Jerry springs into action, and goes back to his roots as he tries out a new Weihrauch springer
In my role as a squirrel ranger, I meet a lot of people; landowners, farmers, gamekeepers, and other like-minded folk who also enjoy the sport of shooting.
A couple of months ago, I was talking to one of the volunteers who had recently got himself a new air rifle. After many years of owning and using a spring-powered gun, he had decided to try out a pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) so he took the plunge and purchased a very nice, as new, Air Arms 510, along with scope and diver’s bottle. He said he really liked his new rifle, but for some reason that he couldn’t put his finger on, he missed ‘the old springer’
I told him that it would be just a matter of time and then he wouldn’t look back, and my reason for saying it was that I’ve used PCP rifles now for years and years, and can’t imagine going back to a springer. Each to their own, though, and I know there are many, many people out there who love the springers and for very good reasons, too. I used them for years and loved my trusty Weihrauch HW77, but I got a chance to try a pre-charged gun many years back and was gob-smacked, and ever since then I have owned and used various PCP air rifles in both sub 12 ft.lbs. and FAC-power – and my old 77 was sold.
Let’s go shopping
This got me thinking and on a recent visit to see Lloyd and crew at Blackpool Air Rifles, I had a chat with Lloyd, the owner, about various things, and springers were on the agenda. Lloyd said they still sell loads of them and as I looked around the shop at both the new and second-hand section, they certainly seemed to have a good selection.
“Maybe I should try one again,” I said.
“Why not? Plenty to choose from,” Lloyd replied, and after an hour I walked out of the shop with an as new HW95K .22, complete with scope and moderator.
I’d decided on the HW95 because it was fairly compact, and a lot lighter and sleeker than other Weihrauchs I handled whilst there, like the HW80, for instance. The first thing was to set up the rifle, so I adjusted the scope to my liking and set about zeroing. After a few shots, I was getting to where I wanted and needed to be, and a few tweaks – including adjusting the trigger to my requirements – and I was set up.
The Rekord trigger unit is two-stage on the Weihrauch and has a good degree of adjustment, so you can set up the trigger release as you like it. I wanted to have plenty of shots at the targets because I hadn’t used a springer for so long, so I took my time and practised using one again. I must say it seemed strange and different at first, but after half hour or so I was enjoying it and some memories of hunting trips from years ago came flooding back into the old grey matter.
Ready to go
Happy and confident with the 95K, it was time to try it out in the field.
I had an early morning walk around one of my areas to check on the squirrel feeders in that wood. All had been okay in that woodland for a while
“Happy and confident with the 95K, it was time to try it out in the field”
now, with just red squirrels being seen in and around the feeding areas and on my trail cameras so I was confident that this area was grey-squirrel free, at least for the time being, but when you’re feeding, you attract other things and pigeons are always a good bet in many of the areas I cover.
Using my usual route through the wood, I was scanning as I went and could see and hear many woodies. I observed some coming into trees a hundred or so yards away, where they must have been out for an early morning feed and were making their way back in for a rest up. Making my way forward using the cover of a stone wall and trees, I got to a spot and decided to stay put to see what happened. After 15 minutes, a few more landed in and luckily for me I could see two that had landed on the tops of spruce trees. I estimated that they were within range, and shouldered the HW 95k, picked one out, placed the cross hair on the pigeon’s head and squeezed the trigger. Boing! – that’s the only way I can think of describing it – followed by a whack, and the pigeon fell toward the floor. This caused the other pigeons to lift, but a few dropped back in as if they hadn’t known what that noise was, and another shot presented – again, success! Two pigeons in the bag.
I moved on, every now and then heading to the edge of the wood to check out the surrounding fields. On one of these, I spied a crow out feeding maybe 60 yards away, so using the wall as cover I made my way along to get a different angle and gain some yards to my advantage. Every now and then I looked over the wall slightly and managed to get to about 35 yards out. The crow was too busy feeding to notice so I placed the cross hair on top of its head, and with a smack, it folded and collapsed to the ground. A couple more pigeons that morning added to the bag, and that evening I paid a visit to a farm where I have a permission, and bagged a few rabbits.
I must say I am enjoying the HW95K. It’s definitely different, but all the same enjoyable, bringing back some good memories of old hunting trips gone by. Will a springer be my everyday rifle of choice again? I don’t think so because I do grasp the technical superiority of the PCP air rifle, but in my mind, rightly or wrongly, springers have some advantages. As I now have one in my armoury again, I am sure it will venture out from time to time and I’ll relax and enjoy the difference.
“in my mind, rightly or wrongly, springers have some advantages”
Above: It felt good to be shooting a springer again Below: The Rekord trigger is every bit as good as it ever was
Right: Shooting a recoiing gun upwards is tricky Below: I’m having a good year for pigeons
Right: A few rabbits completed the day’s bag