Posts Tagged ‘Weihrauch’

Weihrauch HW95

The Weihrauch HW95 spring-piston airgun.

Most of us live in a fast pace rat race society.  With today’s advanced technology we stay connected to family, friends and the workplace associates seemingly 24/7.  I find myself looking back at the days of my youth with pleasure more and more.

At the age of 54, I grew up when phones still had cords, fuel was .25 cents per gallon and the drive-in movie was a great place to take your sweetheart or find one.  I remember saving the spent shot shells from my dad’s 16-gauge after the opening day of dove season because I thought they were so cool.  As a society we seem to need immediate satisfaction with today’s connectivity. We can order the latest widget and expect it at our door tomorrow, use it over the weekend, and discard it after our disappointment over its lack of quality and/or performance. We tend to want our things fast and cheap, and not value the qualities that last.

My last blog post was in honor of Mr. Stefan Weihrauch, owner/partner of the HW airgun factory in Germany. The owner brothers Hans and Stefan have built a company that embraces quality over quantity with high value for the money. I recommend their products highly. In particular, the Weihrauch HW95. This rifle is of the highest quality and performance standard with pricing that was negotiated by Stefan before his passing to provide German engineering at a value that rivals much cheaper made airguns. Take advantage of this special promotion while it lasts and bring back some childhood memories. It will put a smile on your face!

Thank you for reading,

Robert Buchanan

President, Airguns of Arizona

Every year in March, the European version of the Shot Show takes place in Nürnberg Germany. IWA, as it is referred to, is where manufactures from all over the world gather to showcase their goods and release the new products that have been painstakingly developed in the previous years and are now ready for public admiration. Factory managers, design engineers, and marketing gurus come together with anxious excitement in hopes that their customers will be equally excited and fill the order books.  The 2015 IWA show brings exciting news to those finding there way to the stands of Daystate, FX Airguns, Weihrauch, and Brocock. These fine factories have each done their work to provide the airgun enthusiast new reasons to add to their collection.

Daystate LTD


The firm that has pioneered the modern day PCP airgun and is credited by most in producing some of the finest airguns made in the world today.  The centerpiece of their new lineup will include the all new Pulsar Bullpup. This all new air rifle has years of research and design experience behind its creation. Specialists from many technologies have been brought together to build this elegant and advanced shooting machine. The Pulsar represents the next generation of quality and engineering for Daystate. Those that are fortunate to own one of these masterpieces will cherish it for years. The Pulsar sports features found on no other airgun such as a built in laser, an all electronic firing system with regulator, three tuned power levels, and a stock crafted by Italian masters that screams quality and elegance with interchangeable components to design the look of your choice.  The four current popular calibers .177 .22 .25 and .30 will be available. The new Pulsar represents a new benchmark in quality and design that will be hard to match.

FX Airguns

FX Wildcat Bullpup

This innovative airgun company has been very busy. The FX factory has moved and expanded into a new larger high tech facility with the most modern equipment and resources for design, manufacture, and assembly to provide the highest quality airgun products possible. The FX design team has worked literally day and night to bring to market the most exciting models ever to come out of the factory. First, the all new Wildcat Bullpup is a high power, light weight, short, and quiet tack driver that sports a FX made synthetic stock. Additionally, the new Impact air rifle ,although a Bullpup by definition, handles more like a AR15 live fire rifle with features such as external adjustable regulator, power adjuster, hammer, and valve adjustments with a quick change system for the caliber of your choice in minutes. The rifle will be available in .177, .22,  .25 and .30 calibers with maximum power of 90 ft/lbs on the big .30. Light in weight, short in length, and with the option of any production AR15 style grip, this new accurate wonder gun will definitely make an “Impact” on the customer’s choice. These two new models represent some of the highest levels of airgun design from one of the worlds best.

Brocock LTD

Brocock Contour XL G6

With the acquisition of Brocock by Diana holdings come fresh energy and investment from this British firm is famous for its production of small light weight rifles and high power field pistols. This year Brocock is proud to announce the new G6 Contour air rifle. This little gem sports an all new Italian made ambidextrous stock with a olive green soft touch all weather coating. The G6 includes top quality build with features normally found only on more expensive units. The list starts with the fitment of a highly accurate Lothar-Walther barrel, a six shot magazine system, and a Huggett moderator that turns the report into barely a whisper. The G6 along with its stable mate Elite models are a first choice for the shooter that desires a light compact quality target and pest control rifle.

Weihrauch Sport

Weihrauch HW100 Carbine Laminate

This German airgun company is world famous for its consistency, quality, and design. For more than 100 years, HW products have been proudly passed down from grandfather to father to son.  With years of experience in old and new world designs, the craftsmen at HW have few peers. HW is pleased to add new stock designs and innovative features to their rock solid line up. HW will continue to perfect the fine HW100 PCP model for the 2015 season.

G12 HW45 177 004I love movies. One of my favorites is “Jeremiah Johnson.” In it there is a scene in which Bear claw Chris Lapp (an experienced mountain man) says to Jeremiah Johnson (a tenderfoot who has nearly starved to death trying to learn to be a mountain man): “Mountain’s got its own ways, pilgrim . . .” Meaning you have to deal with the mountain as it is, not how you wish it was.

Around El Rancho Elliott “Mountain’s got its own ways, pilgrim” has become a code phrase for having to deal with the peculiarities or eccentricities of an individual, organization, or piece of machinery.

The same could be said of the Weihrauch HW45 http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/Weihrauch.htm#WeihrauchHW45 . It is a singular air pistol, and it does, indeed, have its own ways. Nevertheless, you need to know right up front that the HW45 is simply a whale of a lot of fun to shoot.

Greg Glover at www.airgunsofarizona.com calls the HW45 “Old Smokey” because “I can instantly recognize when anyone is testing an HW45 in the shop. I can smell the dieseling and see the smoke.”

G12 HW45 177 005

Recently I tested a new HW45 in .177 caliber and right out of the box it dieseled and smoked just like Greg said it would. The HW45 stretches 11 inches from end to end and weighs 2.54 pounds. At the extreme aft end of the receiver is what appears to be a hammer but is actually a release that allows the back half of the “upper” to be moved for cocking. The pistol grip is scaled like that on a 1911 Colt automatic, and there are ambidextrous walnut grips with diamond checkering on either side.

G12 HW45 177 009

Just forward of the grip is a lever type safety. Forward of that, a black metal trigger guard surrounds a black metal adjustable two-stage trigger. Forward of that is the muzzle and the upper part of the receiver which houses a red fiber optic front sight. The top of the receiver has dovetails so that a scope or red dot sight can be mounted. On top of the receiver, at the extreme aft end is a green fiber optic rear sight that is adjustable for windage and elevation.

What makes the HW45 really interesting is that, compared to other spring-piston air pistols, it is built backwards. If you look at the RWS LP8 pistol http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/rws.html#LP8 for example, you’ll see that it is longer and heavier than the HW45 and built essentially like a scaled-down breakbarrel air rifle. When you cock the LP8, you pull the barrel down and back toward the pistol grip. The process shoves the piston and spring back, toward the rear sight. When you pull the trigger on the LP8, the piston rockets forward and then bounces back off the cushion of compressed air at the end of the compression chamber near the front of the LP8. The muzzle tends to kick up in the air.

G12 HW45 177 006

When you are cocking the HW45, however, you are pulling the rear of the upper part of the receiver up and forward, toward the front sight. This pulls the spring and piston toward the front sight. When you trigger the shot, the spring and piston rush toward the back of the gun and then bounce off the compressed air near the transfer port at the rear of the HW45, which tends to rotate the muzzle downward.

In either pistol, the whole forward and back recoil cycle happens very quickly. But if you shoot with a tight grip on the pistol at first and then loosen it with subsequent shots, what you will tend to notice is that, with the LP8 as you loosen your grip the point of impact will tend to rise, but with the HW45 as you loosen your grip, the point of impact will tend to drop.

The HW45 has a crisp, clean trigger and it kicks hard (for an air pistol) when the shot goes off. (First stage of the trigger on the sample that I tested measured 1 lb. 5.3 oz. Second stage measured 2 lb. 7 oz.) But that, quite frankly, is part of the fun. The HW45 launches 7.9 grain pellets at 451 fps average, and that is hard enough to be useful for defending the bird feeder or the garden at short range. I have successfully used the HW45 to dispatch a squirrel that was causing problems in our attic. See http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2008/10/noise-in-attic.html and http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2008/10/noise-in-attic-part-ii.html

The HW45 is a fun and challenging air pistol to shoot. Sure, it’s got its own ways, pilgrim, but over time I’ve come to really enjoy this unique pistol.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

You don’t see it talked about much in the airgun forums, but many spring-piston air rifles and air pistols – springers – actually burn some of the lubricants in their compression cylinders during the shot cycle. Don’t worry; it’s a normal thing.

Here’s how G.V. Cardew and G.M. Cardew describe it in their book The Airgun from Trigger to Target: “The combustion phase is the phase in which most high powered sporting spring rifles operate. As the piston comes forward on firing, the temperature of the air in front of it rises with the pressure; this very high temperature causes oil, or any other combustible substance to burn, thereby increasing the pressure further, producing enough energy to drive the pellet up the barrel at a very high velocity.”

Further, they proved that the combustion takes place through an ingenious test that they called “The Nitrogen Experiment.” Starting with a .22 caliber Weihrauch HW35, they stripped it, degreased and rebuilt it with the correct amount of lubrication everywhere. They then fired it through a chronograph until it settled down at 636 fps with a 14.4 grain pellet (12.9 fp of energy at the muzzle).

They then placed the HW35 and a supply of pellets in a long plastic bag and sucked all the air out of it with a vacuum pump, leaving it sitting under vacuum for half an hour to remove all oxygen from within the seals and mechanism. The bag was sealed around the barrel and a rubber bung pressed into the muzzle to prevent oxygen from re-entering the gun. After that, nitrogen, an inert gas that does not support combustion, was blown into the bag to make it a manageable size for shooting the gun. The bung was removed and replaced for each shot, and a number of shots were fired. With the HW35 unable to enter the combustion phase of the shot cycle, the gun managed only 426 fps or 5.8 foot-pounds. The Cardews had proved conclusively that combustion is necessary for the proper operation of a sporting springer.

So, a little bit of lubrication is necessary so that combustion can take place. But what happens when your brand new airgun has a little too much lubrication? Check out the chart below.

WhatIsThis

This is the graph of velocities of an airgun that has too much lubrication and has entered into what the Cardews call the “detonation phase,” or what airgunners generally refer to as “dieseling.” Instead of making normal shot-cycle sounds, the shot goes off with a bang, producing the wild variations in velocity that you see above. Often smoke comes out the barrel and there is a characteristic smell. In severe cases, dieseling can actually bow out the walls of the compression chamber and drive the piston backwards with such force that it kinks the mainspring.

Fortunately, it is usually the case that a handful of shots with extra-heavy pellets will drive the excess lubricant out of the powerplant and settle the airgun back into normal operation. Below is the velocity graph of the same airgun after it was shot enough to settle down.

WeihrauchHW4522

The bottom line: high powered sporting air rifles and air pistols require some combustion of their lubrication to operate properly. But there is such a thing as too much. If you find your air rifle or air pistol dieseling, 5-10 shots with the heaviest pellets you have of the appropriate caliber may help to correct the situation.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

 

Just last night I had an encounter with a fellow who is an experienced hunter, firearms user, and sportsman, and he knows very little about airguns. His lack of knowledge of about airguns about airguns isn’t a rare thing. Most of the experienced sportsmen that I know have very little conception of the world of adult precision airguns. Their knowledge is pretty much limited to what can be found on the shelves of the big-box stores, and there the packaging screams: 1200 feet per second, 1300 feet per second, 1500 feet per second! This leaves the consumer to assume that more feet per second is somehow better, and it does the consumer a gross dis-service in making a buying decision.

So let’s suppose that you think maybe it would be neat to try airgunning, but you really don’t have a clue what to buy.

392-397

First on my list would be a Benjamin 392. This is a solidly made single-shot, bolt-action, .22 caliber, multi-stroke pneumatic air rifle. It is easy to shoot well, delivers enough power for small game hunting or pest control, and with care should last for decades. I would buy one with a Williams peep sight. Scoping the 392, or its .177 caliber brother the 397, is difficult.

Model-34

Next up would be the highly respected RWS Model 34. This is a single-shot, break-barrel air rifle available in .177 or .22 with power enough for hunting or field targe. Like all spring-piston air rifles, it requires some care to shoot well. The build quality is excellent, and the trigger is far better than you will find in the typical big-box break-barrel springer. In addition, the Model 34 is easy to mount a scope on.

HW30S

Third is the Weihrauch HW30S. This is a lower-power break-air rifle that is easy to cock, offers excellent accuracy, and is perhaps the easiest springer to shoot well. Many airgunners I know say it is the last air rifle they would sell. It can be readily scoped, the build quality is outstanding, and it will deliver decades of service with the occasional rebuild. It can be used for pest control and garden defense with careful shot placement at close range.

WAL-LGV-Master

My favorite springer is the Walther LGV. These are break-barrel, single-shot spring-piston air rifles that are easy to cock and incredibly smooth to shoot. With a scope mounted, you could hunt, plink, shoot field target with a huge grin on your face. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one to a friend.

When it comes to pre-charged pneumatic rifles, it’s hard to go wrong. Virtually all of them will deliver one-inch groups at fifty yards under good conditions with the right pellet.

L1377C

Turning to air pistols, the Crosman 1377c is an excellent starter pistol that people love to customize. It’s a single-shot, bolt-action, .177 caliber pistol that is fun to shoot and can be used for small pest control at close range. The rear sight, however, requires a safecracker’s touch to adjust.

Triumph%20747

If you want pure, accurate, air pistol shooting fun, the Daisy Avanti Triumph 747 http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/Daisy%20Triumph%20747.html can’t be beat. It’s a single-stroke pneumatic pistol that’s wimpy in power and no good for pest control or hunting but highly accurate, and people use them all the time in air pistol silhouette matches.

HW45

If you want more power and a challenge, I suggest any of the Weihrauch HW45 pistols. These are spring-pistol air pistols that are tricky to shoot well but are fun to shoot and master. They also offer enough power for defending the birdfeeder at short range.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

 

 

 

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.

hW80 .22 caliber 004

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.

hW80 .22 caliber 003

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

Sometimes the most important part of this business of writing a weekly airgun blog is waiting . . . waiting for the weather to clear . . . waiting for equipment to arrive, and so forth.

Right now I am waiting for both the weather to clear and some equipment to show up, and my wife suggested that it might be useful to answer some questions. I thought about this for a moment and decided it was an excellent suggestion. So here goes . . .

This is a question I get fairly often in the comments section of the blog: Where can I buy a (insert name of product here)?

Answer: The first thing you need to know is that I am not an employee of www.airgunsofarizona.com I work under a handshake arrangement with them to write a blog about airguns once a week. As such, I do not have an intimate knowledge of AoA’s inventory, order plans, and such like. However, in the past I have been a customer of AoA, and I have first-hand knowledge that they pride themselves on providing excellent customer service. Basically, they try to treat their customers in the way that they themselves would like to be treated. They have long ago realized that if they do a good job of matching an airgun to a customer’s needs and wants, they will have more repeat business and fewer customer satisfaction issues. In addition, Airguns of Arizona does not “spiff” its staff. Spiffing is the common practice of offering a monetary bonus to sales people if they sell a particular product. Spiffing, where practiced, leads sales people to recommend products to customers solely on the basis that they will make more money, not on the basis that it is the best choice for the customer. I was a victim of spiffing once when I purchased a ham radio, and I think that spiffing is vile. Bottom line: if you need an airgun or airgun accessory, reach out to the good folks at AoA. They will do their best to steer you right.

Question: Recently Kelton, a reader of the blog, wrote in with the follow question: “How long do you think the discovery will last if I shoot about 2000 pellets through it every month? I have had many spring guns and none have lasted more than six months. I think because I shoot so much I wear out the spring and seals.”

Answer: Well, Kelton, there are really two answers to your question. The first is that I have no idea how long a Discovery, with its precharged pneumatic powerplant, will last if you shoot about 2000 pellets through it a month. The second regards your troubles with springers. Springers are among the most durable and reliable airgun powerplants. I once asked Robert Buchanan, president of Airguns of Arizona, which was the most reliable airgun powerplant. He didn’t hesitate for even an instant: “Springers,” he said. “We never get them back.” Check out this blog “Just how durable are those springers anyway?” http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2009/10/just-how-durable-are-those-springers.html My best suggestion to you is that you purchase a high-quality springer such as an RWS, Weihrauch, or Walther that is backed by a good warranty. Sure, occasionally you may need to have the spring or seals replaced, but with high-quality springers, it is worth doing; you’ll have a rifle that, with proper care and infrequent rebuilds, will provide a lifetime of shooting service.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

From last week’s blog, remember that Blair wrote in, asking:

  1. In your experience, what would you recommend as the best gun (top 3 in order) and caliber to purchase in order to maintain a regular food supply? I live in Georgia in a suburban area with woods all around. (squirrels, turkey & smaller deer) I don’t plan on being a collector of numerous airguns however, price is not a limiting factor.
  2. What are your preferred scopes and range finders?
  3. Since, in theory, the electricity may be out, I will need to hand pump the rifle. What is the best (most efficient, easiest to use and reliable) pump available?

Until recently, Blair, I would have recommended a multi-stroke pneumatic rifle as your first choice since they are self-contained and easy to shoot well, but my thinking has changed. The reason? One of my favorite MSP rifles failed simply by being stored in a gun closet. One of the seals failed, and the rifle would not pump and hold air.

And that is a problem with all MSP, SSP, CO2, and PCP airguns – they are seal dependent. If a single seal fails, the air rifle may quit functioning entirely, ruining its ability to gather food for your family. So unless you intend to stock a spare seal kit and learn how to repair the air rifle you choose, I would not recommend for your purposes an airgun with an MSP, SSP, CO2 or PCP powerplant. Don’t get me wrong: there are many wonderful MSP, SSP, CO2 and PCP airguns out there, and it gives me great joy to shoot them, but in the scenario that you describe, Blair, with the lights out and the need to gather food urgent, I would go with the most reliable airgun powerplant I could find.

Spring-piston air rifles (springers), on the other hand, tend to be fail-soft. You can burn a piston seal, kink or break a spring, and they will continue to launch pellets, albeit at lower velocity. I once asked Robert Buchanan, maximum leader at Airguns of Arizona which was the most reliable airgun powerplant, and he said, “Springers. We never get them back for service.”

So I would recommend a medium-power springer in .22 caliber. Specifically, an RWS34 in .22, a Weihrauch HW95 in .22, or, if you want a somewhat lighter, less powerful air rifle, the Weihrauch HW50 (the Brits, after all, have taken a lot of game with 12 foot-pound air rifles). As to scopes, the good folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com have more experience with the reliability of different kinds of scopes than I do, but I can tell you that my very first high-quality airgun scope, a Bushnell Trophy 3-12 x 40 is still alive and well after more than a decade of airgun testing. I use a Bushnell rangefinder, but I recommend that you learn to estimate range for yourself because you may need to do it quite rapidly in a hunting situation.

In addition, Blair, I reached out to Jim Chapman, who also blogs for Airguns of Arizona on hunting topics: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/hunting/ . He is a knowledgeable and enthusiast hunter, and I deeply respect his opinion, so I asked for his take on your questions.

Here, verbatim, is his response:

Hi Jock;

This subject comes up quite a bit, my thought is that the airgun in this situation has a limited and specific role. If I could only have one gun in a true survival situation, it would not be an airgun, but rather a .22 rimfire that I could use for small game, head shoot a deer for food, and in a last ditch effort use for defense. Ammo is cheap and you could store vast quantities and high capacity magazines if you had to use it for defense.

The role I’d have for an airgun in a survival situation would be for stealth hunting to take small game without generating a lot of noise. Plus you could store thousands of pellets that cost relatively little and take almost no room to store. If the lights went out for good, this would be invaluable for harvesting plentiful small game.

The gun I’d choose for this would be a mid powered (circa 16 fpe) spring piston airgun in .22 caliber. I find that squirrels go down faster with a .22 than a .177 with a head or body shot, and if you need the food the last thing you’d want to see is your mortally wounded squirrel disappearing into its den to die.

My personal home survival kit is a supply of food and water to last my family for some time, appropriate centerfire rifles, pistols, and shotguns for hunting and defense, my bow for stealth hunting big game, and many airguns (I have a big collection after all) for small game. We live in a suburban are bordering lots of farmland and woods, and hunting for food might come into play, but mostly I’d want firepower to defend what we have.

Maybe not what folks would like to hear from an admitted airgun fanatic, but it’s the way I see things.

Regards,

Jim

PS; If I was stuck on an island with no dangerous game and no need for defense, the same airgun discussed above would be my first choice. In the right situations an airgun could keep you fed indefinitely.

Finally, Blair, whatever airgun you choose for food gathering, it’s important that you practice your skills before the need arises. You didn’t say anything about your hunting skills, so if you are inexperienced, you need to learn how to hunt and prepare game before you are forced to learn under duress.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

 

 

Back in 1974, your Humble Correspondent was recorded picking his banjo on an album entitled “Alternate Plan B” recorded by Bert Mayne. I remember there was a line in the album notes that stuck with me: “Winter has been too long in my hills.”

I can relate. Despite relatively low snow fall, winter has, indeed, been too long in my hills this year. Maybe you have a case of the I-can’t-wait-for-spring mullygrubbs as well. If you do, don’t despair, help is just around the corner.

What you – and I – need is a little quality trigger time with an airgun. And if the weather outside is inclement (here is upstate New York, it has been just plain cold and damp), no problem . . . here’s your recipe for putting a smile on your face.

What you need is an air pistol, some pellets, some paper targets, and a pellet trap. (If you live someplace where folks might complain about noise, get a pellet trap that is lined with putty at the back to absorb the sound of the pellets hitting the trap).

The lovely thing about shooting an air pistol is that you don’t need a lot of space to provide a challenge. If you only have 15 feet to shoot in the basement (or even a hallway . . . make sure that no one can walk into your line of fire), that still can be mighty entertaining. Print out some ten meter pistol targets at half scale, and you’re all set.

What’s that you say? Shooting at 5 yards would be just too easy? Okay, try this: try shooting one-handed with your non-dominant hand. That’s right: if you normally shoot right-handed, try left left-handed. If you want to turn it into a game, try fanning out some playing cards on the face of your target so that only the corners are exposed and now try shooting a winning poker hand for yourself. Or fan out two sets of cards and turn it into a contest with someone else.

The Browning Buck Mark URX fills the bill for a basement plinker at a very reasonable price.

The Browning Buck Mark URX fills the bill for a basement plinker at a very reasonable price.

There are a bunch of pistols that will fill the bill for satisfying indoor shooting at close range. The Browning Buck Mark URX immediately comes to mind. It’s a break-barrel, spring-piston, .177 caliber air pistol that looks like the powder burning Buck Mark URX offered by Browning. You can read my full review of it here: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2012/07/browning-buck-mark-urx-the-plinkmeister.html It is a relatively quiet, slow pistol that is just perfect for messing around indoors.

For some additional pistol suggestions, check out this blog: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2012/12/the-greatest-christmas-gift-part-ii.html  The Daisy Avanti 747, the Crosman 2300S, the RWS LP8, and, of course, any of the Weihrauch HW45 series pistols are all excellent candidates for indoor practice that will help to cure those –end-of-the-winter blues.

In addition to a pistol, pellet trap, and some pellets, you will also need some eye protection in case an errant pellet ricochets. Finally, as always, you need to keep safety first and foremost. If you are shooting indoors, take care that no person or pet can inadvertently come between you and your target. I sometimes shoot in the basement at El Rancho Elliott between the washing machine and the workbench. I put my pellet trap on top of the workbench, and everything usually works just fine except one day when I triggered a shot before I had carefully taken aim. One of the drawers in the cabinet where I keep nuts, bolts, and screws now has a .177 caliber hole in it! So be careful . . . please.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott