You might be an airgunner if . . . you “need” the HW45 Black Star

Monday, June 6, 2011

Another variation on a classic: the HW45 Black Star

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.

Pull back the silver hammer and the rear of the upper half of the receiver is released to begin the cocking stroke.

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.

I "need" one of these, so I guess that makes me an airgunner.

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


  1. jayb says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I have an HW 45 in .22 caliber and I don’t think I’ll ever
    part with it because it is so much fun to shoot. I’m more accurate with
    my HW 40 but I love the power and the significant but very controlled
    recoil of the HW 45. It is a real pleasure.


    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Thanks for the kind words. Yup, HW45s are definitely fun to shoot!

  2. Noah says:

    I have a few modified Crosman 13XX pistols but have always wanted a HW45 to complete my collection. Perhaps in the near future I will reward myself with one which will of course lead to another “must have” pistol.

    Jock, you rule!

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Thanks for the kind words!

  3. Roy says:

    I enjoy my HW silver star in .177 caliber this is my second air pistol in this class
    it’s beautiful and just fun to shoot. I have also enjoyed the two power levels
    even in low power this pistol will still drive flat nose pellets thru the bottom
    of your typical aluminum beverage can @ 15 yds. That’s amazing, with this type of
    penetration and dual power it also cuts the noise factor an important consideration when shooting in your typical residental backyard. I’ve had .20 caliber in P-1 before
    seems the most important factor is the old saying “speed vs power” smaller pellet
    vs larger pellet again @ 30- 35 yds I can still drive .177 caliber pellets thru the bottom
    of your typical aluminum beverage can my pistol is topped off with an old beeman #25 blue ribbon pistol scope. In the larger caliber I was never able to punch the bottom and drive pellets thru.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Thanks for your comments Roy. Nice shooting at 30-35 yards!

  4. Michael Nager says:

    I have both the .177 and .22 HW45 and with regard to accuracy I would let others judge. Here are two targets, the first is my .177 at 16 paces with Daystate Rangemaster HE (8.5 grain) pellets I put over ten pellets into the target and there was one flyer:

    And then with my .22 using H&N Hollow Point pellets (12.65 grain)and again putting over 10 pellets into the target at 12 paces:

    All the shots were taken with the open sights and not rested and also there was no wind to speak of.

    The targets are three inches in diameter.

    It took me a long time to get the hold down pat and consistent on the pistol and in the beginning I was very disappointed at not being able to shoot it accurately. As you can see however the HW45 does reward perseverance.

    THAT is the thing about the HW45 though, it will not wear out, requiring you to tinker with it and then have to relearn how to shoot it every couple of tins or so of pellets. I mean it will not start wearing out as soon as you have gotten it worn in. You do get what you pay for with this pistol.

    The next picture I shot at a pie tin lid (Frey Bentos) with .177 RWS R10 (7 grain) and .22 H&N Hollow Point pellets at seven paces. The thing to notice here is that the lid was only lightly propped up, and so could feather as the pellets hit. As you can see they creamed through it.

  5. Steve says:

    Hi all
    I’m about to buy a HW45, however cannot decide on .177 -.22
    Help please

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      My sense is that the .22 shoots a bit smoother but the .177 shoots faster and flatter.

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