loaded lug that locates neatly into its retaining housing underneath the barrel. To unlatch, you pull back on the multi-ridged outer sleeve at the end of the lever, which retracts the lug back and free of its housing. The cocking stroke is smooth and easy to accomplish. When fully cocked, the automatic cross bolt safety button also engages, seen protruding from the left rear of the cylinder. Also, at the end of the cocking stroke the auto-rise breech-loading mechanism (which is the pellet carrier) lifts clear from the air cylinder ready to accept a pellet.
It was upon loading that I noticed another modification from the original, as it can’t be pushed back down to its original closed position if the rifle is left in the fully cocked ‘open’ position. The lever needs to be moved forward an inch or so, to allow this to happen, after which you continue returning the lever back to its own closed position. This feature ensures that the carrier and pellet seat back into the action precisely to avoid damage and misalignment. However, you still need to ensure it’s fully inserted, so that there’s no risk of damage to its skirt upon closing!
Weihrauch realise that they have what many consider to be the ‘king’ of triggers for a spring-powered air rifle, so no surprises that the HW57 is fitted with their legendary Rekord mechanism. As expected, this 2-stage adjustable unit behaved perfectly with let off being both crisp, clean and without a hint of creep, while the auto safety works very positively.
Using the iron sights, I was able to produce ½” groups using the .177 calibre test rifle at 12 yards; making it a useful tool for close range ratting and feral clearance. I removed the rear sight and fitted a Hawke Airmax EV 4 - 12 x 40AO in medium mounts and began some serious paper punching. After setting a 25 yard zero, the 57 proved its pedigree, shooting sub-1p sized groups at 30 to 35 yards; good enough!
I was also pleased to note that muzzle report and recoil were very acceptable for a rifle such as this and after using both open sights and scoped, I then fully appreciated the new stock design. Reason being the comb is low enough for using the irons and the cheekpiece more than adequate when you need to raise and position your head for correct eye-scope alignment when using an optic.
Producing an air rifle that can cover the transitional area from plinking to highly capable general hunter is anything but easy but the Weihrauch HW57 is a fine example of how it can and should be done. Also, nothing seems to have been compromised, as the build quality is on a par with some air rifles costing far more. Add to the mix it’s a compact, lightweight, easy to handle gun with a high level of accuracy potential, combine to make this a tempting choice! Even more so now clad in a stock that ideally suits the action. The result: the HW57 is certainly another nice option of Weihrauch springer for shooters of a smaller stature and a very nice buy for younger guns coming into the sport.
Thanks to T & J. J McAvoy LTD for supplying rifle on test. Contact: 01257 426129