Recently, I have been doing a project for Precision Shooting magazine on .25 airguns. As part of the research, I have been fooling around with .25 cal springers. One .25 springers that I shot is the Weihrauch HW 80 in .25 caliber.
The HW 80/Beeman R1 is one of my favorite air rifles of all time. The chief difference between the HW 80 and the R1, as nearly as I can tell, is that the stock on the R1 extends far enough to cover the cocking linkage, whereas on the HW 80 it does not.
For a couple of years, I campaigned a Beeman R1 in .177 caliber in field target competition, most of the time with a globe front sight and a peep rear sight, and I did quite well with it. One of the things I liked best about it was that it was incredibly smooth shooting right out of the box. Many spring-piston air rifles virtually beg to be tuned by exhibiting fairly harsh firing characteristics as they come from the factory, but not the R1/HW 80.
But I had never shot an HW 80 in .25, so the good folks at Airguns of Arizona loaned me one. The HW 80 stretches 45.3 inches from end to end and weighs 8.8 lbs. At the end of the butt stock is a soft brown rubber recoil pad which is attached to the hardwood stock by a black spacer. The stock has a cheek piece on the left side of the stock and a slightly raised comb, but it seems to me that most lefthanders ought to be able to shoot an HW 80 without problem.
The pistol grip has checkering on either side, and forward of that inside a metal trigger guard is Weihrauch’s well-respectedtwo-stage adjustable Rekord trigger. Moving forward again, the forestock is unadorned except for two screws on either side that secure the action into the receiver.
Beyond the forestock is the barrel, which has a globe sight with interchangeable inserts mounted near the muzzle. Moving back toward the receiver, you’ll find the breech block which has the micrometer rear sight mounted on it. Moving back again, the receiver has a dovetail for mounting a scope and three holes for accepting scope mounts with anti-recoil pins. At the extreme aft end of the receiver is the Weihrauch pusbutton non-resettable safety. That’s all there to the HW 80.
To get the HW 80 ready for shooting, grab the barrel near the front sight and pull it down and back until it latches. It requires around 34 lbs of cocking effort. Stuff a pellet in the breech and return the barrel to its original position. Squeeze the trigger. It takes only 1 lb 2.8 ounces for the first stage, and at 4 lb 2.1 oz (on the sample I tested) the shot goes off.
I got roughly half-inch groups at 20 yards with the .25 caliber HW 80 (which is essentially the same accuracy I got with the other .25 cal springers I tested) with JSB Exact King .25 cal pellets. But the HW 80 shoots these heavy pellets very slowly – at around 500 fps. With lighter pellets, H&N FTT 20 grain pellets, the HW 80 launches them at 640 fps, generating 18.25 fp of energy.
Each of the .25 springers that I tested has its own charms. With the HW 80 in .25, I really liked the smoothness of the shot cycle combined with the crispness of the Rekord trigger.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott