Rumors swirl around the Internet and around the airgun industry, but I have it on pretty good authority that Beeman Precision Airguns, the airgun company that many of us knew and loved, is no more. I have heard that one company has bought the rights to the low-end Beeman products while another may have bought the rights to use the Beeman name for high-end products for a few years, but I have received no official announcements to that effect.
During my experience as an adult precision airgunner (as opposed to the BB gun days of my youth), I knew the Beeman company primarily as a purveyor of high-quality spring-piston air rifles – mainly German-made Weihrauch rifles – that had been given the Beeman brand.
It’s a sad thing to see a well-respected company fade into oblivion, but for those of you who wish to own the kind of high-quality spring-piston air rifles that Beeman once sold, there is good news: you can! Airguns of Arizona is importing the equivalent German models directly from Weihrauch.
What once was the Beeman R9 is now available as the Weihrauch HW95 Luxus. Available in .177, .20, .22, and .25, the R9/HW95 is truly one of the classic air rifles of all time, and I suspect that a very large number of them have been sold over the years.
I had never owned an R9/HW95, so Airguns of Arizona sent me one to evaluate. After playing around with it for a while, it’s easy to understand why they are so popular.
The HW95 stretches 42.32 inches long and weighs just 7.5 pounds. At the extreme aft end is a soft brown rubber buttpad, connected to the ambidextrous hardwood stock by a black spacer. The pistol grip is checkered on either side, and forward of that you’ll find a black metal trigger guard. Inside the trigger guard is the world-famous Rekord trigger, which is adjustable for second stage weight.
Moving forward, the forestock has checkering on either side, and there is a slot underneath to accommodate cocking the break barrel action. Forward of that is the Weihrauch barrel, on top of which is a globe front sight with interchangeable inserts. On top of the breech block is a micro-adjustable notch rear sight with a choice of four different notches for sighting.
Moving back along the receiver, you’ll find dovetails for mounting a scope and three recesses for accepting anti-recoil pins from a scope mount. At the extreme rear edge of the receiver is a push-button safety.
To ready the HW95 for shooting, grab the barrel near the front sight and pull it down and back until it latches. This requires about 40 lbs of effort. Stuff a pellet into the breech and return the barrel to its original position. Take aim, click the safety off, and pull the trigger.
Making no adjustments to the Rekord trigger as it came from the factory, I found that the first stage came out of the trigger at 1 lb, 3 oz, and at 3 lb, 8 oz, the shot went downrange. But note well: the Rekord trigger can be adjusted much lighter than that.
The .177 sample I tested launched 7.9 gr. Crosman Premier Light pellets at 879 fps average, for about 13.5 foot pound of energy at the muzzle.
Well, what about accuracy? I’m glad you asked! I didn’t actually test this sample for accuracy, because I already knew what an R9/HW95 could do. For example, I know of one highly place national field target competitor who uses an R9/HW95 as his backup gun. I shot it one day (to be fair, it had been lightly tuned and had a custom stock) and easily dropped a one-inch field target at 40 yards. I also know a pest control professional who relies on a .177 R9 for controlling birds inside supermarkets. His selection of the R9/HW95 is very high praise indeed; there are lots of things in supermarkets that you don’t want to inadvertently shoot while you are controlling unwanted wildlife, so he is betting his professional reputation on the accuracy of the gun.
You might say that the R9/HW95 is a professional’s workhorse – what better recommendation do you need?
Bottom line: while it is sad to say Goodbye to the Beeman company, it is very good news to know that the high quality Weihrauch air rifles that Beeman offered are still available.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott