OPEN SIGHTS

Keith War­bur­ton goes back to his youth with open sights on a springer

Air Gunner - - Contents -

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.

Ideal char­ac­ter­isitics

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.

Diop­tre sights

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”

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