Weihrauch HW97K Blue Laminate
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- Last updated: 20/09/2018
First came the HW77 that revolutionised the underlever air gun market with a high-grade springer capable of 12 ft/lbs and excellent accuracy. That model had been customised to death by many a custom house and with good reason, they were good. Next came the upgraded HW97 version, again available in full-length or carbine but today this underlever is also available in wood, synthetic and a rather fetching laminate stock. This has the benefits of the feel of wood but toughness of synthetic. What you have is a highly practical hunting arm that is as tough on the outside as it is on the inside. It has a lovely heft to it but well-balanced and this translates to a controlled firing sequence, making this springer really shoot well.
This model is the carbine version and so has a short 9-inch barrel permanently fixed to the action, which is one reason the Weihrauch underlevers shoot so well. But as with all HW97s, the barrel sits within an integral sound moderator come under lever latching system. This, in real terms, makes the barrel’s length 14.5-inches, still short and that forward sound moderator/air chamber is all you need to reduce any hot air as it exits the muzzle. Attached to the underneath of the sound moderator is the under lever retaining lug that stops the lever swinging down unnecessarily open and is retained by a push button latch activated with the lefthand thumb. Easily accessible and reasonably quiet to use. Due to the carbine length, the cocking arc is short but no more strenuous to cock than the standard length HW97. One thing to remember though, is that this system does not use a ratchet safety system on cocking; you therefore need to keep a good hold throughout the cocking stroke. The benefit is that it is near silent, apart from the final trigger sear engagement. Now fully cocked, the HW97K can have a pellet pushed directly into the barrel and sealed tightly with a prod of the loading thumb. Direct access to the barrel and consistent pressure is a key part to keeping a springer shooting well. The action opening or access port to the barrel is a good size and so can be used from the right or left side. The actual cocking stroke and spring compression are really smooth and silent throughout the whole process.
Weihrauch have worked hard to achieve a propulsion system that is in harmony with itself, to eliminate vibrations and noise. This all translates into a consistent shot, time and time again. The spring has a high tensile strength construction and a look with the stock removed reveals a rounded spring profile and a synthetic spring guide, hence the smooth and quiet operation. In fact, the weight and smooth action also contributes to the overall near silent muzzle report, very handy. Overall finish is typical Weihrauch blued steel to both barrel and action that compliments the laminate blue/grey stock well and the top of the action has your customary 11mm scope rails.
The Rekord trigger is one of the best, if not the best trigger, on a spring powered air rifle today, as it was when it was first made some thirty years ago. Fully adjustable, via one large exposed screw behind the trigger blade for weight of pull and with the trigger guard removed you now have access to the first stage pull smaller adjustment screw. The safety is automatic in operation; as the action is cocked, the safety button pops out and disengages the trigger, so all you need to do to fire is depress it again with the thumb of the firing hand. Factory set, the weight of pull was 3.75lbs and to me that’s a sensible and very usable safe weight.
This is the most striking feature of this model. Wood and synthetic stocks have their uses and following but to me unless it’s a piece of excellent walnut a good laminate is the next best thing. This laminate stock has a really nice profile, with enough support and grip that negates the use of any chequering at all. In fact, the stock looks better without it. The forend is quite slim at the tip that extends past the loading port and tapers towards the barrel and cocking lever. The forend has a slightly dropped belly to the trigger guard, which again aids in a nice hold or support in the shoulder or from the knees.
The pistol grip is quite open and full in the grip, with a welldefined and high cheekpiece, so your eye is in perfect alignment with any scope fitted. To finish off, is a solid black rubber recoil pad. Material wise, the stock is composed of alternating layers of blue and grey birch stained and epoxied together. This gives an impenetrable layer to ward off the bad weather, knocks and also looks really good; well, I think so.
Usually, as with any spring gun, a period of running in achieves the best results, so that the internal systems all gel together. This HW97 shot really well straight form the off and was not particularly pellet fussy either, expect some of the heavy designs.
Immediately obvious, and I suppose it comes as no surprise, is how consistent and accurate the HW97 was, as the build quality and the weight steadies the rifle in the hand and serves to dampen the already small amount of recoil and thus allows the shooter to produce some excellent groups at 25-yards. Most accurate, were the JSB Exacts, which really are superb pellets. Their 14.3-grain domed pellet achieved 597fps for 11.3ft/lbs and 0.45-inch 25-yard groups.
The FTT pellets are always a good all-round performer; the 14.6-grain pellet shot 578fps velocity for 10.8ft/lbs and small 0.55-inch groups. The RWS Superdomes, at 14.6-grains, achieved a healthy 600fps dead for 11.7ft/lbs energy, the highest and good 0.65-inch five shot groups, not bad for a springer, or me!
Another winner from Weihrauch, who have a good blend of old and new here. Old-world solid engineering, as it should be, combined with the more modern and aesthetically pleasing laminated stock.
Consistency was very good, as was accuracy, along with a muted muzzle report for hunters and good solid weight to absorb what little recoil there was.