Posts Tagged ‘HW80’

hW80 .22 caliber 001

The HW80 is a true classic. I just love the way it looks, feels, handles, and shoots. It stretches 45.3 inches from muzzle to butt pad and weighs 8.8 pounds.

hW80 .22 caliber 002

At the extreme aft end is a brown rubber butt pad that connects to the hardwood stock with a black space. Forward of that, the stock is righthanded with a cheek piece on the left side of the butt stock, but I believe that it can be shot comfortably by lefthanders. The cheek piece is also low enough that the HW80 can be shot comfortably with iron sights. The pistol grips slopes gently and has checkering on either side.

hW80 .22 caliber 007

Forward of the pistol grip is a black metal trigger guard that surrounds a silver colored metal trigger and a silver colored metal post that can be screwed in and out (through a hole in the trigger guard) to adjust the weight of the Rekord trigger. Forward of the trigger guard, the forestock is smooth and unadorned except for a slot for the cocking mechanism on the underside and a couple of black metal screws on either side.

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Forward of the forestock, the front half of the breech block and cocking mechanism are visible. Beyond that is the 20 inch barrel. At the muzzle end of the barrel, on top, is a small dovetail that is used to mount a globe front sight with interchangeable inserts. Moving back along the barrel, a notch micro-adjustable rear sight is mounted on top of the breech block.

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Moving back along the receiver, there are dovetails for mounting a scope and three holes for accepting anti-recoil pins. At the extreme aft end of the receiver, there is push-button safety that is automatically activated whenever the gun is cocked.

To ready the HW80 for shooting, grab the barrel near the muzzle and pull it down and back toward the pistol grip until the mechanism latches. Cocking effort is around 34 pounds. Slide a pellet into the breech and return the barrel to its original position. Take aim, snap off the automatic safety, and ease the first stage out of the trigger. Squeeze a bit harder, and the shot goes down range. The Rekord trigger is crisp and clean and can be adjusted from over four pounds to less than a pound.

The shot cycle of the HW80 is very relaxed. The gun goes ka-chunggg and that’s it. There is a slight bit of spring twang that is heard but not felt, and the report is audible – what you would expect from a spring gun of this power – but certainly not raucous. In all, the HW80 is a very pleasant air rifle to shoot.

The sample that I tested was launching 11.9 grain .22 RWS Hobby pellets at 850 fps, generating just a hair over 19 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. With Crosman Premier pellets, I found I could shoot 5-shot groups at 32 yards that you could cover with a quarter.

The .22 HW80 can be used for hunting, pest control, or just general shooting. Mount a peep sight instead of a scope (and be sure to remove the notch sight mounted on the breech block), and you can make like Matthew Quigley.

I liked the HW80 a whole lot, and I think it would put a grin on the face of any adult airgunner. With proper care and the occasional rebuild, it will last a lifetime and you can leave it in your will. What’s not to like?

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

hW80 .22 caliber 006Recently I had the opportunity to shoot classic air rifle that I had never shot before, the Weihrauch HW80 in .22 caliber. We’ll get to a description of this rifle and how it shoots in Part II of this blog, but first let’s consider the somewhat unusual history of the Weihrauch HW80.

To start, we have to go back, all the way back to 1978.  Robert Beeman and his wife – the owners of Beeman Precision Arms and pioneers in bringing adult precision airguns to Americans – were puzzled. Why was it that the 8-pound Beeman/Weihrauch 35 would shoot at only 755 fps in .177 caliber while 7.2 pound Feinwerkbau 124 could crank out 800-830 fps? It appeared that the HW 35 should be more powerful; it had a larger diameter compression chamber and a more massive mainspring, but it couldn’t match the easier to cock FWB 124.

The Beemans had a very practical motive for their curiosity. Their dream was to create the first true “magnum” airgun with a spring-piston powerplant for the U.S. market. English and German airgun manufacturers weren’t generally interested in answering the question because of power limitations on airguns in their countries. So the Beemans enlisted the help of university engineer E.H. Epperson, an airgun enthusiast, to simulate on a computer the interrelationship of some of the variables in airgun powerplants.

Early in 1979, the Beemans presented the results to Hans Weihrauch and his wife (who was also his business partner; they were owners of the Hermann Weihrauch Company). Together, the Beemans and Weihrauchs agreed to collaborate – with Robert Beeman as the prime mover behind the big concept as well as the final details – on a new rifle for the American market. The new rifle was the first air rifle to be based on computer simulations. Previously, airgun prototype development and experimentation had been done on the “try it and see what happens” basis. Beeman also worked with custom stock maker Gary Goudy to produce several prototype stocks for the new rifle.

In an article on his website, Robert Beeman says, “As the primary development grew to a close, Hans Sr. gave us a choice: we could pay for the execution and tooling and have the exclusive worldwide rights to our model or the Weihrauchs would pay these costs on the agreement that the Beemans would have exclusive rights to the gun in the United States, and anywhere else that it was marketed as the Beeman Rl, and that the Weihrauchs could market other versions, with specifications appropriate to other markets, under the HW 80 label, outside the United States. In the interest of cost and cooperation, we chose the latter.”

In his book The Beeman R1 – Supermagnum Air Rifle, Tom Gaylord said, “the Beeman R1 is the rifle that brought America fully into the world of adult airguns.” The plainer Weihrauch HW80, designed for the European market where power and style were not so important, would be an offspring from the development of the R1.

Eventually the new rifle, called the Beeman R1 for Rifle Number One, made its debut in the United States in late 1981. In Robert Beeman’s words, “The resulting rifle was handsome, beautifully balanced at 8.5 pounds, and easy to fire accurately. It was engineered with an understressed, straight-forward powerplant, and the most solid, well-machined mechanism on the market. Muzzle velocities were in an astonishing new range: 900 to almost 1,000 fps in the then-most-popular caliber, .177.”

Beeman adds, “Ironically, delays in the production of the R1 stock, which required larger stock blanks than the shorter, rather Germanic HW 80 stock design of that time, resulted in the HW 80 being introduced a little before the U.S. debut of the Beeman R1 in late 1981. In any case, just as the Beeman P1 pistol was not developed from the HW45, the Beeman R1 rifle definitely was not developed from the HW 80. Both rifles were developed from our concept of the R1.”

Next time, we’ll take a tour of the HW80 in .22 and see how it shoots.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott