When it comes to spring guns, you can have extreme power, or extreme accuracy, but I’m not sure for certain that you can have both. I’ve never seen it work out in the years I’ve been testing airguns anyway. The sweet spot is to find a quality airgun that has great accuracy WITH sufficient power to accomplish the desired task at hand, be it target practice or small game hunting and pest control.
I own a lot of high powered, magnum springers in various calibers, I also have low powered target springers. What I didn’t have is a medium powered .22 that’s extremely accurate but also suitable for back yard pest control or close range small game hunting if the need arises.
The general rule of thumb is that you need 8 or 9 foot pounds of energy to humanely put down small game like squirrel and rabbit. You really only NEED 5 or 6, but you run the high risk of wounding and not killing your game if your shot is off by only a fraction. It’s better to have a little bigger punch and put your game down with one shot, then have to track a wounded animal for that 2nd shot, or worse, not be able to find it and it die slowly off in a hole somewhere. You also need to be able to reliably hit a 1″ kill zone to make the shot count.
At first Glance
While these parameters may not seem all that difficult to achieve, it can be much harder than it looks. This is where it’s important to match the airgun with the intended purpose. For example, let’s say I’ve got a small garden that I want to keep clear of rabbits. I only need to shoot 10 to 15 yards and I want to be very quiet about it. I have neighbors all around and can’t afford to miss or have my pellet pass through into the adjacent property. I don’t need a 30 foot pound springer to accomplish this task. I need a 9 or 10 foot pound gun that’s spot on accurate every time I pull the trigger. This is exactly what the Weihrauch HW50 .22 was built for.
The HW50 is exactly what you’d expect from a finely crafted, German built airgun. The bluing is very even and the overall look of this air rifle makes it something you’d be pleased to have on display. It’s about as traditional as they come. It sports a hardwood stock with nice checkering and the Weihrauch etched into the forearm. It’s ambidextrous with a slight raised cheek piece on either side. The automatic safety is located on the left of the rear of the receiver.
The open sights are some of the best that I’ve ever used. They are not the modern fiber optic sights, rather they are metal with some very cool features. The front sight has various inserts, allowing you to change how you “see” your target. The rear sight has a rotating notch that changes shape and size, giving you great flexibility. I’m the first guy to scope just about any rifle, but not the HW50. I’m not planning on shooting past 20 yards. With these sights, I think mounting a scope would be going the wrong direction. (I may mount a scope for the accuracy portion of the review, just to see how accurate the HW50 can shoot, but it won’t be a permanent fixture.)
The HW50 is operates just like any other break barrel airgun. It is a single shot design where you pull down on the barrel to cock the main spring. While some may contend that this will limit the rifles accuracy over the long term, I have to beg to differ. The barrel joint and breach are designed from German Steel and utilizes an opposing wedge locking system. This rifle will return to zero every time without fail.
Once you are cocked and loaded, release the automatic safety and you’re ready to fire. The safety can’t be reset without re-cocking the gun, so make sure that you’re definitely going to fire.
The trigger on the HW50 is the famous Rekord trigger. This is one of the rifle’s best features for sure. The trigger is everything you’d want a trigger to be; it’s all metal, have a very light first stage, and crisp 2nd stage with absolutely no creep whatsoever. Given all the terrible triggers out there, the Rekord is a total delight.
Now that we have a good overview aesthetics and basic functions of the HW50, we can move on to part two of this review and take a look at performance.