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:
- Who is the air rifle for and what physical build are they?
- What is the purpose of the air rifle?
- What is your budget?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 pre-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.
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.