Shooting a Rare Bird – The HW 75

Monday, February 23, 2009

The HW75 is good looking, well built, and great fun to shoot.

Ever since I saw my first Beeman catalog some years ago, there has been one pistol that has tickled my curiosity: the HW75 (formerly called the Beeman P2).

Stretching 11 inches from end to end and weighing about two-and-one-third pounds, the HW75 looks very much like the HW45/Beeman P1. Both these pistols resemble a 1911 Colt automatic on steroids. I have shot the HW45/P1 many times, and it has the peculiar recoil of a spring-piston pistol. If you are accustomed to shooting single-stroke pneumatic pistols, the action of the HW45/P1 may drive you nuts. (Or like me, you may find that after a while it is an acquired taste and a whole lot of fun.)

But the HW75, which (according to Beeman literature) was originally designed as a prototype when the P1 was being developed, has a single-stroke pneumatic powerplant in a frame that is as robust as that of the P1. What would that be like to shoot? I didn’t know, but I really wanted to find out. I tried a couple of times to get my hands on one, but no luck. As the years rolled by, I had opportunities to shoot lots of different pistols: the Daisy 747, the Gamo Compact (both single-stroke pneumatics), several different variations on the P1, several different CO2 pistols, but no HW75.

HW75s apparently were rare birds. They didn’t hang around long. As soon as dealers got them in stock, they would sell out, and a waiting list would build up for the next shipment. If a writer (namely me) wanted to borrow one, there didn’t seem to be an extra one available for a field trip to El Rancho Elliott.

Recently, though, the good folks at Airguns of Arizona sent me an HW75. Finally, I would get a chance to play with one! But (wouldn’t you know it) there was a catch: AoA had already sold my test gun, so it was up to me to do my thing and return the aforementioned HW75 with All Due Haste.

My first impression of the HW75 is that it is amazingly well built. All the parts except the grips are made of metal and nicely finished in matte black. The wrap-around wooden grips are ambidextrous, are stippled on the lower half, and have a slight palm shelf on either side. The overall effect is that the HW75 is both solid and refined.

Getting ready to shoot the HW75 is straightforward. At the left of the hammer at the rear of the pistol is a thumb tab. Press it in fully and at the same time grasp the grooves on either side of the receiver just forward of the rear sight and lift upward. The top half of the receiver (including the rear sight but not the hammer) will now rotate all the way forward. Load a pellet in the rear of the barrel and return the top half of the receiver to its original position. As you do so, you will be compressing air in the single-stroke pneumatic powerplant.

The final step (besides flicking off the safety) is to cock the hammer by pulling it back. Next, ease the first stage out of the trigger, squeeze lightly, and POP! a pellet goes downrange. Velocities will likely be around 400 fps, depending upon the weight of the pellet. The adjustable trigger is really, really nice (light and crisp) and fairly begs the shooter to see how accurate he or she can be with the HW75.

The HW75 is equipped with a black metal blade front sight and black metal notch rear sight. For those who want to mount a scope or a red dot, there are grooves on front half of the HW75’s receiver that can accommodate airgun scope rings.

The bottom line is that the HW75 is an incredibly well built single-stroke pneumatic pistol that shoots like a house afire and looks like it should last a very long time. No wonder they are sold out so often.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

21 Comments

  1. Dave Lawrence says:

    Hi Jock, I’m thinking of buying an air pistol to replace my Meteor rifle that was stolen. Browsing through all the reviews, P1, P2 etc. Came across your Blog, very nice too.
    Sounds like you really enjoy your shooting. I live in Leicester, England and looking for a club to join for target and plinking. The pistol would also be used for Magpie in my garden as well. The HW45 is top of my list. Thought about the Webley Tempest and Alecto. Any comments? please.
    DWL

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Dave,

      First, thanks for the kind words. Your question poses an interesting problem. If you want a pistol for target shooting and dealing with magpies in the garden, you have a “conflict of interests.” The single-stroke pneumatic pistols — HW75, Daisy 747, Gamo Compact — are all excellent target guns, and people shoot them in club matches at 10 meters and in air pistol silhouette matches.

      The difficulty is that none of them make enough power to deal with magpies humanely. I have never shot magpies, but I did terminate a squirrel at short range with an HW45, and the Diana LP8 makes nearly as much power as your Meteor. But any spring-piston pistol is going to be more difficult to shoot accurately in club competition. An HW30 rifle would make a good replacement for your Meteor. If you wallet can stand it, you could then supplement that with a Daisy 747 pistol for competition.

      If you want to read more about my adventures with the squirrel, check out this http://www.airgunsofarizona-temp.com/blog/2008/10/noise-in-attic.html and this http://www.airgunsofarizona-temp.com/blog/2008/10/noise-in-attic-part-ii.html

      For more information about the LP8, try here: http://www.airgunsofarizona-temp.com/blog/2009/06/rws-lp8-classic-in-making.html

  2. Derek says:

    You could take out Magpies with a 75 but would need to restrict your range to 10 mtrs and go for head shots only.
    Ive found that there is quite a bit of dead space at the piston head with the HW75 pressumably to make it easier to cock. Ive adjusted the piston head slightly for a bit more power (415 fps with JSB) and it works wonderfully well on small birds.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Derek,

      Thanks for your comments.

  3. Jim Turnbull says:

    Is the power plant in the HW75 the same as the HW40?

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      No.

  4. Dale Machin says:

    Living in the UK I find that HW75’s are still scarce but available if you are quick. I managed to buy one recently – a second hand Minter at a very good price, and it is by far my favorite pistol of all time. It simply ooozes quality and begs to be used on range. Once I start firing the min pleasure time is 90 mins before my wife drags it from my clutching grasp and says enough! When I was younger I could shoot a flea off a dog’s arse at 10 yards, but being in my late fifties now my eyes arn’t so good so I fitted this big 40mm red dot sight. I easily score bulls at ten yards because it is such a good gun. My advice is dont hesitate – if you see one on sale buy it, you wont be disappointed!

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Dale,

      Thanks for your comments!

  5. Derek says:

    75 powerplant is not the same as the 40 and even made of better material. I found the operation much easier but assumed incorrectly that this was due to the slight extra leverage of the longer top strap.
    Its not…the gun is not quite under the same compression.They usually hit around 375fps versus the 400fps for the 40 but can easily be adjusted. It has the highest power potential of its type but needs work

  6. Derek says:

    75 powerplant is not the same as the 40 and even made of better material. I found the operation much easier but assumed incorrectly that this was due to the slight extra leverage of the longer top strap.
    Its not…the gun is not quite under the same compression.They usually hit around 375fps versus the 400fps for the 40 but can easily be adjusted. It has the highest power potential of its type but needs work

  7. Kevin says:

    Very nice gun, can manage a 3/8 group rested or 3/4 inch off hand at 10 mtrs.
    A slight increase in hammer spring strength, either by stretching or replacement can get another 15fps with H&N high speed seeming to suit the tight barrel perfect for 420fps.
    It completely trounces its HW45 cousin in accuracy terms which is very difficult to control and diesels. The barrels enjoy being burnished out with a phosphor bronze brush as they are 0.1mm too tight compared to the early versions at true 4.5mm and 440fps. Requires around 200 strokes through the bore to lose the 0.1mm

  8. Ben says:

    great gun I got mine 2 weeks ago. I have several other air guns but this is very accurate.. It does make me a better shot..

  9. chet says:

    Just bought one this afternoon. This is a wonderful air pistol. I am impressed with the build quality. The trigger is crisp and light. Noise report is minimal, the pellet hitting the target at 8 feet is louder than the action…. and zero recoil. AoA has the best price around too. It’s a keeper. Thank you.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      chet,

      Thanks for your comments and the kind words.

  10. Dave Franklin says:

    Mr. Elliott, I like this review. For target shooting to compete do you prefer this or the IZH 46M? I need something with a really good sighting system. Thank you. Dave Franklin

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Dave,

      Thanks for the kind words. The HW75 is a pleasure to own and shoot and the build quality is outstanding, but the IZH46M, in my opinion, has better grips (with an adjustable palm shelf) for competition, presuming your are righthanded. Both have notch-and-post type sights. The Daisy 747 is an excellent choice for an entry-level competition pistol as well

  11. Dave Franklin says:

    Mr. Elloitt, thank you for the advice. I think I am going to try the 747 since it is affordable for a start. I notice that it has a standard black front sight and a notch rear sight. I usually paint my front sights if they are black. Since the 10m target is black, do you suggest painting the front sight for contrast. Maybe bright yellow or orange? Thank you again for you help. ALSO, what is your philosophy about pellet weights? Lighter is more accurate at 10M or a heavier pellet? Or is it just up to the gun and the shooter???????

  12. Michael says:

    No disrespect intended, but while you provided lots of subjective comments regarding the high quality construction, your review doesn’t answer your question “what is it like to shoot?”.

    Did the distributor let you actually use the pistol (hope not, considering that it had already been sold to someone else)? If so, how about some objective data, e.g. actual measured velocities and accuracy with different pellets, measured trigger pull weight, measured cocking forced required, etc.

    Anyway, thanks for the basic information provided … sounds like a nice air pistol.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Michael,

      Since I no longer have the pistol in my possession, there is not much I can add at present, but I can tell you that, because it is a single-stroke pneumatic, it is pretty much dead still — recoil-free– when the shot goes off.

  13. kenneth says:

    I have hw75. There are two pieces in the plunged charging system. The one behind the one with the felt on it keeps loosening up. I tighten the set screw in it but it keeps moistening. Help!!

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Kenneth,

      Contact the good folks at http://www.airgunsofarizona.com

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