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HW50 Airgun / Pellet gun Review – Part 2

Performance that exceeds expectations

The HW50 .22 cal airgun is supposed to shoot up to 574 feet per second. These velocities, unless otherwise noted, are usually measured with lightweight lead pellets. Some manufactures will test with alloy pellets and post “up to” velocities for both Lead and Lead free. Gamo is a good example. Their Whisper Fusion Pro in .22 caliber states “up to” 1200 fps with “PBA” (lightweight lead free alloy) pellets and “up to” 1000 FPS with lead pellets.

What’s with all the “air quotes?”

The reason I’m putting all that stuff in quotes is because most of the time these “up to” claims are a far reach from the actual performance of the airgun. On top of that, generally speaking an airgun’s average velocity will actually decrease some after the break in period. So when I was looking at the HW50′s performance numbers of 574 FPS I was hopeful that it would get there and stay there. If not, it may dip below what I would consider useful for small game and pest control out to 20 yards.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

For Part 2 of this review, we are going to look at the performance numbers for 7 mainstream pellets. We’ll get to the accuracy in part 3. I started with what I use for my baseline pellet, the 11.9 Grain RWS Hobby. This is a wadcutter pellet and it is about as light as they come in a .22 cal pellet before you start getting into the lead free stuff.

RWS HOBBY PELLETS- .22 cal- 250 Ct. RWS Hobby 11.9 grn
High: 660.8 FPS
Low: 647.2 FPS
Average: 655.5 FPS
Extreme Spread: 13.6 FPS
Standard Deviation: 4.5 FPS
Average Energy: 11.36 FPE

As you can see, we are WAY over the advertised velocities. This is making the HW50 even that much more appealing! Let’s continue with our next pellet, the H&N Hollow point which is 12.65 Grain and a great “smack down” pellet up close.

H&N Hollow Point .22 Cal, 12.65 Grains, Hollowpoint, 200ctH&N Hollow Point 12.65 grn
High: 677.4 FPS
Low: 669.0 FPS
Average: 672.7 FPS
Extreme Spread: 8.4 FPS
Standard Deviation: 2.7 FPS
Average Energy: 12.71 FPE

So far so good. Let’s look at our next pellet, the new Vortex Express pellets by Hatsan. This is based on the H&N Field Target Trophy, but specially designed to be a bit lighter at 13.12 Grains.

Hatsan Vortex Express Pellets- .22 Cal Hatsan Vortex Express 13.12 grn
High: 649.1 FPS
Low: 628.4 FPS
Average: 636.4 FPS
Extreme Spread: 20.7 FPS
Standard Deviation: 6.7 FPS
Average Energy: 11.80 FPE

The next pellet we’ll look at is the Crosman Premiers in the cardboard box. These are a premium pellet by Crosman and it weighs 14.3 Grains.

Crosman Premier Pellets .22 14.3 grCrosman Premiers 14.3 grn
High: 598.0 FPS
Low: 581.3 FPS
Average: 590.8 FPS
Extreme Spread: 16.8 FPS
Standard Deviation: 4.8 FPS
Average Energy: 11.09

I initially thought that the Crosman Premiers would spec out to shoot the same as the Crosman Premier Hollow points, but that was an incorrect assumption. They weigh the same 14.3 Grains, but they certainly don’t shoot the same. Here are the numbers for the Crosman Premier Hollow Points.

Crosman Premier .22 cal Hollow Point PelletsCrosman Premier Hollow Points 14.3 grn
High: 621.7 FPS
Low: 611.4 FPS
Average: 616.2 FPS
Extreme Spread: 10.3 FPS
Standard Deviation: 3.3 FPS
Average Energy: 12.06

We’ve got two more pellets to evaluate. The first is the JSB Exact Jumbo Express Diabolo. This is also a 14.3 grain pellet.

JSB Diabolo Exact Jumbo Express .22 Cal , 14.3 gr. PelletsJSB Jumbo Express Diabolo 14.3 grn
High: 585.5 FPS
Low: 569.2 FPS
Average: 578.7 FPS
Extreme Spread: 16.3 FPS
Standard Deviation: 5.5 FPS
Average Energy: 10.64

Our last pellet is also our heaviest pellet. The H&N Field Target Trophy weighs in at 14.66 Grains. I’m using the 5.55 head size which I’ve found to be my personal favorite. Your gun may find one of the other head sizes a better match however. Fortunately these premium pellets come in sizes starting from 5.50mm up to 5.55mm so you can find the perfect match for your airgun.

H&N Field Target Trophy .22 Cal, 14.66 Grains, Round Nose[5.55mm Head]H&N Field Target Trophy 5.55mm 14.66 grn
High: 615.2 FPS
Low: 598.9 FPS
Average: 608.7 FPS
Extreme Spread: 16.3 FPS
Standard Deviation: 5.3 FPS
Average Energy: 12.06

Ok.. now what’s next?

There’s a couple of interesting points that I’ll mention as we wrap this up. This iteration of the HW50, along with the related Beeman counterparts; Beeman R9, Beeman R7, etc., really require the pellet to be properly seated into the breach. I saw as much as a 40 FPS drop if the pellet was not fully inserted. If you don’t seat it properly, you’ll not only see a decrease in your velocity, but also a shift in your point of impact which may cause you to miss your intended target.

The last point that I found really interesting is how 3 14.3 grain pellets each shot at very different velocities. This goes to the composition of the lead that’s used. JSB pellets tend to be a bit softer which will allow them to really grip the rifling, but can also cause additional drag and reduce the velocity. Harder pellets seem move a bit quicker down the barrel.

That’s a lot of data to digest which is why we are going to take a break at this point and save the accuracy testing for Part 3. I’m personally very curious to know which of these pellets will come out on top.

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