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Weihrauch HW90k Gas Ram Rifle

Weihrauch HW90k Gas Ram Rifle

It was Theoben of course that devised the ground-breaking gas-ram design for powering air rifles 30 or so years ago, but even they could hardly have foreseen the runaway success of their brainchild.

Replacing the mainspring of a conventional spring-piston airgun, with a sealed chamber of gas, was an inspired move, and highly innovative at the time. When the rifle is cocked, the piston is drawn back which compresses the sealed chamber of gas. On firing the gas expands rapidly, pushing the piston forwards, which in turn, compresses the air in front of it, to propel the pellet in the normal way.

Weihrauch saw the potential of the gas-ram design early on, and so struck a deal with Theoben that saw the production of the HW90 rifle in Germany, incorporating gas ram technology. Originally Theoben used inert gas to fill the gas-ram (or strut as it is sometimes called) but they later changed the ‘gas’ to compressed air and this is what Weihrauch still use.

A German rifle with English technology at its heart was an interesting proposition, but the fact that the ’90 is still produced, largely unchanged from the original blueprint, is testament to the original concept, and the popularity of this most enduring rifle.

Of course, as patents and design protection expire, manufacturers across the board are free to incorporate their own take on the theme; hence the recent rush from many quarters, to release gas-ram powered versions of existing models. So why the rush? Well theory dictates that the gas-ram often produces a quicker lock time, where the pellet is off on its way to the target more quickly and cleanly than a comparable spring-powered design. In addition, the system should be far smoother to cock, and free from any spring resonance or ‘twang’ as the action fires.

HW90K with Top Class Moderator

I therefore thought it was about time then, to catch up with the HW90, to see just why it has held its place in Weihrauch’s distinguished product line-up all these years. Two options are available, with either a full length rifle with long barrel complete with open sights, or my test model here, the HW90K carbine, supplied with a short barrel and Weihrauch’s own much lauded ready fitted (screw cut) silencer but no open sights.

The matt finish of the moderator is not only smart, but highly practical if the rifle is to be taken out into a hunting environment; but it’s the hair curler style baffles/air diffusers, that have caused such a fuss on the airgun scene. The design is super efficient, and whilst more marked when fitted to a pre-charged pneumatic, the difference here is still highly noticeable. Performance apart though, once you consider the carbine’s 12” barrel, the silencer also adds all-important leverage to cock the break barrel action.

Admittedly, the HW90’s looks are a little on the conservative side, with a medium brown lacquered beech stock, and familiar Weihrauch metalwork. That said, the superior metal finish and rich chemical blueing always set these guns apart from the norm, with pride of ownership always a factor to be considered.

Elite Trigger

story continues below...

Trigger wise, Weihrauch had to install a new unit when they introduced this model, with the ‘Elite’ set up replacing the much heralded Rekord benchmark design. Any worries on this score though should be quickly dispelled, since the 90’s trigger performs as you would expect any Weihrauch trigger to. Reasonably light settings, and a super precise and consistent let-off are all you can ask on that score.

One big difference from Weihrauch’s spring powered rifle is the safety set-up. With other HW springers the safety sets automatically on cocking, and is indicated by a button popping out of the rear left hand side of the action cylinder. You push it in to put the rifle into firing mode and it is not resettable. However, with the HW90, the safety is still automatic but the indicator is fitted into the trigger guard. To cancel it you just push it in, as on other HW models, however the safety on the HW90 can be reset manually by squeezing a small grooved catch at the front of the trigger guard – handy!

Woodwork

Stock configuration is par for the course, and the slimmed down fore-end tip is a nice touch, which aids handling no end. Weihrauch opt for a chunky, hand filling grip with this model, and whilst the chequering isn’t maybe up to the sharp standard of vintage Weihrauch, it does the job asked of it. Given that no open sights are fitted to these rifles, fitting some appropriate glassware is a given. In that respect, a slightly higher cheek piece would be nice, although as standard, the stock is a reasonable compromise. Interestingly though, Weihrauch have refrained from moving to an ambidextrous design with this model, although in use, given the gentle cheek-piece definition, the ’90 could be shot mounted from either side.

Action Time

With a scope onboard - easily achieved given Weihrauch’s extensive dovetails and arrestor stud fitting points - it was time to gauge performance.

Many break barrel airguns these days can be slightly awkward to open at the breech, but no such problem here. A perfectly set sprung détente and solid engineering, result in some crisp, satisfying clicks as the breech is opened, and what follows is a nice smooth cocking stroke, devoid of any graunch or twang (as sometimes associated with spring powered actions).  Cocking effort is still significant however, and the stroke (in keeping with most gas-ram designs) is best achieved and minimized when undertaken in one positive sweeping motion.

Chrono stats first, and with the ubiquitous JSB’s, Air Arms Diabolo in this case (one of the most popular pellets on merit, believe me), the HW90K posted text book variation of 14fps over ten shots, for energy a touch below 11ft/lbs.

Shooting from the over-arm FT position, the ’90 proved outstandingly accurate, if I did my part of course, and several groups c-t-c of just quarter inch, says it all. As for the feel of the action, there is still recoil, but no twang or resonance- more a quick, slick movement. For the record, I did find it quite sensitive on change of position, and with some extensive testing undertaken, I found the rifle shot around an inch high from both the kneeling and standing position, having been zeroed from the over-arm stance. Inch groups at 25yds kneeling were good, but some incredible results were achieved when standing. Maybe here, the ultra fast lock time showed through, and several tight groupings certainly made a point. But would I favour this model over spring power? That’s the key question.

Final Choice

Weihrauch’s line-up of top quality break barrel models is one of the most extensive out there, so there literally is something for everyone. Personal taste plays a big part in final choice, and there’s no doubt that the HW90K is an extremely well made, hard hitting,  highly accurate rifle, and a fine example of the gas-ram specification. It’s also a full on heavy weight break barrel, which may be a selling point for many, who are in the market for a beefy adult sporter. To be honest though, I would opt for the HW95, which whilst spring powered, is significantly lighter and cheaper; with no sacrifice in quality or performance. You pays your money - you takes your choice, as they say.

One things for sure though - Weihrauch’s legendary quality is assured whichever route is taken. GM

  • Weihrauch HW90k Gas Ram Rifle - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Weihrauch HW90k Gas Ram Rifle - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Weihrauch HW90k Gas Ram Rifle - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Weihrauch HW90k Gas Ram Rifle - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Weihrauch HW90k Gas Ram Rifle - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Weihrauch HW90k Gas Ram Rifle - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Weihrauch HW90k Gas Ram Rifle - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Weihrauch HW90k Gas Ram Rifle - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

gun
features

  • Model: HW90K
  • Manufacturer: Weihrauch
  • Country of Origin: Germany
  • Type: Gas Ram Sporter
  • Calibre: .22 calibre/ .177 avail.
  • Weight: 8.8lbs
  • Overall Length: 45inches
  • Barrel Length: 12inches
  • Stock: Beech sporter
  • Trigger: 2-stage adjustable
  • Average Velocity:: 550fps using AA Diabolo Field pellets over 10 shots
  • Spread: 14fps
  • Energy: 10.7ft/lbs
  • Average Velocity: 567fps using Daystate Rangemaster
  • Spread: 13fps
  • Energy: 10.4ft/lbs

39 Comments

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    kneeque
    10 Jul 2020 at 12:10 PM
  • I bought mine second hand and hardly used in .25.  I bought a .22 barrel and spent some time playing with ammunition and power. I have found AA 16g pellets and an FPE around 16.5 to work very well.  Accuracy is excellent, low recoil and not a huge cocking effort, very happy with mine and it is fast becoming my favorite air rifle.

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    Kurt Kurtz
    12 Feb 2019 at 04:24 AM
  • Hi Indranil,

    I cant help you I'm afraid.Did you buy it from a shop or privately?

    What seems to be the problem? Is the gas ram losing air?
    Have you contacted Weihrauch? They should be able to advise you

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.

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    Troll Hunter
    26 May 2016 at 01:11 PM

  • My hw90k is not working where should I get it serviced in india

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    Indranil
    26 May 2016 at 12:22 PM
  • Hi Bob,

    I'm afraid it's not possible, due to the rod inside the piston that connects with the trigger mechanism when the rifle is cocked. HW90s have a different internal arrangement.

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    Troll Hunter
    23 May 2014 at 07:56 AM
  • Can I replace the spring system in my r-9 (1993 model ) with an after market gas
    piston or strut

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    Bob
    23 May 2014 at 01:45 AM
  • Not sure why this rifle is so heavy, I think the Theoben Evolution weighed in at 7.5lbs. As with the HW80 the weight of the rilfe has put me off. Given the size and shape of my garden I can only really shoot in a standing position.

    And for field use I find heavy guns too tiring to carry about all day.

    Default profile image
    Simon
    11 Jan 2014 at 02:37 PM
  • Spring piston and gas ram rifles need to be able to do their own thing to a degree when you shoot them, so a relaxed hold is best. You've obviously got to be in control, just don't grasp it like your life depends on it.

    If you take your rifle to a decent gunshop they they should be able to chrono it for you for a small fee. It's worth ringing round first though to save a wasted journey. If you can, find one that's got both a chrono and a gas ram pump and they'll be able to top up your gas ram if needed.

    Let us know how you get on.

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    Troll Hunter
    08 Jan 2014 at 07:08 PM
  • Liked the comment on stance/kill point, you put on your review. Is it a fair assumption that your actual grasp (or lack of) firmness might have a bearing on the end result ? Allowing the recoil to be as it should ? As to leakage , I've2x90s different ages both 90K both slightly different,finish-wise aesthetics..But, my newer of the2 is cocking noticeably with less effort,and shooting on a lesser level of penetration.(soapbars and pellets both the same)!!? Yes you guessed it no chronograph .Thanks for the review,now I need to find a Top up the the Theoben Ram Vid. Cheers.HW90#5*****

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    DenTB
    08 Jan 2014 at 12:57 PM
  • I've shot the HW80 and HW90 a lot over the years but not the RWS 350. I've shot other RWS rifles in the past though and they've all been very well made and accurate with a wide range of pellets.

    The RWS are quite a bit cheaper then the Weihrauchs though, so maybe this would allow you to spend more on a scope and mounts than if you bought the HWs. Money might not be a problem but it's worth bearing in mind.

    All of the above rifles will take game such as rabbits and squirrels cleanly with a well placed pellet, preferably one to the brain.

    Gun fit is obviously important, so try and handle the rifles to determine if you feel comfortable with them.

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    Troll Hunter
    08 Jan 2014 at 10:22 AM
  • Need advice on which to choose from among HW 80, HW90 and RWS 350 magnum. All in full power version and my purpose is hunting jack rabbits and other medium games.

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    Benny john
    08 Jan 2014 at 10:08 AM
  • A couple of guys at my club own HW 90s and I've not heard of any problems with them.

    Let us know what you choose and how you get on with it.

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    Troll Hunter
    08 Jan 2014 at 09:57 AM
  • I've owned an HW90 since they were first introduced and I've never had a leak from the system nor heard of it being a problem with this gas-ram rifle.

    We've had good reports on the RWS350 Magnum, but I've never used one personally.

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    Pat Farey
    08 Jan 2014 at 09:49 AM
  • Hi am confused on whether to go for a rws 350 magnum or hw90 in .22 for hunting., both in full power version. I have read about gas leaks in the 90. the gas ram function is superb for hunting use. Need advice on which to buy. Appreciate a professional advice

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    Benny John
    06 Jan 2014 at 10:26 AM
  • do the hw90 177 have better range than hw90k 177 because of the longer barrel cauld you please let me no

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    roger regan
    26 Dec 2013 at 03:42 PM


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