Weihrauch HW80k rifle
- 15 Comments
- Last updated: 27/01/2017
Weihrauch have been the backbone of any armoury for British airgunners for many decades now. My first air rifle was a HW35 which cost me £50 form John Powells gunsmiths in the 70s. I have tested many Weihrauch’s in my 20 years of writing, but it just occurred to me that I had never tested the daddy of them all, the HW80; custom versions and bull-pups, yes, but the standard HW80, no.
I remember the HW80 coming out in the 80s and it was billed as the break barrel hunting rifle of its time, offering a man-sized gun with up to the legal limit power, along with Weihrauch’s usual accuracy and quality German engineering.
I’ve chosen the shorter carbine or K version which also comes with a fitted sound moderator. It is still a hefty rifle at 8.6lbs but that solidity transfers into a reliable and confident spring gun for hunting purposes.
The HW80K has a short 12.25- inch barrel and is also fitted with Weihrauch’s own sound moderator. The barrel itself has six lands and right hand twist. There is a chamfered edge to the barrel and it is surrounded by a large clear synthetic O-ring for a tight air seal. The breech area is very snug, so again great for proper and consistent barrel to receiver alignment ensuring good accuracy.
The receiver is particularly large on the HW80 primarily because it was designed to work at much higher velocities than the paltry British 12ft/ lbs, so can be supplied at FAC level if desired (if you have the relevant paperwork) and gives the HW80 a huge longevity as it is not working hard; also the benefit of weight deadens the recoil, again a benefit to accuracy on any spring gun.
Overall finish is a deep bluing that Weihrauch’s are renowned for. The K has no open sights fitted, but the twin dovetail rails are ample in length and have recoil arrestor holes drilled into the top of the action.
Up front the sound moderator is 7.5-inches long and 1.25-inches in width, with a couple of internal baffles and a large perforated pre-baffle to allow maximum air retardation and, thus, silent report. The all aluminium construction also makes it very light at 120g approx. and is easily removed from the long thread muzzle section of the barrel.
In the 80s the original HW80, in my opinion, had a better looking stock with a more defined cheekpiece and lovely angled forend; today the lines are much more ‘rounded’. The forend is tucked beneath the receiver and the cheekpiece is less distinct, with a softer shape, but it is comfortable none the less. The checkering is cut to the pistol grip, which helps, and the beech woodwork has a matt lacquer finish with a smooth surface. I know it’s the most economic finish but why not an oiled walnut finish as an option for those who want it?
Considering the length of time in production and its popularity, I can’t understand why Weihrauch have not offered a few stock options today for the HW80 i.e. walnut custom or thumbhole rather than leave it to the custom guys.
When cocked fully the excellent Rekord trigger unit is engaged with a satisfying click. It’s adjustability for both first and second stage pulls allow you to customise the settings to your own preference – not too light for field use/hunting, yet light enough to aid in producing tight groups. The aluminium trigger blade is nicely curved and the first and second stage pulls are very smooth with the last stage sear release being one of the best you will find. After-market brass triggers make a nice visual upgrade and V-Mach’s set back trigger is particularly good.
The safety catch too is automatically activated on cocking the HW80 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 no nasty accidents happen and it is disengaged when the button is pushed in fully.
I tested the HW80 with a wide variety of pellet types, some old, some new, to give a flavour of the HW80’s preferences. As can be seen it’s a good performer with a wide choice of pellets but excellent with some others. I also fitted the brilliant Lightstream 4.5-14x44mm scope that is a perfect hunting/ target scope in my view.
The HW80 is easy to cock and the firing cycle is very smooth and noiseless. This is primarily due to the quality steel spring used with spring guide and dampeners inside.
There was no dieseling at all and after the initial sighting in and pre-run (i.e. at least 200 pellets to bed the HW80 in, like most springers), I then started to chronograph.
Best accuracy went to both the Premiers and Air Arms Hunter`s at 0.50-inch at 25 yards for a five shot group with 599.1fps and 563.0fps velocity respectively. My choice would be the Premiers, as these also had the highest energy figure at 11.5ft/lbs.
We had five pellets for second place! The RWS Hobbies, Air Arms Field, FTT, RWS Superpoint and Diabolo Baracuda – so quite a diverse range of pellets showing the inherent accuracy and non-fussy nature of this particular HW80.
No stock options aside, the HW80 is still every bit a great hunting tool. This is a great go-to air rifle for serious hunters who want a superbly built, excellent trigger and a powerful, accurate hunting tool.
Some say the HW80 is too heavy, but to me that’s one of its benefits, as it certainly aids in good groups. Having now tried a standard version I am getting a .177 version and then having V-Mach do a fullcustom job for me, stay tuned!
My thanks to CH Westons (01273 326338) for the loan of the test gun.
PRICE: £405 (average retail price)
CONTACT: Hull Cartridge Co 01482 342571