Weihrauch HW98 rifle
- 25 Comments
- Last updated: 27/01/2017
It’s funny how one gets stuck in their ways; I love well-made classic air rifles and that usually means classical looks.
I have never been one for the ‘target’ stock look, favouring the slender lines of a great thumbhole walnut stock. However, having just tested the Weihrauch HW98, I am prepared to admit I was wrong.
In fact, I borrowed an HW98 from Mark at C H Weston’s of Brighton on one of my candy floss fix trips and, I am telling you, he isn’t having it back!
The HW98 is a conventional Weihrauch break barrel spring gun loosely based on the trim HW95 model but with some very unusual and welcomed additions. These include an adjustable stock, stippled finish grips, sleeved barrel and multi position butt pad – it all adds up to a finely made rifle with a high degree of adjustment to suit your own personal preferences.
Weihrauch have gone out all guns blazing on this one. Rather than blanking off where the open sights used to be, the receiver is perfectly smooth and holds that deep blued lustre that covers the whole rifle and that Weihrauch are famous for. Better still, the precision-rifled barrel is further enhanced by a meaty blued barrel shroud of 0.87-inch diameter for its whole length.
This shroud not only looks good but again enhances the fit and feel of the HW98. It really aids in the balance of the rifle and the added weight aids momentum to the cocking stroke, smoothing it out even more.
The barrel is 16-inches in length and although it does not have a screw cut muzzle the report is still muted and is ideal for backyard shooting and hunting.
The action, or receiver, is slim like the HW95, yet still packs a full 12ft/lbs punch and the spring propulsion is nicely in harmony to the firing characteristics of the HW98. The only thing I hate is that ruddy ugly safety notice in front of the safety catch, enough said!
The Rekord trigger is the best… but I have to write more so I guess it’s like this: a good trigger really helps you get the best of any rifle and in this case with all the other accuracy enhancing features of the HW98, the Rekord really helps. The trigger blade is slim and grooved with a bright silver anodised finish and the small adjustable trigger pull weight adjustment just behind it. This trigger has a distinct two stage pull – the first broke very cleanly at 11ozs and the second stage at 3.55lbs with no creep at all.
As you cock a Weihrauch the automatic safety catch pops out of the left side of the action at the rear, visual and tactile, so no mistaking that, and you just push in when you want to shoot. It’s not resettable though. When it comes to the stock, ooh la la, what a design! The humdrum part is that it’s a plain beech stock underneath the standard matt lacquer finish, and that’s where it ends; everything else is excellent.
Overall profile is slim and the wood forend extends past the break barrel pivot, instantly making for a better looking, more streamline look.
Where checkering would be on the forend are a series of seven lozenge shape cut outs with blacked interiors to stand out from the brown beech and give a very handy positioning for your fingertips.
Beneath these is a generous covering of stippled finish, again black for contrast, and giving a much better grip than any checkering would. The pistol grip too is stippled as the forend again adding grip and a nice visual contrast.
The butt section is where the magic continues – the cheekpiece is adjustable for height via twin aluminium pillars. Two large screws loosen the grip on the pillars so the sliding cheekpiece can be adjusted for a perfect height.
There is no cast but the fully adjustable rubber butt pad addresses this. Loosen the single central screw and the pad can be adjusted in 360 degree rotation and height.
Therefore you have a fantastic degree of adjustment to suit your shooting style and that’s what makes this HW stand a head above the rest; combined with the stippling and lozenge holds, it’s hard to beat.
The Weihrauch HW98 behaves like the heavyweight HW80 but without the bulk, which is perfect in my book. Whilst firing the HW98 you soon realise the benefits of all those seemingly small adjustments that Weihrauch have made. Light spring guns recoil and on a spring gun you pay for it with inconsistent accuracy, but Weihrauch have quelled this notion with the HW98 as the basic gun is light and trim but with the added weight of adjustable recoil pad and barrel sleeve you can now ‘tune’ this springer to shoot like a pneumatic.
Set-up may look odd with high cheekpiece and butt pad adjusted high, but it supports the HW98 so that a ‘free recoil’ firing sequence can be maintained, which on any springer really realises the best accuracy.
Top power went to the Defiant pellets at 7.5 grain weight for a sizzling 844fps and 11.87ft/lbs energy but sadly accuracy was only an inch at 30 yards. Therefore the second most powerful pellets were the Air Arms Fields at 791fps and 11.81ft/lbs energy and a good 0.55-inch would be a better choice. But to me accuracy is everything so top accuracy went to the JSB Exact 8.6 grain pellets. These generated a healthy 780fps for 11.62ft/ lbs energy and wonderful 0.35-inch pellet clusters at 30 yards. The Bisley Mags and JSB Exact heavies were also very accurate at 0.40- and 0.45-inch groups respectively.
Cocking the HW98 is ease its self – that shrouded barrel really helps and the lock up is positive as always. The whole firing cycle was very smooth and not at all noisy even without a mod up front. The HW98 really settles in the hold and allows you to concentrate on your target and trigger release rather than adjusting your hold for best performance; it just comes naturally.
I can’t believe I had been so stupid as to previously pass up the HW98 based on looks alone, Weihrauch are sitting on a true classic here and I think they need to promote it more.
Considering the price, you get a lot more features over the competition or similar models and each modification makes a big difference to the shooting pleasure and accuracy of this spring gun. I still don’t like the look, but that’s immaterial as it’s all about accuracy with this rifle.
Fitted with an excellent Lightstream scope, this HW98 rifle now has pride of place in Potty Towers and as it wears in it just keeps getting better.
IMPORTER: Hull Cartridge Co. 01482 342756