Lately it seems I’ve testing a lot of airguns with synthetic stocks, and, by and large, I like them. The HW97K Synthetic is no exception.
An aside: there have, however, been synthetic-stocked airguns that I didn’t like. One in particular had a hollow stock that rang like the wood block from the percussion section of the orchestra – WOCK! I fired three shots, waited for my head to clear, called the fellow who sent it to me for review and said, “I think I’ll pass on this one.”
The HW97K Synthetic (hereinafter known as the HKS) stretches 40.35 inches from end to end and weighs 9.1 lbs, compared to 8.8 lbs for the HW97K. My first impression pulling out of the box is that this is a big, heavy, solid air rifle.
Starting at the aft end of the HKS, you’ll find a black hard rubber butt pad. Forward of that is the ambidextrous synthetic thumbhole stock. The entire stock is finished in matte black, and there are textured panels for improved grip at the pistol grip and on the forestock. Surprisingly, the trigger guard on the HKS is not molded of the same engineering polymer as the rest of the stock, but is instead the usual black metal trigger guard found on HW97s. Inside the trigger guard, the metal Rekord trigger and trigger adjustment screw sport a gold-colored finish.
Underneath the forestock is a long solid to that provides clearance for the underlever linkage when cocking the action. The far end of the cocking lever clips into a fitting that is part of the muzzle brake at the end of the barrel. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll encounter the receiver, which is black, except for the silver metal breech block. The aft end of the receiver has dovetails for mounting a scope, and there are three holes for accepting anti-recoil pins at the tail end of the receiver. At the extreme back edge of the receiver, you’ll find the typical Weihrauch pushbutton, non-resettable safety.
To ready the HKS for shooting, push the release button at the end of the underlever latch just below the muzzle brake and pull the underlever downward. This releases it from the retaining clip. Next, pull the underlever down and back until it latches. The cocking stroke on the sample I tested was unbelievably smooth and quiet for an unturned air rifle. This also slides the breech block back, exposing the breech end of the barrel. Insert a pellet into the aft end of the barrel and return the underlever to its original position.
Take aim at your target, flick off the safety, and squeeze the trigger. On the sample I tested, the first stage came out at 1 lb. 4.6 oz., and the second stage tripped at 3 lb. 13.5 oz. The Rekord trigger is one of the very best on a spring-piston sporting air rifle and can be readily adjusted for pull weight simply by turning a screw.
A typical HW97 will launch Crosman Premier 7.9 grain .177 pellets at around 850 fps. When the shot goes off, there is just a hint of vibration that is heard but not felt, and the report is very muted, very neighbor friendly.
I was very pleased with the accuracy of the HKS. From a rest, I put five shots into a group at 30 yards that measured just 5/8 inch edge to edge. That works out to just under half an inch center to center.
In the end, I found a lot to smile about regarding the HW97K Synthetic: I like its accuracy, its quiet ways, its looks, and its very solid feel. I wouldn’t hesitate to campaign one in field target competition.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
- Jock Elliott