Over the last few years, air rifle shooting in South Africa has grown in leaps and bounds, and we are currently spoiled for choice when it comes to the availability of springers and PCP rifles. Quality and prices vary widely, and imported Chinese PCP air rifles can be bought for as little as R3 500.
However, with PCP rifles, keep in mind the additional cost of an air reservoir (R4 100 new) and a fill adapter (R1 500). So, even when opting for a budget Chinese brand, it entails an initial outlay of about R10 000 if you buy new.
I recently had the opportunity to test a premium quality PCP by Weihrauch. I was keen to know how this rifle, which retails for just under R20 000 (yes, that’s for the rifle only) performs on the shooting range. This German company has been making quality air rifles for decades and its springers, such as the entry-level HW30 and HW50 rifles, are legendary.
The test rifle was the HW100 Sport in 5mm. It weighs 3.9kg without a scope and first impressions indicated a quality piece of equipment. The Sport is 1 070mm long and has an oiled, dark walnut stock with a raised cheek piece for scoped use – the rifle does not have any open sights – and is fitted with a dark recoil pad and white spacer. The pistol grip, including its cap, and the fore-end are immaculately chequered.
The model I received was stocked for right-handed use and had a very ergonomically shaped pistol grip. The 60cm barrel came with a moderator. The HW100 came with a 14-round magazine made of steel, and with the necessary fill adapters. I filled the cylinder to about 180 bar and zeroed the scope at 25m with JSB Exact pellets. The two-stage trigger is fully adjustable and was set very light – too light for my taste – and the initial first stage travel was almost non-existent. On several occasions the light trigger surprised me by going off too early. This can be easily remedied with a couple of adjusting screws, but I decided to stick with what I presumed to be a factory setting and see whether I could get used to it.
Read the full article in the June 2017 issue of Magnum.