Happy End­ing

Tim Fin­ley brings a nearly dead Weihrauch HW77 back to life for his friend, with just a lit­tle TLC

Airgun World - - Contents -

The Weihrauch HW77 air ri­fle holds a very spe­cial place in my heart be­cause it was my first real field-tar­get ri­fle back in 1987. It was the FT ri­fle back then, spring-pow­ered with a fixed bar­rel and su­perb trig­ger. This made it the most ac­cu­rate ri­fle avail­able at the time, bar none. For those who don’t know, there was no such thing as pre-charged pneu­matic air ri­fles back then ei­ther.

Roll for­ward 30 years to March 2017, and I was asked to look at an air ri­fle be­cause it wasn’t work­ing. Even the make was unknown be­cause it had been given to the owner by his brother-in-law, years be­fore, and it had been lan­guish­ing in a garage ever since. Steve, a very nice man and Scout­mas­ter, as it hap­pens, wanted to use it on rats at his al­lot­ment; a fair idea, but my heart sank when I opened the bag that he put in front of me. I had never seen a sor­rier-look­ing air ri­fle.

HW77K

I opened the bag, butt first, and saw the Weihrauch name on the end of the butt pad, so I thought, ‘Wow! We’ve struck the jack­pot’, but as I dragged it out, I could see that the back block was rusty red, and then the bar­rel and un­der­lever came into view, pit­ted with more rust – gulp. I looked at the bar­rel and it was stamped with ‘Hull Car­tridge’, so it was a gen­uine im­port, an HW77K model, and the bar­rel latch looked like a MK1 to me. It was in .22, so would have been per­fect for rats.

I tried the un­der-lever and more alarm bells started ring­ing. I had been told that it didn’t work, but Steve was un­sure why. The ac­tion stayed locked in place as I moved the lever; there was no re­sis­tance to the lever mov­ing, and the cylin­der stayed firmly in place. Oh dear, this was one bro­ken and rusty gun, but with a new HW77 cost­ing 360 quid th­ese days I fig­ured it was well worth try­ing to fix it for him, and so did he.

DIS­MAN­TLING

Once I’d got the poor thing home and stripped down, other things be­came ap­par­ent. One of the stock screws had been crossthreaded and it was a real sod to get un­done. It was also bent, how the hell some­one had man­aged to do that, I had no clue – and once I did get it out, there was no washer

“Never use sand­pa­per, no mat­ter how fine it is, that will take off the rust and the orig­i­nal blued fin­ish”

un­der the screw. The other one came out okay, though, as did the two hold­ing on the trig­ger guard.

As I took the stock off, a bit of metal fell to the floor and it turned out to be the end of the cock­ing link rod – that’s why when the un­der-lever was moved, the cylin­der stayed put. So, it was not as bad as I’d feared. The in­ter­nals looked okay and well greased, no rust there, but the back block was chewed in places, as well as be­ing rusty. First things first; I needed a new cock­ing link, stock screw and washer, but £26.47 and two days later I had the parts. Thank you T.W. Cham­bers and Co! I only or­dered th­ese parts and no oth­ers be­cause they might be the only ones needed to breathe life back into this old HW77K.

STRIPPED

The first job was strip­ping down and rub­bing all the red rust patches off the met­al­work with wire wool. Never use sand­pa­per, no mat­ter how fine it is, that will take off the rust and the orig­i­nal blued fin­ish, too.

Once the worst of the rust is off and the sur­faces de­greased, the blu­ing com­pound can be ap­plied. I use ei­ther Abbey or Birch­wood Casey, and I’ve had good re­sults with ei­ther brand, but al­ways use a mask and gloves be­cause it’s nasty stuff.

Ap­ply with a rag, leave for a few min­utes and then wipe off with a wet rag. Re­peat this process un­til you get the fin­ish you want, or it’s clear that it is not go­ing to get any bet­ter.

The end cap on the ac­tion was in a bad way, and some­one had been at it with a ham­mer so I filed the dove­tail back into shape and cleaned out the Rekord trig­ger be­cause it was grind­ing and full of gunk and de­bris.

The pin hold­ing in the cock­ing lever is held in place be­cause the two ends have been de­formed with a punch to keep the pin from fall­ing out, but a cor­rectly-sized, par­al­lel pin punch and a bit of brute force sorted it out. I took the cock­ing lever off of the gun to do this. The pin then has to be tapped par­al­lel on one end to re­fit, and then once in, has to be de­formed back the same way at each end to stay in place. A ham­mer and cen­tre punch does this okay.

REASSEMBLY

Af­ter full reassembly of the ac­tion, the new front stock screw went in per­fectly. This was not a full refurbishment job, though. The aim was to make the ri­fle work again, and to clean off the large amounts of sur­face rust, but over the chrono­graph, the ri­fle was do­ing 10 ft.lbs.

Steve needed a new gun bag be­cause the other one was fur-lined and that had con­trib­uted to the rust; it also now stank of mould. I also ex­plained to Steve the laws now re­gard­ing keep­ing air­guns se­cure, and he took this on board. No more stor­ing in the garage!

He was over the moon with the re­sult and, to be fair, I got a kick out of do­ing it. I like tin­ker­ing with air­guns, it’s one of their ap­peals for me, so fix­ing this one for some­one else was a bonus. A very happy end­ing all round. I

Stripped down, us­ing my spring com­pres­sor.

Left: Side view of the sorry-look­ing gun.

Above: The back block was fairly hideous, too.

Above: A happy Steve has promised to look af­ter it from now on!

Above: All done. It’s by no means per­fect but it’s a world away from where it was when Steve handed it over.

Above: The right prod­uct, some steel wool, and plenty of el­bow grease did the job.

Above: You could say that the rust on the bar­rel was ‘fairly se­vere’.

Above: The end of the cock­ing arm had snapped off.

Above: How on earth do you do this to a stock screw?

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