Weihrauch HW77

Weihrauch HW77K Review, Part 2.

Weihrauch HW77K Air Rifle Review, Part 2.

Weihrauch HW77K air rifle review, part 2, will continue here with the second part of this series of 4 articles on the popular spring powered air rifle. Now I will discuss the HW77K in .20 calibre and other features that are common to the remaining 3 calibres.

The .20 calibre Weihrauch HW77K air rifle is not a common calibre imported into Australia due to the limited number of competition air rifle target shooters. We have a fledgling competitive air rifle following at present in Australia (at the time of writing this) and so the demand for the .20 calibre so far in the HW77K air rifle is minimal.

I carry the .20 calibre HW77K in Blue and Stainless in limited numbers as they were specially ordered and had to be flown in from Germany after a protracted wait of many months.

The .20 Calibre Weihrauch.

This particular air gun makes a great target rifle due to the flat trajectory of the .20 calibre pellet’s flight path and as it is a slightly heavier pellet than the .177 making it pretty stable. It has a limited but vocal following of air gunners who insist that the HW77K air rifle in .20 calibre makes a better and more accurate shooting rifle than the very popular HW77K in .177 calibre. In this air rifle review I will cover tuning as this can make or break the performance of an air rifle.

Not being a user of the HW77K in .20 calibre I can’t really comment in this air rifle review, one way or another, but I will say this, and that is the .20 calibre HW77K air rifles I have tested here shoot very well indeed. I also think that if there was a larger range of pellet types for the .20 as it is for the .177 then it could well live up to the claims of its followers.

So if you want an air rifle that is in-between .177 and .22 and that has a flat trajectory, accuracy and obviously an energy level midway between these two calibres, I suggest that you take a good look at the .20 calibre HW77K air rifle. The features, accessories and support that are available for the .177 and .22 calibre HW77Ks are still the same: basically the same rifle just a different barrel.

Those of you who already shoot the Weihrauch HW77K in .20, if you have anything to add on the positives (or negatives) of this air rifle that I don’t cover within these four articles, then please email me and I will share it with everyone.

The .20 Calibre HW77K air rifle out of the box.

As with all new spring powered air rifles, whatever the brand, they take quite a few shots before they start shooting that well. The first 100 shots are usually the worst while the seal beds in and the spring develops a ‘set’ and then with the barrel slightly leading up.

Furthermore, as any air rifle review should mention, it is not just the air rifle that improves with time, it is you the shooter as you develop muscle memory and familiarity with the gun.

The graph below shows all four calibres of Weihrauch HW77K firing the first 15 shots out of the box and then some 50 shots later, another 15 shots. You will see that the Extreme Spread has reduced along with the speed to a small degree, while grouping also improved. The tests were done using the H&N Baracuda in each calibre of the HW77K air rifles tested. This clearly demonstrates that as the HW77K air rifles put through more pellets they settle down and with a reduced spread, the consistency will help you with grouping.

The speeds below are not set in stone so to speak, they are individual speed results and what you see here may vary quite a bit from what you may experience yourself with a HW77K air rifle.

Weihrauch HW77K Spread sheet Results

HW77K .20 Cal Spread sheet

Weihrauch HW77K air rifle tuning Graph

HW77K Energy Graph for a .20 Cal

Graph for HW77K showing Extreme Spread

Extreme Spread Graph for a .20 HW77K

HW77K Speed Gunroom Graph

Average Speed Graph for a HW77K in .20 Cal

Should you Tune your HW77k air rifle or not?

In my opinion, yes. when doing a Weihrauch HW77K air rifle review, you must consider the benefits of tuning. As these air rifles are mass produced and while the machining specifications are unparalleled, variances do exist in spring technology, compression pressures, tolerances and bore finishes. In saying that, I haven’t come across a HW77K or any other air rifle that I have tuned that didn’t benefit from a Vortek Tuning Kit.

I’m guessing if you just throw a Vortek Tuning kit into a HW77K air rifle without doing the prep work and then shimming ‘up and down’ against speed and grouping results, then the benefits may be marginal. As for speed, detuning the .177 and .20 from FAC down to 12 ft. lbs. or less generally gives better results as the recoil is reduced and with the better Vortek spring and guide, more consistent speeds are obtained.

I sell the Vortek kits and can talk you through fitting them if that is the way you want to go, or if you are buying a new HW77K air gun or similar Weihrauch spring air rifle, I can tune it for you. If you already have a HW77K, HW77, HW97K or HW30, 50, 80 or 95 and you want it kitted out, just send me the action and leave the stock at home, but PLEASE call me first to see that I have time to do it.

Weihrauch HW77KT Thumbhole

Weihrauch HW77KT Thumbhole in Nickel

For this HW77K air rifle review, I have fitted kits in .177 and .20 HW77K and HW97K air rifles that have reduced the group of 42mm and 18mm respectively at 25 metres, down to 8mm groups. The .177 suffers from hot loads and the .20 does also to a degree. By detuning your FAC air rifle down to 12 ft. lbs. you won’t shed that much speed that it is screamingly obvious, only you will have an air rifle that is comfortable to shoot and also performs with better placement, which is more important than speed.

Weihrauch HW77K air rifle review Summary.

I haven’t covered dimensions, weights or options for the Weihrauch HW77K in .20 calibre yet, but as all the ‘77Ks are basically the same, I shall cover these issues over the next 2 articles.

So to generalise the .20 calibre, I would say this: if you are going to get involved with target shooting then give the Weihrauch HW77K in .20 calibre a good look, however, if you are a hunter then maybe look at the .22 calibre air rifle if you want to shoot larger vermin like rabbits.

HW77K in pieces

Tuning a Weihrauch HW77K air rifle at home – Part 2

Weihrauch Tuning: Part 2

If you have followed Part 1 of Tuning a Weihrauch HW77K air rifle at home, you should by now have your Weihrauch HW77K or another air rifle completely stripped down with the exception of the trigger group that remains assembled.

At this point, we need to de-grease the entire collection of air rifle parts, inspect them for wear and damage and replace anything as a result. You will need to carefully prise the piston seal off if you are going to keep it, however, if you are going to replace it then you can cut it off.

Caution: The Weihrauch HW77K /HW77/HW97K have 2 piston sizes, one is 25mm up to serial #1446048 with the 26mm piston seal fitting all rifles with the serial #1446049 and above.

Identifying the Air Rifle Components for Polishing

The HW77K Air Rifle trigger group sits in what’s commonly called the Back Block which forms part of the barrel and action and is not sold separately. You will see that the end facing forward that faces the spring end is rather crudely machined, see below:

HW77k Air Rifle Block Unpolished

HW77K Air Rifle Back Block

This face is the first part of tuning a Weihrauch that I polish, by using a Fine Buff and the Autosol Metal Polish. Be careful to keep the Buff on the face and do not let it stray onto the thread leading off from the face as this will wear rapidly under the Buff friction and polish. Basically, we are improving the Weihrauch HW77K’s parts by reducing friction and make it air rifle load and fire more smoothly. It works, period.

If your back block face has heavy machine marks, then I would advocate doing the initial work on some oiled Wet & Dry 400 Grit Carborundum paper on a sheet of glass to keep the face edge flat. Once you have taken off the machine marks for the most part, then continue with the Buff.

Finish the Buffing with the Ultra Fine Buff with NO metal polish, just aim for a high lustre.

The idea     is to polish the face and not grind the crap out of it. You will likely still get cutter marks (aka Tram Lines) on the face as seen on the image below but as long as the face is polished these marks are of no concern. See below:

 Back Block Polished when tuning a Weihrauch

Air Rifle Back Block Polished

While you can’t see down the bore of this back block, I did run a light Carborundum paper in a slotted brass post down it and took out the worst of the drilling marks. These are all small steps in the big picture, so look at them as bricks in the wall when tuning a Weihrauch.

Next, I focus on the air rifle cylinder and start by de-burring the loading arm trap at the end of the cylinder. Failure to de-burr can result in a small nick to the piston seal when you are assembling the unit. I use a Dremel with a small stone (2mm) and come in from above onto the rectangular slot as seen in the image below.

If you mark the bore at the end of the cylinder where the loading arm slot is, that should not pose any problems as the piston seal does NOT come back that far that it would ride over any grind marks in this area. All the same, care should be taken.

If you shake like a Granny at a Christening then it would pay for you to put some masking tape from the opening in as far as the loading arm slot. This way as you shake your way through de-burring, you are less likely to penetrate the tape and damage the cylinder bore.

You can see the de-burred loading arm slot in this image below:

Cylinder HW77K Air Rifle

HW77K Cylinder

From here I move to polish the air rifle cylinder outer using a Fine Buff and Autosol Polish. I rotate the cylinder slowly while keeping the Fine Buff working a small area of metal polish. The idea is to either run up and down polishing it and slowly rotating as you go, or polish around the cylinder and work your way from one end to the other. Your choice.

Once you can see the machine marks are on their way out, swap over to the Ultra Fine Buff with no polish and buff to a lustre. Keep an eye on how much metal you are removing, because in fact that is what is happening, be it slowly. I would suggest that you do the buffing very slowly and take care not to mark the cylinder with some careless buffing or by dropping a hot cylinder. That is correct, you can expect the cylinder to get pretty hot so I also suggest gloves and glasses to protect yourself further. You really need to follow all these steps when tuning a Weihrauch if you are serious about accuracy.

Your cylinder should end up looking like this on the left of the piston:

Weihrauch Piston and Cylinder

HW77K Air Rifle Cylinder and Piston.

Note: Do NOT polish the inside of the cylinder as it has hone marks in it to trap lubricant so just leave it be after cleaning.

I then polish the piston (without the seal fitted…) and the release catch the same way as we have polished the cylinder. Below I have 3 images showing the Cylinder, Piston and Back Block polished:

HW77K Piston and cylinder ends

HW77K Piston and Sleeve Polished

Piston End HW77K Air Rifle

Polished Components.

HW77K Back Block and Catch

Polished Block & Piston Assy

When polishing the catch on the end of the piston, do NOT overdo this and end up changing the lug’s leading edge profile, you only have to polish it using metal polish and buff it with the Ultra Fine Buff with no polish.

Once you have got this far, you might be wise you lightly oil these components as humidity or damp fingers can leave unsightly marks and even slight rust stains.

when tuning a Weihrauch, we need to focus on the spring and you need to consider swapping it out if the spring has a lateral bend in it, is worn (inconsistent gaps between coils) or has done a lot of work. Of course, if you are fitting a Vortek kit then you would be replacing the spring, but it still needs work as follows:

The spring on the left has been removed from a new HW77K and has been de-greased.

You will notice the grind marks on the spring end and the sharp edges of the spring.

Firstly I would polish the spring ends on a Carborundum paper on a sheet of thick glass with oil to take out the worst grind marks. See following image below.

Weihrauch Air Rifle Spring

Old Spring

Polishing Air Rifle Spring when tuning a Weihrauch springer

Polishing an Air Rifle Spring

Once you have done this then the sharp edges need de-burring with a Dremel or similar: don’t get carried away, just take off the sharp edges.

Then it is time to buff the spring but take care that the buff does not catch in the spring ends as it can tear out of your hands easily.

Once the grind marks have been polished on the Carborundum paper and the edges de-burred, polish the spring ends to a lustre as below:

Polished HW77K Spring End

Polished Air Rifle Spring

Repeat this with both ends of the spring and use your fingers to check for sharp edges by rubbing them into the ends of the spring. Any sharp edge, stone it and polish it out.

Air Rifle Spring Polished

Next comes the Spring Cushion Guide which has a finish as below left before polishing on the right:

Weihrauch Spring Cushion Guide

Spring Cushion Standard

Polished HW77K Spring Cushion

Spring Cushion Polished

You will note that even after polishing the spring cushion still has machine marks that are OK as long as they are polished.

Weihrauch tuning parts ready to assemble

Polished Assembly

So if you have come this far, you should have a collection of parts as in the above image, cleaned, highly polished and lightly lubricated until you are ready to reassemble the air rifle.

Tuning a Weihrauch HW77K: Summary of Polishing the Air Rifle Components

While this article is based on the tuning the HW77K, the components for the HW77 and the HW97K are exactly the same. However, if you have another model of Weihrauch Air Rifle or a different make of spring powered air rifle, the process is still the same. You may or may not have a separate cylinder like the HW77K as the piston may run inside the air rifle outer action, or you may have a side loading action, break barrel or whatever, it is still the same process.

You need to focus on cleanliness when stripping an air rifle and then going to these extremes to polish up the components. Your working environment needs to be clean and have a soft cotton cloth (preferably) base to put the parts on to minimise scratching or marking.

The next article is Part 3 and I will cover assembling the air rifle, lubricating it and testing it through a Chronograph. The last article on tuning a Weihrauch HW77K, Part 4, will cover pellet selection and tuning using pellet types in your air rifle.

Author: Ian McIntosh, Gunroom

Weihrauch Air Rifle Basics for the Beginner

Learning to shoot with a Weihrauch air rifle.

Buying a new Weihrauch Air Rifle for the beginner is fraught with hurdles from poor advice from dealers with little experience in air rifles to ill-advised purchases of unsuitable or poor quality air guns. Forums can also be a bit misleading as quite often the advice a member may portray to the air rifle community is ‘tainted’ if I am to put it politely. I am only talking spring powered air rifles in this first article as I will cover an introduction to PCPs in Part 2 of Air Rifles for Beginners.

Those of you who take the time to read my newsletters know that I tell it as it is without the bullshit that often precedes a sale, so here is my take on buying a new Weihrauch air rifle if you are just getting into the game. I only sell and tune air rifles where my passion and experience has finally landed me, and I feel reasonably qualified to advise you on seeking a new spring air rifle.

I will start at the beginning here and list some prerequisites you may want to consider when making a selection from the many manufacturers, models and types of air rifle available today. I will discuss only the range of spring air rifles that I know well and that I stock, that being Weihrauch and the budget-priced Cometa spring air rifles together with Brocock, Daystate PCP airguns. It should be noted that Air Arms also make a range of spring air rifles, however, these are a costlier option than the Cometa and small Weihrauch airguns.

So, let’s begin at the beginning in selecting his or her first air rifle:

  1. Who is the air rifle for and what physical build are they?
  2. What is the purpose of the air rifle?
  3. What is your budget?

Weihrauch Options.

OK, so you are in the market to buy yourself or someone else, like your kids, for example, an air rifle. For this article, I am going to stick with Weihrauch air rifles as I consider their spring piston air guns to be the best available. Firstly I would consider the new owner’s physical build so that you don’t purchase an air rifle that is too big, too heavy or too small. Get this wrong and their whole experience with air rifles will be a negative one.

If the new owner is slightly built or in early teens, then buying the large Weihrauch air rifle like the HW80 is a big mistake as loading it takes some strength and a developed technique requiring some body weight. So, when you are buying a spring powered air rifle, make sure that it is sized accordingly, and that the user can load it easily. As Weihrauch air rifles come in a large range of sizes and weights, there should be no problem getting one that fits the bill.

The smallest Weihrauch is the HW25 which is available only in .177 and is a gun for “junior” with the full review of it on this site. Then there are the Weihrauch HW30s followed by the HW50S which are nicely finished ‘break barrel’ air guns. Size wise, the HW95 is next and then the HW80. That is it for the Weihrauch break barrel models.

Weihrauch HW25 spring air rifle

Weihrauch’s smallest spring air rifle

Weihrauch HW25

This rifle pictured below is a Weihrauch HW30s which would suit a young teenager, woman or even an experienced mature person seeking a small air rifle to control rats or birds on their property. This Weihrauch totals 985mm in length and weighs in at 2.5 kilos without scope and is available in .177 and .22 calibres.
I sell Weihrauch air guns Australia wide and as such do not actually meet my customers that often. I do carry the HW25 and HW30S specifically for beginners but what is actually happening now, is that many mature guys are buying the HW30S and using it for target shooting and small pest control.
Why?
Because it is, in fact, a very accurate spring air rifle and is capable of being tuned using a Vortek kit with a Vac Seal assembly. Quite a few guys are buying this for a backup gun, hunting, target shooting or just for plinking as it is a well balanced, light and accurate low powered air rifle. Expect 7.5 Fpe or thereabouts and the ability to group ½” at 30 metres.

Weihrauch HW30s Air Rifle

Weihrauch HW30s

 

Below I have a Weihrauch HW80 that would suit a mature or well-built person looking for a hunting air rifle that comes in 4 calibres, .177, .20, .22 and .25. This is a very large spring powered Weihrauch air rifle and sits at the top of the Weihrauch range in power. This is going from one extreme to the other to give you an idea of where I am going with this. The HW80 is 1150mm in length and weighs in at 4.0 kilos.

Weihrauch HW80 Spring air rifle

Weihrauch’s HW80 Spring powered air rifle

 

What will you use the air rifle for?

Having found a spring powered air rifle that you feel is sized correctly for your build, you need to select a calibre that you will need, and to do this, one needs to get a bearing on what you will use the air rifle for.

If you intend to shoot air rifle targets and generally plink with the air rifle, then a .177 calibre is an excellent choice as this calibre offers you a huge range of different pellets and is cheap to run while it is also very accurate. However, if you want to shoot rabbits for example, then doing it with a .177 requires a degree of skill due to the small calibre and reduced energy level of the .177 pellets. Then I would advise you to buy a .22 calibre spring powered air rifle to begin your air gunning with if you want to hunt.

The Weihrauch .22 air rifle will pull down a rabbit with a head shot easily, even if the shot is slightly off the mark and will result in a clean kill rather than a wound from an ill-placed pellet of a smaller calibre. The caveat here is that the larger and more powerful the .22 the further out it will reach and consequently your distance to your quarry is enhanced. Don’t expect to shoot rabbits at 50+ metres with a Weihrauch HW30 where the effective range is severely shorter.

A Weihrauch HW80 will do the shot of course but that is a big jump in size, weight and cost. Note that both the Weihrauch HW30S and HW80 are “break barrel” models, where you actually pull down the barrel to compress the spring, unlike the HW77 series that has a fixed barrel and an under-lever loading arm.

If it is a .22 calibre air rifle you decide on, then you need to take into consideration the power level that you want, as .22’s come in from what I would term a low velocity (and therefore low power) right up to a high powered air rifle variant. The Weihrauch HW97K is the most popular spring powered air rifle that I sell and can be tuned with ease to suit the target shooter or hunter alike. Bear in mind this is a heavy air rifle and is also available in 4 calibres: you can find a 4 part series on the HW77K on this site: it is the same action as the Weihrauch HW97K but with a marginally longer barrel.

Weihrauch air rifle stocks.

Today’s air rifle stocks are quite varied and even more so with the Weihrauch HW77, HW77K and HW97K that give you a choice of 7 stocks and two finishes, nickel or blue. The Sporter is available in 2 styles, being Sporter 1 and Ambidextrous in wood or two coloured laminates, then there is the thumbhole stock in wood or synthetic. Some of the optional stocks are now becoming hard to source as the less popular stocks are quickly removed from the assembly line, due, I imagine, to ‘economies of scale’.

The Weihrauch HW77K comes in at 1020mm in length and weighs 4.0 kilos which make for a heavy rifle but with German quality right through it. When selecting a stock, you either want a Sporter or a Thumbhole basically. When choosing a Thumbhole stock you can select the synthetic Weihrauch Blackline model which is ideal for hunting where it will take the knocks better than wood with minimal bruising. Then, of course, you have to select between blued or nickel finish for the rifle mechanism and again, if you are hunting with it a nickel finish will resist rust and damage from the elements better which are points to bear in mind.

The cross-section of some Weihrauch under-lever air rifle images is below.

Weihrauch HW77K Blackline – Blued. No Sights.

Weihrauch HW77K Blackline – Blued. No Sights.

Weihrauch HW77K Blackline – Nickel. No Sights.

Weihrauch HW77K Blackline – Nickel. No Sights.

Weihrauch HW77K – Nickel

Weihrauch HW77K – Nickel

Weihrauch HW77KSE Blued

Weihrauch HW77KSE Blued

Air rifle budget.

At the end of the day, it comes down to the budget that you have to spend on a new Weihrauch air rifle. In saying this, I think you need to remember that buying the air rifle is but only part of the equation, there are other costs as well such as the cost of getting an air rifle licence, a safe, Scope (if you go that way), gun bag etc. I would recommend that you brush up on air rifle law in your state as it varies across Australia.

Weihrauch air rifles are of a very high standard and as a consequence, they are marginally higher priced than many other spring powered air rifles on the market today. German engineering comes at a price and this is it. However, if a Weihrauch spring powered air rifle is above your budget then I suggest that you look at the Spanish made Cometa air rifle.

Cometa air rifles have been around a long time and now that I am finding more time for testing, I have some points to make with regards the Cometa, in this case, the Cometa 400 Galaxy in .22.

After doing a   -delivery test shoot recently with the Cometa Fusion in .22, I was very surprised at the “out of the box” performance. The Cometa Galaxy weighs in considerably less than the Weihrauch equivalent and is around 30% more powerful and just as accurate. Look at the cost and you have not only an air rifle that shoots as well as a Weihrauch, weighs a lot less, is 30% more powerful but it also costs significantly less. Good value all around and a great beginners air rifle.

The Cometa range is significantly lower priced on their spring powered airguns and this is evident in their style and finish which is not quite up to that of the Weihrauch air rifles. That said, I still recommend the Cometa as they do shoot well and make an ideal beginners air gun, back up or work-related air rifle.

I can supply any of the spring powered air rifles with open steel sights or alternatively with a Hawke Scope of your choice. It should be noted that if you want a Scope you need to allow a decent budget as it is the most important part of your rifle. The better the Scope the better your target acquisition is and the better you will shoot. If you can’t see your target well then don’t expect to hit it.

I carry the Hawke and MTC Scope range that is guaranteed for life, that is correct, for LIFE. With that type of guarantee, you have peace of mind when buying a Hawke Scope that will fit most budgets. The Hawke Airmax is needed for Weihrauch springers.

Weihrauch air rifle selection summary.

This is the first part of a series of articles for beginners with the next article discussing PCP (Pre Charged Pneumatic) air rifles and air rifle handling and shooting. Please note that all our air rifles that we stock come with a 3 year warranty.

Questions that I may not cover in these articles may come into play as you read and research your first Weihrauch air rifle, that being the case, drop me an email or a text and I will contact you, 6 days a week.

Author

Ian McIntosh