Phill Price has a shorter ver­sion of the HW110 on test this month – K is for Kar­bine

Mak­ing a good thing bet­ter – or dif­fer­ent, at least

Air Gunner - - Contents -

I’ve been priv­i­leged enough to visit the Weihrauch fac­tory, so I feel that I’m able to speak of the huge ded­i­ca­tion the com­pany has to pro­duc­ing some of the finest air­guns I’ve ever known, and a walk around the town of Mell­rich­stadt showed me some of the virtues of Ger­man so­ci­ety I’ve long ad­mired. Sons, their dads and their grand­dads all work at the com­pany and pass on their skills and knowl­edge, some­thing all too of­ten lost in our so­ci­ety.

It was against this back­ground some years ago that the HW110 pre- charged pneu­matic ri­fle came as such a shock. I al­ways thought of Weihrauch as a ‘steel and wal­nut’ kind of gun maker, so an in­jec­tion­moulded, poly­mer ac­tion block was like a visit from an alien in their world. Many peo­ple pre­dicted the com­pany’s im­mi­nent demise, hav­ing di­verged from their nat­u­ral path, but know­ing the com­pany as I do, I saw no such prob­lem.

I was sure that they’d re­searched and de­vel­oped the ma­te­ri­als, such that they’d de­liver on their prom­ise and the huge sales en­joyed by this ri­fle have shown that to be the case. The in­dus­trial poly­mers used have been em­ployed in the frames of com­bat hand­guns and the wings of fighter jets, so the stresses an air­gun could place upon them are close to in­signif­i­cant.

NON-CON­VEN­TIONAL

Aside from the novel ac­tion, the HW110 was a con­ven­tional bar­rel- over- reser­voir, pre- charged pneu­matic and a well- de­signed one, at that. Its mod­est di­men­sions and weight made for a handy hunter and the one I have in my col­lec­tion is the equal of any in the class. As we’d ex­pect from Weihrauch, the trig­ger is noth­ing short of su­perb and the bar­rels they make in- house are world- lead­ing, too. It’s no sur­prise then, that the ac­cu­racy on of­fer is sim­ply su­perb.

The ac­tion does of­fer a few ad­di­tional chal­lenges to con­ven­tion, such as hav­ing a Weaver standard scope rail moulded in, and the

“in­dus­trial poly­mers used have been em­ployed in the frames of com­bat hand­guns and the wings of fighter jets”

am­bidex­trous safety in an odd place in front of the magazine. I’ll con­fess, nei­ther of these fea­tures ap­peals to me. How­ever, the Weaver rail is bomb- proof and ap­peals to many, most es­pe­cially those who like the mil­i­tary connection. The abil­ity to swap a day scope for night vi­sion with­out the need to re-zero is the most of­ten quoted use for this type of rail.

The ac­tion was de­signed with a sidelever cock­ing sys­tem from day one, and with an eye for ver­sa­til­ity be­cause it can be mounted on the right or left by the fac­tory, or an ap­pointed ser­vice agent. On the right of the ac­tion we find a small lever that re­leases the oh- so- sim­ple metal magazine. On the early mod­els, the safety and magazine re­lease were left as bare metal, but all the new ones come blacked, which I think looks much bet­ter.

SURE AND SOLID

I lo ve the fact that these mag­a­zines are so sim­ple. There are no springs, and no face plates to trap de­bris. They’re just a sim­ple cast­ing with an ‘O’ ring around the cir­cum­fer­ence to hold each pel­let in its cham­ber. When the ‘O’ ring wears, chang­ing it will take al­most three sec­onds. There re­ally is noth­ing to go wrong. Of course, we should re­spect them and do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to keep them clean and free from dirt, but they’re very tough and durable.

I also adore the fact that they sit low in the ac­tion and don’t in­ter­rupt the scope rail. This runs con­tin­u­ously some 4½” along the ac­tion, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to lo­cate your scope ex­actly where you want it with­out com­pro­mise. Please note from the pho­to­graphs just how pre­cisely I was able to mount my cho­sen scope against the ac­tion. Only mil­lime­tres sep­a­rate the ob­jec­tive bell and the bar­rel clamp, keep­ing the scope low, which en­hances the ri­fle’s han­dling and al­lows me to make sure and solid con­tact with the cheek piece. This should not be un­der­es­ti­mated by any­body in the ben­e­fits it of­fers to per­for­mance and han­dling, and I ap­plaud Weihrauch for the de­sign.

POS­I­TIVE HAN­DLING

The ‘soft touch’ stock is beech coated in a weather- re­sis­tant, rub­ber- like syn­thetic. It does in­deed feel soft, and adds grip with an al­most tacky sen­sa­tion as you han­dle it, but as much as it of­fers pro­tec­tion, the coat­ing isn’t bul­let­proof and still need to be handed with more re­spect than a plas­tic stock. Unusu­ally, the pull length is shorter then av­er­age at just un­der 14”, whereas the Ger­mans most of­ten make guns over- sized. At 5’ 9” I ap­pre­ci­ate the shorter pull dur­ing the win­ter time, be­cause when I have a base layer, a thick fleece and a thick coat on it sets the length back to standard.

So, if you’ve made a truly su­perb hunt­ing ri­fle as de­scribed above, how to you make it bet­ter? For some peo­ple the an­swer is to make it smaller. Much of the art of be­ing a suc­cess­ful air­gun hunter is to get close and waiting in­side a hide can swing the odds in your favour. How­ever, they can be pretty cramped, so a ri­fle that’s 4” shorter could be your friend. This is what Weihrauch chose to do to the HW110 to give us the K model you see here. Car­bine is spelt Kar­bine in Ger­many which ex­plains the K suf­fix. Al­most ev­ery­thing about the ri­fle is the same as the full- length ver­sion, apart from the bar­rel and reser­voir lengths. The stock is trimmed a lit­tle too, but han­dles in much the same pos­i­tive way.

HAIR-ROLLERS

De­spite be­ing am­bidex­trous, the pis­tol grip filled my hand well and de­liv­ered my in­dex fin­ger nicely onto the metal trig­ger blade. I guess we’ve all come to ex­pect Weihrauch to give us top- class trig­gers, so it comes as no sur­prise that the one fit­ted to the HW110K was ex­cel­lent. The first- stage was clean and light, coming to a de­fined stop on the se­cond- stage. This broke like the prover­bial ici­cle and was an ab­so­lute de­light to use.

The fir­ing cy­cle is quick and clean and be­cause the bar­rel wears one of the finest si­lencers ever made, there’s only the qui­etest cough as the pel­let leaves. I noted that Weihrauch has laser- etched ‘ for air guns only’ on their si­lencers, which tells me that peo­ple have at­tached them to firearms and suf­fered the con­se­quences. In­side this top- class si­lencer you’ll find hair rollers and some sound- ab­sorb­ing ma­te­rial. Yes, I did write ‘hair rollers’. In fact, Weihrauch is a very good cus­tomer

to one of Ger­many’s big hair- roller dis­trib­u­tors. All these parts are syn­thetic and will be badly dam­aged should you shoot burn­ing pro­pel­lant pow­der through them from your .22 rim­fire or .17HMR. You have been warned!

IM­PRES­SIVE

The ri­fle is also pleas­ingly free of vi­bra­tion and spring res­o­nance, adding to the plea­sure of use. A quick chrono­graph check us­ing Weihrauch’s FT- Ex­act .177 pel­let, showed an av­er­age ve­loc­ity of 780 fps for a muz­zle en­ergy of 11.4 ft.lbs, just as I’d ex­pect. What was im­pres­sive was that over 30 shots I only saw 9fps shot- to- shot ve­loc­ity vari­a­tion, which is truly su­perb. Weihrauch says that the HW110 ac­tion does not have a reg­u­la­tor – but is self- reg­u­lat­ing. No, I don’t un­der­stand that ei­ther, but it’s quite clear that what­ever mech­a­nism they use, it works very well.

Af­ter set­tling the ri­fle into the bags on a benchrest, I filled the 10- shot magazine and pre­pared to shoot some groups. For once, the wind was kind and I set about plac­ing some care­fully aimed shots on a card. Some peo­ple worry that short bar­rels might be in­ac­cu­rate, so I re­fer them to the tar­get card in the pho­to­graph. That was 10 shots at 30 yards with pel­lets straight from the tin. If you need a more ac­cu­rate hunt­ing gun than that, you’re play­ing a dif­fer­ent game to me! The group is barely big­ger than the pel­let and there’s no ques­tion that this is ab­so­lutely in the top class when it comes to ac­cu­racy. Truly su­perb! Bet­ter still, it wasn’t hard to achieve be­cause the HW110K is an easy gun to shoot. This is hard to de­fine, but some guns are just nat­u­rally easy to work with and this is one of them. There can be few more im­por­tant rea­sons to own a ri­fle than the fact that it WILL help you to hit your tar­get more of­ten.

Short guns sim­ply can­not hold as much air as longer guns and be­cause of that the num­ber of shots per fill must be lower. How­ever, Weihrauch have worked their magic on the ef­fi­ciency of this Kar­bine and we will get 55 shots in .177, and 75 in .22, which is way more than we’ll ever need in a hunt­ing ses­sion. 200bar of clean, high- pres­sure air is de­liv­ered to the stain­less steel reser­voir through a ‘plug and port’- style filler at the front of the reser­voir, just be­hind the pres­sure gauge. Quite prop­erly, a plug to seal the port and keep de­bris at bay is in­cluded with the ri­fle and you re­ally must use it.

REAL-WORLD IM­PROVE­MENTS

I’m a hunter so I ap­pre­ci­ate ef­forts to make me more suc­cess­ful and Weihrauch has three here that de­serve re­spect. The first is that the ac­tion will not dou­ble- load. No mat­ter how many times you cock the sidelever, it will only load one pel­let un­til you pull the trig­ger and shoot. The se­cond is that you can tell at a touch if the ri­fle is cocked, and to do this you try to ap­ply the safety. If it en­gages, you’re cocked and ready to go. If it won’t move, the ri­fle isn’t cocked. This is a sim­ple, but vi­tally im­por­tant piece of in­for­ma­tion for the hunter un­der pres­sure to make shots count. The third is that if the sidelever is open for any rea­son, the ac­tion will not fire. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fired open ac­tions when the bolt has caught on a bram­ble or some­thing sim­i­lar and I’ve got a face full of high- pres­sure air. These are real- world im­prove­ments that will make you a more suc­cess­ful hunter and that has to be worth the ri­fle’s price alone!

You’ll un­der­stand that I love the HW110 as an ac­cu­rate and tech­ni­cally ad­vanced ri­fle, but the ques­tion is – would I ex­change my full- length model for the Kar­bine? The an­swer is no. It de­liv­ers al­most all the per­for­mance of the full- length gun and is with­out doubt more handy, but I sel­dom shoot from hides and pre­fer the bal­ance and sta­bil­ity the longer gun of­fers. It’s great that Weihrauch has taken the time to of­fer two mod­els of the same ex­cel­lent gun be­cause you can now choose the one that suits your needs best. I can’t de­cide for you, but I can tell you that you’ll be a happy and sat­is­fied HW110 owner which­ever op­tion you choose.

“If you need a more ac­cu­rate hunt­ing gun than that, you’re play­ing a dif­fer­ent game to me!”

It might be shorter than the orig­i­nal but the per­for­mance is iden­ti­cal

ABOVE: De­spite be­ing shorter, the Kar­bine feels much like the full length op­tion

TOP RIGHT: All the con­trols are now fin­ished black, which looks much bet­ter RIGHT: This is one of the best si­lencers ever made

RIGHT: The magazine is as sim­ple as can be and to­tally re­li­able

BE­LOW: At 30-yards the K put 10 shots through this one tiny hole

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