Keith Warburton goes back to his youth with open sights on a springer
Keith Warburton rolls back the years to the sights of his youth
In an attempt to take myself back to the days of my youth I’ve splashed out for a classic, breakbarrel springer. Weihrauch’s HW99S is their shortest, lightest, full-power springer, measuring just 1050mm and weighing 3.2 kilos, and you can pick one up for the bargain price of … well, more of that later. For comparison, my under lever Air Arms TX200 is about 4.9 kilos, scoped up. The size and weight thing is important to me because, rather strangely, my rifles seem to be getting heavier year on year; it’s probably something to do with the cumulative effect of gravity over time. I also wanted to get back to my youth by shooting a rifle with open sights.
The rifle has a lovely, ambidextrous beech stock stained to a pale walnut finish, and it felt light and manageable. I lost no time in taking it out to the garden to put it through its paces. It felt rather unusual to heft a springer that isn’t fore-end heavy - but in a nice way.
I’d been looking forward to rolling back the years and revisiting some of the experiences of my boyhood, but my plan quickly hit a stumbling block. My older eyes couldn’t simultaneously handle the rear sight, foresight and target - it was all just too blurred. I was really disappointed. I had looked forward not only to shooting this for fun, but also perhaps competing with it in open-sights events. The rifle comes with several interchangeable foresight elements, but none improved things for me.
This first outing did allow me to form some views of the rifle, though. Firstly, the reputation of the two-stage Rekord trigger is rightly deserved; it is light, clean, crisp and predictable - the ideal characteristics a shooter wants. Although it is adjustable, I have no desire at the moment to do anything to it because it seems just about perfect, but time will tell.
I like the simple, push-bar, automatic safety which slides across the back of the action when you cock the rifle, locking the trigger and making it safe. Pop it back when you are ready to fire and it shows a red tag.
There is some extra effort needed to cock a full-power rifle with a short barrel. I’d be happy using it for 30 shots on a competition course, but I know I’d struggle to put a couple of hundred shots through it on a range. However, the extra effort is worth the trade off because you get such a superbly manageable rifle. It simply
“My only experience with dioptre sights in the intervening 50 years was when I had a go at bell
target shooting at the British Shooting Show”