It all started innocently enough. Greg Glover of www.airgunsofarizona.com sent me an email announcing the availability of a new model of Weihrauch HW30 with a laminated stock. I took a look it and thought: “Wow, that’s pretty neat!”
But then I had a thought and sent Greg an email:
You know what would be an absolutely fabulous HW30 model? How about the stainless action in the laminate stock? Maybe it could be the Jock Elliott autograph model . . .
A good idea should never be ignored.
I have placed an order for 20x HW30 laminate .177 in stainless finish. Weihrauch will not do special markings on small batches, so we will get creative. We will be installing a rear peep sight on each of these and package each with a small hard sided case. If I know you, this setup is the most ideal by your standards! I need you to write up a signature card paragraph endorsing the rifle in some fashion, and then I will make it into a professional printed card for you to hand sign and return for insertion with each as 1 of 20. These will be marketed as Elliott Editions, and I will send you one to write a blog. We will then time the release with that blog. Sound like a good plan?
Following this, we will make a standard version available without the add ons.
To which I replied simply: Perfect!
And that brings us to where we are now.
The HW30 Elliott Edition just arrived at my door. Like a kid at Christmas, I couldn’t wait to unzip the long slim package to view it firsthand.
We’ll get to my impression of the HW30 EE in just as little bit, but first, let’s back up a couple of steps: Why the HW30?
That part is easy. The HW30 is one of my favorite air rifles of all time. It’s small, light, easy to cock and wickedly accurate. When I first began writing about airguns, I had a conversation with a famous airgun tuner. I suggested that he build me a particular spring-piston air rifle with skeletonized stock. “Why would you want to do that?” he asked.
When I told him I thought it would look neat, he patiently explained that reducing the weight of the air rifle (by cutting away all unnecessary wood in the stock) would make it harder to shoot accurately. The closer you got to one pound of rifle weight for each foot-pound of energy at the muzzle in a spring-piston air rifle, the easier it was to shoot well. That’s why the Beeman R7/Weihrauch HW30 is such a tackdriver – just about six pounds of weight and six foot-pounds of energy, he explained.
I would later test this theory in several different air rifles and prove its veracity. The final straw came one afternoon when my brother-in-law was dropping more targets with his HW30 that I was with my more powerful, more expensive air rifle. “My rifle is just easier to shoot well,” he said. We switched guns, and I promptly outshot him. That was when we hatched The Great Plan. When we went to the next field target match, we would each shoot HW30s. “We miss the long-range stuff anyway,” was the thought, “but with the HW30, we can be sure of knocking down the short to medium range targets.”
And it worked! We didn’t win, but we did pretty decently in our classes. Great minds must work the same, because around that time there was a small group of field target enthusiasts who were voluntarily choosing low-power air rifles, doing well, and most importantly, having fun. We were never formally organized in any way, but collectively, we referred to ourselves as Team WIMP. WIMP is an acronym, standing for Weapons of Intentionally Modest Power.
There are a couple of additional factors that contribute to the configuration of the HW30 Elliott Edition. The first is the stainless finish receiver. I chose this because one day I was shooting at a friend’s house with a well-known German air rifle when it began to mist lightly. I didn’t have any gun cloths with me, so I stuck the rifle in its hardshell case and brought it home. The next day, I pulled it out and found out that some of the surfaces on the receiver had already acquired a very light patina of rust. A few minutes work with a silicon-impregnated gun cloth cured the problem, but I was outraged: “You would think that an airgun designed for use outside, where it might occasionally rain, would be finished in such a way as to resist moisture!” So I chose the stainless finish for moisture resistance.
The second is the laminated stock. Because of the way laminate is constructed, I believe that will confer additional moisture resistance on the HW30EE, but the real reason I chose the laminate was because it is about .5 pounds heavier that the conventional wooden stock. Back in my Team WIMP days, when I was campaigning the HW30 (it was actually a Beeman R7, but the models are virtually identical), I often wished that the rifle were just a bit heavier. I actually contacted a custom stock maker to have him build me a laminated stock for the HW30, but he believed what I really needed was a lighter walnut stock. Bottom line: the project didn’t work out.
So now we have the Elliott Edition, a weather-resistant, slightly heavier version of the HW30, tricked out with a peep sight and a hard case. It’s light enough to carry all day and powerful and accurate enough to defend the garden at short range or the bird feeder or even to campaign in field target. I doubt that you will achieve top score, but I virtually guarantee that you will have fun.
So what are my impressions of the HW30 EE?
First, it’s absolutely gorgeous. If you look closely at the photos here, you’ll notice a couple of things: the buttstock has a modest cheek piece of either side, which is good news for left-handed shooters, and the full length fore end extends to cover the cocking linkage, which give the HW30 EE a more finished appearance. A couple of other items worthy of note: the front globe sight comes with interchangeable inserts, and the rear peep sight has clicker knobs for adjusting windage and elevation.
Even better, when I shot the sample that Airguns of Arizona send to me, I found that the half pound of extra weight seems to dampen out any twang or vibration when the shot goes off. There is a muted pop, and that’s it. By bottoming out the Williams peep sight, I was able to zero the EE at twenty yards and regularly hit an inch-and-a-half target at that distance, even with the slightly astigmatic view out of my uncorrected right eye.
Finally, toting the “EE” around for a bit, I find the weight is just right. As I think back, it reminds me of the Daisy BB gun that I loved carrying through the woods and fields of my boyhood. In my heart, the HW30 EE is the grown-up successor to that Daisy. It’s heavier, certainly more powerful, more accurate, and a ton of fun. The HW3 EE is an air rifle that virtually begs for an adventure in the outdoors.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott
PS My brother-in-law says if you absolutely have to put a scope on an Elliott Edition, make sure it is a silver scope. In his words, “That would be bad *ss.”