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HW50 – Part 4 – Accuracy at 20 yards w/ Hawke Scope

You don't need "power" you need precision
Hawke Optics Airmax EV 4-12x40 AO Scope w/ MAP 6 Reticle

Hawke Optics Airmax EV MAP 6 Reticle

Finally! – We are going to wrap up the review of the HW50 medium powered .22 breakbarrel. We are going to use the same test pellet series as previously tested, we’ll just be shooting outdoors at 20 yards vs indoors at 10 yards. I’ve also added a Hawke 4-12×40 Airmax EV AO scope with MAP6 reticle. This scope has amazingly clear optics and a 20% larger field of view than most other 4-12×40 scopes. The MAP6 reticle is very well suited for airgunners as it has very precise marks that are less cluttered than a traditional Mil-Dot reticle. It’s also compatible with Hawke’s ChairGunPro software so you can match your rifle and pellet and get the estimated hold-over and hold-under for various ranges. It’s a great way to have an idea of the pellet trajectory before you go out in the field and have to make the critical shot. Lastly I cleaned the bore and tightened up all the screws and then went to work.

What a difference good glass and clean barrel makes

Before I just started sending lead down range, I grabbed our most accurate pellet from our 10 yard groups and sighted in our scope. Once that was done, I was ready to get down to business.

The first pellet we are going to talk about is the RWS Hobby Pellet. This 11.9 grain pellet is the standard that I use to test velocity in .22 caliber airguns. I use the 7.0 grain RWS hobby as my standard for .177 airguns. This is a pretty common practice as both are some of the lightest, quality lead pellets on the market and they give us a really good baseline for velocity. In our previous tests the Hobby pellets averaged 655.5 FPS and grouped .797″ CTC at 10 yards with open sights. With our now scoped HW50 and at 20 yards, the RWS Hobbies delivered a very respectable .637″ CTC right in the meat of the target. These would certainly be a very usable hunting round, especially if you were concerned about over penetration.

HW50 - 20 Yard groups - 11.9 grn RWS Hobby Pellets - .797" CTC

HW50 – 20 Yard groups – 11.9 grn RWS Hobby Pellets – .797″ CTC

Our next pellet up to the plate was the H&N Hollow point. These are a bit heavier at 12.65 grain, average 672.7 FPS, and grouped a very respectable .534″ CTC at 10 yards with open sights. Well, things went from respectable to awesome with our shot groups at 20 yards. The grouping shrunk to a tiny .473″ CTC.

HW50 - 20 Yard groups - 12.65 grn H&N Hollow Point Pellets - .473" CTC

HW50 – 20 Yard groups – 12.65 grn H&N Hollow Point Pellets – .473″ CTC

Let’s continue with the Hatsan Vortex Express pellet. This is a variation on the Field Target Trophy pellets by H&N, just a tad lighter at 13.21 grains. These average 636.4 FPS and yielded a .615″ CTC group, well within the 1″ kill zone required for small game hunting and pest control.

HW50 - 20 Yard groups - 13.2 grn Hatsan Vortex Express Pellets - .615" CTC

HW50 – 20 Yard groups – 13.2 grn Hatsan Vortex Express Pellets – .615″ CTC

The Crosman Premiers in the cardboard box are the next pellets in the test group. In our 10 yard tests they were not as “premier” as we would have expected. But, at 20 yards and after cleaning the bore, they delivered a pretty good group. Maybe they prefer a clean barrel? Anyway, these 14.3 grain pellets exited our HW50 at 590.8 fps and generated a .821″ CTC. Again, more than suitable for small game hunting.

HW50 - 20 Yard groups - 14.3 grn Crosman Premier Pellets - .821" CTC

HW50 – 20 Yard groups – 14.3 grn Crosman Premier Pellets – .821″ CTC

Now the Crosman Premier Hollow Points gave us our best 10 yard groups, so I expected the same great accuracy at 20 yards. These 14.3 grain Crosman Primers hollow points traveled at 612.2 fps and delivered a 5 shot group measuring .729″ CTC. They did not measure up to the H&N Hollow points, but they are still well within that 1″ kill zone for hunting purposes. I noticed as I was using these pellets that the diameter was not constant. You can tell this by how the pellet enters the breach. These were very inconsistent and it may be these variances that caused the group to open up a bit at the longer 20 yard range.

HW50 - 20 Yard groups - 14.3 grn Crosman Premier Hollow Point Pellets - .729" CTC

HW50 – 20 Yard groups – 14.3 grn Crosman Premier Hollow Point Pellets – .729″ CTC

Our next pellet gave us the biggest surprise of the bunch. JSB pellets are a bit softer than others so they tend to drag in the barrel. This is not an issue when it comes to high powered PCP and springers because they have the energy to overcome this additional drag and produce some great accuracy, mainly because the rifling really bites into the soft lead. This was NOT the case however with the HW50. The additional drag caused these 14.3 grain JSBs to fly all over the map. This was the only pellet that did not produce sufficient accuracy for small game hunting. Our 5 shot group at 20 yards came in at a HUGE 2.939″ CTC. I’m a big fan of JSB pellets, but here’s an example where they just not the right mach for this particular airgun.

HW50 - 20 Yard groups - 14.3 grn JSB Pellets - 2.939" CTC

HW50 – 20 Yard groups – 14.3 grn JSB Pellets – 2.939″ CTC

Our last pellet is the H&N Field Target Trophy. These are the heaviest pellet in the bunch at 14.66 grains and they travel at a respectable 608.7 fps on average. They put in a very good group at .665″ CTC at 20 yards.

HW50 - 20 Yard groups - 14.66 grn H&N Field Target Trophy Pellets - 2.939" CTC

HW50 – 20 Yard groups – 14.66 grn H&N Field Target Trophy Pellets – 2.939″ CTC

Having to follow the H&N Hollow Points must have intimidated all the other pellets in our tests as they didn’t really measure up to its awesomeness. In the end however, all but 1 pellet delivered acceptable hunting accuracy at 20 yards which was the ultimate goal for this airgun purchase. I wanted a medium powered, easy to shoot, backyard friendly small game and pest control eradication device. The HW50 does that with ease and with a wide variety of pellets. What more could you really ask for? The function, features, performance, and accuracy show that it’s not “power” that puts lead on target, but rather quality engineering and practice.

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