Jerry springs into ac­tion, and goes back to his roots as he tries out a new Weihrauch springer

Air Gunner - - Contents -

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.

Eyes peeled

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

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