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Weihrauch HW97K Blue Laminate Stock

Weihrauch HW97K Blue  Laminate Stock

Think well engineered, quality adult airguns, and invariably the name Weihrauch will make its way onto the list. There’ve been several landmark models along the way, in their illustrious history, but the one that really had an impact on me, was the HW77. As an obsessive Field Target (FT) shooter back in 1985, I was beginning to taste success, using Airmasters rebuilt FWB Sport 124 and these were pretty much all-conquering at the time, against fairly weak opposition. But one weakness lay at the heart of the design, and after prolonged use, the breech jaws would occasionally wear, and the FWB’s break-barrel integrity would be undone.

Fixed barrel!

Out of the blue, came Weihrauch’s HW77, and seemingly overnight, its fixed barrel design transformed the sport of FT. A historic game-changer indeed! In a flash, Airmasters, and Venom Arms, the two major custom tuning houses at the time, were onto it, and special tuned versions were taking silverware up and down the country.

On test here is the natural evolution of the species- the HW97K; and with this example the rather special Blue Laminate Sporter edition, it’s a fabulous looking airgun for sure. When Weihrauch originally launched the HW97, the idea was to build upon the HW77’s super successful fixed barrel action, but also incorporate all the little features that the likes of Airmasters were building into their customised specials.

Firstly, the HW97 includes a silencer assembly with integral under-lever clip all as standard. This was a custom offering back in the day. In addition, the exposed breech cut-out is a fully relieved aperture, cut down at the sides, whereas the HW77 originally had limited access. Again, Airmasters would offer an after-market service to cut away metal from the sides and relieve the port. A gold-anodised trigger blade is also included on the standard HW97, yet that has been strangely dropped from this laminate special. Beefed up furniture, and slicker internals all contribute, and the end result is a super robust sporter, fit for purpose.


Laminate special

Of course, it’s the rather swish laminate stock that first grabs the eye, and whilst the contours and overall profile mirror the standard HW97, the subtle blue and grey gives this special a whole different feel. Laminate has become extremely popular in the shooting world, as one of the best mediums from which to make a gun stock. Essentially, it comprises several thin layers of plywood, glued and bonded together at the production stage. As the blank is subsequently cut out, patterns emerge as individual layers are exposed. Use different colours, and the result can be quite dramatic, as seen here.

Aesthetics aside, the main benefit is that laminate remains incredibly stable when compared to a single piece of timber- staying free from warp, even under extreme changes in temperature. It can be slightly heavier overall, but it’s a price worth paying! The sleek, thinned down forend features here, and the prominent cheek piece and full pistol grip all add to an impressive specification. Weihrauch configure these as ambidextrous, and whilst that will always be a slight compromise, in theory it makes it easy to use for most people. Smart matt lacquer is the icing on the cake, providing a weather seal, yet allowing that stunning grain and colour pattern to show through.


Build quality

Having just returned from a visit to the Weihrauch factory, I can certainly vouch for the level of skill, tradition and care that goes into making these rifles. The feel and finish, and overall build quality is obvious once you get this HW97K in the hands. Traditional chemical blueing is all done on site, and the rich even finish applied to all the metalwork is testament to this age-old process. If you’ve never seen a commercial blueing plant, it’s a real eye opener, slightly unnerving, as the huge cauldrons of chemicals bubble away- yet the results up close take some beating, and Weihrauch are masters of the art.

Externally, there’s not a piece of plastic to be seen on the’97, just solid steel components, designed to do a job. The action is lifted from the HW77, which means the full length, full power compression cylinder, and under-lever spring powered design are all in place. Weihrauch toyed with a variety of spring loaded catches for the under-lever in the early days of the HW77. My old vintage Airmasters special still has one of the early slide catches, which work, but is slightly fiddly and irritating to operate. Thankfully they took notice, and that niggling problem disappeared quickly.

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All the latest 77’s and the HW97K now get a dummy front button, which is far more civilized, and works a treat. The under-lever is also fitted with a small O-ring to eliminate any metal to metal rattle against the action, which is another small feature that demonstrates attention to detail.


Long & the short

I have owned several HW77s over the years, and always specified mine in the full-length barrel spec; to keep things simple, and to add front weight, yes I was as obsessed even back then! The HW97K only comes with a short barrel, yet the silencer of course evens out the weight distribution. A short tube is far easier to incorporate in a springer in any case, and with a sub 12” barrel, it does mean that the ‘97’s lock time is kept to a minimum.

Time to fix a scope in place, and that long stretch of dovetail rails and pre-drilled arrestor stud holes on the receiver, are all here, making the process simple. OK; we’ve established that this HW97K Blue Grey Laminate special certainly looks the part, and it exudes class, but what of performance? Well I’ve shot enough Weihrauch’s to know what they should be capable of, but of course that sets up pressure with expectancy.

Chronograph check first, and using Air Arms Diabolo Field pellets, the 10-shot string was bang on the money. A total spread of 6 fps, and an average velocity of 781 fps, was just about text book stuff, equating to 11.4 ft/lbs. A few other pellet brands were in the same sort of region, so this is representative.


Modest effort

Cocking the action requires only modest effort, and when the stroke is complete, that classic Weihrauch crunch is heard, as the trigger sears engage the piston, and the auto push button safety mechanism is set. Now a word of warning; with this style of under-lever rifle, ALWAYS, keep hold of that lever when pushing home a pellet into the exposed breech. Yes, there’s a safety anti-bear trap mechanism, but we should never be relying on small pieces of metal to hold back what is incredible poundage from the mainspring/ piston assembly. Keep hold of that lever throughout, and peace of mind is assured.

With a pellet chambered, snap up the lever until it clips in place. Now, squeeze off the safety button on the rear left side of the action, and the shot is ready. The famous Rekord trigger is always an asset, and whilst subtle adjustment can take time, basic weight, second stage release pressure can be adjusted via the large aluminium screw just behind the trigger blade. This broad ribbed blade is comfortable in use, and compliments what is still a quality 2-stage unit, despite the Rekord having been around for a while.

In terms of Accuracy, these guns are regularly used in top flight, HFT and FT competition within their respective ‘Recoiling’classes. This speaks volumes for the high regard that still exists for the Weihrauch brand, among knowledgeable shooters and airgun aficionados alike. As for my test results, over 30 yards, and using Air Arms Diabolo Field pellets, the 97K shot well, but I did detect a slight preference in the ammunition stakes. 3/8” with the Diabolos, and JSB Exacts was impressive. Switching to the lighter, faster Webley Accupells reduced group sizes to just a ¼”. Quite superb and very much text book results.



Predictable results? Well, it was always likely I would be impressed, having been a fan for so many years, but this special Laminate version still had to perform on demand. Fit, finish, and overall handling, are everything you would expect, and if the weight is deemed manageable, then this stylish HW97K must join its standard stable mate, as one of the all-time best spring powered airguns available.

  • Weihrauch HW97K Blue  Laminate Stock - image {image:count}

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  • Weihrauch HW97K Blue  Laminate Stock - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Weihrauch HW97K Blue  Laminate Stock - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Weihrauch HW97K Blue  Laminate Stock - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Weihrauch HW97K Blue  Laminate Stock - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge


  • Model : Weihrauch HW97K Blue Grey Laminate Sporter
  • Type: Spring-powered under-lever sporter
  • Calibre: .177 on test/ .22 available
  • Weight: 9.4lbs
  • Length: 40.5”
  • Barrel: 11.75”
  • Stock : Blue grey laminate sporter
  • Power Source : Spring piston design
  • Velocity Using Air Arms Diabolo Field Pellets: High 785 fps Low 779 Aver 781 Spread 6 fps over 10-shot string
  • Energy : 11.4 ft/lbs
  • Trigger : 2-stage adjustable (Rekord unit)
  • Price : £446
  • Contact : Hull Cartridge Company, 01482 342571