For a number of years, comedian Jeff Foxworthy has made a name for himself doing a bit called “You might be a redneck if . . .” The phrase “you might be a redneck if” is followed by some outrageous statement. One of my favorites is; “You might be a redneck if you ever mowed your lawn and found a car.” (Given the way it has been raining in upstate New York, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a wholly mammoth, a chartreuse Microbus, and some leftover targets from Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show the next time I mow.)
So here’s my version of the “you might be a [fill in the blank] thing: You might be an airgunner if you see yet another variation on the classic HW45 and immediately start inventing reasons why you “need” that pistol.
What set off this train of thought was a recent arrival from Brown Santa (the UPS guy) that contained the HW45 Black Star pistol. Like every other HW45, this is a single-shot, spring-piston air pistol. Available in both .177 and .22, the Black Star stretches 11 inches overall and weighs 2.6 lbs.
At the back end of the Black Star is a silver metal “hammer” that is actually the release for the upper half of the receiver. Below that, except for the safety and trigger, the entire air pistol is finished in a handsome matte black. Surrounding the pistol grip on either side is a laminated grey grip that manages somehow to be both ambidextrous and ergonomic. There is a thumb/finger shelf on either side at the top and a quasi-palm shelf on either side at the bottom. The main part of the grip is stippled on either side to provide better traction for the middle, ring, and little fingers.
Forward of the pistol grip on either side of the receiver is a silver metal non-automatic safety. Flick it forward to allow the pistol to fire. The trigger guard, made of the same metal as the rest of the receiver, surrounds a silver metal 2-stage adjustable trigger. On the left hand side of the receiver, the words “HW 45 Black Star” appear in white lettering.
Moving forward to the muzzle end of the receiver, the front sight is small, red, and fiber optic. Behind the front sight is a dovetail on which a red dot sight or scope can be mounted. At the extreme aft end of the receiver, the rear sight is equipped with yellow fiber optics and can be adjusted for elevation and windage.
To load the Black Star, pull the silver hammer at the rear of the receiver backwards until the upper half of the receiver is released. Grab the back end of the upper half of the receiver and pull it up and forward until it latches. This compresses the spring in the spring-piston powerplant and requires about 18 lbs of effort. Insert a pellet into the breech end of the barrel and return the upper half of the receiver to its original position, snapping it locked into place.
Take aim at your target, flip the safety off, and squeeze the trigger. According to my digital trigger gauge, at 1 lb. 15.7 oz., the first stage came out the of the trigger, and at 3 lbs. 6.1 oz., the shot went off. Since the Black Star is functionally the same as an HW45, typical velocities with Crosman Premier 7.9 gr. pellets are likely to be around 520 fps. The .22 version of the Black Star will probably sent .22 Premiers down range at around 415 fps.
Like every other HW45, the Black Star is both challenging and fun to shoot. It’s challenging because it’s a spring-piston pistol and you have to deal with the recoil to shoot it well. It’s fun because it jumps in your hand and delivers the pellet to the target with some authority.
And just why do I “need” one of these pistols? Because it’s so darned good looking, that’s why.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott